Assumptions of conventional translation processes

Conventional industrial translation processes and tools have been designed to operate well under a number of assumptions. In collaborative environments, many of those assumptions no longer hold and conventional methods break down.

Assumption 1 - Master language: In a conventional environment, original content is often created in a master language, typically English. However, in many multilingual collaborative environments, many volunteer authors are not fluent enough in English to write high quality content in that language. Collaborative tools
thus need to be able to deal with situations where pieces of original content are spread across diff erent linguistic versions of a page and must somehow be consolidated and propagated to all languages.

Assumption 2 - Edit freeze: In a conventional environment, there is a strong tendency to refrain from modifying the master language version while translation is underway. In a collaborative environment, content is often in a permanent state of
ux, and it is therefore not realistic to freeze it until translation in all languages is complete. Collaborative tools must thus support adaptation to continual changes in the source texts.

Assumption 3 - Enforceable timely translation: In a conventional environment, timely translation of content is enforced through contractual or employment obligations. In collaborative environments, translators are often volunteers working on their own time, which may entail long translation delays. Collaborative tools must thus allow the publication of partially translated content, without misleading site visitors who read that content.

Assumption 4 - Controlled language pairs: In a conventional environment, there is a tendency to restrict supported languages to a small list of core languages, and to limit the set of languages pairs for translation, typically to P , X, where P is a pivot language (often English) and X may be any other core language. Where the Master language assumption is made, unidirectional translation (strictly from the master language to target languages) is also imposed. By contrast, in a multilingual collaborative environment, members of the community may wish, and should be able to, create or translate content in any language, including minority languages; translation may occur between any pair of languages, and in any direction.

Assumption 5 - Strong coordination: In a conventional environment, the community of authors and translators is a \closed" world, where some central authority can coordinate activities. In contrast, collaborative environments usually operate without central coordination. Therefore, tools must provide light coordination in the form of subtle cues that signal what translation work needs to be done, without necessarily mandating it.

Assumption 6 - Separation of Authoring and Translation: In a conventional environment, authoring and translation are clearly segregated, and the two rarely interfere with each other. Authors do not have to worry about the translation process and translators need not be concerned with the authoring process. In a collaborative environment, it is usually more difficult to separate those two processes, and the same people are often involved in both. As a consequence, collaborative translation tools must integrate translation and authoring without sacri cing simplicity in the authoring functionality.

Assumption 7 - Trained translators: In a conventional context, translators are professionally trained, and can be socialized into the organization's tools, processes and linguistic norms. In a collaborative environment, translators are often amateurs, and the amount of tool, process and linguistic training that can be imposed on them is limited. Therefore, collaborative tools must be very simple to use, and must cater to the needs of amateur translators (for example, by including linguistic and terminology resources designed speci cally to help amateurs avoid common translation mistakes).

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