A CAT tool for translation into simple language
Thread poster: Gary Evans

Gary Evans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:04
Member (2007)
German to English
Mar 21

Hi Folks,

My partner translates into simple versions of German (simple or easy variants). I'm interested in this field and have done some basic research on tools. I assume there are no CAT tools which are set up for this. Machine translation providers do not offer translation into simple language. I've discovered https://simplish.org/ but it doesn't really deliver the simple versions I'm looking for. It seems to be based on basic English.

Does anyone have any experience in this field? I'm interested in developing such a CAT tool.

Regards,
Gary


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Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
English to French
+ ...
Smart Communications Mar 21

Check out http://www.smartny.com/

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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Specification Mar 21

Hello Garry--any CAT tool with UTF/Unicode support should do, because the style and vocabulary.is no issue (but may pose some problems for translators). As for Q/A, stop-words and auto-replacements are useful too, so I simply see no issues. Could you specify which CAT can't do simple languages?

As for custom language codes/signatures, I prefer flexible WF Classic.

Cheers


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:04
Member
French to English
+ ...
Define "CAT tool" Mar 21

If you are talking literally about a CAT tool, then it will translate into any language variant you choose — since in essences it is only a system for breaking down the text into chucnk and offering you translation suggestions from its database — that you create. So by translating a succession of documents, you can build up a stock of TMs containing TUs that can be as simplified as you the translator choose...

However, I suspect what you are really talking about is Machine Translation — there, you are in essence doing the same job, except using a vast set of TMs based on TU gleaned in avrious ways from online and other resources. Clearly the algorithms used will determine to what extent "simplification" can take place; one of the snags I can imagine is that it is in the nature of simplified translation that various different source expressions might all have the same translation, which could ba e nightmare for the algorithms to deal with.

Consider a sereis of translations that might all be simplified to "The cat sat on the mat." — e.g. "The mat was sat upon by the cat." / "It was the mat upon which the cat was seated" and so on...

Now in a manual CAT tool, this wouldn't be a problem; but in MY, I can imagine it might cause huge problems with anything other than such a facile example. In particualr, I can imagine that in some fields, "simplification" might end up creating ambiguities that were not there in the source text, or just loss of nuance.


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ahartje
Portugal
Local time: 15:04
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
What do you mean by... Mar 21

"simple versions of German (simple or easy variants)"?

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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:04
German to English
Also very interested Mar 22

Are you talking about monolingual (German > Leichte Sprache) or multilingual translation (English > Leichte Sprache)?

I think there are already editing tools for rule-based writing out there and there are certainly English spellcheckers that mark anything which is not on a given word list as misspelled. I don't think a CAT would really be the right foundation to build on. TMs aren't really relevant: The whole point is to develop and adhere to a rule-based language. While glossaries would be helpful, I think there are already tools out there adapted specifically to the needs of controlled languages.

And "Leichte Sprache" seems like more or less a mess to me: A lot of the rules seem like someone just adopted them from Basic English & Co. without putting any thought into the differences between the two languages. The deliberate use of misspelling and clumsy grammar also hardly seems productive. The worst part is probably that they seem to have gone with generalizing guidelines about vocabulary instead of a core list of words.


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Gary Evans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:04
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Monolingual translations Mar 22

Hi Michael,

In English there seems to be simple English (i.e. Wikipedia artcticles) as well as Basic English, which uses a limited vocabulary. In German there are two variants I am aware of:

1. Leichte Sprache - Strict rules ensure people with learning difficulties can read this. People, for example with Downs Syndrome proofread such texts for understandability. They effectively invented this variant. The responsible German organisation is called Mensch zuerst (people first). See: http://www.menschzuerst.de ;

2. Einfache Sprache - The rules are not so strict here and the text is adapted to specific target audiences such as second language learners.

CAT tools can be of use in certain ways. While there are no machine translation (MT) engines which can offer this kind of translation, an extensive term base (TM) would surely be of benefit. Further, a translation memory (TM) would help when it comes to phrases, idioms etc.

Instead of an MT, the best alternative must be crowd sourcing IMO. That's what I'm interested in right now. We have developed a browser-based tool named FoundCAT which can offer this. See: https://foundcat.bluecloud.academy

FoundCAT is accessible for people with visual impairment (my partner is blind). We are looking for people & organisations to help develop FoundCAT further, so please join us on the FoundCAT forum if you are interested. Here's the link:

https://bluecloud.academy/mod/forum/view.php?id=5

Regards,
Gary


Michael Wetzel wrote:

Are you talking about monolingual (German > Leichte Sprache) or multilingual translation (English > Leichte Sprache)?

I think there are already editing tools for rule-based writing out there and there are certainly English spellcheckers that mark anything which is not on a given word list as misspelled. I don't think a CAT would really be the right foundation to build on. TMs aren't really relevant: The whole point is to develop and adhere to a rule-based language. While glossaries would be helpful, I think there are already tools out there adapted specifically to the needs of controlled languages.

And "Leichte Sprache" seems like more or less a mess to me: A lot of the rules seem like someone just adopted them from Basic English & Co. without putting any thought into the differences between the two languages. The deliberate use of misspelling and clumsy grammar also hardly seems productive. The worst part is probably that they seem to have gone with generalizing guidelines about vocabulary instead of a core list of words.



[Edited at 2018-03-22 10:52 GMT]


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