Excellent book on machine translation

Review of

Jörg Porsiel (ed.): Machine Translation. What language Professionals Need to Know. 260 pages. BDÜ Fachverlag 2017. €37. Order here (“Warenkorb” means “Shopping basket”).

If you are interested in machine translation (MT) and would like to know more – in fact a lot – about it without having to trawl the internet (and getting a lot of less interesting hits), you can hardly do better than reading this recently published book. It contains 22 contributions on every aspect of MT, from its development and various technical viewpoints (such as the roles of controlled language and of terminology and the integration of MT in CAT environments; also – and very interesting, too – data protection under the GDPR, that is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation) to quality management (a very interesting text on the amalgamation of the TAUS Dynamic Quality Framework and the German Multidimensional Quality Metrics into a common error typology) and, lastly, to a number of practical examples (the European Commission, Volkswagen, Microsoft, ZF, and Catalonia).

In addition, a sizeable portion of the book (54 pages) centres on so-called post-editing, that is, the “manual reworking of MT output”, as the book’s glossary phrases it. It covers the new standard on post-editing, ISO 18587; the education of post-editors; “strategies” for post-editing; and a “field report” by a translator who has worked as a post-editor for ten years.

What is particularly interesting here is that there are differing viewpoints on some essential matters. For one thing, both the field report and the text on education makes it quite clear that post-editing means getting a pre-translated (via MT) document for editing and making it ship-shape. This is not at all obvious in the other texts. In fact, some of them clearly includes interactive translation in a CAT tool with the aid of MT – this is the case with the text on the pricing of post-editing services, which is based only on such interactive translation (but it’s still very interesting).

For another, there are obviously differing views on the meaning of “full” post-editing. The ISO standard is quoted as specifying that such editing shall result in a text that “must be indistinguishable from a human translation”. But in other places we learn that “stylistic perfection is also not expected” nor is linguistic perfection, and that “post-editing is not the same as traditional translation, and that customers/clients do not want it to be [italics mine]” – the latter statement by the experienced post-editor, which makes it particularly notable.

The texts are generally easy to read, even if the occasional one can be very technical (the text on terminology is a case in point), and some of the practical examples contain historical material which may be less interesting to the general reader. But in all, this is a gold mine for anyone more than cursorily interested in this exciting field, and you are likely to return to it many times, which makes it worth its price. You will hardly find a more comprehensive – and up-to-date – overview of the MT world anywhere; that it is very much centered on the practical side of things makes it all the more useful. And I would say it is particularly valuable to the freelance translator who wants to know what the future is likely to hold (unless you mainly translate fiction, poetry and drama).

There is a brief presentation (in German) by the publisher here. And there are sample pages – 14 of them, including the contents list – in English here.

Trados Studio apps/plugins for machine translation

For a long time now, I’ve been intrigued by the very large number of apps/ plugins in the Studio appstore which give access – free or paid – to various types of machine translation services and facilities. Since I have lately found that the use of MT may give surprisingly good results at least for En > Sv (as well as completely useless ones), I was curious to know more about all these various options. Here is a brief overview of what I found trying to explore them to the best of my ability. (Because of the shitty layout – to be revised – of this site I cannot include the table on this page, but I trust you will be as well served by the separate page.)

This material will be included in the next edition of the Studio 2017 manual (also to include the updates provided in SR1).

Searching for text in tags – and for text which happens to include tags

If you are searching for text in tags, you can use the extremely versatile app Integrated Search Views (which permits an enormous variety of filtering and handling options). You don’t need to do so, however, because the Advanced Display Filter (new in Studio 2017) will look for the text you are searching for also in tags (although it doesn’t tell you that explicitly).

However, there is a downside to this: As yet, you cannot turn this function off, which means that if you are searching for an expression in the text which happens to contain also tags (for instance formatting tags), then this filter will not find the expression because it will see the tags (which you did not include in your search string) as well.

But there is a simple remedy: the “basic” Display Filter does not work in this way. So if you don’t need any of the more advanced functions in the Advanced Display Filter but only are looking for plain text – use the basic filter function and you’ll be fine.

You can read more about this in detail here (if you have an SDL account).

Translating PDF format to PDF format

If sometimes you are stuck with a pdf file without recourse to the source, and the layout is complicated with perhaps images inserted in the text, various columns, and whatnot – then your solution is probably called Infix.

