"Translation & technology: tension and interaction"

by Dr Félix do Carmo, University of Surrey

Update: the event has now finished (Jun 7th 2021).


Translation and technology have a tense relationship. This does not arise from a conflict between the creativity in language and the efficiency of technology. In fact, translation has always looked for efficiency, at least since it became a profession. The tension comes from lack of clarity on which of them takes the wheel and how they can best interact. Yes, just like an old couple. In this talk, I will present a translator’s perspective on translation technology. This will start from computer-assisted translation and terminology management, technologies that explore the best methods for structuring information. I will take a peek at the history of MT, to quickly get to a discussion on what MT is today, and why it should not be seen as the technology that drives the translation process. I will cover the power of data-driven approaches and current neural methods. But I will also mention how MT and NLP often conceptualise translation as a straightforward process of transfer between stable linguistic systems, resulting in an impoverished approach to one of the most complex phenomena created by humanity. The richest part of the presentation will be on the interaction between technology and translation. In it, I will talk about interactive machine translation and interactive post-editing, and I will refer to quality estimation of machine translation and automatic post-editing. In the end, I hope to incentivise you to think about translation as a fascinatingly complex process which we will need to study for many years to come, with the help of the powerful technologies at our reach.

Speaker’s bio

Félix do Carmo is a Senior Lecturer in Translation and Natural Language Processing at the Centre for Translation Studies of the University of Surrey, in the United Kingdom. He finished his PhD at the University of Porto, where he was a Guest Lecturer, after a career of more than twenty years as a translator and a translation company owner in Portugal. He was then granted a prestigious two-year EDGE-MSCA fellowship to work as a post-doctoral researcher in Dublin City University, Ireland. He has presented his work in international conferences and published in international publications, such as the recent article in “Translation Spaces” about marks of time and money in translation, and another one in the “Machine Translation” journal about automatic post-editing. His research interests cover the translation process and translation technologies, besides workflows and ethical issues in professional translation.


University of Wolverhampton
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