RE: translation tool question

Subject: RE: translation tool question
From: Maritza van den Heuvel <MaritzaV -at- stt-global -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 10:47:44 +0200

Maritza: I agree whole-heartedly with everything that's been said about the
appropriate use of services like Babelfish and MT in general. And yes,
there's a lot of research on the Internet that covers the issues involved.
In particular, there's an article by Sylvia Wong that introduces the
techniques of Machine Translation that I've used very effectively to teach
the principles of MT to students of linguistics at post-graduate level. Good
introductory, lay person kind of stuff. Here's the link:

The one comment I do wish to add, though, concerns MAT/CAT
(Machine-/Computer-Assisted Translation). There are numerous translation
memory tools on the market that support a variety of authoring formats and
that provide what is, to me at least, the most feasible approach to
integrating MT with human translation. MT research and techniques still have
a very, very long way to go before they will be truly useful for commercial
translation purposes, and translation memory (where you build up a database
of previously translated documents), is probably the closest you're going to
get for now. To start with, have a look at Trados and Déjà Vu, also

About the workflow being used to edit the PDF's - that's generally not a
good idea. Modifying the published/exported end-product of any
document/image should be avoided, if possible. Rather work from the source
file where posssible, or create duplicates of the source files that can be a
separate language stream alongside the original - at least that way the
language streams are in synch and republishing/re-exporting the source won't
always mean having to redo the whole PDF in the other language(s).


Maritza van den Heuvel
Technical Writer
Software Training Technology (Pty) Limited

Subject: translation tool question
From: "Lisa Bronson" <Lisa -dot- Bronson -at- ipaper -dot- com> wrote 15 Apr


> We have a sister company in Taiwan that is going to do the translation
> of one of our instruction manuals into Traditional Chinese. Another
> sister company, this one in Shanghai, has been doing translations in
> Simplified Chinese for a couple of years. They take our PDF files
> created from FrameMaker documents and replace the English text with
> Simplified Chinese. Really.
> The man doing this for the Taiwan office wants to find a machine
> translation tool to do the primary translation, which he would then
> proofread, rather than translating the whole manual, manually. I had
> given him the link to, but he'd like something
> that will process the whole document, without him having to cut and
> paste between programs.
> I found a program called LogoMedia that looks pretty good. Has anyone
> had experience with that, or have any other ideas to offer?

From: Bill <technicoid -at- cableone -dot- net> replied 16 Apr 2004
> Wow. That's a laborious way to do it. Are you sure they don't just
> translate
> the Frame files? It would be much easier. There are several translation
> memory tools that support Frame.
> Unless you want truly horrible translations, I don't recommend this
> approach.
> First, machine-translation utilities like Babelfish (as implemented on the

> are good for "gisting" only (that is, getting the gist of what a Web
> page
> is about). They make numerous errors because they have little or no means
> for handling words in various contexts. Second, decent machine-translation

> efforts require extensive work to produce glossaries, and most efforts of
> which I'm aware have industry-specific glossaries. Machine translation is
> simply not something you can do in an ad-hoc manner.

> I recommend you research some of the theory behind MT before you start
> picking out tools. It'll give you a better idea of the practical
> of the technology.

From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com> 16 Apr 2004
> I don't have any experience with that program, but I've tinkered with
> translation programs here and there (bable fish was one of them but that
> was a while ago). My experience has been that these translation programs
> aren't very good. Your translator should be translating the docs, not just

> editing them. Will he be reading the English version before putting the
> through translation software? If not, you could end up with some pretty
> information that might be grammatical, but be odd or simply wrong.

Sorry my late reply. I've been on a few trips lately with restricted e-mail

Lisa, you should look up your colleague Frank Brewer who did a lot of
investigation into MT in the mid-to-late 1990s.

A significant amount of informative information, from basic to very
is available for free at my Machine Translation web page, accessible via my
site ( Some of these papers and
discussion threads explain the types of translation approaches and the
tools (online web, packaged software, and custom systems) that correspond to

those approaches. There are also several complete MT software reviews at

I have agreed to give tutorials at the AMTA2004 conference in Sept 2004 in
Washington DC: one giving a summary of writing principles for improving MT
translation output and one on improving MT output and working with it
(including an intro on how MT systems process info, building custom MT
dictionaries and performing MT postediting -- how to correct MT output --
using a few different commercial MT systems).

Hope that helps.



SEE THE ALL NEW ROBOHELP X5 IN ACTION: RoboHelp X5 is a giant leap forward
in Help authoring technology, featuring Word 2003 support, Content
Management, Multi-Author support, PDF and XML support and much more!

>From a single set of Word documents, create online Help and printed
documentation with ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 7 Professional, a new yearly
subscription service offering free updates and upgrades, support, and more.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: FW: Scope of translation of manuals
Next by Author: RE: Documenting installers?
Previous by Thread: re: translation tool question
Next by Thread: Re: Formal proofreading (was: punctuation in bullet text)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads