Artificial Intelligence Learns From its Mistakes

It is well known that we all learn from our mistakes. All creatures from the animal kingdom answer a causality principle which forces them, by memory, reason or instinct, not to reproduce an error if they have already been subjected to a physical or psychological reprimand. Since this type of perception is specific to beings endowed with feelings and consciousness, it seems impossible to apply it to computers. But what about artificial intelligence ?


Nowadays, AI is not only limited to the recognition and processing of programs made to achieve a specific goal, one action at a time. In 1951, at the beginning of AI, a student from the University of Manchester created a machine capable of beating you hands down at the game of chess. This is an example among many others of primitive artificial intelligence, outstanding at the time, but quickly outdated by technical and scientific needs.

Through the years, scientists have discovered the need to revolutionize AI and decided to use the most logical example to leverage their advances : the human being. The tendency to make mistakes is thus an imperfection envied by machines. Current artificial intelligence systems are therefore capable of reproducing thoughts, a deductive mind and even reasoning in order to stock each piece of data into its own memory : an advanced learning process.

In the past machine translation software used to run with an algorithm splitting the whole text into fragments and then searching the meaning of these fragments in the memory. Depending on the language, the software would then adapt the structure of the fragments based on the grammatical rules of each language. But since the translation’s quality was not always perfect, online translation has recently been suited with a new advanced learning system, allowing the software to learn from its mistakes.

As an example, let’s take two languages intrinsically different : English and Japanese. Having encountered performance difficulties during a previous translation in this language combination, the software changes its strategy and chooses a “compromise” language. In this case, Korean acts as a bridge between two grammars that are too different. After a short analysis, the automated translation software first translates from Japanese to Korean, and then from Korean to English. It gets around the difficulty and improves the result.

By taking language as an example, we quickly understand how much modern AI learning, which imitates human reasoning, can become effective. We could think that the gap between AI and human beings is becoming smaller, but the non-mechanical mechanism of the human mind cannot be excluded from the equation. The nuances, the feelings, the cultural knowledge, etc. What makes humanity beautiful is the myriad of unsolvable enigmas that even the most powerful calculator,-let’s call it “computer”- could not solve.

Written by Gildas Mergny

Translated by Arthur Chevallier-Letort

Translating U.S. Sports

As a European, it is not that hard to translate football terms. Sure, as in every translation field, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t know anything about it. However, in Europe, we do know some things, especially the readers. Well, at least the minimum so that they can rant about footballers’ wages during lunch on Sundays. By the way, speaking of football, did you know that Americans call it soccer ?


So yes, Americans decided that football is a sport played with your hands and that Europeans were wrong. So be it.

Also speaking of Americans, we have to admit that their sports are pretty interesting, right ? Everything is a show, their 100,000-seat American (yes, American) football stadiums filled with crazy fans, with fireworks launched at every home run or touchdown, this dizzying sensation of belonging to a team when the hockey puck enters the net and the crowd roars… We have to say that they know how to put on a great show.

Wow, two paragraphs and we have yet to talk about translation in American sports. So here we go : be it basketball, American football or hockey, we don’t really play these in France. Let’s not even talk about lacrosse. I will take the example of softball since I have been playing it for six years. This is a cousin of baseball, where we almost use the same terms and instead of trying to prove who can hit the ball the farthest, softball is more focused on tactics. Anyway, I always wondered how I would translate softball terms. Quebecers have translated all the rules into French but, in France, where more people know about who the last The Voice winner is than softball, it may be better to keep the specific terms in English (such as shortstop, strike, catcher, etc.). That way, if it ever wanted to, the general public could check American websites to find more information with these terms in English. On the one hand, an American sports enthusiast would find it easier to understand articles in English about his favourite sport since he understands everything. On the other hand, someone that could really be interested in playing that sport could find the glut of specific terms in English annoying and then give up really fast.

Maybe it is only a matter of time ? In 30 years, American sports will probably be more well-known and understood in English, that or each and every term will be translated in French and used naturally. The major problem with translation is that sports clubs appeal to kids thanks to the cool aspect of American sports. Some of the terms, such as first base (première base in French) are always translated, but others like outfield, pop up or fly ball are usually kept in English. I think that it gets us a little bit closer to the packed stadiums in the USA that we all dream about.

