Towards Demystifying Machine Translation for the Freelancer

An international research firm forecasts that the global machine translation market has the potential to grow by one billion US dollars during the period 2020–2024 ( 2019). Yet recent studies also indicate that despite the growing adoption of machine translation in workflow processes in industrial settings, many professional translators, freelancers in particular, still harbour negative feelings about machine translation (Fung 2018) and tend to resist and/or reject the technology (Sakamoto 2019, Moorkens 2020).   

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AUSIT Conference 2019 Keynote Address

In October, I was in Hobart for the AUSIT Conference. It was my first time attending an event organised by our counterparts across the Tasman. Despite being held in the relatively ‘remote’ location, the 2019 National Conference was well-attended by delegates from all over Australia. The fact that the event was approved for 40 professional development points towards NAATI re-certification was probably a contributing factor in its popularity.

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APTRAD Congress 2019

During my recent travel to Brazil I had the opportunity to attend two Translation and Interpreting conferences. The first was the first ever APTRAD (Portuguese Association of Translators) Congress in Brazil – from 15 to 18 August 2019, and the second was TRADUSA IV (, the fourth Brazilian meeting of medical and healthcare translators, from 23 to 24 August 2019.  Both were in Sao Paulo, my home city, with a population of over 12 million.

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A tale of two conferences

I recently returned to Sheffield for the first time in nearly forty years to attend the Institute of Translation and Interpreting Conference 2019. Sheffield is a city built on the fine steel industry, and when I was a student there it was a city in decline, but on my recent visit I was impressed with the wonderfully revitalised city centre. The conference was held in Cutlers’ Hall, the Victorian headquarters of the Company of Cutlers. It is a very grand but also comfortable building and provided a wonderful, historic backdrop to a very successful conference.

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The digital demands of the client in 2019, and how to grow your own business

At the 2019 NZSTI annual conference, Stephen Caunter ran an interesting workshop entitled ‘The digital demands of the client in 2019, and how to grow your own business’. As a Business Training Manager at ANZ, he has provided advice to a range of clients on how to achieve business success at little expense.

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Webinar review: The Basics of Terminology

In April 2019 the German BDÜ Weiterbildungs- und Fachverlagsgesellschaft mbH organised a webinar for translators about the basics of terminology. The webinar was held by Dr Nicole Keller, lecturer at the Institute of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Concept, term, object & definition

Dr Keller began with a definition of the basic concepts used in terminology. As the basis for the definitions, she used the German standards DIN 2330, DIN 2342 and their English equivalent, ISO 1087.

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“Translation Tracks – Vocational pathways for the language professions of the future”

This was the title of the presentation given by keynote speaker David Moore, who opened the AUSIT National Conference held in Adelaide in November 2018. An educator and linguist at the Alice Springs Language Centre, David spoke of the project to extend the teaching of Aboriginal languages in schools in the Northern Territories by offering applied language courses with a focus on translation. As David explained, ‘Translation Tracks’ is an apt metaphor – it resonates with Aboriginal culture through the association with dreaming tracks, or songlines, and it also expresses the ethos and intention of the programme: to forge a link between school and the workplace, and to provide career paths for Aboriginal students with language skills.

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Sam Berner on the ethics of machine translation

The rise of technology is always a hot topic at translation conferences, and the AUSIT National Conference 2018 in Adelaide was no exception – Sam Berner, a legal translator based in Queensland, gave a thought-provoking talk entitled: “Ethical Questions for the Age of Intelligent Machines”.

Most such discussions revolve around the question of whether MT will ever replace human translators – which Ms Berner boldly asserted is fundamentally the wrong question, her premise being that we do not, and cannot, know what will happen and how technology will develop in the future. While I don’t personally fully agree with this statement, Ms Berner instead posed a set of questions which are worth thinking about:

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Course review: Linguistic validation of patient-reported outcome instruments


In January 2017, I participated in the eCPD video course on Linguistic validation of patient-reported outcome instruments. The course was divided into three videos, the first two of about fifty minutes each, and the third of about forty minutes. Each video was accompanied by a downloadable handout, which was a pdf file of the presentation used onscreen in that video. The material was presented in a logical manner, which was clearly introduced at the beginning and easy to follow as the course progressed. Continue reading “Course review: Linguistic validation of patient-reported outcome instruments”

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