2017 Focus : all sessions on interpreting

Alex Waibel (Carnegie Mellon University and Karlsruher Institut für Technologie)

Dr. Alexander Waibel is a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. He is the director of the International Center for Advanced Communication Technologies (interACT). The Center works in a network with eight of the world’s top research institutions. The Center’s mission is to develop multimodal and multilingual human communication technologies based on advanced machine learning algorithms to improve human-human and human-machine communication. Prof. Waibel and his team developed many statistical and neural network learning algorithms that made a number of communication breakthroughs possible. These included early multimodal interfaces, first neural network speech and language processing systems, the first speech translation systems in Europe&USA (1990/1991), the world’s first simultaneous lecture translation system (2005), and Jibbigo, the world’s first commercial speech translator on a phone (2009).

Dr. Waibel founded and served as chairmen of C-STAR, the Consortium for Speech Translation Advanced Research in 1991. Since then he directed many research programs in speech, translation, multimodal interfaces and machine learning in the US, Europe and Asia. He served as director of EU-Bridge (2012-2015), CHIL (2004-2007), two large scale European multi-site Integrated Project initiatives on intelligent assistants and speech translation services. He also served as co-director of IMMI, a joint venture between KIT, CNRS & RWTH.

Dr. Waibel is an IEEE Fellow and received many awards for pioneering work on multilingual and multimodal speech communication and translation. He published extensively (>700 publications, >24,000 citations, h-index 80) in the field and received/filed numerous patents.

During his career, Dr. Waibel founded and built 10 successful companies. Following the acquisition of Jibbigo by Facebook, Waibel served as founding director of the Language Technology Group at FB. He also deployed speech translation technologies in humanitarian and disaster relief missions. His team recently deployed the first simultaneous interpretation service for lectures at Universities and interpretation tools at the European Parliament.

Dr. Waibel received his BS, MS and PhD degrees at MIT and CMU, respectively.

KEYNOTE: A World Without Language Barriers

After centuries of separation and misunderstandings, we are lucky to be living in the generation that will see an end to language barriers between the peoples of our planet.  Automatic translation of text is now becoming ubiquitous on the internet, and even communication by voice between people speaking different languages is now becoming a reality for everyone.

Early breakthroughs in large vocabulary speech recognition, machine translation and neural networks prepared the way for the development of first speech-to-speech translation systems in the early 90’s.  Over the 25 years of research that followed, what seemed a crazy idea at first, blossomed into an array of practical interpreting systems that revolutionize modern human communication today:  Cross-language interpretation systems that bring people closer together than ever before.

In this talk, I will review the technologies and deployed interpreting solutions available today:

  • Speech translators running on servers, laptops and smartphones for tourists, medical doctors and international relief workers,
  • Communication on tablets in Humanitarian and Government Missions
  • Road sign interpreters that translate road signs while traveling abroad
  • Multilingual subtitling and translation of TV broadcasts
  • Automatic simultaneous Interpretation of lectures given in foreign languages
  • Tools and Technology that facilitate and support human interpreters at the European Parliament

I will review algorithmic advances, progress in performance and usability, and discuss remaining scientific challenges.  And we will speculate on a future without language barriers that involves human and machine interpretation.

Gloria Corpas Pastor (Universidad de Málaga)

Gloria Corpas Pastor, BA in German Philology (English) from the University of Malaga. PhD in English Philology from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1994).

Visiting Professor in Translation Technology at the Research Institute in Information and Language Processing (RIILP) of the University of Wolverhampton, UK (since 2007), and Professor in Translation and Interpreting (2008). Published and cited extensively, member of several international and national editorial and scientific committees. Spanish delegate for AEN/CTN 174 and CEN/BTTF 138, actively involved in the development of the UNE-EN 15038:2006 and currently involved in the future ISO Standard (ISO TC37/SC2-WG6 “Translation and Interpreting”).

Regular evaluator of University programmes and curriculum design for the Spanish Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA) and various research funding bodies.

