Monthly Archives: September 2013

LRC X8 Day 3 (morning)

Last day of LRC X8 lead with a keynote by Jack Shulman of Sony Computer Entertainment entitled “The Global Game”. Jack’s presentation charted the history of Sony Computer Entertainment through references to milestones such as product releases, news stories and key moments of brand recognition. The outline of his presentation was portrayed through the analogy of gaming metaphors.

The power of gaming machines was illustrated to us with various statistics: 350 (PS1) to 30,000 (PS4) polygons per character to give near photo-realism. IBM built a supercomputer from 13,000 cell processors.

In building SCE’s capability Jack used information design principles to efficiently transfer knowledge to consumers. He also referred to their ultra-reliable work ethic. SCE have offices in Cambridge, England, Tokyo and San Francisco.

Other bytes of information I was able to capture were:

  • The types of personality gamers adopt: killers, achievers, socialisers, explorers. (Bartle)
  • Scientific research shows intrinsically need for experiences of autonomy, relatedness,
  • Dynamic Capability – ability to adapt to trends.

Finally we were treated to a viewing of the TEDx talk by Stanford Dan Klein. Accepting offers. Your partner, your mind, the world.

Isabelle Weiss, founder of Alpha CRC was next up. Interesting presentation on the employer/employee viewpoints of the translator role in industry as elicited by short survey of both parties after a graduate being in a job for a short time.

Graduates do not have: routine; awareness of commercial factors; personal productivity assessment; availability (and requirement to use) of tools; quality requirements and roles within employment.

Graduates surprises: speed; output; (alpha have the means to measure translator productivity); quantity (they feel less emphasis on quality); range of tools that have to be learned and used; requirement of adherence to terminology; accuracy and consistency more important than creativity; demand to work out of context; poor quality of source text.

Isabelle emphasised the broad range of related disciplines that translators/linguists can diversify to: native language testing, project management, language lead, etc.

Professor Debbie Folaron of Concordia University responded from the academic perspective. Prior to moving into academia full-time, Debbie had industry experience so she understood Isabelle’s perspective. It came across that Debbie felt restricted in addressing the needs of industry by set curriculums; available teaching time; technology constraints; and budgets. In a world where there a so many open source tools and free online resources it is a shame academics have such challenges.

Bill Rivers of the Joint National Committee for Languages, (supported by Terena Bell of In Every Language) felt that the “signal from industry” is much more fundamental and wide ranging. The industry has a growth rate of 10% and industry is finding it impossible to fill positions. Lots of debate ensued (I cannot touch-type so won’t even try to capture all of it).

GALA gave an open invitation for people to talk to them about industry/academic challenges.

Back to the Origins of the Localization Conference

Today I attended the LRC X8 Conference in Limerick. LRC is the longest running localization conference in the world. It is run by the Localization Research Centre which based at the University of Limerick.

LRC Director Reinhard Schäler was present (has he ever not been?) having returned modestly triumphant from Berlin with an award from META-FORUM given to The Rosetta Foundation “for their ground-breaking work in overcoming language barriers, enabling global conversation and making information available to individuals irrespective of their social status, linguistic or cultural background.”

The first session I attended was on Kilgray’s Language Terminal presented by Madeleine Lenker. When we set up VistaTEC in 1997 one of value adds to our translation partners was that we removed a lot of technical and preparation related tasks by carrying out all of that work centrally and just sending out translation kits. It struck me how much of this is now done by end-user translation tools which are often free. So individual, and perhaps technically inexperienced, translators can take on the translation of, say, InDesign documents and be able to make full use of translation memories and translation oriented editors. In my opinion Kilgray have been very astute in focusing on the needs and feedback of the translator community.

Post lunch food coma was kept at bay by Andrzej Zydroń talking about the Translation Interoperability Protocol Package (TIPP) and XLIFF:doc and David Filip giving an XLIFF 2.0 overview.

TIPP recently achieved the first ever, lossless round trip between two Translation Management Systems (XTM 7.7 and MemoQ 2013). This is very exciting in my view. It puts the focus on the ability to use the right tool for the job whether “the job” is the whole process or just a part of it.