Infix is a program with two main functions: (1) It allows you to edit any pdf file. (2) It allows you to create an xliff file for translation in Studio (or other CAT tools);  the translation (in xliff format) can then be imported into Infix where a translated pdf can be created (and edited). Note that what you get is thus a pdf  while you can get the same text also in rtf format (see below), that document is completely without a layout and thus of very limited use, i.e. no better than what Studio can produce.

Here is what you do. (For background and a training video, you should also read & watch Paul Filkin’s blog post Handling PDFs… is there a best way?)

Download, registration and installation

First, go to the Infix home page (www.iceni.com) and take a look, for your information. Then select Infix PDF Editor and Try It For Free!, which will download the installation zip file. Install it.

After installation, you should also click Buy from €8.99 on the http://www.iceni.com/infix.htm page. When you do this, it does not mean you have to buy; you arrive at a page where you can (a) see the different purchase options, and also register for the free trial: scroll to somewhere around the middle of this page and click the Register button and go on from there.

Note: The difference between the free trial and the subscription is that with the former, you can edit not more than 50 final pdf pages in the Infix PDF Editor; after that it’s 50 cents per page. And it is unlikely that the resulting page(s) don’t require at least some editing. So do your calculations and make your choice.

The work process

1.      Open Infix.

2.      Open the pdf file you want to translate.

3.      Select Translate > Export as XLIFF.

This process requires you to log in (with the details you created/gave during registration) and also to select source and target languages as well as file name. Furthermore, your file organiser will open, so that you can check if the xlf file has been created. This is just for your information; close it if you like.

The exported document will be opened in Infix and you can see if it looks promising (with really complicated pages, you may see that you will still have some work to do after everything is done, but believe me, that’s nothing compared to all other ways of handling the same material).

Note: During this process, a box opens telling you that the document is being uploaded to TransPDF.com. That page is where everything is being done, and if you want to, you can follow the processes there, as in this image. As for how to open that page, see the end of this post.

Now you’re ready to translate:

4.      Open Studio.

5.      Select Translate Single Document, open the xml file you just created and select suitable TM(s) or machine translation or whatever. If appropriate, do a pre-translation batch task.

6.      When your translation is finalised (or when you just want to check how it looks), save it in xlf format (Shift+F12). Normally it’s OK to overwrite the original xlf file (you will be asked).

Note: All the following steps can be performed whether the translation is complete or only partly done.

7.      In Infix, select Translate > Import translated XLIFF.

8.      Browse to the xliff translation you just created and then select the Import button.

Preview or go to Final PDF?

When the import is done, you get to choose whether to view a preview of the result. You can do this as an intermediate step, or you can skip it and download the final pdf version. In both cases, you get to choose between Normal view, Compare Horizontal and Compare Vertical, the comparisons being between the source document and the preview/final version. The preview will be watermarked (“TransPDF.com”), but that will be removed in the final translation. Another difference is that the preview is read-only, whereas the final version can be edited (see below).

The preview also contains a starting page listing translation data as well as any font problems and their resolutions (such as “Futura-Bold -> Alegreya Sans Black) and instructions on how to deal with possible problems. If you skip this stage, you can still get this font report page from the Infix site – see below.

9.      Download the final pdf: Select Translate > Download Final PDF. Select the translated xml and, if necessary, rename it so that the result is kept separate from the previous translation xml file. As with the preview, you can select to open it alone or together with the original pdf. If you open for comparison but decide you only want to see/work with resulting pdf alone, just close the comparison and open the result (with Ctrl+O as usual).

Together with the opened file, you may get a window listing possible problems, such as this:

For a close look at a problem, select it and click View. You may experiment with the Text Fitting option, but you can also use the editing tools on top of the Infix window. Paul Filkin gives some instructive examples of such editing in his video, at 10:25. The editing is a bit tricky, but there is a comprehensive guide to be accessed via the program’s Help menu; also on-line tutorials.

You can also have the translation in rtf format (without any kind of page layout). For that, you need to go to your own TransPDF site: Go to the registration/sign-in page at http://www.iceni.com/transpdf.htm and sign in. This page opens:

As you see, you have here some of the options on the Translate menu, plus the option of downloading the final rtf, which sometimes might be useful for editing purposes. Also, once you have translated the file you can use this page instead of the Infix interface. One difference is that for the editing of the final pdf, you do need Infix.

