AND TRANSLATOR TRAINING
an online conference 20-29 November 2003
Training for localization
Lecturer in Translation
Technology, School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin
City University, Ireland.
1. What, for
you, is meant by "localization" and "the localization
on from the above discussion, localization can be seen in the context
of globalization. Translation in turn can be placed as the core of both
localization and globalization, as illustrated above. From the point
of view of traditional translation, localization was initially considered
an extension of software engineering, but is now treated as a new form
4. In what ways, if any, should localization change traditional conceptions of translation?
Think of the difference between translating a technical document 20 years ago and localizing Microsoft Word. The latter involves changes far beyond the conversion of written text from the source to the target language; it affects the software design itself (e.g. character sets, locale-specific features, etc). Of particular interest to me is the internationalization process as applied in the localization industry, which deals with localizability and translatability of the content at the onset of product design and development. This contrasts with the traditional approach to translation whereby translation was typically treated as an after-thought, independent of the source text creation.
level of change can be seen in the use of technology for translation
in the context of localization. While Machine Translation (MT) has not
yet made a significant contribution to localization, tools such as translation
memories (TM ) and content management systems have affected the entire
workflow into which the translation process has to fit. The impact of
these tools on the translation process is beginning to be observed.
For example, TMs are accused of creating a peep-hole effect by "chunking"
the text or inducing patchwork translation that is made up of a collection
of segments picked up from various memories. Similarly new is the concept
of pre-translation, whereby matching segments from TM or known terms
are already inserted in the target language when the translator sees
the source text.
5. Should all translator-training programs include localization?
For any students who are hoping to work in a commercial translation
environment, at least an awareness of what localization entails is essential.
This is not only because students are necessarily going to be involved
in localization projects but because various dimensions of the localization
model (e.g. translation tools, workflow, etc.) are spreading into the
translation industry in general, so a certain basic knowledge of localization
is becoming more and more relevant.
8. What should be the main components in a curriculum for training people for the localization industry?
Localization involves different types of skills. The training of personnel will therefore depend on the particular role to be filled. For example, skills required for localization project managers will obviously be different from those needed for localization engineers. Assuming that task-specific training will be given subsequently, I feel it is important for all players in localization to understand that localization requires a smooth integration of software engineering and translation. What seemed to prevail before were localizers who came from a software engineering background and knew nothing of what was involved in translation. So the balance between these two areas should be a common denominator for the curriculum for all kinds of localization players.
9. At what level
should students receive training in localization (undergraduate, graduate,
or after professional experience as translators)?
10. Does the
localization industry need interaction with the traditional translator-training
11. Do traditional translator-training institutions need interaction with the localization industry?
Yes, for exactly the reasons stated in the previous answer. Furthermore, returning to the practice vs. theory discussion, the industry can feed vital information about practice into academia, where the theorization of practice can take place. In the long run, theorization could help practice to advance, as well as helping train people in the most effective manner. The industry needs to obtain immediately useful graduates, but it is also important for these graduates to be adept at the constant changes that face the industry. My personal objective in education is to incorporate a long-term view to give students the ability to cope with changes effectively. Trying to understand the theory behind the practice and reflecting on it are important dimensions that academia can add in interaction with the industry.
12. Who should fund the training programs (students, government education systems, service providers, clients)?
In addition to the
conventional scenario of students funding themselves with a government
contribution, we could look to a new formula as I think this is where
partnership between educational institutions and the industry can produce
an ideal marriage. At Dublin City University, we have recently signed
up a doctoral student in Translation Studies who is sponsored 2/3 of
the way by a company whose specific problem area is the topic of his
research. The university provides their library and supervisors, while
the industry funding includes equipment, desk space and company-specific
technical expertise/supervisor. This is a new and exciting development
for us. We are also encouraging translation technology tool vendors
to provide us with the problem areas that students could use as their
research topics for MA dissertations. This pattern is perhaps common
in science disciplines, but may be new in Translation Studies and seems
to be a positive development for the way ahead.
Intercultural Studies Group
© Minako O'Hagan 2003