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Conducting Research in Translation Technologies

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Edited By Pilar Sánchez-Gijón, Olga Torres-Hostench and Bartolomé Mesa-Lao

The literature on translation and technology has generally taken two forms: general overviews, in which the tools are described, and functional descriptions of how such tools and technologies are implemented in specific projects, often with a view to improving the quality of translator training. There has been far less development of the deeper implications of technology in its cultural, ethical, political and social dimensions. In an attempt to address this imbalance, the present volume offers a collection of articles, written by leading experts in the field, that explore some of the current communicational and informational trends that are defining our contemporary world and impinging on the translation profession. The contributions have been divided into three main areas in which translation and technology come together: (1) social spheres, (2) education and training and (3) research. This volume represents a bold attempt at contextualizing translation technologies and their applications within a broader cultural landscape and encourages intellectual reflection on the crucial role played by technology in the translation profession.
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11 The importance of being logged: What tool settings can reveal about the behaviour of translators’ querying a concordancer

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← 256 | 257 →PAOLA VALLI

ABSTRACT: This chapter attempts to provide an account of how professional translators use a multilingual concordancer by analysing the logs of translators’ queries, which are seen as manifestations of translation problems. A multilingual concordancer is a translation aid that allows users to query a database and retrieve all occurrences of a text string in context, paired with the corresponding target-language segments. The logs have a simple structure and contain information about the settings selected by the users as well as metadata automatically added by the system. This article focuses on search behaviour in terms of selected settings. It investigates how metadata and selected filters can be combined to obtain user profiles and general search strategies. A search strategy is understood here from the perspective of user interaction with the tool. Search strategies are obviously more complex than that because they also include specific search patterns for the text string that were not taken into account in this phase. The analysis presented here is part of a PhD research project that investigates translation problems and the possible relations between search strategies and language pairs.

Keywords: Human–computer interaction, search logs, search strategy, translation problems, translation process

Research on translation technologies generally attempts to identify user needs, with a view to developing new resources or improving existing tools. In the study presented in this chapter, the focus is placed on the way translators actually use existing tools to infer user preferences and...

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