The AppStore at SDL

The SDL OpenExchange is no more. In its place we now have the SDL AppStore. But what’s in a name? There are more important changes: the user interface has been completely re-vamped and is now very much more user-friendly. Here is a brief orientation which may help you to utilize it.

This is the start page:

However, this is mainly a showcase; as soon as you make a search or click a See all link, you will get more search options (see below). What, then, do the categories here stand for?

  • Apps of the Month are apps that SDL wants to promote at the moment, such as now apps, older but popular apps, apps that – for some reason – need more exposure.
  • Latest apps are just that (but they are called, on the other pages, Most recent). A “late” (or “recent”) app is an app that is either new, has newly been revised (with a new edition number), or has newly been revised even if the edition number is the same. A bit confusing.
  • Most popular Studio 2015 apps are the most downloaded Studio 2015 apps.
  • At the bottom of the page there are four Apps for terminology. It will change to other categories now and then.

So how do you search?

As soon as you use the search field (and, by the way, All to the left in the field means All products; click the arrow and you get the same options as under Product to the left on the page) or as soon as you click a See all link, you arrive at a page like this, with the apps listed 15 per page (unless of course your search results in fewer hits):

As you see, you can filter for product, pricing and categories (but note that the Language sub-menu, where you can select different categories, is not visible until you select Language).

The options on the green menu at right: Most downloaded and Most recent are the same as on the start page (with Most recent = Latest apps). Most reviewed is exactly that (although of course the reviews are not always positive; however, they sometimes contain valuable information, so it may pay to take a look). Top rated is… I don’t know. Not those with the best review grades, anyway.

So there you are: a brand new and much more user-friendly presentation. If you haven’t explored the SDL AppStore before, when it was called OpenExchange, don’t hesitate. A whole new world of useful additions to Studio is waiting for you there. And if you want more advice on how to make the most of this world, read Paul Filkin’s blog post Managing your SDL Plugins.

And as a consequence of the user-friendliness of the AppStore site, I see no reason to retain the OpenExchange overview any longer.

PhraseExpress

This text replaces the corresponding section in the manual; it has been removed in order to save space there but also because its “competitor”, AutoHotkey seems to be more popular. It is also easier to use; on the other hand, I think PhraseExpress offers a large number of useful functions well worth exploring.

Start at the PhraseExpress feature list and look round; then download and try it.
The application, when started, is found in the Taskbar’s system tray. Right-clicking it will produce this menu:

You open the PhraseExpress window by selecting Edit phrases:

This is where you manage your autotext entries, phrases, hotkeys, etc.; we’ll get back to that. To familiarise yourself with the Help is a good idea, and you can also do that without installing PhraseExpress: it is here.

Note 1: The help text often refers to the Settings option, which you will find on the Tools menu.

Note 2: The PhraseExpress functions do not work if you have this window open, so after any action performed in it: minimise it or close it.

Text replacement (with AutoText)

1. Select the phrase you want PhraseExpress to insert when you type its “abbreviation”.
2. Press Ctrl+Alt+C. This dialog box opens:

3. Enter a suitable Autotext abbreviation. (The Hotkey option is mainly intended for the execution of macros; see below.)
4. Press OK.

When you type the abbreviation and the selected delimiter, the entry in the Description field will be inserted instead.

AutoCorrect

There is no specific auto-correction function; just as in Word, any misspelled word listed as an “abbreviation” will be replaced by its corresponding (correctly spelled) Description. Of course, for this you need a list corresponding to the lists provided with Word, and you need to import it into PhraseExpress. Depending on language, there are two alternatives:

  • Use one of the lists offered by PhraseExpress: En, De, Nl, Fr, Es, Po, or It
  • Import your Word AutoCorrect entries

Import AutoCorrect entries provided by PE

  1. Open the PhraseExpress window (right-click the tray icon and select Edit phrases).
  2. In the Phrases and Folders pane, open the File menu and select Download additional contents. The PhraseExpress site opens with the Free PhraseExpress Add-Ons window.
  3. Click a suitable AutoCorrect file and save it.
  4. In the Phrases and Folders pane, select New folder.
  5. Open the File menu, select Import and then PhraseExpress Phrase File.
  6. Locate the file you just downloaded (a .pxp file) and open it. Answer Yes to the message window that opens (to avoid duplicate entries).

