By Olga Beregovaya, Welocalize VP Language Tools
This coming October brings to our industry several exciting events, all of them taking place in the beautiful, vibrant and modern, even futuristic, city of Vancouver (B.C.). There will be our semi-annual LocLeaders Forum, the TAUS Annual Conference, TAUS Quality Evaluation Summit and Localization World Conference.
The conference that I am actively engaged in planning is the 11th Biennial Conference of American Machine Translation Association (AMTA), which will be held at the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel on October 22-26, 2014. This conference used to be more targeted towards the research and government user community; however, over the past several years it has attracted great interest from professional translators, LSPs and localization departments on the translation buyer-side.
Being a member of the AMTA Board and the Organizing Committee, I share the responsibility for organizing the Commercial User Track for the conference. Why should commercial users attend this or similar conferences? It is the perfect opportunity to exchange ideas with MT and NLP academic researchers and learn from each other’s experience. We all know we advance and grow by learning.
In the past decade, the landscape was significantly different. While the localization and translation professionals were just warming up to the idea of introducing machine translation into their processes, there was a lot of urban mythology surrounding the subject. Some people believed that applying machine translation would bring a lot of risks and some believed that MT was the magic bullet that could universally solve all cost and turnaround time problems. What we also learned at the time was that the notion of the “quality” of machine translation output meant completely different things for researchers and for practitioners.
What I have observed at the recent AMTA conferences and events organized by EAMT – European Association for Machine Translation is that these days researchers are listening to the needs of the commercial users, while the users of MT and other NLP applications are also gaining a good understanding of what’s viable with using just MT and what areas would still require mixed MT plus human post-editing or human translation alone.
There is a lot more convergence around the understanding of what the “quality of MT” actually means for the real-life scenarios. The two communities (researchers and commercial users) have arrived at a shared understanding that the usefulness, also referred to as utility, of output in the commercial world often plays a more important role than grammatical accuracy; while, of course, we will gladly take any improvements on the latter.
The other practical aspect of these conferences are the access to the research projects that are nearing completion or have already been completed and now have graduated to the prototype and proof of concept stage. Many of such projects can be further developed and adapted for the commercial use, greatly contributing to the efficiency of the source content curation or translation process, no matter what is the selected method of translation. They are a source for innovation.
Last and not least, we all attend AMTA conferences to recruit the top talent from the academic world, should they be interested in pursuing their career in multinational enterprises, localization service providers or some exciting start-up.
If you are attending and would like to discuss the commercial user track, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you in Vancouver!
Welocalize is a sponsor of the AMTA Conference in Vancouver.