But for now, I have to leave you and go to my softball training (balle-molle in French, which is a literal translation even though we play with “hard balls”. In fact, I could continue for hours… but for now, I must get going.)

 Written by Léa Pigeau

Translated by Nathan Hermance

Questions to Ask Clients before Accepting a Project

Every translation is different : number of words, levels of technicality and writing, covered topics, format process and so on. All these possibilities raise questions that need to be answered. When a client asks you for a quotation, you must never forget to ask them questions that are required in order to organize your project.


It is often believed that price is set on a specific word basis, yet this price is highly variable depending on different factors : the source language, the technicality of the text, the deadline, etc. The rarer the source language, the more technical text and the shorter the deadline, the more expensive the translation. Some projects are not worth it and will only be a waste of time. That is why, before accepting a project, essential questions need to be asked to the client :

  • What is the number of words ?

  • What is the deadline for your project ?

  • What is the technicality of the text ?

  • What is the format of the source document ?

  • Is it a written or an audio document ? Is a transcription necessary ?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you will be able to find out if it is worth taking on the project, and most importantly, how much you will be charging the client for it. Most of the time, clients will try to negotiate or fix their own price. Many people are not aware of how much work and time is involved in a translation. Ask yourself if this price seems fair to you. Do not accept to lower the price, which could not only make you work at a loss or for a paltry sum but also make all your colleagues an enemy. It is important to “educate” your client to respect you not only as a professional, who not only uses their linguistic knowledge, but also as a human being, who has needs and desires, such as sleep, among other things. However, is it important to build customer loyalty : if you have to accept a binding project to a respectable extent from a client who can provide you with interesting translation projects on a regular basis, don’t think about it too long.

If business is going well, you can also take into account other personal factors : what do you need or want most : a professional life or the latest iPhone ? Do you consider this translation interesting ? Is your customer well known ? Can they continuously provide you with an actual volume of work that will become profitable ? Asking the right questions can bring you an appreciable peace of mind !

Camille Rigaud

Translated by Arthur Chevallier-Letort

Source : https ://

Tips for Launching a Career as a Translator

Although the field of translation is diversified and requires a good sense of rigor, some junior translators sometimes do not have enough experience to carry out a project by themselves. With the help of some tips and advice, you will be able to improve your skills from both a personal and professional point of view.


Tip 1 : Improve Your Linguistic Skills

First of all, whether you studied foreign languages or something else, knowledge of multiple languages are now very prevalent and learning them allows greater access to the job market. The English language, the most popular language in the world, is nowadays essential when it comes to international communication. That is why mastering one or several languages is crucial especially for a translator.

To acquire more knowledge, you can firstly immerse yourself in the culture of the language of your choosing by reading books, watching movies or listening to music. If you have any passions or hobbies, use them. For instance, play video games in a foreign language to progress in an active and fun way. If you are into series, get into captioning them.

You can resort to other things, such as linguistic tandems, media (television news, radio) or you can simply travel abroad to learn about the country’s culture.

Tip 2 : Do Volunteer Work

To combine the personal and the professional sphere, working as a volunteer translator is a substantial asset in terms of improving your skills. Indeed, translators, whether they are a beginner or pursuing their career, can acquire more skills by working in the field of translation for companies or associations for free in order to overcome their lack of references and experience. Whether it is translating, subtitling or for any other areas, this experience can be useful and is very much appreciated on a resume. Afterward, the translator can use this to create a portfolio.

The world-renowned TED organization, which provides hundreds of video conferences, launched a translation project in May 2009. Thanks to subtitling, these videos reach a wider number of people around the world. Through these videos, you can kill two birds with one stone by acquiring more knowledge in audiovisual translation while helping other people.

Moreover, you can offer your services to other companies and organizations. Favor organizations such as non-governmental organizations (NGO) because they are more likely to accept free translators.

