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TRANSLATING LANGUAGE INTO HISTORY: WHAT INTERACTIONS BETWEEN SCANDINAVIAN AND OTHER EUROPEAN LANGUAGES MAY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PEOPLES INVOLVED IN ANCIENT TIMES

Oral societies may not leave written records: but there are fragments of 'linguistic archaeology', such as relative place names and the names peoples used for one another, which may provide some indication of how they came into contact with and then related to one another.

The author looks at 'parallel place names' and other 'erratics' ('out of place names') in Wales and Ireland to indicate how incoming Scandinavians saw and were seen, and considers one particular vowel sound which may serve as a 'marker' of ancient trade routes around Europe.

The author is a long-established freelance translator from Swedish, Danish and Norwegian amongst other languages into English.

Some years ago now, I started learning Irish (or tried, at least), having been travelling to the west coast for some years; and I was struck by some fragments of 'lniguistic archaology' in that country and Wales which seemed to be indicative (in an oral sense, before any written history) of relations between that country and what we now call Scandinavia. First, there is the name 'Donegal', or 'dun nGall', the 'fort of the foreigners', in this case, the Vikings. Then, the Irish word for 'Norwegian' is 'Ioruach', rather reminiscent of 'Yorvik', as in York, of course. Having a direct non-borrowed name for a foreign people would appear to indicate direct contact, as opposed, say, to 'Albaniense' for 'Albanian'. From the evidence of placenames and commercial archaeology, we know that the Spanish traded up the west coast as far as Galway (which is nicknamed the 'Spanish City', with its Spanish Arch, and where Columbus apparently saw the foreign body washed up which gave him the idea there might be other lands out there across the sea); so perhaps it is no coincidence that the Irish for 'shopkeeper' or 'trader' is 'siopador' = 'køp' + '-ador', which must surely be unique as a word with a Scandinavian root and a Spanish suffix! Which might indicate they met at some point perhaps.

Moving on to Wales, there are one or two places in West and South Wales at least which have 'parallel names', such as Fishguard ('Fiskegård'), which is Abergwaun, or 'mouth of the river Gwaun' in Welsh, and Swansea ('Sven's øy'), which is Abertawe. Having two parallel names would appear to indicate that the incomers and natives lived side by side but not together (and, indeed, 'Old Fishguard', or 'Abergwaun', is the next inlet along from the modern port). Moving inland slightly, I came across a placename in an inlet near Milford Haven called 'Landshipping'. I thought the 'shipping' might be a misleading corruption of 'køping', so I went down to have a look, and, sure enough, there was what they would call a 'hard' on the Hampshire coast, or a built up flat bed where a keelless ship could come in and lay up at high tide. So 'the place where we come ashore ('Land') to trade ('køping')', perhaps?

(There also seems to be some evidence of trade with Ireland in Wales. Apart from anything else there seems to be a rule that any trade 'action' generates an 'equal and opposite reaction' in Newtonian terms: people move both ways.)

On a larger scale, there would also seem to be some fragments which point to the existence of a 'great circle' of trading routes around Europe in ancient times, when, indeed, the sea was the main highway. Take the sound 'å', for example: it occurs in Scandinavia, in Britain and Ireland (although not as a letter in its own right), and apparently in Portuguese (but not Spanish) and Greek (omega). It does not appear to occur in any of the mainland languages of Europe, such as German. Does this tell us anything?

From STP Nordic

STP Nordic is a UK translation company focusing solely on the Nordic languages. With 45 Nordic in-house translators, many of whom are recruited straight after graduating from MA courses in Translation Studies or Languages, and with a comprehensive internship programme, STP Nordic has been working closely with UK and Nordic universities for years to bridge the gap between the academic and the commercial translation worlds. In the UK, our activities are strongly linked to the training of UK language students in the Nordic languages, since STP Nordic is one of the few UK translation companies employing such linguists in-house.

As an active industry representative in the OPTIMALE (Optimising Professional Translator Training in a Multilingual Europe) programme, STP Nordic strives to help the academic network of European universities to carry out their three-year pan-European project with four aims and objectives: 1) to produce an extensive map of on-going translator training programmes in Europe; 2) to monitor market needs and professional requirements relevant to translator training; 3) to translate new professional competences into learning outcomes; and 4 ) to implement training the trainer sessions.

STP Nordic has been impressed by the keenness of its academic partners to hear about the translation industry’s needs and to keep up with its current practices. According to a 2011 employer consultation, impeccable quality of work, service-mindedness and experience were high on the agenda of most European translation company employers, but more effort is required to get new language graduates to a place where they can start to fulfil these criteria. With a penetrating look at the future of the translation industry, this presentation outlines what a translation company expects from its new employees, what it gets and how it minds the gap.

