Translated by Luca De Filippis

The last weekend, in Madrid, Casa del Lector was the best scenario to celebrate Lenguando: the first national meeting on language and technology. The pioneering initiative, brought successfully to reality by our colleagues at Molino de Ideas, Cálamo & Cran and Xosé Castro, was driven, among other sponsors, by Daedalus‘s Stilus.

XoseStilusThe spirit of the conference was to bring together in the same space translators, proofreaders, philologists and other communication and language professionals, with an emphasis on the technological revolution of the sector, among other issues.

The talks about the advances in language technology and the simultaneous workshops on their practical application were the most anticipated. In particular, the workshop given in the main auditorium by Concepción Polo (who’s writing this post) on behalf of the team of Stilus was one of the most anticipated by the attendees, according to the organization.

Corpus Linguistics applied to proofreading

LenguandoWith the intention of presenting innovative content and above all practical, in the workshop we considered the possible applications of Corpus Linguistics (CL) in the specific area of professional automatic proofreading.

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How many times have we heard statements like these on “poor automatic spell checkers”? In the age of semantic technology it is time to change attitude:


1. The automatic spell checker corrects things that should not… The know-it-all

Has the spell checker ever cheated you? In order to avoid it, you just need to configure it in the right way. You must be sure that it is proofreading in the correct language (in Portuguese livro is not a ‘book’!) and that, if were, the option “Autocorrect” is not selected. We must not lose control over the proofreading process! By following some advice, you will avoid that the application will give you unpleasant surprises.

Damn spell checker! A misunderstanding causes the closing of two schools in Georgia

Someone sent the following message: “Gunna be at west hall today”, that is to say: “Today I will be at West Hall”. However, the automatic spell checker didn’t work properly and sent the following message: “Gunman be at west hall today”, that is to say: “Armed man in the West Hall today”. Moreover, the person who sent the message dialed the wrong number and sent it to another recipient. As a consequence, who received the message got scared and went to the police, who, for security reasons, considered closing the two schools of the area. [Continue reading…]

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Rivers of ink are written about and because of translation. A huge number of texts are translated daily, and many reflections have been made on translating too.



What should we expect from translators?

Nowadays the translation subject is studied following a descriptive approach. Traditionally, reflections were made on how to properly translate a text, drawing a line between right and wrong translations to that end. More recently, however, translation has been studied as a process. Translating is not choosing between what is right and what is wrong when dealing with difficult texts, but rather choosing among an undefined number of options according to whom the text is addressed. Being able to choose between more or less appropriate options involves developing the translation competence. This competence enables translators, who must demonstrate their knowledge and skills in taking decisions (strategy), using documentary sources (instrumental skills), gaining awareness on subjects that initially are alien to them (encyclopedic knowledge) and, obviously, mastering the involved languages (linguistic awareness). Seguir leyendo

La traducción genera ríos de tinta, no solo por el inmenso volumen de textos que se traducen diariamente, sino también por el número de reflexiones que se dan en torno a la actividad de traducir.


¿Qué se espera de un traductor?

Actualmente la traducción se mueve en un terreno descriptivo. Si bien tradicionalmente se ha reflexionado sobre la manera de traducir correctamente, distinguiendo traducciones correctas y erradas, hoy día se estudia la traducción como proceso. Por este motivo, a la hora de enfrentarse a un texto, traducir no es elegir entre lo que está bien y lo que está mal, sino hacerlo entre un número indeterminado de opciones en función de quién sea el receptor de la traducción. Para poder elegir entre distintas opciones de traducción es necesario desarrollar una competencia traductora. Esta competencia capacita a un traductor, que tiene que  demostrar una serie de habilidades y conocimientos: estratégicos (saber tomar decisiones), instrumentales (saber cómo documentarse), enciclopédicos (iniciarse en temas a los que en principio es ajeno) y, por supuesto, lingüísticos (dominar la lengua desde la que se traduce y hacia la que se traduce). Seguir leyendo

As we have shown in the first part, automatic text verification systems aim to become useful resources. However, these applications are by definition tools that help in writing, and they should never replace the human proofreader, especially if the goal is publishing. Until now, there were a lot of questions that technology could not face.

Where should we focus our attention?

We cannot trust technology when text revision involves a comprehensive and careful reading in order to find ambiguous sentences or inconsistencies from the author (e.g. changing in a story the name of the same character), or decide whether a footnote would be necessary, etc. Seguir leyendo