Afternoon tea in York – Josie Worrall writes:

The Afternoon Tea in York was only the second YTI event that I have attended, and I was really looking forward to meeting more fellow translators and interpreters and sampling some delicious baked goods from around the world. The afternoon definitely did not disappoint! The historic venue was cosy and atmospheric, the perfect respite from the miserable wintery northern weather (I have been told that the weather is sometimes nice up here but I have yet to see convincing evidence!). There was plenty of space for mingling and munching, although it might have been a bit confined for our most junior attendee, a definite linguist in the making and expert cupcake baker!

 

YTI members really outdid themselves with their baking, and the range of delicious cakes, biscuits and savoury snacks on offer from different countries around the world was impressive. Very, very sadly, I was unable to taste most of the things on offer due to a dairy intolerance, but my partner came along to the event, dutifully and valiantly reporting on the vast majority (he didn’t take much convincing). The verdict? Delicious of course! I was very proud to see that my own contribution, chocolate and hazelnut French-inspired macarons, flew out of their tub, especially seeing as it was my first attempt and I was convinced they would be a disaster! In addition to the baked goods, hot drinks were also kindly provided – my favourite being a Russian caravan tea that was so strong I left feeling a bit light headed (tea drunk?!).

 

A good number of members and their family members put in an appearance, no doubt attracted by the promised treats. I am always amazed by anyone that can, saint-like, turn down the opportunity for cake. One member (naming no names) even told me she had been on a run in the morning to justify trying some of everything. The conversation was very varied and interesting, as to be expected from a group of such cosmopolitan language lovers as the likes of us. I had a whale of a time reminiscing about time spent studying and working in Russia in the snow and ice with a fellow Slavophile, and as expected met lots of lovely new faces. It was also great to see the YTI’s student members represented by a group from the Master’s course at Leeds University, who impressively managed to find time in their busy schedule of studies to attend.

Once again, the event was wonderfully organised, and I would like to thank Charlotte for all her hard work and everyone who helped set up and pack away at the end. Here’s to next year and expanding our waistbands in international style!

Corpora – Emma Tamlyn writes:

As a student member, and with the Corpora workshop being my first CPD event, I was a little unsure of what to expect during the session on 28th February, but I think it’s fair to say that everyone got a lot out of the session with Dr Ana Frankenburg-Garcia – a similar workshop to the one that she gave to the ITI last September, and one which was very popular!

The event took place in the ERIC computer cluster at the University of Leeds (a room that I, along with the other students who attended, am almost too familiar with!) and started with a quick check of the attendees language pairs.

After a general introduction to the world of corpora, Ana explained the four main types of corpus that can be of use to a translator or interpreter:

1) Parallel Corpora: these are corpora in which the source text and its translation are displayed in parallel (surprise surprise!) and are similar to Linguee, using, however, more principled and carefully selected texts. Some examples of parallel corpora are EurParl, using translated documents from the European Parliament and EUR-Lex, using translated documents from the European Court of Justice.

2) General Language Corpora: these are corpora which contain just one language, and can be used in a similar way to checking specific phrases in Google, but again, using more principled and carefully selected texts. Some examples that Ana provided were CREA for Spanish, DeReKo for German, and the British National Corpus for English. Ana did warn us that the BNC was created in the 90s so some of the information may be out of date – for example, ‘Internet’ barely features!

3) Specialised Corpora: these can be assembled using subject specific texts, and can help translators to get to grips with the specific terminology of a particular field.

4) Ad Hoc Corpora made for a specific translation or interpreting job: these can help a translator or interpreter to become quickly acquainted with the vocabulary that may be needed.

After some refreshments we returned to the computers for a demonstration of how to use Sketch Engine (https://www.sketchengine.co.uk/ – there is a free trial avalible for anyone who is curious!), before having a go ourselves.

Ana showed us how to perform a concordance search to check which preposition should follow ‘married’, either with or to, and we were quickly able to see that in the context Ana had described, the answer was ‘married to’. We then moved on to collocations, and words that are associated with other words, the example that Ana gave was ‘opinion’, and which verbs are often used with the noun.

The collocations feature is also useful for finding synonyms once you’ve exhausted all that Word, or the internet has to offer, with Sketch Engine being able to provide you with a helpful word cloud!