Tip 3 : Develop Your Brand Name and Network

Nowadays, the digital era is expanding all around the world. Consequently, a junior translator has no choice but to create their own simple and easy-to-use website. This professional website is used to highlight their linguistic or translating skills, their qualities, some recommendations from previous companies or organizations, etc. Putting an online contact form for a potential client is also recommended.

In addition to the website, a junior translator has to think beforehand about their field of specialization and the status which they want to work under : freelancer, employee, etc. It’s advised that you reflect on all the answers to the questions that may be asked. Furthermore, professionals are present at information fairs (for students or vocational guidance) so keep yourself informed about the dates of these events.

Lastly, use online professional social media such as LinkedIn, Viadeo or Xing. These various media allow you, for instance, to fill out your online resume, to extend your professional network, but also, to find a job and sometimes in a foreign country.

Best of luck to you !

Avatar Christelle Dilling

Source : http ://




Translated by Arthur Chevallier-Letort

Five Tips to Optimize the Quality of Your Translation

Translators are often under pressure to provide a translation in the shortest possible time. The problem lies in the quality of a translation that is delivered within too tight a deadline. When you want to have your website translated, it is essential to think about the quality of your content whatever the language may be. To deal with this problem, here are five tips to make your content easier to translate.


Think Globally

If you know ahead of time that among the projects you are going to translate one will be localized, it is best to translate while keeping localization in mind. Indeed, if you choose to avoid images with embedded text, use word-processing software, write in a concise and precise manner, your content will be much easier and quicker to translate, which will help you save money on translation.

Choose the Right Translators

Obviously, the more efficient the translators, the better the translation will be. Firstly, a translator must ALWAYS translate into their native language for a truly professional and natural result, with the least possible mistakes. It goes without saying that the more experienced the translator is, the better the result of their translation. However, if you should work with an inexperienced translator, make sure that they are familiar with the terminology they will work with.

Create a Glossary

If you provide your translator/translation agency with a glossary, it will considerably reduce the time spent working with them and the translation process will be more efficient. In addition, you will be sure that the technical terms used are correct.

Use Translation Memories

Translation memories save translators time by automatically translating recurring and domain-specific terms. The more you feed the translation memories, the more efficient they are. Moreover, they help you save time and money on translations, regardless of the translator using them.

Proofreading and Quality Assurance Control

Once the work is complete, the translation goes through a proofreading and quality assurance process that allows the translator to verify whether the terms have been properly used in the right context. Some terms may appear out of context in the translation memories and their translation may, therefore, vary according to the sentence in which they are used.

Camille Rigaud

Translated by Sonia Ahamada

Source  : https ://

What’s Next If Not Translation ?

Despite being one of the oldest professions in the world, working as a translator is today still a very relevant job. However, there has been a constant decrease in the number of translators on the job market. The reason for this is mainly because of too low a remuneration for the workload demanded. But don’t panic ! Being a translator requires both analytic and linguistic skills. These skills are in high demand in various sectors. So, if you eventually decide that this job was not meant for you, there are several sectors in which you can do a unique job.
Continue reading What’s Next If Not Translation  ?

A Personal Choice – Translation into One or into Several Languages

Upon entering the work force, the decision needs to be made as to the language combination that will be used. This is the reason for which translators currently working into their native language represent a gross majority of the translation market as opposed to professionals translating into a foreign language. The question remains however, should translators work solely into their native tongue ?


Educational Training

Translators, whether they are still in training or have already received their educational qualifications, must make a choice sooner or later regarding their language combinations. This means choosing to translate solely into their native language, or rather into a foreign language.

Translation courses enable students to become more adept in the field while progressively becoming more familiar with a range of subject areas. Continuous translation practice, be it into a student’s native language or a foreign language, allows the students to better identify the type of author or translator that they are. Today, foreign languages and the field of translation go hand in hand. For this reason, it is indispensable to master at least one if not two foreign languages.

When learning to become a translator, different areas of specialisation may be presented in the texts that are studied. The reason for this is that a professional translator not only needs to master foreign languages, but also needs to have one or several areas of specialization, be it legal, business, or medical etc.

