E.g., 11/12/2019
E.g., 11/12/2019

Teaching Language Technology in the Classroom

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Teaching language technology to students makes them more employable. Consequently, programs worldwide are introducing language technology instruction into their curriculum. Even a basic competence with CAT tools and machine translation gives students a tremendous advantage at job searching after they graduate.

As a university instructor, you can receive support from the industry should you decide to include the latest technologies in your program. Below are some resources to consider.

Equip Students with Software

Universities can get mainstream software with a significant discount from market price, or even free of charge. Hundreds of universities already participate in partnerships with established language technology companies.

For example, more than 350 universities have joined SDL’s academic program, almost 200 are working with Kilgray, more than 100 with WordFast, more than 90 with Memsource, and 50 with Atril. KantanMT is currently the only machine translation provider with an academic program.

Technology Academic Programs

Program link Availability Training course with certificate
SDL Paid Yes
XTM Paid -
Across Free -
KantanMT Free -
Lilt Free -
MateCat Free -
memoQ Free Yes
Memsource Free -
smartCAT Free Yes
WordFast Free -

Many organizations are likely to provide tools for free or at reduced costs by request, so even if a tech company is not listed here, it is worth asking.

Develop Curriculum

While technology companies are happy to share access to their software, as the instructor you still must teach the methods in the classroom. Sometimes you may not feel completely comfortable teaching the use of technology and may need access to resources.

SDL offers a full-blown training program featuring daily assignments, test files, and exercises. However, instructors using other language software will need to come up with lesson content. Company webinars and video tutorials will help you prepare this information, or you can invite an industry professional to give students a live session.

Here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • Join webinars from software providers: language technology companies are always on top of their software and know the latest updates. This is important because features change every few weeks. However, sales and support people at tech companies often have their hands full with commercial work and typically can only deliver a lecture or two, at a maximum; they can’t oversee every student’s practical assignments.
  • Invite project managers from translation companies near you: all savvy translation companies use CAT tools and some use machine translation. Their project managers can explain daily work challenges to the students, teach them processes, hacks, and tricks in addition to the technology. As active practitioners, they might spark student interest in the industry, set expectations, and build connections leading to job offers. Consult the GALA member directory to find a great translation company near you.
  • Teach yourself: as a teacher, you can stage live projects with students acting as translators and project managers, and then check and correct each individual’s performance. Some professors encourage students to run actual translations that benefit the world in some way. For example, they localize useful open source software, train specialist machine translation engines for minority languages, and compile glossaries for medical organizations. Relevant Project: Simulated Translation Bureaus (an effort run by students as a real translation bureau).
  • If you have a strong curriculum, consider enrolling your university in the European Master's in Translation program. It is a quality label for university translation programs that meet the agreed professional standards and market demands. EMT is a registered EU trademark and universities in the EMT network are entitled to use the logo.

Teach Advanced Skills

Instructors typically start by training students with mainstream CAT-tools. Other types of technology that you can cover in a course for future translators and localization project managers include:

Category

Examples

Machine translation

KantanMT, Microsoft Translator Hub, tauyou, Globalese, Iconic

Speech-to-text

Nuance Dragon

Layout design

InDesign

Technical authoring

FrameMaker, SnagIt, Flare

Web content management

WordPress, Drupal, Joomla

Subtitling tools

dotSUB, Amara

Quality assurance software

xBench, Verifika, LexiQA

 

In addition to tools, any translation student can benefit from better digital literacy. It is recommended that they have a basic understanding of HTML, XML, and regular expressions. Lessons for these languages are available online on websites such as Code.org, Khan Academy, and RegexOne.

One of the most comprehensive online learning courses for software localization is Google Localization Essentials MOOC, available for free on Udacity.

GALA Resources for Instructors and Students

GALA has several resources and programs that support instructors and students:

 

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