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Yuste Rodrigo, Elia (2008). Topics in Language Resources for Translation and Localisation.

Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, xii, 220 pp. 90.00 € / US $ 135.00 ISBN 978 90 272 1688 5

It has not been until recent years that language resources (LRs) for translation and localisation have been given due attention. Since this seems to be the case mainly in academic and research circles, some efforts ought yet to be made to raise further awareness about LRs in general, and LRs for translation and localisation in particular, to a wider audience. Hence, the principle motivation behind this volume.

Even though Topics in Language Resources for Translation and Localisation is the logical outcome of a series of workshops initiated by the editor, this is not a book about conference proceedings and its novelty has to be emphasised. All the selected contributions portray state-of-the-art research, working practices and industry standards in the ever expanding field of multilingual resources in translation and localisation.

The first chapter, “A comparative evaluation of bilingual concordancers and translation memory systems,” is a thorough study by Bowker and Barlow showing the strengths and the limitations of these two types of tools with respect to automation, search flexibility, consistency, and other quality-related issues.

In chapter two, the reader will learn that translation problems derived from the specifics of a language or a register require a detailed linguistic analysis which cannot always be accomplished with the use of parallel corpora. In “Interactive reference grammars: Exploiting parallel and comparable treebanks for translation,” Hansen-Schirra points out the role of annotated corpora as reference works for grammatical translation problems.

Chapter three by Bernardini and Castagnoli, “Corpora for translator education and translation practice,” promotes an educational rather than a professional perspective of corpora for translation students. Examples of e-learning materials about corpora are presented with the aim of showing how they should raise awareness among students, ideally encouraging them to contrast, for example, corpora against other resources, such as dictionaries or translation memories.

Also from an educational rather than a professional perspective, Maia’s contribution in chapter four, “CORPÓGRAFO, V.4: Tools for educating translators,” describes the history, motivation and latest developments of an online, freely available suite —Corpógrafo—, which integrates and responds to principles of corpus linguistics, terminology management and extraction, as well as the collection and analysis of lexical items.

In chapter five, “The real use of corpora in teaching and research contexts,” Colominas and Badia examine the strengths and weaknesses of current corpus interfaces and exemplify search types that can be relevant in translation training contexts or for translation research purposes.

Chapter six is a good example of how to create translation corpora for under-resourced languages. In “The use of corpora in translator training in the African language classroom: A perspective from South Africa,” Gauton draws on her expertise with electronic corpora, corpus query tools and translation memory tools to enable African language translators to mine target language texts for possible translation equivalents, and re-use existing translations to attain standardised terminologies.

In a radically different work setting but equally aware of local constraints and requirements, de Saint Robert pinpoints in chapter seven, “CAT tools in international organisations: Lessons learnt from the experience of the Languages Service of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG),” that the usefulness of LRs must not be taken for granted. Tests and pilot projects with computer-aided translation software have been conducted at the UNOG and all of them seem to show that such software is neither a source of improvement of quality nor of quantity in translation.

Shedding some light on “Global content management – Challenges and opportunities for creating and using digital translation resources” (chapter eight), Budin combines the concepts of content management and cross-cultural communication under the perspective of translation resources. According to the author, translation resources are typical examples of content that needs to be managed in global action spaces.

Bey, Boitet and Kageura present in chapter nine “BEYTrans: a Wiki-based environment for helping online volunteer translators.” Following major Web 2.0 advances, this research project develops a computer-aided translation environment which could open new ways of collaboration facilitating the management of existing language resources, and filling the gap between the needs of online volunteer translators and existing CAT tools.

Chapter ten is also the result of innovative research. Cruz-Lara et al. are concerned with “Standardising the management and the representation of multilingual data: the MultiLingual Information Framework (MLIF).” Since normalisation is a key issue within translation and localisation activities, MLIF is being designed with a high-level common conceptual model of multilingual content in mind and as a platform allowing interoperability among several translation and localisation standards and, by extension, their related tools.

Kato and Arisawa’s chapter eleven, “Tagging and tracing program integrated information (PII),” is inspired by how the current internationalisation process of PII causes difficulties both for the localisers and the testers to contextualise the text that is being localised or tested. The authors concentrate especially on the testing problem and offer statistical analysis of the characteristics of PII strings.

In chapter twelve, “Linguistic resources and localisation,” Schäler provides the reader with the essential definitions surrounding localisation. The discussion is followed by a real-life case study showing the use of language resources in localisation and an introduction to the INGNITE project, an initiative to create a robust infrastructure for the localisation industry comprising language data and tools based on widely accepted standards.

To conclude, this book focuses on language resources from several angles and in relation to current trends of multilingual content processes, being appealing to a heterogeneous readership. Students, educators, researchers and professionals related to the translation and localisation arena will surely benefit from the different and enlightening contributions in this volume.

Bartolomé Mesa Lao, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
barto.mesa@uab.cat