President of AIETI (Iberian Association of Translation and Interpreting Studies), member of the Advisory council of EUROPHRAS (European Society of Phraseology) and Vice-President of AMIT-A (Association of Women in Science and Technology of Andalusia).

POSTER SESSION : VIP: Voice-text Integrated System for Interpreters

Interpreting is an extremely strenuous task, since they must devote much effort in terms of decoding, memorising and encoding a message. Interpreters should, as translators and other language professionals do, benefit from the development of technology and, thereby, enjoy considerable improvement of their working conditions. However, currently their work relies by and large on traditional or manual methods, and the technological advances in interpreting have been extremely slow.

Unlike translators, for whom a myriad of computer-assisted tools are available, interpreters have not benefited from the same level of automation or innovation. Fortunately, there is a growing interest in developing tools addressed at interpreters as end users, although the number of these technology tools is still very low and they are not intended to cover all interpreters needs.

The goal of the VIP project is to revolutionise the interpreting industry by creating an interpreting workbench tool which will have the same effect that language technologies for translators have had in the translation industry in recent decades. To this end, we intend to (a) identify the
real needs of interpreters and how and to what extent their work can be automated, (b) survey existing interpreting technologies, and (c) develop the first integrated system to enhance the productivity of the work of interpreters (professional, trainers and trainees), both during the
interpretation process and in the preparation of various interpretation tasks.

Alexander Drechsel, Anja Rütten, Marcin Feder, Barry Olsen and Joshua Goldsmith (professional interpreters and trainers)

Danielle D’Hayer is an associate professor in interpreting studies at London Metropolitan University. She is the course director of the MA Conference Interpreting, the MA Interpreting, MA Public Service Interpreting and interpreting short courses that include a Training the Trainers for Interpreting Studies programme and a portfolio of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) activities. These courses, which she developed single-handedly, have attracted both professional interpreters and novices from the UK and abroad.
Danielle researches communities of practice for interpreting studies. Her main interests include innovative ways to enhance formal and informal blended leaning using social media, new technologies and on-line platforms. You can follow her on Twitter @DDhayer.

Dr Anja Rütten (Sprachmanagement.net) is a freelance conference interpreter for German A, Spanish B, English and French C based in Düsseldorf, Germany since 2001. Apart from the private market, she works for the EU institutions and is a lecturer at the TH Cologne. She holds a degree in conference interpreting as well as a PhD of the University of Saarbrücken (doctoral thesis on Information and Knowledge Management in Conference Interpreting, 2006). As a member of AIIC, the international conference interpreters’ association, she is actively involved in the German region’s working group on profitability. She has specialised in knowledge management since the mid-1990s and shares her insights in her blog on www.dolmetscher-wissen-alles.de .

Alexander Drechsel has been a staff interpreter with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Interpretation since 2007. He has studied at universities in Germany, Romania and Russia and his working languages are German (A), English (B), French and Romanian (C). Alexander is also a bit of a ‘technology geek’ with a special interest in tablets and other mobile devices, and regularly shares his passion and knowledge with fellow interpreters during training sessions and on the web at http://www.tabletinterpreter.eu/ .

Joshua Goldsmith is an EU-accredited interpreter working from Spanish, French, Italian and Catalan into English. He splits his time between interpreting and working as a trainer and researcher at the University of Geneva, where he focuses on the intersection between interpreting, technology and education. A lover of all things tech, Josh shares tips about technology and interpreting in conferences and workshops, the Interpreter’s Toolkit column ( https://aiic.net/search/tags/the-interpreter’s-toolkit ), and on Twitter (@Goldsmith_Josh).

Marcin Feder has been an interpreter at the European Parliament since 2003 and the Head of the Polish Interpretation Unit from 2012 to 2016. He is now the Head of Interpreter Support and Training Unit and the acting Head of Multilingualism and Succession Planning Unit. He studied at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland (MA in English and PhD in Linguistics focusing on Computer Assisted Translation) and Monterey Institute of International Studies, USA (Junior Fulbright Scholarship). These days, apart from the regular managerial duties, his main interests are the use of tablets in the booth, new technologies to support interpreters in their daily work and all things paper-smart. He is also an avid runner.

