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Friday, October 31, 2014
 

Core Focus


Translation technology comes full circle

Jost Zetzsche

I’m a historian by training who writes about the latest trends in translation technology. Some may see this combination as worldview schizophrenia, a perspective caught between the past and the future. I prefer to describe it like this: I study the past to gain a better understanding of the present and, hopefully, a better handle on the future.
With that in mind, allow me to give an overview of the short history of translation technology, especially the kind we find in computer-aided translation (CAT) or translation environment tools (TEnTs). We’ll then look at what’s happening presently and take a brave glance into the future.
In the 1950s and 1960s, translation technology was synonymous with machine translation (MT) or, more accurately, the idea of what MT would be able to do “in five years.” As it became apparent that this five-year prediction was an ever-moving target, funding dried up and only a handful of academic and commercial attempts soldiered on.
Instead, attention turned to terminology in the form of dictionary applications and terminology tools. The first standalone terminology tool for the PC, called MTX, was launched in 1985 using a precursor to today’s terminology exchange TBX format. Terminology management continued to develop (Trados’ first commercial application was MultiTerm in 1990) as another technology received increasing attention from developers. Various developers were beginning to use a low-level form of MT called translation memory (TM), and they all released the first version of their products around 1992: STAR released STAR Transit, IBM launched its Translation Manager, TRADOS introduced the Workbench product and Atril offered the first Windows-based commercial product, Déjà Vu, in 1993.
The stakeholders in the translation industry reacted to these releases in various ways that had a tremendous impact on the further development of the tools and their placement. . .

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Above excerpt taken from the April/May 2012 issue of MultiLingual published by MultiLingual Computing, Inc., 319 North First Avenue, Suite 2, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864-1495 USA, 208-263-8178, Fax: 208-263-6310. Subscribe

April/May, 2012