The result (for German) looks like this (the corresponding English material is already provided by default):

Import Word AutoCorrect entries

  1. Open the PhraseExpress window (right-click the tray icon and select Edit phrases).
  2. In the Phrases and Folders pane, select New folder.
  3. Open the File menu, select Import and then MS Word AutoCorrect entries. Answer Yes to the message window that opens (to avoid duplicate entries).
  4. A new folder, Imported MS Word AutoCorrect entries, is created, with the imported content.

Should it happen that the import consists of the English list instead of your target language, you need to extract the AutoCorrect entries for that language – see the instructions in the AutoHotkey section below.

Input correction entries with TypoLearn

When you make a manual correction of a typing error, PhraseExpress registers that as an AutoCorrect entry for future use. (It seems you have make the same correction three times for PhraseExpress to pick it up.) This applies to single word entries if you have ended them with a space character, then deleted that space with backspace, corrected the word and then again ended it with a space. Entries are stored in the Word Corrections folder.

Text suggestions (AutoComplete)

Here is a potentially very useful function: PhraseExpress can recognise words, phrases and spelling correction which have occurred repeatedly and stores them for use exactly in the way Studio uses AutoSuggest. It may be a good idea to take a look at the settings for this (Tools > Settings > AutoSuggest).

Import an external phrase file

You can import phrase files of your own (e.g. to provide text suggestions for AutoComplete). See the Help file, the section headed Importing an External Bitmap or Text File.

Enable/disable a phrase folder

Obviously, you can have phrase folders with contents in different languages. To avoid possibly confusing AutoCorrections etc., you can disable irrelevant folders: right-click the folder and select Enable Autotext/Hotkeys so that the checkmark disappears.

Clipboard manager

PhraseExpress has a “clipboard cache” function which saves a number of clipboard contents. By pressing Ctrl+Alt+V, you can select them in a popup menu (and by right-clicking a content you get further options).

Macros

There is an enormous amount of actions you can perform using the macro functions in PhraseExpress. Most of them may not be very useful in Studio, however.

 

Dependency file not found

When you open a partly translated file to continue translating it, you may encounter the error message “Dependency file not found” with the question “Would you like to browse for this [i.e. the original] file?”.

What to do:

If you have the original source file, the simplest solution is to answer Yes to the question in the error message and locate the source file. But if you are working on a project package, you will normally not have any source files included. Here are two ways to proceed:

  • Close the project in Studio. Go to the project’s TM file (where all your translations so far are stored) and re-name it (or if you want to be really safe, copy it to another location). Open the original .sdlproj file again (i.e. re-create the project from scratch). Then change the project settings to use your “old” TM instead of the newly created one, and run the batch task Pre-translate Files. (Whatever you do, do not just re-open the project package without safeguarding your TM, since the TM which is generated will overwrite the existing TM with the same name and you will have lost all your work.)
  • Another method in both cases (project package or not) is to skip the source file matter and answer No to the question in the error message. You can then continue translating as usual, but you cannot Save Target As, Finalize, Generate Target Translations or Preview. What you can do, however, is make sure that the TM you produce is complete; i.e. does not contain any unconfirmed or un-translated segments.

Once you have done this, you can start from scratch using the TM you have just produced. Or, in case of a project package, follow the procedure described above.

There are other solutions, mostly to do with restoring the dependency files or repairing the .sdlxliff files, but to me they seem unnecessary complicated and not completely reliable.

Why this happens:

According to Knowledge Base #3897 (see below), a dependency file is created “when the original file is too large to be embedded in the .sdlxliff file”, and a ‘dependency file’ is then created which contains a link to the original file. The dependency file is stored as a temporary (.temp) file. However, some computer tune-up/diagnostics software will delete all .temp files unless they are instructed not to (you need to find out for yourself how to do that). It could also happen that the Windows hibernation function is the cause, in which case that particular energy option needs to be disabled.

Furthermore, you can adjust the Studio settings which control the file size leading to the creation of dependency files. Go to Files > Options > File Types > SDLXLIFF – General and move the ruler under “Embedding” to its maximum (100 MB). Why is the default value 20 MB, and will this change have any negative effects? I don’t know. (Thanks to Walter Blaser for pointing to this solution.)

There are two entries in the SDL Knowledge Base dealing with this problem:

Article 3897 (for project packages), and

Article 4731 (for a corrupted .sdlxliff file)

The latter describes (under Resolution) how to recreate the .sdlxliff file, which could be a useful option. It is, however, not primarily intended for the case when the dependency file is lost but when the .sdlxliff file for some reason is corrupted.

