Tired of typing out your translations?
Wouldn't it be great to have affordable services that integrate fast and accurate manual and automatic transcription into your favourite CAT-tool?
Did you know that even before word processing software existed and computer-aided translation tools became popular, some translators would speak and record the translation to be typed by a transcriptionist? The process is known formally as "sight translation".
For example, in 1966 a famous survey on the state of machine translation called the ALPAC report quoted experiments showing that "sight translation was four times faster than the full translation and of comparable quality”. Although speed gains from dictation and transcription depend on the type of text being translated, layout complexity and, of course, a translator's familiarity with the source material, a consistent doubling of speed is quite commonly reported by translators who sight translate regularly.
A pain in the wrist is a pain in the neck
Sight translation is not just about words per hour productivity though. It can also have health benefits. Many translators report health problems associated with extended hours of computer use. While dictation does not completely negate the need to work with a keyboard, it does dramatically reduce typing load. Also, less dependence on the keyboard means you have more options in terms of your body position as you work. This can help alleviate other problems like back or neck pain.
Automatic Speech Recognition
An increasing number of translators already use Automatic Speech Recognition packages like Dragon Naturally Speaking from Nuance for sight translation. This works well as the software can be tailored to the terminology and speaking style of the user. Unfortunately, this software is only available in a handful of languages and more generic offerings are not accurate enough for translators as they do not adapt to the specialist terminology translators use every day.
Some translators get around this by working with human transcriptionists. This is different to using Automatic Speech Recognition software because the transcribed target language text does not appear immediately. Although this presents a challenge, experienced translators who are very familiar with a domain or source text can be very productive when they master this skill.
CAT tool integration
CAT tools can be great for maintaining coherence and terminology adherence and they are already an integral part most translation workflows. Our aim is to provide a dictation service from within existing CAT tools. This means that translators who work with transcriptionists can simply dictate the sentences they find easy to dictate in a first pass and translate more complicated sentences normally using a keyboard while waiting for the human transcription.
Our aim is to make this skill easier to learn, make it easier to find and work with human transcriptionists and provide Automatic Speech Recognition services that are targeted at professional translators - all from within your favourite CAT tool.
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