What changes are ahead in the translation business? What will translators face and what will they have to adapt to keep step with the times and the market? What should be in the profile of a future translator and, in particular, how to find such a person?
All of these issues were addressed at the Meet Central Europe conference at the end of October. With an autumn date in Budapest, the very first conference chose the subject of vendor management and all of its attendant pitfalls. And we, of course, had to be there.
The event brought together ‘vendors’ from all over Europe and the world to exchange experience with recruiting, motivating and understanding the needs of new translators. We had the opportunity to not only greet the ones we already work with and to form new relationships, but also to take a deep breath and find inspiration in the search for new talent. Over the course of two days, we attended a number of interesting presentations on a wide range of models, review software, quality control evaluation, vendor management methods and meeting the requirements of various ISO certificates.
New technology as well as older technology that is being updated and reintroduced were also discussed, while changes in the way translators work received special attention. There was naturally a great deal of interest in the spectre of machine translation. We talked about what texts are appropriate for machine translation and where caution is in order. We were all interested in knowing what the profile of translators involved in post-editing work should look like. The main stumbling block, however, is not only determining the key skills that translators should have, but especially in helping them acquire these skills and preparing them for this work. University courses on the subject of MTPE are already appearing in neighbouring countries, and it’s only a matter of time before they start showing up in the class offerings here in the Czech Republic. However, there is no time for procrastination, and preparations must begin now.
Machine translation, of course, is not the only tool available to translators. Along with standard translation interfaces and other CAT tools, which probably no longer qualify as ‘new’ technologies, there are other ‘gadgets’ in the form of dictation software directly imported into CAT tools, speech recognition programs that can be used for simultaneous interpreting and a wide range of other useful aids.
The conference tried to open the eyes of vendor managers and translators and convey that the manual rewriting of text in Word is never coming back into fashion. But this involves more than just adopting technology. There are tools that can make one type of translation easier while complicating others. The key, therefore, is for translators of the future not to lose the opportunities that technology brings them, but instead to use them to their benefit. And vendor management should give them a helping hand in this respect.
We can calmly cast aside fear that translators will be replaced by machine translation or some other technology. Translators will be replaced by other translators capable of utilising these technologies.
It’s all up to translators and vendor management as to how they will adjust to their new roles.
What direction to take? Straight ahead, of course.
We thank the MCE2018 team and look forward to more inspiration next year at MCE2019, which will be held right here in Prague!
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