Creating one .sdlxliff file for several virtually merged files

If you are working on at project with several files, and in particular if at least some of them are pretty small, and you did not merge them when the project was created – then it may be a nuisance that you cannot export them all into one file for review/proofreading.

However, the fact is that you can! A file necessary for this is created automatically as Studio auto-saves the files you are working on. This means that if you go to

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Temp

you will see that a .tmp file (with a non-meaningful name like “tmp123A”) is created with the interval set for auto-saving. (You will also see that there are a large number of those – and similar – temp files collected there, eventually taking up a lot of memory space. This is not a good thing, of course: normally, only the last of them is useful for this purpose. But don’t start deleting en masse – some of the temp files are necessary for you to be able to create target files.)

When the files are ready for review, just copy that last .temp file to a location of your choice, rename the file extension to .sdlxliff (and maybe give the file itself a meaningful name). Then you can use it as appropriate: send it to a colleague for reviewing it in Studio, or open it in Studio yourself for exporting for bilingual review. In the latter case, before you can perform any batch tasks at all, you need to (1) save the file, and (2) change its language (in the Files view) to the source language.

In all, this is excellent news, and you can read more about it in Paul Filkin’s blog post, Good bugs… bad bugs!, which includes a video tutorial. Thanks are also due to Yuji Yamamoto for discovering this in the first place.

Note: It has been known to happen (i.e. I and a few other people have noticed) that the AutoSave function suddenly does not work any more (but the temp function described above still does). You can check that by opening the AutoSave folder, located here:

c:\Users\[USERNAME]\Documents\Studio 2015\AutoSave\

and see whether it is updated appropriately. If not, it may help to deactivate the function and then activating it again (it is active by default). You will find it under File > Options > Editor; then look at the AutoSave header at the bottom in the righ-hand pane.

All this will of course be included in the the next edition of the manual.

Where to find lots of information about Studio 2015

[Updated 25 August, 2015] If you’re curious about the new version, the first thing you should do is go to Paul Filkin’s multifarious blog and read Studio 2015, first things first!. Not only does he tell you about the new features, he also informs about compatibility, the update procedure, migration… I don’t think there is anything that you need to know that Paul hasn’t covered here.

Another blogger, Emma Goldsmith, has written two informative posts on her Signs & Symptoms of Translation:

and they are exactly what you expect.

The “official” information on Studio 2015 is of course the Release Notes.

A particularly popular new feature, the extension of the AutoSuggest facilities, is described in detail by Nora Díaz in her blog post, Studio 2015: AutoSuggest Gets Even Better (in Nora Díaz on Translation, Teaching, and Other Stuff).

And since (a) the 2015 of my manual is not out yet, and (b) it would anyway probably too late to read about this particular OpenExchange plugin if you have already bought and installed Studio 2015, you should take note of it already before you do that. I’m talking about the Studio Migration Utility, which helps you in a clever way to transfer all your work from one version of Studio to another (likely 2015). Read more about it in Paul Filkin’s blog post, With a little help from my friends.

Also, if you are upgrading and have OpenExchange applications installed for Studio 2014, Emma Goldsmith’s blog post How to transfer apps from SDL Trados Studio 2014 to 2015 should be useful.

Finally, I’m pretty certain that sooner or later, you will need Paul Filkin’s blog post SDL Sustenance, where you can read everything about how to find support and help for Studio. (And it’s a lot!)

And that, friends, gives you a very good start when making the decision to buy or not to buy Studio 2015, and getting started with it (and using it) if you do.

Then towards middle September you can expect to be able to get the 2015 version of the manual, all 510+ pages of it. (Yes, a new version of Studio only adds features without detracting anything, and this is reflected in the girth of the manual.)

From “In review 0%” to “In translation” or “Translated 100%”

Here is a problem reported by David Perry and solved by Jerzy Czopik.

1. When does Studio decide to go from “100% translated” to “In review 0%”? Some files do this automatically when I reach the magic 100% mark, others don’t. 

2. How can I go back to “In translation”? My package has  two files that refuse to go back to the “In translation” status, even though I can make changes in them. I have tried editing segments and changing the segment status globally, but the status does not change from “In review”.

Solution: Run the batch task “Translation count”. The status of the file will then be the result of the status of all segments. When all are “translated”, the file will be “Translated 100%”. When one or more are “draft” or “not translated”, the file will be “In translation”.

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