We then explored some ready-made corpora, before creating our own using an EEA State of Europe Seas report, and were able to learn what MSFD stands for, and which verbs are often used with ‘seafloor’.

Ana suggested some other sites that may be worth checking out if you’re interested in corpora: AntCon and WordSmith Tools, and explained that Sketch Engine allows you to create as many corpora as you want and can even download them to your own machine. She assured us that she doesn’t work for Sketch Engine, and that she’s just a big fan of the site! After her fantastic workshop, I and many other attendees are now converts! Thanks for a great session Ana.

Winter walk – Emma Tamlyn writes:

On 14th January a good-sized group of members (including five student members from the University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield joining for our first YTI event!) descended (or more accurately, ascended) onto the moors for this year’s Winter Walk.

Our guide was Matt Young, who lives in the area and suggested the area surrounding Ribblehead, in the shadows of the three-peaks and the fantastic Ribblehead Viaduct. Having already been thoroughly wowed by the scenery on the train from Leeds, when my Univesity of Leeds colleagues and I got off at the lovely old-fashioned station at Ribblehead, we were already considering the day a success – but the views got even better…

The route started at the The Station Inn (very important for a country walk) and followed the railway line north as far as Blea Moor Sidings, where we turned left under the tracks and walked south west past Ivescar. We then stopped for lunch at some very conveniently placed picnic benches in Broadrake and it was fairly unanimously agreed that the magnificent viaduct coupled with the wild and natural landscape made for some of the best dining views.

 

After refuelling we set off again, heading south east by Ellerbeck Gill, before stopping for a second break at Chapel-le-Dale church, whose graveyard contains the bodies of the (many) navvies who died building the Settle-Carlisle railway. At this point a hip flask emerged from the pocket of one member of the party!

We then walked up the B6255 for about a quarter of a mile before taking several paths to Gunnerfleet Farm, where we saw one of the various types of sheep Matt had promised along the way.

The final stretch took us back and under Ribblehead Viaduct, and the opportunity to see all three ‘three peaks’ at the same time, Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough – there was (perhaps wishful) talk of organising a YTI Three Peaks attempt…

We finally finished back at The Station Inn where we were greeted (grumpily in the case of the owner) by an open fire and well-deserved drinks. The group of students stayed a bit longer waiting for the train, and the clear skies meant that we got a great view of the stars!

The weather was fresh and crisp and satisfyingly wintery but not so cold that anyone feared hypothermia, which is always a bonus. There was a fair amount of ice and snow about which, inevitably, led to some slapstick skids and slips but all members of the party returned with their bones intact…

Thanks Matt for organising the route, I’m already looking forward to the Summer Walk.

Christmas lunch in York, 17 December – Barbara Hull writes:

As a newcomer to YTI, I was a bit hesitant about joining the Christmas lunch in case everyone else knew everyone else already and just wanted to renew old acquaintances.  My concerns were totally unfounded!  I felt warmly welcomed and drawn in.

The venue was Barbakan, a Polish café in York; I must admit that Polish isn’t what normally springs to mind when contemplating a meal out but there I was, wrong again!  The main courses were excellent, succulent and sustaining, and the cakes were to die for!  Definitely worth a visit.

I was well impressed with Kerry and Charlottes’s organisational prowess in keeping track who had pre-ordered what, with the help of an Excel spreadsheet (is this a professional spill-over?) and the restaurant staff were great and everything ran smoothly.

The best part, of course, was the conversation which was eclectic, but always interesting and often downright useful.  We covered currency issues, concordances, curry recipes and so much more. As at most gatherings worth their salt there was an exchange of business cards and recipes.  If anyone else would like my recipe for Beorijch (Armenian black-eyed bean and nut stew) just let me know….. (barbara.hull@btinternet.com)

Pub quiz – Alison O’Neil writes:

A sizeable crowd attended YTI’s annual quiz at Brigantes on Friday 11th November, where Catherine Greensmith once again put our brains to the test.  The upstairs meeting room offered a comfortable space to mingle, although the historic staircase with its amusing variety of step heights and depths offered an additional challenge to the quiz and quite possibly put some of us off from drinking.

Catherine opened the quiz with twenty general knowledge questions ranging in difficulty, and heads were scratched or pens gnawed over the problem of which female musician released an album called “Music”, or what was the name of Long John Silver’s parrot.  My ignorance of the latter annoyed me so much I had to read the book straight away afterwards – so thank you Catherine for the motivation to get it off the list and actually read it!