XLIFF 2.0 has a small core and several “modules” (optional namespaced data that can be ignored but must never be destroyed): translation candidates [mtc:]; glossary [gls:]; format style [fs:]; metadata [mda:]; resource data [res:]; change tracking [ctr:]; size restriction [slr:]; and validation [val:].

Emma Keane of Symantec presented on the importance of trusted partners to their outsource terminology strategy. Emma emphasized how critical it is to the success of their terminology management program that they have transparency around who the individuals helping to define their glossaries are. A lively debate ensued around the transparency of language/linguistic service providers.

Veronica Carioni and Victor Coutin of Vistaprint ended the days talks on the subject of web site localization. Vistaprint is a USD250m business who’s leading product is business cards! Vistaprint created Cultural Style Guides which divide Europe into regions and includes details, based on marketing communications strategies, appropriate imagery and audio. Marketing people, localization specialists and copy writers work together on these. A really clear, open and engaging presentation.

The ever provocative Reinhard closed the day by asking if there is such a thing as a national stereotype any more or if, in this highly globalized world, are they more age range stereotypes, personal interest or social group stereotypes?

Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance

For the last three days I have been at META-FORUM 2013 in Berlin.

Myself and many of my Multilingual Web – Language Technologies partners were presenting our project final deliverables. My presentation was well received though didn’t generate as much coffee break interaction as I’d hoped. Nevertheless one of those conversations is worth following up on. [Update 2013-10-23: My presentation can be viewed on YouTube.]

Overall MLW-LT received great feedback from our Project Manager within the EU. I attribute our success to our lead coordinator, Felix Sasaki of DFKI, and the unique mix of project partners. I would certainly want to work with them again.

The conference was well attended – 260 I think was the figure. This was probably due to the fact that Kimmo Rossi of the DG – CNECT was presenting on Horizon 2020 and CEF.

One of the highlights of the conference were the keynote by Daniel Marcu, Chief Science Officer of SDL, who’s talk was entertaining, engaging, honest and thought provoking. I wish I had recorded it on my iPad but that is distracting and hopefully it’ll be available on the conference web site eventually.

It was great to meet Sebastian Hellmann of University of Leipzig in person. Sebastian is lead editor of the NLP Interchange Format 2.0 specification.

Good trip though I didn’t get to see much of Berlin this time around.

MT Summit XIV

I’m just back from an information packed MT Summit XIV in Nice. Great to be able to listen and talk to leaders in their fields and to witness Hermann Ney and John Hutchins both being presented with awards.

Attendance was split fairly evenly this year between academia and industry. Two topics of much interest to end users of machine translation were well represented with presentations delivered by researchers and users: Quality Estimation – which had its own track – and post-editing.

I attended two pre-conference tutorials: “Open Source Statistical Machine Translation” (Philipp Koehn and Hieu Hoang); and “Enabling Interoperability in Localization and Translation Workflows through Standards – The Linport Approach” (Prof. Jörg Schütz and Prof. Alan K. Melby). I also went to the “Workshop on Post-Editing Technologies and Practice” (Sharon O’Brien, Michel Simard and Lucia Specia). This workshop featured many presentations about post-editing and quality estimation.

Presentations of note for me were:

  • “The operation sequence model: Integrating translation and reordering operations in a single left-to-right model” by Prof. Hinrich Schuetze. This was an extremely accessible talk given the topic.
  • “An investigation on the Effectiveness of Features for Translation Quality Estimation” by Lucia Specia. Of particular interest given my promotion of statistical quality assurance methods and founding of Digital Linguistics.
  • “Implementing ITS 2.0 for post-editing purposes” by Felix Sasaki.

As you’ll know from previous posts I’ve been working on a new desktop editor which has post-editing scenarios as one of its motivations. We’ve been busy adding new features. For post-editing scenarios the main ones are:

  • Read and render ITS 2.0 MT Confidence Scores,
  • Read and render XLIFF 1.2 state-qualifier attribute values.

MT Summit is only held every two years. The 2015 event host is Croatia. It’s in my calendar.