Domesticating machine translation [fr]
How can machine translation help professional translators in their works ? A French-Irish research project, from University Grenoble Alpes and Dublin City University, supported by the Ulysses programme in 2018, wants to find out.
Lecturer in University Grenoble Alpes, I studied English and did my Phd thesis on language acquisition before getting involved in translation.
My work on machine translation started when I was asked to create a course which would allow our Master students in multilingual translation to really get to grips with machine translation. As I was designing the contents, I discovered the pioneering works of a team from Dublin City University which could explain machine translation to students who were neither mathematicians nor computer scientists, and how to use it wisely.
I had the opportunity to meet Dorothy Kenny in 2016 when she was participating to a jury in Grenoble. She gave a paper on that occasion and we started exchanging thoughts in the months that followed. I was awarded an initial grant by the French Embassy which allowed us to start our collaboration and put together a Ulysses proposal.
We want to explore translator training models which prepare our students for contemporary working environments, by providing them with the technical skills and knowledge they will need, but also the intellectual skills which will allow them to address upcoming ethical, legal and economic challenges.
This implies including in our teaching the latest machine translation engines (called “neural” engones) and developing an appropriate pedagogy, as well as understanding the factors which help professional translators to accept translation technologies and to use with them without compromising their well-being and the cognitive, organizational and physical ergonomics of their workstations and tools.
Practically, the Ulysses funding helped us design and set up new sessions that we jointly evaluated during our respective stays in Dublin and in Grenoble.
With our third partner (Olga Torres Hostench, Autonomous University of Barcelona) and several industrial partners, we submitted an application for funding through the Erasmus+ programme in March 2019 to allow us to scale up our work. The team is working well and we very much hope to be able to continue working together!