Category Archives: Seminars 2021

Technologies for Translation and Interpreting: Challenges and Latest Developments

12 November 2021

Speaker: Dr Celia Rico, Machine Translation Specialist

Title: Translation and machines: artefacts, instruments and the evolving role of the translator


The advent of neural machine translation has undoubtedly affected the translation industry, speeding up the digitalization process, taking translator productivity to new heights, and lowering production prices. One of the immediate consequences is the gradual depletion of the traditional role of translators, who see their work reduced to the revision of isolated segments produced by a machine. The risk of translation becoming a marginal activity is high (Pym 2014, 37) if the task is simplified in the mechanical substitution of words and phrases detached from the communicative context in which they originated. We can even think of the subrogation of the essential work of translators, who are forced to leave their main job in the hands of the computer.

This trend, which, on the other hand, is not alien to other production processes or services, can be explored in the light of a tension between “artefacts” versus “instruments” (Alonso and Calvo 2015): an artefact is an isolated object that performs a series of functions without having any relationship with its user, while the instrument is associated to the user as an essential part of a process. From this perspective, we can analyse both the technological object itself and the different ways in which users (or society, by extension) interact with it.

In this talk, I will use this framework to analyse the changes that the latest developments in machine translation have brought to the job profile and workflows of professional translators. My contention is that linear processes of translation that conceive machine translation as an artifact are obsolete, and that only by considering this technology as an instrument can translators remain in control of the process.


Celia Rico holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, an MSc in Machine Translation and an MBA. With an extensive background in Translation Technologies research, Dr. Rico’s publications have concentrated on areas such as translation memory evaluation, machine translation, post-editing, and the impact of new technologies on the translation profession. Her major contributions to this field are to be found in different international publications. She is member of the Expert Committee “Post-editing of Machine Translation Output” at ISO TC37.

Technologies for Translation and Interpreting: Challenges and Latest Developments

Dr Maria Kunilovskaya, University of Wolverhampton

05 November 2021

Title: Human Translation Quality Estimation and Translationese


In the first part of the talk I will present a fairly novel NLP task of human translation quality estimation (HTQE) and discuss problems associated with benchmarking human translation quality. How far do human assessors agree on (human) translation quality? What types of labels/scores can be used to reflect quality? What are the existing approaching to predict these labels? If a professional jury in a translation contest manages to achieve agreement on the top-ranking and, especially on bottom-ranking, translations (with possible fine-grained disagreements about the exact ranks) what does it take to teach a machine to distinguish between good and bad translations? Such a model can be applied in educational and certification contexts for filtering out translations that are definitely below the expected standard to reduce the workload for human assessors. The second part of the talk will explore the concept of translationese, and its potential for learning human translation quality. Do you expect good translations to read smoothly and naturally as if originally-written in the target language? Can we use the distance between translations and the expected target language norm to measure translation quality? I will largely draw on the findings reported in our latest publications: 

  • Kunilovskaya, M. and G. Corpas Pastor (2021). Translationese and register variation in English-to-Russian professional translation. In L. Lim, D. Li, and V. Wang (Eds.), New Perspectives on Corpus Translation Studies. Springer. 
  • Kunilovskaya, M., Lapshinova-Koltunski, E., & Mitkov, R. (2021). Translationese in Russian Literary Texts. Proceedings of the 5th Joint SIGHUM Workshop on Computational Linguistics for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, Humanities and Literature. EMNLP.


Maria Kunilovskaya has been engaged in translator education for more than 10 years in her role as an Associate Professor in Contrastive Linguistics and Translation Studies at the University of Tyumen, Russia. Lecturing in Translation Studies, Corpus Linguistics and Text Linguistics, she has also been involved with teaching practical translation classes. She is a strong believer in promoting practical corpus skills that can be immediately applied in everyday activities of a language professional. Her research interests include construction and exploitation of parallel corpora, corpus-based research into translation competence and translationese, most recently with a strong pull towards the computational research methods, especially in the area of human translation quality estimation.

Technologies for Translation and Interpreting: Challenges and Latest Developments

Dr Laura Mejías Climent, Jaume I University

29 October 2021

Title: A technological approach to audiovisual translation: How to localize a video game


New technologies have brought about the emergence of modern forms of audiovisual entertainment. In this current and technologized landscape, localization has become a key industry to ensure that all kinds of digital, multimedia and multimodal products reach markets different from the one where the product was originally developed. It is a complex process encompassing the adaptation of the product at different levels, not only the linguistic one but also at technical, legal and aesthetic levels. Localization is typically used to modify software products, video games and website content. Each group share aspects such as the digital and technological nature of the products and their added interactive dimension. The process of localization in each group is also similar to a certain extent. Nonetheless, some differences can be noticed when analyzing the processes thoroughly. In this context, this presentation aims to describe the particularities that localization entails when dealing with video games and their audiovisual assets. To do so, the concept of video games as multimodal and technological products will be reviewed, as well as some key aspects of the localization industry, focusing on the adaptation of audiovisual contents requiring some form of audiovisual translation (dubbing or subtitling). 


Laura Mejías-Climent holds a PhD in Translation (Universitat Jaume) and works as an Assistant Professor and researcher (group TRAMA) at the same university. She has taught at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide and ISTRAD (both in Sevilla), and teaches at the Universidad Europea (Valencia). She has worked as a translation project manager and a professional translator specialized in audiovisual translation and localization. She has also taught in the USA thanks to a Fulbright scholarship. In addition to her PhD, she holds a Master’s Degree in audiovisual translation, a Master’s Degree in translation and new technologies, and completed the Master’s Degree in Secondary Education and Languages. Her lines of research focus on Descriptive Translation Studies (translation for dubbing and video game localization), and she is currently involved in a research project combining machine translation and dubbing.