Barry Slaughter Olsen is a veteran conference interpreter and technophile with over two decades of experience interpreting, training interpreters and organizing language services. He is an associate professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), the founder and co-president of InterpretAmerica, and General Manager of Multilingual Operations at ZipDX. He is a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). Barry is the author of “The Tech-Savvy Interpreter” a monthly column and video series published in Jost Zetzsche’s Tool Box Journal focusing on interpreting technology. For updates on interpreting, technology and training, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorOlsen.

PANEL DISCUSSION moderated by Danielle D'hayer: New Frontiers in Interpreting Technology

Technology has the potential to shape the future of interpreting. Indeed, it has already begun to do so. From tools that assist interpreters to devices that may replace them altogether, technologies for delivering interpreting services to tools to teach interpreting, this panel discussion will span the gamut of technology in interpreting, considering current developments and future innovations.
A panel of leading practitioners, researchers and trainers with experience in the private and institutional markets will invite audience members to engage with the state-of-the-art of technology in our industry.
Topics will include:
● enhancements to conference technology, including digital consoles, bone-conduction headphone, and efforts to leverage mobile phone technology for simultaneous interpreting;
● advances in collaborative glossary management;
● the impact of remote interpreting delivery platforms on different market segments;
● how software, apps and mobile device can be used in all phases of the interpreting process;
● tools for online and technology-assisted interpreter training, including SmartPens and online communities like Speechpool and InterpretimeBank; and
● innovations in virtual reality.
Join us for this interactive conversation about the present and future of technology for interpreters, and consider how these technologies may shape your personal practice and the industry as a whole.

Claudio Fantinuoli (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz/Germersheim)

Claudio Fantinuoli is Lecturer at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germersheim and at the Institute for Translation Studies in Innsbruck. His research and teaching areas are Language Technologies in Translation and Interpreting.

Speech Recognition in the Interpreter Workstation

In recent years, computer-assisted interpreting (CAI) programs have been used by professional interpreters to prepare assignments, to organize terminological information, and to share event-related information among colleagues (Fantinuoli, 2016, 2017).

One of the key features of such tools is the ability to support users in accessing terminology during simultaneous interpretation (SI). With state-of-the-art CAI tools, interpreters need to manually input a term or part of it in order to query the database. The main drawback to this approach is that from the booth it is considered both time-consuming and, to some extent, distracting during an activity that requires concentration and rapid information processing (Tripepi Winteringham, 2010). However, initial empirical studies on the use of such tools seem to support the idea that interpreters on the job may have the time and the cognitive ability to look up terms. Furthermore, CAI tools seem to contribute to improving terminology and overall interpreting performance (Prandi 2015; Biagini 2016). With this in mind, the automatization of the querying system would represent a step forward in reducing the additional cognitive effort needed to perform this human-machine interaction. With more free cognitive ability at disposal, it is reasonable to assume that a CAI tool equipped with an automatic look up system would contribute to further improving the terminology and overall performance of interpreters during the simultaneous interpretation of specialized texts.

Speech Recognition (SR) has been proposed as a methodology and technology to automatize the querying system of CAI tools (Fantinuoli 2016; Hansen-Schirra 2012). In the past, the difficulty to build SR systems that were accurate enough to be useful outside of a carefully controlled environment has hindered its deployment in the interpreting setting. However, recent advances in Artificial Intelligence, especially since the dissemination of deep learning and neural networks, have considerably increased the quality of SR (Yu and Deng, 2015). In order to be successfully integrated in an interpreter workstation, both SR and CAI tools must fulfil a series of specific requirements. For example, SR must be truly speaker-independent, have a short reaction time, and be accurate in the recognition of specialized vocabulary. On the other hand, CAI tools need to overcome some shortcomings of current implementations and need, for instance, to handle morphological variants of the selection of results and new ways to present extracted terminology.

