METM09 presentation Thread: Promising practices

CAT interfacing for teamed freelancers: foolproof solutions for cross-tool memory sharing and translation revision

William Orr and Ann King (freelance, Spain) with Iain Patten (freelance, Spain and UK)

The proliferation of computer-assisted translation (CAT) solutions has generated a wide range of tools, each of which handles translation files in different ways. The translation memory (TM) that can be generated by these CAT tools provides a wealth of useful information, and in the case of translation teams, constitutes an extremely valuable resource to facilitate convergence in terminology and phraseology. The value of the memory is further enhanced if it can be easily updated following revision of the translation. Although these matters are a main concern of translation companies, little has been done to help freelancers to take advantage of this potential in a systematic way while working in peer networks.

Since different translators use different CAT programs, a standard, foolproof solution is required to ensure both that TMs can be easily shared and that a common output format can be used for translation revision and subsequent updating of memories. Though the TMX format is the nominal cross-tool standard for TM sharing, we have found it to be unreliable due to small differences in the internal workings of each CAT software package. In an effort to ensure that translators on our team could use the CAT software with which they were most comfortable rather than insist that each member of a translation team use the same program, we developed a simple protocol, using freely available software. With the protocol we will present, each translator can produce a standard output format that was comfortable and convenient for revising translations and that, after revision, could be shared and used to update a common TM resource.

William Orr is a freelance translator and interpreter working in Barcelona. He is also a computer nerd and became involved in the process of improving the available solutions for sharing translation memories among a team of translators using different CAT software.

Ann King is a freelance translator who lives and works in a virtual space somewhere between Dublin and Barcelona. She has a background in computer training and was involved in developing and testing solutions to enable a team of translators using different CAT applications to update their shared translation memory

Iain Patten began his career in biomedical research before spending a number of years in Spain working as an editor and translator of biomedical science. During that time, he worked to provide the shared translation memories for a team of medical translators. He was then instrumental in formulating the current distributed system that allows each translator to prepare his or her translation memories for sharing. He currently shares time between Valencia and London working with clients to facilitate the effective communication of science and medicine to English-speaking audiences.