Six teams of four or so competed, and in the first round the results were close with only three points between the leading and the trailing teams.  And then we broke for food, with a generous spread of sandwiches and other finger food, more drinks and a lot of chatter.

The second round was rather unusual, because Catherine had brought packs of savoury biscuits and cordials for all the teams to try and identify, and this caused some dispute – albeit (ahem) cordial.  Finally, the second round wrapped up with a dozen questions including multiple choice, true/false, and the nearest answer (or guess, in our case).

The results came in, and Los Paraguayos won and had first dibs of the tempting variety of prizes – each team member was able to pick one item, so there were no difficulties sharing the one bottle of wine.  The second placed teams, Avanti, also got prizes, and then the losing team, Ship(ley) of Fools, were given the final selection.  As a consequence of this prize arrangement, my team, the Pathetic Sharks, are seriously considering altering our tactics to aim for that losing position as we think we have a far better chance of that than winning!  It could be a heated battle between us, the Ship(ley)s and the Hillaries.

A vote of thanks was given to Catherine for her hard work yet again.  With her oversight this quiz looks set to run for years to come.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, October 2016 – Tamara Bloom writes:

The last time I ventured onto the grounds of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was back in 2008, when I took a friend on what turned out to be a decidedly wintry day out. A repeat – and hopefully warmer – visit was long overdue, so I jumped at the chance to join October’s YTI-at-YSP social.

We met for lunch in the upstairs restaurant, where the large portion sizes took up as much of the conversation as translation, interpreting and more off-topic subjects. As the time came to venture back outside we decided to divide into smaller groups to allow for the different routes (and paces) preferred within the wider collective. We set off on our various explorations, agreeing to regroup later at the café. Some headed straight to earmarked features, map-in-hand, while others stopped to explore the Not Vital exhibition in the Underground and Garden Galleries.

Our group walked along the western side of the park, encountering such features as the Cascade Bridge, Stepping Stones and the Greek Temple – as well as some curious highland cattle, from which I for one made a hasty retreat! It was interesting to read the history of the park’s features (such as the boat house, originally built at the head of a lake but now landlocked due to the changing landscape) and the various sculptures dotted around.

The sculptures themselves almost blend into the atmosphere at YSP, such that, despite pausing to reflect on each one, you can come away not quite realising how many works you’ve seen. Examples include Richard Long’s Red Slate Line – a fairytale path in the woods just daring you to take a forbidden step onto it’s terracotta surface – or the familiar, yet unusual view granted by Helen Escobedo’s hazy red bales of hay scattered across a field.

There are delights that capture the younger audience’s imagination as much as the adults’; a grotto-like pathway opens out to the colourful mosaics of Marialuisa Tadei’s Octopus, and children flocked to watch an equestrian outline canter across a screen in Julian Opie’s Galloping Horse. I even noticed one little girl dancing delightedly in time to its motion.

More prominent features included, of course, the steel forms of Not Vital’s work; the imposing, spherical Moon, whose smooth ‘craters’ evoke a sense of raindrops, or the fascinating cylindrical repetitions of Let 100 Flowers Bloom. Other ‘stand-out’ elements were the polished surfaces of KAWS’ pieces, contrasting with both their cartoon-like shapes and perturbing postures.

At the appointed time we headed back to the afternoon rendezvous point, where several members were already assembled around a picnic table – some enjoying ice-creams, no less! All seemed to have enjoyed their various wanders, and as people started to think about heading home, the approaching dark clouds gave a nudge to any who were in two minds. The downpour started as the last of us were leaving; for the most part we’d had an unusually fine day, perfect for outdoor exploration, and a delightful setting for getting to know colleagues old and new, their spouses and families.

Curry catch up in Bradford – Eleanor Regin writes:

For the last five years Bradford has been crowned the curry capital of the UK, so you can imagine my enthusiasm when a curry in Bradford was suggested for the September YTI social.

A group of eight of us met at The Kashmir in the centre of Bradford for a delicious meal. We began by sampling a variety of starters including onion bhajis, samosas and fish pakora, and this was rounded off with a selection of authentic curries and chapatti.

