Translation technologies: Scope, tools and resources

Amparo Alcina

Translation technologies constitute an important new field of interdisciplinary study lying midway between computer science and translation, and its professional development will largely depend on the attention it is given from the academic point of view. In this paper different approaches to the subject are examined so as to provide us with a basis for an internal analysis of the field of translation technologies and to structure its content. Following criteria based on professional practice and on the idiosyncrasies of the computer tools and resources that play a part in translation activity, we present our definition of translation technologies and of the field, classified in five blocs.

Table of contents

Translators and teachers of translation have been pioneers in the use of the computer as a tool that is fully integrated into the work process, at least as far as the field of language-related professions is concerned. Although the relationship between translation and the computer began with the development of software for machine translation, the real boom of translation technologies was marked by the development of electronic dictionaries and terminological databases, the arrival of the Internet with its numerous possibilities for research, documentation and communication, and the emergence of computer-assisted translation tools. The digitization of content generated at the source, and “computerization” of institutions, organizations, private businesses, professional work places, etc. also played a significant role. The computer has been an integral part of the infrastructure needed by translators for some time now, but the amount of knowledge and the skills linked to the translation technologies that the translator has to master is growing [ p. 80 ]by the day. Moreover, the steady rise in the number of computers and their users, the considerable increase and variety of electronic document formats, and the rate at which they circulate over the Internet have given rise to a new specialised area called localisation—the translation of the documentation, interfaces and help files included in computer software applications and the translation of websites—which requires translators to have a wide, thorough knowledge of computer science of the kind that was previously possessed only by specialists.

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[ p. 102 ]Interesting Websites

Asia-Pacific Association for Machine Translation (AAMT)
Association for Machine Translation in the Americas (AMTA)
European Association for Machine Translation (EAMT)
European Language Resources (ELRA)
Localisation Research Centre (LRC)
Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA)
Multilingual Computing and Technology
Observatorio de Tecnologías de la Traducción (OTT)