In the first part of the paper, a framework for the integration of SR in CAI tools will be defined. In particular, much attention will be devoted to the analysis of state-of-the-art SR and the problems that may arise with its integration into an interpreter workstation. Secondly, the adaptation of traditional querying systems used in CAI tools to allow for keyword spotting will be discussed and a prototype will be presented. Finally, general advantages and shortcomings of SR-CAI integration will be highlighted and prospective developments of the use of SR that support the access of terminological data will be introduced, i.e. the recognition of numbers and entities.

Joshua Goldsmith (Interpreter & Université de Genève)

Josh Goldsmith is an EU-accredited interpreter working from Spanish, French, Italian and Catalan into English. He splits his time between interpreting and working as a trainer and researcher at the University of Geneva, where he focuses on the intersection between interpreting, technology and education. A lover of all things tech, Josh shares tips about technology and interpreting in conferences and workshops, the Interpreter’s Toolkit column (https://aiic.net/search/tags/the-interpreter’s-toolkit), and on Twitter (@Goldsmith_Josh).

A Comparative User Evaluation of Tablets and Tools for Consecutive Interpreters

Since the release of the first modern tablets, practicing interpreters have begun to consider how tablets could be used to support their interpreting practice. The first phase of a recent mixed methods assessed the pros and cons of different tablets, applications and styluses, finding that professional interpreters were effectively using tablets for consecutive interpreting in a wide range of settings. Results also indicated that certain types of tablets, applications and styluses were especially appreciated by practitioners (Goldsmith & Holley (2015). This paper presents the second phase of that study, building on previous conclusions to derive an instrument for carrying out a comparative user evaluation of these tablet interpreting tools. Using this instrument, it compares and contrasts the different tablets and accessories currently available on the market. Its conclusions are expected to serve as a useful guide to allow interpreters to pick the tablets, applications and styluses which best meet their needs.

Bianca Prandi (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz/Germersheim)

Bianca Prandi is a doctoral student at the University of Mainz/Germersheim. She holds a BA in Intercultural Linguistic Mediation and a MA in Interpreting from the University of Bologna/Forlì. She graduated with a dissertation on the integration of the CAI tool InterpretBank in the curriculum of interpreting students. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation at Mainz University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Hansen-Schirra. Her main research interests are new technologies in interpreting and cognition.

Designing a Multimethod Study on the Use of CAI Tools during Simultaneous Interpreting

Even though studies on computer-assisted interpreting still represent a very small percentage in the body of research, the topic is starting to gain attention in the interpreting community. So far, only a handful of studies have focused on the use of CAI tools in the interpreting booth (Gacek, 2015; Biagini, 2015; Prandi, 2015a, 2015b). While they did shed some light on the usability and the reception of CAI tools as well as on the terminological quality of simultaneous interpreting performed with the support of such tools, these studies were only product-oriented. We still lack process-oriented, empirical research on computer-aided interpreting. A pilot study currently underway at the University of Mainz/Germersheim (Prandi, 2016, 2017) aims at bridging this gap by combining process- and product-oriented methods. After discussing the theoretical models adopted to date in CAI research, this paper will suggest how an adaptation of Seeber’s (2011) Cognitive Load Model can be better suited then Gile’s (1988, 1997, 1999) Effort Model to operationalize hypotheses on the use of CAI tools in the booth. The paper will then introduce the experimental design adopted in the study with a focus on the features of the texts used and on the rationale behind their creation.

Anja Rütten (freelance interpreter)

Dr Anja Rütten (Sprachmanagement.net) is a freelance conference interpreter for German A, Spanish B, English and French C based in Düsseldorf, Germany since 2001. Apart from the private market, she works for the EU institutions and is a lecturer at the TH Cologne. She holds a degree in conference interpreting as well as a phD of the University of Saarbrücken (doctoral thesis on Information and Knowledge Management in Conference Interpreting, 2006). As a member of AIIC, the international conference interpreters’ association, she is actively involved in the German region’s working group on profitability. She has specialised in knowledge management since the mid-1990s and shares her insights in her blog on www.dolmetscher-wissen-alles.de.

