Practical advice for acquiring and enhancing linguistic competence for specialties
Thread poster: KSL Berlin

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:05
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Nov 27, 2008

Yesterday I discovered a marvelous article on the subject of applied corpus linguistics for acquiring or enhancing a translation specialty. Given how often this topic comes up in these forums, I wanted to share it with those who are not regular readers of JoSTrans. The link is

http://www.jostrans.org/issue10/art_maher.php

The article, titled "Acquiring or enhancing a translation specialism: the monolingual corpus-guided approach" by Ailish Maher, Stephen Waller and Mary Ellen Kerans (freelance translators/editors in Spain) is not an academic treatise, but rather a very practical introduction to concepts and simple tools for becoming a better translator who can secure better jobs and better prices. There is nothing here which anyone here of any background should find intellectually frightening, and I think that many of us - from students to experienced translators - can get at least one or two very valuable ideas from the article. I have also written a detailed review of the article with links to some of the tools discussed and other resources which may be of interest.


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:35
German to English
One of the authors is a regular ProZ user Nov 27, 2008

I've read the article and it is, indeed, very valuable and useful. For those of you who didn't know, one of the authors, Ailish Maher, is a regular forum and KudoZ participant (User name: Lia Fail). Her profile: http://www.proz.com/profile/7634

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Eric Le Carre  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:05
Member (2004)
English to French
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Great Resource Nov 27, 2008

Hello Kevin,

thanks a lot for sharing this great resource with us.

Eric


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Paul Adie  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thank you! Nov 27, 2008

Hey Kevin,

Thanks for putting this up, looks like a very interesting resource. I didn't even know the journal existed. This is why I love ProZ!

Happy translating!

Paul


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 10:05
Japanese to English
Profitability Nov 27, 2008

That's very interesting. It ties in nicely with the recent topic about over-Googlification.

As I read through the article, the two words "Google" (modified by "judicious use") and "Trados" kept springing unbidden to mind.

The writer concludes:
"The serious specialist who is ready to benefit from a judiciously compiled and very clean substrate corpus will have to deal with the three issues we have raised: ease of access, which varies according to knowledge field; corpus size, for which guidelines are still needed if time investment is to be kept under control; and fair use, for when a corpus is likely to be shared."

This only hints at the question of cost and profitability. While I will certainly be acting on the advice presented (thanks!), I'll be watching very closely to see if it really contributes to profitability, beyond the corpus I've already built with the two tools mentioned above.

Some of these discussions about using the Web seem to downplay the power of personal judgement and of rigorous cross-checking...


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:05
Dutch to English
+ ...
Thanks Kevin Nov 27, 2008

Interesting one - I'll enjoy reading this properly later today once the dreaded deadlines are out the way. It's very good of you to share all the interesting links you find.

And, of course, thanks Ailish for co-authoring it!


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
thanks Nov 27, 2008

Hi Kevin

Thanks for your praise and your very thorough review.

We very much like JOSTRANS, unfortunately it's only issued twice yearly. Note that the person whose brains I picked re fair use - Michael Wilkinson (http://accurapid.com/journal/36corpus.htm) - also writes practical articles on using corpora in other online journals: http://www.translationdirectory.com/article745.htm and http://accurapid.com/journal/33corpus.htm
See also http://66.102.9.132/search?q=cache:2yfvSgZfTukJ:www.lexically.net/wordsmith/corpus_linguistics_links/Wilkinson.doc%20wilkinson%20corpora&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=es

We wrote our article in late 2007-early 2008 and it was published last July. It was based on a few exploratory years developing a corpus workshop in which the 3 of us combined theoretical knowledge with practical experience. The last time we ran the workshop was September 2008 in Split, Croatia. As you, Williamson and we say, not enough attention is being paid to the corpus approach for practising translation purposes.

We are now rebuilding the workshop, basically because it's growing and we keep coming across new tools that fit in with the corpus approach. Even as recently as August we came across PERC. And last month we rediscovered WebCorp, a tool that had been around for years (I wrote an article about it for the ATA Cadaceus journal in 2004 or 2005) but wasn't very functional. Now, however, it works very well.

So we have agreed to redesign the workshop in terms of two parts that we will probably pilot in Barcelona in spring 2009, and run again at METM2009 in Barcelona.

Ailish

PERC: http://www.corpora.jp/~perc04/index.html
WebCorp: http://www.webcorp.org.uk/
MET: http://www.metmeetings.org/



[Edited at 2008-11-27 14:17 GMT]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:05
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Workshop Nov 27, 2008

Damned good idea with the workshop and necessary too in the profession. Perhaps you could do one at a ProZ conference in Europe one of these days - it would probably add great value to the event. I could see something like this being received with enthusiasm by the BDÜ here in Germany too - they do a lot of continuing education workshops.

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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 22:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
Thanks, Kevin. Nov 27, 2008

Thank you for the link, Kevin. Very interesting article, Lia!

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks to everybodY:-) Nov 28, 2008

Hopefully your interest will inspire you to come to a workshop in Barcelona in spring or autumn 2009, but meanwhile, I suggest you do as Kevin did, try out the tools. Most of the ones we use are free or very inexpensive, and if we paid for them, it's because they were excellent value for money.

And special thanks to Kevin, of course:-)


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:05
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Keep us posted, please Nov 28, 2008

Lia, please publicize the schedule for workshops when it is set. This is a very valuable topic.

I had great fun yesterday working with Archivarius again. I've been working from time to time on a terminology for sustainability and CSR reports, and this is such a nice tool for browsing my reference collection of source and target language texts. Your approach certainly does beat dealing with Google most of the time.


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