Over the course of their studies, certain courses and experiences help to adequately prepare translators for the professional world. Unfortunately however, an amateur translator may find themselves in an unfamiliar and potentially destabilising situation. This is why a professional translator must sometimes adapt to the diverse projects with which they are entrusted.

Professional Experience

Working in translation requires decision-making. An agency might not have the budget necessary to hire translators for each target language and so may require that translators master several languages and be able to translate not only into their native language, but also into foreign languages. All this is a matter of having the means, but also a matter of the quality that is required. Generally, a translator who works only into their native language is able to produce a better quality translation than one who works into several languages.

Nevertheless, no matter the choice, a professional translator who works both from and into their native language will always have just as much a place on the market as one who translates only into their native language.

Advantages of Translating into One’s Native Language

According to the SFT (The French National Translators’ Union) :

“A ‘good’ professional translator is a true author […] But the most important thing is their aptitude in establishing the right parallels between two languages, in conveying the essence of the message in their own language, using the appropriate terminology and style.”

Indeed, a translation must not only be linguistically and grammatically correct, but it must also convey the original message. To do this, a translator needs to know the cultural and linguistic references of the country for which the message is intended.

A translator can use their native language and the various language styles (word play, expressions, nuances, synonyms, etc.) to be a source of inspiration, enabling them to then convey the initial message. The text that is produced can therefore bring a personal touch, while still staying true to the message and the quality of the original text. Even in the event of having a high proficiency in the target language, a native translator, having been immersed in the language and culture, is by default more able to feed off the riches of their mother tongue than one who is a non-native.

A Personal Choice

Following their translations studies, students will need to make some choices as it relates to their professional path. Quite often, the question of language choices and their willingness or lack thereof to translate only into their native language arises.

This often difficult decision should essentially be based on your abilities and your personal vision. It is therefore up to you to base your decision on your perception of the working world and make your way towards the path you wish to take. Whatever the case, no matter how different, each individual has a place in the translation sector.

Avatar Christelle Dilling

Sources :

https ://

http :// 

Translated by Giselle Dunbar

The Importance of Translation in Communicating Health Care Information

The world is often faced with health crises, as evidenced by the Zika epidemic, which threaten many inhabitants living in the Americas, the Pacific and Southeast Asia. To guard against these risks, all 194 Member States of the World Health Organization work closely together in the fields of surveillance and research. In order to ensure that these steps run smoothly, effective communication is necessary among the different parties involved.


The Role of Translation in WHO’s Communication Strategy

Translation plays a key role in WHO’s communication strategy. This communication strategy concerns the staff at WHO, collaborators as well as the public to whom its messages are addressed.
Firstly, translation is done within the organization, which has been working in six official languages since 1978. In fact, all of its publications are translated into English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French and Russian. Since 2005, the WHO website has been available in all six languages.
Translation is used at the surveillance and research level among the different Member States. In fact, WHO ensures that all actors involved in these stages (governments, researchers, etc.) are able to understand each other despite language barriers.
Translation is done when it is necessary to transmit prevention instructions to populations facing the same health crisis in several countries. It is distributed through various communication media (brochures, posters, announcements by radio and television channels, websites etc.) and must comply with quality standards.

Factors Considered for Translation

To minimize the risk of death from an epidemic, translation must be integrated into a communication strategy which takes into account Internet usage, literacy rates and multilingualism.

Firstly, taking into account the Internet usage in the countries affected by health crisis makes it possible to determine the number of inhabitants who can be informed online. In countries where there is a high number of Internet users, the spread of prevention messages through online videos has a significant impact. On the other hand, in the least developed countries, the impact of these messages is lower.

Secondly, taking into account the literacy rate of countries makes it possible to determine the number of inhabitants that need to be informed orally. Literacy rates do not exceed 50 % in some countries, so it is essential to combine radio and TV ads with written messages.

Thirdly, taking into account multilingualism ensures that all inhabitants of the same country have access to prevention information. Local dialects may be the basis for this multilingualism.

Finally, translation of a preventative message must not be a simple copy of the original message, but must be quickly adapted for the well-being of the inhabitants.

Stéphane Bagassien—Catalan

Translated by Sheneil Anadean Ellis

Source : https ://