Terminology Management Tools for Conference Interpreters – Current Tools and how they Address the Specific Needs of Interpreters

Ever since the 1990s, sophisticated terminology management systems have offered a plethora of data fields and management functions to translators, terminologists, and conference interpreters. Nevertheless, interpreter-specific tools have been developed in parallel to suit their special needs. They were mostly inspired, at least initially, by one or very few users and developed by a single developer or a very small team.

The intention of this workshop is to give interpreters and other interested participants an overview on which tools are available for their terminology work, highlighting the pros and cons of each of them. Providers and developers of terminology management systems will get valuable insight on the specific needs of conference interpreters and the reasons why, if using terminology management systems at all, conference interpreters tend not to use the sophisticated term databases translators or terminologists use.
Some of the tools presented are not being further developed any more, and no support is offered. As they still run perfectly well in the versions at hand, they will nevertheless be shown in order to complete the picture. Due to time restrictions, some tools will be shown “live” and others with the help of screenshots.

Due to time restrictions, only the most relevant aspects of terminology management in conference interpreting will be addressed. Which solution is best for filtering and categorising my terminology? Which one offers the best search function for the booth? Which one is best for sharing glossaries and online collaboration, or most convenient for mobile use? Information on price models and supported operating systems will also be provided.
The programs presented will be

  • Glossarmanager by Glossarmanager GbR/Frank Brempe, Bonn, Germany
  • Glossary Assistant by Reg Martin, Switzerland
  • Interplex by Peter Sand, Eric Hartner, Geneva, Switzerland
  • InterpretBank by Claudio Fantinuoli, Germersheim, Germany
  • Interpreters’ Help by Benoît Werner/Yann Plancqueel, Berlin/Paris, Germany/France
  • Intragloss by Dan Kenig and Daniel Pohoryles, Paris, France
  • Lookup by Christoph Stoll, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Terminus by Nils Wintringham, Zürich, Switzerland

If time allows, generic solutions like Microsoft Excel/Access and Google Sheets will also be discussed as an alternative to interpreter-specific tools.

Koen Kerremans and Helene Stengers (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Koen Kerremans is professor in terminology, specialised translation and translation technology at the department of Linguistics and Literary Studies of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where he obtained his PhD in 2014. His research interests pertain to applied linguistics, language technologies, ontologies, terminology, special language and translation studies. He is the coordinator of VUB’s master programme of translation and teaches courses on terminology, technical translation and technologies for translators in the master programmes of translation and interpreting.

Helene Stengers is professor in Spanish proficiency, translation and Interpreting at the department of Linguistics and Literary Studies of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where she obtained her PhD in 2009. Her research interests lie in applied comparative linguistics (especially English and Spanish), cognitive linguistics, phraseology and Foreign Language acquisition (mainly vocabulary acquisition) from a multilingual and intercultural perspective with a view to optimize Foreign Langage pedagogy, as well as translation and interpreter training. She is the research director of the Brussels Institute for Applied Linguistics.

POSTER: Using Online and/or Mobile Virtual Communication Tools in Interpreter and Translator Training: Pedagogical Advantages and Drawbacks

In this paper we discuss some preliminary results of a comparative study into the use of online and/or mobile virtual communication tools in the master programmes of interpreting and translation at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Both master programmes are based on a situated learning model, which is generally understood as a didactic method in which translation and interpreting students learn the profession and acquire professional skills through hands on experience by exposing them to simulated or real work environments, situations and tasks. In recent years, this learning-by-doing approach (or authentic experiential learning) has gained quite some traction in translator and interpreter education. In creating authentic learning contexts for student translators and interpreters, technology has become an important factor to take into consideration, given the unmistakable impact that it has on professional translation and interpreting practices. After a review of previous studies dealing with the use of virtual technologies in translator and interpreter training, several virtual communication tools will be tested and evaluated both from the trainers’ and the trainees’ perspectives. Finally, we will reflect on the tools’ pedagogical advantages and drawbacks in order to formulate recommendations for using these technologies in translator and interpreter training contexts.