Kara Warburton: Translation Technology in Asia-Pacific

TAC, June 12, 2016

Editor's note: The Eighth Asia-Pacific Translation and Interpreting Forum (APTIF) will be held in Xi'an, China on June 17-18, 2016. The theme of this year's conference is "Translation and Interpreting in Tomorrow's Asia-Pacific Region." The following is a summary of the research paper submitted by Dr. Kara Warburton with the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.

Title: Translation Technology in Asia-Pacific


Twenty five years or so after their first appearance, computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are now considered essential tools of the trade for translators, particularly those who work for large global enterprises and other producers of voluminous, highly repetitive content such as governments and public institutions. CAT tools have been widely adopted in these environments because they increase productivity, improve consistency, and reduce costs.

CAT tools have two core data repositories, one for translation memory (TM), and the other for terminology. Both work in tandem to provide translators with suggestions at the segment and sub-segment level. While CAT users have made significant progress leveraging the TM, some building huge TM repositories over the years, uptake of the terminology component has been slower. In Asia-Pacific, the adoption rate of CAT tools in general appears to be lower than in Europe and the Americas, and the use of the terminology function is almost non-existent (Dr.Warburton will attempt to corroborate these statements with some evidence). If the Asia-Pacific translation industry is indeed lagging behind on the use of technology, how will this affect its ability to compete in world markets going forward?

During this presentation, Dr. Warburton will discuss some key questions, with a focus on the Chinese context, including:

What impact does the labour rate for translators have on the adoption of CAT tools?

Is the translation curriculum at universities keeping pace with changes in technology?

Are there sufficient technical resources and support?

The objective of this presentation is two-fold: first, to describe the current landscape with respect to the use of technology, and second, to raise awareness of the need to develop a roadmap for the Asia-Pacific translation industry to embrace innovation and become a leading example worldwide.

About the author:

Dr. Kara Warburton, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies

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