With an MA in English and Swedish Translation and Interpreting from the University of Helsinki in 1993, Anu Carnegie-Brown has built up a career in Nordic translation companies in Finland and the UK, working as an in-house translator, project manager, quality manager, HR manager and operations manager. Since 2001, Anu has been involved in the continual development of STP Nordic into the significant industry specialist it is today. Her main task as Operations Manager at STP Nordic is to nurture good working relationships with clients, in-house staff and suppliers. She is responsible for the company’s human resources, including the recruitment and care of in-house staff and the acquisition of new freelance translators. She is also involved in various aspects of customer relationship management, marketing, business analysis and business finance.

Working as a freelance translator and, since 2003, as project manager and production & quality manager at STP Nordic, Raisa McNab has developed a strong understanding of the Nordic translation market both from the supplier's and the buyer's perspective. As Production & Quality Manager at STP Nordic, Raisa's main focus is in quality and process management and optimising the use of translation environment tools. Her tasks include training translators and project managers, supervising and developing production processes and maintaining the company's quality management system. She is also involved in various aspects of customer relationship management, marketing, business analysis and business finance. Raisa gained her MA in English and French Translation and Interpreting from the University of Turku in 2003, and has since kept close ties with the academic world with regular talks to students at translation departments in UK and Nordic universities.

Electronic language corpora: a ‘bicycle’ for the translator’s mind

In this session, participants will be introduced to freely available online corpus search tools for accessing huge databases of natural language such as the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English, as well as various corpora in other languages and bilingual parallel corpora.

By using corpus resources to investigate usage norms and patterns that occur in natural language, translators can obtain empirical data on how words typically behave in context. This awareness of usage norms can enable translators to produce more natural-sounding translations. Corpus data can also provide evidence to support the choices translators make in their translations. A corpus supplements the translator’s own linguistic knowledge, serving as a ‘bicycle’ for the translator’s mind, to borrow a phrase from the late Steve Jobs of Apple Computer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0m3sPU8sVU

This session will focus on practical examples for practising translators working mainly into English. Both native and non-native English speakers will benefit. Participants will also learn to be aware of the strengths and limitations of various corpora and to critically evaluate the resources they use and the results they obtain.

Some attention will be paid to relevant theory, including the pioneering work of John Sinclair and the ‘lexical priming’ theory introduced by Michael Hoey.

Ruth Urbom is a freelance translator from German, Swedish and Finnish into English. She was employed for a number of years as a lexicographer and continues to use the corpus search techniques she learned in the world of dictionaries in her current translation work.

Translation Quality Assessment (TQA): A functional approach to translation quality

Quality assessment is one of the most problematic aspect of the translation/localization business. There isn't an objective definition of "good translation" and different requirements must be taken into account during the assessment, e.g. customer expectations, target readership, usage etc. Additionally, the increasing pressure on fast deliveries makes the assessment task even more challenging.

In this session Xerox CDLS is going to introduce its TQA model, a Translation Quality Assessment process which has been designed specifically to meet the challenges related to assessing translation quality.

The model, based on recognised and widely used industry standards, has been designed for a multilingual localization environment specialized in delivering high volumes of translated literature for the automotive industry but it is flexible enough to be adapted quickly to other typologies of translation.

The model is based on the concept of "functional quality". A translation is good as long it's "fit for purpose", i.e. it meets the customer expectations and it's suitable for the target readership and the intended usage of the document.

According to the model, the assessment is carried out by expert translators who are asked to follow strict guidelines regarding error categorization and selection of the severity levels. A proprietary tool developed internally automates the scoring and feedback process which is an integral part of the model.

Automatic reporting and data gathering allow the supplier manager to identify and promote the translators who show the required expertise and to identify process gaps which might lead to recurring translation errors.

Valentina Modeo Patti holds a BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the Istituto Universitario Orientale of Naples (Italy). After 10 years as free-lance translator from English and German into Italian, she has joined Xerox in 2005 first as in-house translator, then as Associate Translator Team Leader and Quality Manager. Her tasks include recruiting and training in-house translators and supervising Xerox CDLS internal quality assurance process. As Quality Manager she has devised Xerox CDLS' current Translation Quality Assessment model.

The driving forces and challenges impacting the implementation of machine translation at a language server provider

The following subject areas will be explained as part of this presentation:

What is machine translation?

A brief introduction to the subject area.

Why implement machine translation?

The reasons for implementation and the main stakeholders driving those implementations will be explained.

The different types of machine translation and why some are easier to implement than others

Information regarding the different types of machine translation and how they are being applied.

What are the barriers to effective machine translation implementation?

An explanation of the main barriers to an effective machine translation implementation. This part of the presentation will cover issues such as cost, quality and resistance to change.

Example implementation scenarios to highlight the challenges in context

A number of example LSP Implementations will be described to demonstrate some of the issues explained in the context of working examples.

Kevin Spence will be leading this presentation, he is a Technical Project Manager with over 10 years’ experience working for Xerox. Kevin holds an International Business Degree from the Solent University. Having worked as a project co-ordinator and project manager, since 2005 Kevin has worked as a technical project manager leading numerous technical projects including Machine translation and CAT tool implementations.

More information will be posted soon, but note that this workshop will link to the musical performance.

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