The evening’s food was accompanied by a range of discussions from the most outrageous translations people have ever faced, to cake decorating, to advice for some new faces to the group (myself included). It was a lovely opportunity to meet others and share tips and stories, as well as some wonderful photos of the views of places from which people translate – our work really can allow us to be in beautiful locations!

Thanks to Paul for the photo of us in The Kashmir and, Charlotte for organising, I highly recommend you take a trip there next time you fancy grabbing a curry!

J-Net SDL Trados Studio workshop – Adelaide Paterson writes:

Andy Walker, the author of SDL Trados Studio: A Practical Guide and a highly experienced teacher and trainer of SDL Trados Studio, was guest speaker at the J-Net summer workshop held at Leeds University in September. J-Net, the Japanese branch of the ITI, kindly invited members of YTI to attend. This was a godsend for me, a proofreader starting out as a freelance proofreader and translator, toying with the idea of investing in software. My limited previous experience of proofreading in SDL Trados meant I was less than familiar with simple tasks such as creating a Translation Memory (or TM), and was daunted by the jargon.

As Andy emphasised at the start of the afternoon session for beginners, the true strength of CAT tools lies in dealing with repetition, whether that be repetition of key terms, or entire sentences. The TM, glossary and autopropagation tools can save hours of work re-translating the same, or importantly a similar, sentence again and again. Having a TM for a client can be a key tool for negotiating repeat orders and can increase their reliance on your services, particularly for similar documents. Clearly, for creative work, translating literature for example, where the idea is to avoid repetition, CAT tools are not necessarily suitable.

For my first job after university proofreading patent translations, maintaining the consistency of technical terms was key. I was proofreading on paper, but if I had had access to the glossary, rather than having to make a note in a notebook of each new technical term and how it had been translated, just in case it should crop up again, my work would surely have been more accurate and quicker. My first freelance translation assignment was two owner’s manuals for two almost identical models of speed boat. I realise now that a job of this nature, i.e. long, technical and repetitive, with two separate but very similar documents, is ideal for translation software.

Out of the blue, a company I was proofreading freelance for have offered me a full-time role, though using Wordfast, not Trados. My new company are very excited about the new Wordfast Pro 4, though there are still a few bugs to iron out. The interface seems a lot friendlier, and processes are streamlined, for example a project manager sends the linguist a ‘project’, which when opened attaches the TM and glossary automatically, thus saving time. Attending the workshop and the jargon I learned have really helped me transition. Andy Walker was very informative, easy to follow and patient, and I would recommend his book, which is laid out in textbook style with practical exercises, and is available to buy from the publisher Packt: https://www.packtpub.com/hardware-and-creative/sdl-trados-studio-practical-guide.

Enormous thanks must go to Megumi Waters of J-Net, who hosted the event and put on a fantastic spread of delicious sandwiches, salads, fruit and cakes for lunch with gallons of tea and coffee. Megumi had convinced the Head of the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at Leeds University, Dr Matthew Treherne, to come and talk to us and be grilled by attendees on the current state of university language applications. He told us that the current trend leans massively towards students wanting to study more than one language, and also a language with another subject, such as Business or Law, as opposed to studying single honours French, for example. The facilities we used at the university were excellent. Megumi entertained us with a language quiz during lunch, and gave everyone origami to take home. I would recommend attending J-Net’s events in the future if we are invited: they were very welcoming.

Adelaide Paterson, French/German to English Translator and Proofreader

Summer walk Saturday 16th July – Carmen Swanwick-Roa writes:

This year’s summer walk was led by Peter Cummings and started in his home village of Malham. A total of 16 linguists, partners and friends took on the 6.5 mile walk around a beautiful section of the Yorkshire countryside.

We met at The Buck Inn at 10:45 and I immediately regretted packing my heavy waterproof jacket and not my suncream and sunglasses. The walk began with a flat, clearly-marked path towards Janet’s Foss, a lovely waterfall around 20 minutes’ walk outside Malham. Around 5 minutes from the waterfall the narrow path began to resemble the Leeds ring road on a busy day – a tiny dormouse had created a tailback of around 30 walkers who had stopped to watch him washing and eating.

At Janet’s Foss, a few walkers turned off to take a flat route back to Malham and the rest of us went up a very steep hill which led us to a breathtaking view of Goredale Scar. There were a few sighs of relief when we learned that the rest of the route would be flat or downhill.

