Written on 28 September, 2016

Last Thursday 22nd September, I was lucky enough to spend the day at the impressive University of Surrey campus in Guildford for a workshop run by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), Translation with the help of corpora.

Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) became a corporate member of the ITI on 29th October 2013. Since then, the association has proved extremely beneficial to our company and our team of translators and strengthened the trust of our clients in us. ITI’s exacting standards when it comes to quality and adherence to its Code of Professional Conduct, mean when potential clients approach us, they are reassured about the quality of our services because of our professional accreditation to such a renowned body.

As much as I could have spent hours strolling around the beautiful grounds, I was keen to get started and find out about another great resource available for linguists the world over!

Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies and our trainer for the day, Ana Frankenberg Garcia, explained what exactly a corpus is and introduced us to the three main corpora programmes available online. In its simplest form, a corpus is a collection of natural, digitised texts, which can either be general language, specialised (the Business Letter Corpus, ScienceBlog) or Parallel (a source and its translation). Unlike the limited scope of dictionaries or the unreliability of forums and websites, corpora provide examples of language as it is genuinely used over a representative sample of texts, rather than how we think it should be used based on traditional grammatical rules.

We watched and ‘played along’ while Ana took us through the many fantastic functionalities of these tools. Ana’s demonstrations and instructions were delivered with such clarity, even the least tech-savvy among us (like myself!) could keep up.

Particularly useful to the team of Project Managers (PMs) here at STB is the ability to create your own corpus from files. For particularly large projects, or for those being translated by multiple suppliers, PMs can extract key recurring terms, have them translated by one translator then share this information with other translators to ensure consistency throughout the project – all with a few clicks of the mouse. For example, a 90-page document on EU Seas policy would refer consistently to ‘marine life’ and not introduce the term ‘sea creatures’. This function is completely secure and corpora created remain totally confidential so our clients can feel safe in this knowledge.

During lunch I got to know some of the lovely freelance translators who work with the team at STB and was able to put a face to some very well-known names within the industry. Needless to say, everyone I spoke to was thoroughly impressed with the workshop and agreed that as a professional development session, it would greatly benefit their work whether it be translating, editing, project managing or academic writing.

If you would like to know more about our association with ITI or how STB can help you, why not email us today at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or give us a call on +44 (0) 1252 733 999. We look forward to hearing from you!

Written by Katie Magill