On 7-9 May 2018, representatives from the Translation Centre attended the International Annual Meeting on Computer-Assisted Translation and Terminology (JIAMCATT) hosted by the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

JIAMCATT is an annual event that provides its partners with a forum for debate, exchange of expertise and cooperation in the fields of computer-assisted terminology and translation, interpretation and documentation retrieval. It provides an ideal platform for exchange with the research community, by bringing together more than 160 language professionals representing European institutions, international organisations and the member states.

The following theme was selected for this year’s edition: 'From end to end: tools and technology as links in the chain’.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Weibel from the Carnegie Mellon University (USA) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) delivered a very interesting keynote speech entitled ‘Toward a Language Transparent World’. In his presentation, he reviewed the science behind the latest developments in language technology and predicted that the language barriers between the peoples of our planet would cease to exist due to advances in this domain. He also stated that technology does not reduce the amount of translation work or the number of people needed to produce the translation work but rather increases efficiency and modifies the way in which translators work. Technology is there to help translators, not to replace them.

The impact of neural machine translation on translation practice was a key topic this year. A workshop entitled ‘Introduction to post-editing’ attracted a significant number of participants. It was suggested at the workshop that given that neural machine translation (MT) systems have routinely outperformed statistical machine translation systems in comparative tests since 2016, the future lies in human-machine symbiosis. MT should be considered as another type of revision in which, depending of course on the nature of the text and its purpose, the idea is to keep the text produced by MT systems as much as possible in order to be efficient.

Another important topic of this year’s edition of JIAMCATT was compliance with accessibility standards, which takes on board the rights of people with disabilities. It is essential to integrate accessibility from the very beginning in any IT development because it is very difficult to do it later. It is also interesting to note that developments originally envisaged for people with disabilities (e.g. speech recognition for visually impaired or blind people) may be used by everybody at a later stage. Indeed, speech recognition now concerns us all!

The Translation Centre took the opportunity of this year’s event to announce the release of the fully revamped version of the interinstitutional terminology database IATE, which is planned to take place towards the end of the year. The new IATE database will operate using state-of-the-art technologies to boost search capacities and filtering. The new architecture and design attracted many interested participants at JIAMCATT. 

The conclusions and recommendations of JIAMCATT 2018 are available here.