We stopped for lunch next to Malham Tarn and found a wall to park ourselves next to so we could shelter from the strong wind. At this point, I was glad to have brought a second layer and my big coat – the great British summer, eh? We’d lost a couple of speedy walkers who had gone on ahead, but they turned up just in time to get going after lunch, having found a spot by the tarn to eat their sandwiches.

The last leg of the walk took us to the top of Malham Cove and some fantastic limestone pavement that, according to some nearby children, resembled giants’ and dinosaurs’ feet. After hopping between the great rocks and taking in the spectacular view of the cove from above, we descended the steps (526, as counted by a rather tired little girl at the bottom) and headed back to Malham village for a drink in the sun at The Lister Arms.

Thanks to Peter for leading the walk and keeping the rain away.

SDL talk & AGM in York – Claudia Rennie writes:

On 25th June 2016 YTI members old and new gathered for our annual AGM event. It was another sunny day in York, with ample time for networking (read: nattering), sandwiches, and for the sun-worshippers amongst us, catching some rays and talking translation on the lovely terrace at Friends Meeting House.

The day kicked off with registration and coffees, with perhaps a more sombre mood than usual given the previous day’s shocking political result. The planned training session for the morning opened with an introduction to SDL – a familiar name to us all in terms of software – but the talk also touched on the translation agency side and an introduction to the processes and departments found at their offices in Sheffield.

Speakers Rachel Price and Andrew White gave an excellent presentation on post-editing machine translation (PEMT). One of the newer terms in the industry, post-editing in this instance relates specifically to using machine edited translations to produce a segmented Trados file (and yes, other translation software is available). They talked about the whole spectrum of the process, from producing a ‘good enough’ rendering for gist, time-pressured translations (light post-editing) or a publishable document (full post-editing). Perhaps as translators we don’t like to think of producing a ‘good enough’ translation: we like to think our documents are always polished and ready for the real world. But as pointed out in the presentation, for documents such as tenders and surveys, or any document with a ‘needed yesterday’ deadline, it’s definitely better than a client running it through Google translate.

It was an incredibly informative presentation, as always sparking lively debate: the redundant human translator doomsday scenario and other gems, (how reliability of MT is very much dependant on the language combination and many other factors) and how wrong machines can get it – I’ll think of roosters in a factory every time I hear ‘Gallo’ from now on. We discussed the (reassuring?) fallibility of MT, and the reliance it has on sweeping accurate translations in the first place. It was interesting to learn about the training of MT engines – a process with its roots in wartime code breaking.

As to productivity gains, Andrew, who uses PEMT for much of his workload, thought it could lead to a 30-50% increase in productivity. Some on the floor thought the time checking translations generated would outweigh any gain in productivity, a subject that cropped up in questions at the end of the presentation. Whether as translators we choose to offer clients discounted rates for the use of PEMT is of course up to the individual. And whether we chose to embrace the technology now or wait until such a time as the machine has received better training, are all decisions we must make based possibly on our language combinations and subject areas. There are some certainties though: PEMT represents an ever-increasing segment of the translation market, and MT is improving at a rate we perhaps would not have thought possible some years ago. I think many translators there would agree there could be a small amount of space in our ever-burgeoning translator tool kits to stash a bit of MT at some point in the future. But it won’t be a replacement for our capable human brains any time soon.

After the morning’s training session a sandwich, cake and fruit lunch followed, with plenty of time to get to know newer members and talk about the issues that cropped up in the session.

The AGM started promptly at 2pm, ably facilitated by Raquel Madrid in the absence of AGM stalwarts Charlotte and Paul who could not attend. The agenda followed the usual format, with reports from committee members: minutes for the meeting will be available to all members in due course. All news was positive, with the YTI enjoying a healthy balance sheet enabling further CPD events, a possible mentoring scheme, and bursaries for the ITI Conference (finer details to be confirmed at a later date).

Special thanks was given to Caroline Hirst who will be standing down from the committee. A big thank you to the YTI committee for organising another lively and informative event, and to Andrew and Rachel for their presentation. With most of us working as freelancers it’s invaluable to have events where we can meet face-to-face, learn from each other, and talk about our gripes. And it’s always nice to have an excuse to eat cake too.