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Natural Language Processing

George Chrysostomou, The University of Sheffield

25 October 2021

Title: Improving Explanations for Model Predictions


Large neural models dominate benchmarks of natural language understanding tasks. Their achievements have led in increasing adoption in critical areas such as that of health and law. A significant drawback of these models is their highly parameterized architecture, which makes their predictions hard to interpret. Previous work has introduced approaches for generating rationales for model predictions (e.g. using feature attribution). However, how accurately these approaches explain the reasoning behind a model’s prediction has only recently been studied. This seminar will introduce three studies which aim to improve explanations for model predictions: (1) Improving the Faithfulness of Attention-based Explanations with Task-specific Information for Text Classification (published at ACL2021); (2) Towards Better Transformer-based Faithful Explanations with Word Salience (published at EMNLP 2021); (3) Instance-level Rationalization of Model Predictions (Under review at AAAI 2021).


George Chrysostomou is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, supervised by Dr. Nikolaos Aletras and Dr. Mauricio Alvarez. His research interests lie in improving explanations for model predictions in Natural Language Processing. Before pursuing his doctoral studies, he did his masters in Data Analytics at the University of Sheffield. 

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Machine Learning/Deep Learning

Dr Yuval Pinter, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Isarel

Challenging and Adapting NLP Models to Lexical Phenomena

12 October 2021


Over the last few years, deep neural models have taken over the field of natural language processing (NLP), brandishing great improvements on many of its sequence-level tasks. But the end-to-end nature of these models makes it hard to figure out whether the way they represent individual words aligns with how language builds itself from the bottom up, or how lexical changes in register and domain can affect the untested aspects of such representations.

In this talk, I will present NYTWIT, a dataset created to challenge large language models at the lexical level, tasking them with identification of processes leading to the formation of novel English words, as well as with segmentation and recovery of the class of novel blends. I will then present XRayEmb, a method which alleviates the hardships of processing these novelties by fitting a character-level encoder to the existing models’ subword tokenizers; and conclude with a discussion of the drawbacks of current tokenizers’ vocabulary creation schemes.


Yuval Pinter is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, focusing on NLP. Yuval got his PhD at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Interactive Computing as a Bloomberg Data Science PhD Fellow. Before that, he worked as a Research Engineer at Yahoo Labs and as a Computational Linguist at Ginger Software, and obtained an MA in Linguistics and a BSc in CS and Mathematics, both from Tel Aviv University. Yuval blogs (in Hebrew) about language matters on Dagesh Kal.




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Technologies for Translation and Interpreting: Challenges and Latest Developments

Aleks Sandor Milovanovic and Dora Murgu, Interprefy

The backstage of a hybrid event – a complex string puppet called RSIBOX

15 October 2021


Hybrid events have been at the core of Interprefy since its creation in 2014 when remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) was only accepted as a sideline to in-person events, where complex language pairs or space restrictions could require expanding the pool of in-person interpreting teams to one that also included remote participation. The real breakthrough came in 2018 when Interprefy won their first UN tender and the International Seabed Authority signed on with Interprefy as the first UN agency to replace onsite interpreters for their major meetings with remote interpreters for a whooping cost savings of almost a million dollars. From there it went strength to strength and culminated at WHA73 which was watched by a total of 800 million people worldwide, being the first world health assembly that was fully online in the history of World Health Organizatio).

At Interprefy we have developed our own plug and play equipment (RSIBOX) which can be used onsite for seamless bridge between AV and Remote setups. The RSIBOX originated from experimentation in hybrid environments and is a piece of hardware that has been used on most football championships, Euro 2020 being the most prominent example.

During this webinar Aleks and Dora will speak about what goes on backstage for a seamless hybrid event and discuss the technology behind our RSIBOX. This webinar is oriented at EM TTI students who have a particular interest in interpreting technology, AV systems and hardware.


Dora Murgu. Romanian born and Spanish bred, Dora started her career as a conference interpreter. She soon transitioned into the backstage of interpretation services after creating a pioneering training program for OPI which she later taught at universities across Spain for over six years. She has presented several papers at major industry conferences and published articles on interpreting quality management, interpreter training and OPI service provision in Spain. She has worked for major LSPs and RSI providers for the past 13 years and currently holds the position of Interpreter Engagement Manager at Interprefy, one of the leading RSI platforms on the market. When she’s not immersed in the world of interpreters she threads the waters of the Arabian Gulf with her SUP board in Dubai, where she lives with her family.

Aleks Sandor Milovanovic. Raised in South Africa, Hungarian citizen Aleks Sandor moved to Switzerland in 2014. As one of the most senior members of Interprefy (the 3rd to be precise) he built the original Operations Team for which he was responsible during the first startup phase of the company. Shortly before COVID hit he created the Special Operations Department to more efficiently respond to a high demand of very sensitive clients such as the UN, IMF and UEFA. The innovation that stemmed from his leadership included the Interprefy Gateway solution which was first used at the Google PES 2018 and notably at the UN Hybrid Rooms setup which enabled UN to resume their operations after nearly three months of meetings without interpretation. In his spare time, Aleks enjoys kayaking and cycling around lake Zurich.