The following text is taken from Interpreting: From Preparation to Performance. Recipes for practitioners and Teachers, Compiled by Csilla Szabó et al, British Council, Budapest. ISBN963 20 6409 7 and is reprinted with the kind permission of the British Council.
This article was first published in 2003 and unfortunately quite a few of the hyperlinks are no longer valid.
Róbert Gulyás (University of Miskolc)
However young an interpreter you are, you may already have noticed that conference organizers are usually slow in providing written material for your convenience, and the time for lexical preparation is always shorter than you would expect. With butterflies in your stomach, you arrive at the scene of the conference without knowing who the proponents and opponents of certain ideas are and stare helplessly at your hand-made glossary of 200 items, which proves to be of no use at all because the topic of the conference is about a completely different aspect of the subject matter. After a few blunders and self-initiated briefings from some helpful conference participants in the coffee breaks you start to grasp some of the terms the speakers use, and by the second day you pride yourself on being able to solve translation problems with ease in front of your colleague who joined you only today. By the last day of the conference you excel in using the specialized vocabulary of the experts on the panel and leave the scene with quite an amount of self-confidence to have covered yet another difficult topic. You rush home to add the topic to your interpreter's profile on the Web, but before you are able to type the new vocabulary into your computer, fatigue overcomes you and—fed up with three days' listening to the rather obscure debates of eccentrics from all corners of the world—you turn on your TV and fall asleep…
How could you make your preparation more effective? How could you prevent blunders? How could you retain the knowledge you acquired for later use? The answer is: by searching the Internet more effectively using sophisticated search techniques and by saving and filing the references you found in your own database. The following list of references is meant to widen your Web-horizon by classifying interpreting resources on the Internet (giving an example for each category). If you follow the pattern of classification, your search will be more focused and your filing of resources more coherent.
The Web as an interpreter resource centre
The World Wide Web is an inexhaustible resource of linguistic material if you have the necessary skills (and time) to comb through the data and text to find them. There is a lot more out there than you would imagine! If you consult content providers’ portals for meta-databases, meta-thesauri and meta-dictionaries, you’ll find dazzling collections of links to mono-, bi- or multilingual on-line or downloadable reference works: bibliographies, webographies, calendopaedias, repertories, directories, databases, searchable concordances, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, glossaries and lexicons on the web-pages of language research institutes and committed individuals. Thousands of small but highly specialized English glossaries in different subject areas are hidden behind the portals of businesses.
Libraries, universities offer a wide selection of e-books, e-texts, the web-sites of international organizations, national parliaments and government institutions abound with articles, interviews, news, reports, press briefings and transcripts of speeches that you can use as a lexical resource if you look for parallel texts while preparing for an interpreting task. And remember to browse through the websites of e-journals, e-zines and webzines if you are in need of fresh data. Translation webinars on specialized subjects are convened by expert teams from time to time. To participate you need only sign up for the address lists of translation agencies and translators’ schools. These web sites also provide us with the names and addresses of certified translator colleagues.
Downloadable and searchable linguistic corpuses and corpus management software (language guessers, segmenters, text tokenizators, sparsers, part of speech taggers, text categorizers, syntactic chunkers, speech synthesizers) are excellent tools for transforming specialized texts into home-made glossaries. Cutting-edge translation software usually costs a lot, but if you are smart you can find free (and almost just as good) downloadable translation tools on the net.
And have you ever put automatic information finding tools, style guides, grammars, distant learning materials and subscribable linguistic e-mail services to the test, yet? If not, now is the time to start finding and using them!
If, however, you should get tired of researching, it is always refreshing to make a stopover on web pages full of linguistic fun and amusing language games. To make your search easier I have listed below the best URLs I have come across during my surfings over the past two years. Try out some of them. I am sure they won’t disappoint you.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR SEARCH
A. If you are an advanced language learner (as we all are) and do not wish to carry piles of printed general dictionaries and encyclopaedias with you see > GENERAL RESOURCES.
B. If you are a practising translator or interpreter and want to boost your English, consult the > ADVANCED LINGUISTIC RESOURCES section
C. If you are a practising translator or interpreter and wish to compile a specialized glossary on a specific subject matter in a short time, look at the > SPECIALIZED GLOSSARIES section.
D. If you are a practising translator or interpreter and want to find parallel texts and background information to facilitate your preparation for an assignment, search in > PARALLEL TEXTS (See also Parallel texts at ITR).
E. If you are a practising translator and wish to facilitate your work by using translation memory software or if you are a language professional interested in corpus linguistics have a look at > SOFTWARE.
F. If you happen to be a scholar interested in translation and interpreting research find out more about relevant topics and your researcher colleagues under > RESEARCH
G. If you are a trainer of translators or interpreters consult > Learning
H. And if you happen to be any of the above intending to bring some colour into your life, go to > LINGUISTIC FUN.
There are virtually thousands of glossaries on the Web. Instead of listing a few arbitrarily I will give you a few time-saving search tips. Newbies tend to enter the term they are after in their favourite search engine and spend hours screening the URLs they get before they find its proper definition or relevant occurrence in a parallel text. If you wish to spare this time, consult either of the links below.
Google Glossary Search Engine under http://labs1.google.com/glossary will find your search term's occurrences in on-line dictionaries and glossaries only instead of providing millions of irrelevant URLs.
If you wish to list all dictionaries and glossaries on the Internet that might be relevant for your preparation for your translation or interpreting job try the sophisticated AltaVista-based glossary search tool developed by Tanya Harvey under http://www.geocities.com/glosspost/Srccheatsheet.html, which will bring you to the AltaVista search page with the search term box already filled in for you. You will only need to replace "keyword" at the end of the line by your search term (and press Enter) and dozens of links to glossaries will appear that all contain your search term.
For Hungarian translators and interpreters (with English, German and/or French as a working language) a printed version of the most useful eight thousand (8000!) links to annotated linguistic resources (including links to thousands of monolingual glossaries and all Hungarian-English/German/French on-line dictionaries) will be published in early 2003. Look out for this publication in specialized bookstores.
If you are a translator with a sense for corpus linguistics you might be interested in more exciting corpus management tools that can boost your work considerably. A helpful collection of links to these tools (concordancers, part of speech taggers, segmenters, sentence generators, sparsers, speech synthesizers, splitters, syntactic chunkers, text categorizers, text tokenizators, truncators - whatever these terms mean) can be found under http://www.ruthvilmi.net/hut/LangHelp/concordance.html
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