Term extraction in translation: do you know what this is?

This is a key tool for fast and effective translations

Translations involve a number of technical issues, often unknown to those who do not know much about this service, and term extraction in translation is one of them.

Term expression may sound complex and really involves a distinguished approach, but when it is used effectively it enables excellent results in terms of assertiveness, agility and cost effectiveness.

Let’s talk more about this tool and how it is applied to translation for more effective results.

What is term extraction in translation?

It is a process of removing terminology from a text, whatever the subject, so that it is possible to create something like a word database, which will supply the translation memory of the language pair in question.

Using technical expressions can make the subject seem more difficult than it really is, but take a look at it separately to understand its purpose.

Every text has its own terminology, which by definition is a set of specific terms or word system used. For example, chemical terminology deals with terms that are used in chemistry, just like terminology in law, medicine, and so on.

This also applies to any other content that needs to be translated, be it a statement, a scientific paper, song lyrics, or a car manual.

We have mentioned translation memory earlier. It is one of the main translation tools and is key for professionals who want to perform their activities with greater speed and efficiency.

The technical name is computer-assisted translation – or simply CAT Tool – and its purpose is to literally memorize the terms that have already been translated by a translator. So, the next time the translator comes across them, they won’t have to do the job manually again.

Unlike machine translation, where the whole process is done without manual intervention and is completely done by automated systems, such as machine learning, CAT Tools actually memorize what has already been done by a professional translator.

Therefore, we can say that term extraction in translation is a system that enables professionals in the field to supply their translation memories with reliable and relevant data, while allowing them to complete translation services in a shorter timeframe.

How does term extraction in translation work?

In practice, there are two different types: manual and automatic extraction – although it is important to note that neither is fully automated.

The features are as follows:

Manual extraction

This is a more laborious process in which a translation professional carefully analyzes the text and then adds the words he/she deems necessary to his/her translation memory.

Subsequently, the translator can proceed with translation following a set of laborious procedures, but that still provide greater practicality and agility than if the whole process were performed manually, without any help from term extraction in translation.

In addition, while performing this activity, translators get a richer and more up-to-date database, which will help them with later demands.

Extração de termos na tradução: o que é0

Automatic extraction

Here, content analysis is performed automatically, with the aid of a computer, which scans the document and then extracts terms and phrases according to what has been previously programmed.

Translators may enter some parameters for extracting phrases or terms, as they find it relevant according to each type of content, so that they do not need to review the whole document manually.

However, because it is an automatic system, translators may encounter some problems, such as the tool sometimes not understanding the lexical form of a particular word or phrase.

The word stand, for example, has different meanings as a verb (to be in a vertical state or to put into a vertical state) as well as a noun (a large structure at a sports ground, opinion, a small shop or stall). Automatic extraction does not take these differences into account.

This is quite detrimental to term extraction in translation, since a translator may have had a purpose and received an absolutely different result, which puts the credibility and even the intelligibility of his/her work at risk.

It is important to say that automatic extraction has good concordance, that is, it analyzes the context to give more effective results, but in view of the existing limitations, this technology cannot provide definite and completely assertive translations yet.

This can be confirmed by the fact that automatic extractions often require post-editing, which is an overall review to look for errors and problems.

Is it useful to resort to term extraction in translation?

It certainly is. When used correctly and with due care, services are delivered much more quickly, but without compromising efficiency and assertiveness.

Another point is terminology related to linguistic variations that exist within the same language, as it happens with Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese and Portuguese spoken in Angola, for example. When you know the words you are searching for, extraction and memory updating occur faster.

When comparing machine translation and crowdsourcing translation with professional translators, it is clear that translations made by humans are of higher quality. Despite quick technological advances, translation professionals have their space guaranteed in the market.

This can be said with assertiveness, because despite significant investment in machine translation and machine learning, and attractive figures in these areas, human intervention is key due to reasoning, a skill that cannot be replaced by automated systems.

Term extraction in translation is a highly effective technique and when used by a responsible and reliable translation agency tends to provide great results in terms of delivery time and cost effectiveness, i.e. this tool will still be used for a long time in translation.

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