Introduction of Computer-aided Translation Tools

Published: 08th June 2012
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Two or three decades ago the work tools of a translator included a typewriter and a collection of printed dictionaries, which are not difficult to handle. However, as a result of incredibly rapid progress in the field of electronic hardware and computer software, nowadays an important component of any translator's professional competence is the technological one, which, first of all, assumes skills in handling electronic resources and tools.
Now that we hear the expression "translator's work tools," the first thing that comes to mind is a personal computer and the Internet. Nobody translates the way they used to thirty or forty years ago because convenient electronic dictionaries, special translation software, and Internet resources are available, which allows us to keep up to date.
Despite their efficiency and outlooks, the translation software and electronic means cannot replace the human translator and guarantee high-quality translations.
Today, we can speak of three approaches to written translation: the first one is machine translation based on the rules of the source and target languages, the second approach involves statistical machine translation, and the third one is computer-aided translation.
The earliest "translation engines" in machine-based translations were all based on the direct, so-called "transformer," approach. Input sentences of the source language were transformed directly into output sentences of the target language, using a simple form of parsing. The parser did a rough analysis of the source sentence, dividing it into subject, object, verb, etc. Source words were then replaced by target words selected from a dictionary, and their order rearranged so as to comply with the rules of the target language. This approach was used for a long time, only to be finally replaced by a less direct approach, which is called "linguistic knowledge." Modern computers, which have more processing power and more memory, can do what was impossible in the 1960s. Linguistic-knowledge translators have two sets of grammar rules: one for the source language, and the other for the target language. Besides, modern computers analyze not only grammar of the source language but also the semantic information. They also have information about the idiomatic differences between the languages, which prevent them from making silly mistakes.
The second approach is based on a statistical method: by analyzing a large amount of parallel texts, the program selects the variants that coincide most often and uses them in the translation. It does not apply grammatical rules, since its algorithms are based on statistical analysis rather than traditional rule-based analysis. Besides, the lexical units here are word combinations, rather than separate words. One of the well-known examples of this approach is "Google Translate," which is based on an approach called statistical machine translation.
Computer-aided translation is quite a different approach. According to "Wikipedia," computer-aided translation, or CAT is a form of translation where a human translator translates texts using computer software designed to support and facilitate the translation process.
The idea of computer- aided translation appeared with the first computers: many translators were against machine translation, which was the object of many studies in computer linguistics, but actively supported the use of computers as a translator's workbench.
Aunes Oversettelser AS has been in the business for 26 years, and we are specialized in technical translations. We are specializing in the Nordic languages, and can offer services into Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Icelandic. The premier translation agency for Norway and the Nordic region! Technical translation services for businesses in the Nordic countries and translation agencies world-wide.


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