A Comparative Study of Terminology Management Tools in Machine-Assisted Human Translations. Master's thesis written under the supervision of Professor Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak School of English Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan, Poland 2004
In the global village we live in, the need to communicate seamlessly and effectively is a very significant one. The translation market in Poland is nowadays becoming highly competitive, demanding ever higher standards of performance and productivity both from experienced and novice translators. The requirements Polish translators and interpreters will have to meet are bound to soar even higher now that Poland has become a member of the European Union.
The Polish translation market can be characterized as highly fragmented, with very few medium-size companies. Many translators run single-person companies seated in their homes, sometimes not even owning legal software. The fact that the operating costs of these translation agencies are low, frequently paired with excellent customer service and high output quality can be viewed as an advantage. However, there are a number of serious limitations which act to the detriment of translation capacity and quality of the Polish translation agencies when it comes to large translation projects or technically demanding assignments (Argos 2002). Good management of translation projects, which involves, among others, efficient terminology management as well as the ability to use and benefit from the state-of-the-art language technology has become a necessity for those who wish to remain on the market.
Therefore, there is a great need for comprehensive writing on the tools that might help translators meet the ever-increasing expectations of their clients. This need includes not only a comprehensive presentation of the tools, their functionalities and advertising the different applications available, but also detailed and objective guidelines on how to evaluate such tools. There is a great abundance of sources presenting CAT tools. However, only testing the tools against objective and comprehensive criteria can give a real picture of the tools' applicability for a given user or a particular working environment. There is also an immense need to promote standards and new developments in the areas of language engineering and general computer technologies, in order to ensure more compatibility and exchangeability of terminology resources and translation memories among translators, technical writers, etc. (POINTER 1996)1.
Bearing in mind the current situation on the Polish and global translation market, the author decided to devote this thesis to presenting a comprehensive study of terminology management tools, which may address the above-mentioned needs, although in the limited way. The study will involve theoretical introduction into terminology management as a scientific discipline including a brief historical outline, followed by a suggested methodology of evaluation and an exemplary evaluation procedure comparing three terminology management tools. The author would like to emphasize that all the tools selected for presentation in the thesis were available for testing for free, and no software provider sponsored this project. The reasoning behind the selection of particular tools is given in the fourth chapter of the thesis.
In order to demonstrate the features of the tools, terminological databases were created in the programs selected. As a corpus for terminology extraction for the termbases, the author used a number of sources (see Appendix I). The selected programs were installed on two computers, both having Windows XP for the operating system. One had 256 MB RAM, the other 128 MB RAM. In both cases Office 2003 was used.
1POINTER (Proposals for an Operational Infrastructure for Terminology in Europe) - a project carried out by terminology specialists in the years 1995 - 1996