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On the Lookout for Accessible Translation Aids: Current Scenario and New Horizons for Blind Translation Students and Professionals


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The introduction of specialised computer software to support translation practice has shaped the translation industry landscape, transforming the use of Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) systems into a prime requirement for translators to successfully enter the marketplace. This technological turn has placed visually impaired translation students −and professionals− at a disadvantage with respect to their sighted peers, as a seamless interaction between translation software and assistive technologies (AT) is not always guaranteed. By drawing on data collected over the last five years from two main exploratory studies involving students and experienced translation practitioners with visual impairments, this paper aims at providing a snapshot of the current state of the art concerning the accessibility of CAT tools for blind users. Additionally, we attempt to offer some insight into the pedagogical implications of the latter for translation technology training in a university setting. In general terms, our findings reveal that the inaccessible design of the most popular CAT systems and the lack of appropriate support from their developers may limit the chances of blind students of fully developing their translation careers. Similarly, they urge for a change of mindset among both tool developers and translation technology lecturers.
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Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
On the Lookout for Accessible Translation Aids:
Current Scenario and New Horizons for Blind Translation
Students and Professionals
Silvia Rodríguez Vázquez
Dublin City University (DCU), Dublin, Ireland
Fiorenza Mileto
Università degli Studi Internazionali di Roma (UNINT), Rome, Italy
The introduction of specialised computer software to support translation practice has
shaped the translation industry landscape, transforming the use of Computer Assisted
Translation (CAT) systems into a prime requirement for translators to successfully
enter the marketplace. This technological turn has placed visually impaired translation
students and professionals at a disadvantage with respect to their sighted peers, as a
seamless interaction between translation software and assistive technologies (AT) is
not always guaranteed. By drawing on data collected over the last five years from two
main exploratory studies involving students and experienced translation practitioners
with visual impairments, this paper aims at providing a snapshot of the current state of
the art concerning the accessibility of CAT tools for blind users. Additionally, we
attempt to offer some insight into the pedagogical implications of the latter for
translation technology training in a university setting. In general terms, our findings
reveal that the inaccessible design of the most popular CAT systems and the lack of
appropriate support from their developers may limit the chances of blind students of
fully developing their translation careers. Similarly, they urge for a change of mindset
among both tool developers and translation technology lecturers.
Keywords: Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT), Translation Technology Training,
Software Accessibility, Visual Impairments, Translator-Computer Interaction (TCI)
1. Introduction
The language industry, which encompasses the translation services market, is
considered today a strongly growing sector (SDL, 2016). The increasing demand
for professionally translated content has inevitably resulted in heightened work
load and faster turnaround times, regardless of the complexity of the file format in
which the text to be translated has been stored (García, 2015). This new reality has
not only generated attractive career opportunities over the last decade, but also
motivated the proliferation of specialised software to aid and support language
professionals during the translation process, turning the translation profession into
a form of human-computer interaction (HCI) in its own right (O’Brien, 2012).
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
The use of Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) systems in particular has
become the norm in daily translation practice. Some of the key features offered by
this software, such as automating the application of terminology guidelines,
facilitating the handling of complex formatting and text encoded in mark-up
languages, reusing previous translations held in translation memories (TM) and the
integration of machine translation (MT) technology (Folaron, 2010; García, 2015),1
have transformed CAT systems into 'productivity tools' without which language
service providers (LSPs) believe they would lose competitive advantage (SDL,
2016, p. 9). Prior studies have even pointed out that work providers are putting
pressure on external translation professionals to adopt CAT tools −often the one of
their choice, and not the translator's− with the aim of reducing costs and boosting
quality (Dillon & Fraser, 2006). In such scenario, it comes as no surprise to learn
that student translators also perceive the ability to use translation technologies as an
advantage or even prerequisite to enter the translation market (Doherty &
Moorkens, 2013; Olalla-Soler & Vert Bolaños, 2013).
With the technological advances achieved until present concerning the use of
assistive technologies2 to facilitate an enhanced HCI for people with disabilities,
one would expect that the establishment of CAT tools as essential components of
the translation workflow would have paved the way for blind translators to conduct
translation jobs more autonomously. Most people with severe visual impairments
access the computer by means of a screen reader: a piece of software that
transforms what would be normally displayed on the screen into synthesised
speech, converting a two-dimensional digital document to a one dimensional text
string and making audio the dominant medium (Freitas, 2010, p. 273). This content
“linearisation” process that occurs when accessing any given electronic document
can render common tasks traditionally requested by the client extremely time
consuming or even impossible without sighted assistance (Dold, 2016) or the help
of CAT software; for example, preserving the formatting of the document being
translated in the target file. It thus follows that, for current and prospective
translators with visual impairments, having or acquiring a high level of translation-
related technological competence may be needed not only to satisfy the workplace
demands in terms of adherence to established automated workflows, but also to (i)
carry out a translation task on an equal footing as their sighted peers and (ii) deliver
a translation service that matches the general quality expectations of the
1 For the purposes of this paper, and as it can be inferred from the above, we do not wish to draw a
clear line between TM systems and MT post-editing software. Instead, and following current trends in
translation technologies (Moorkens & O’Brien, 2017, forthcoming), we consider 'CAT tools' as
machine-assisted translation environments that integrate both solutions in a seamless manner.
2 The term assistive technology (AT) is used within the context of HCI Studies to refer to any piece of
software or hardware designed to facilitate the use of computers by people with impairments (DRC,
2004, p. 1) that cannot use the conventional technologies needed (known as WIMP: Windows, Icon,
Mouse, Pointer) to access a graphical user interface (GUI). Functionality provided by assistive
technology includes alternative presentations (e.g., synthesised speech or magnified content),
alternative input methods (e.g., voice), additional navigation or orientation mechanisms and content
transformations (Caldwell, Cooper, Guarino Reid, & Vanderheiden, 2008).
3 As Gouadec (2010, p. 270) puts it, quality in translation refers to "both the quality of an end-product
(the translated material) and the quality of the transaction (the service provided)". While we do not
question the ability of blind translators to acquire the linguistic and translational competences needed
to reach the former, we hypothesise that they may be at a disadvantage with regard to the latter,
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
Mastering the use of translation technology, however, does not exclusively rely
on the blind person's learning capabilities and instrumental skills. Reaching a
smooth interaction between visually impaired users and translation software
heavily depends on the accessibility of the latter (i.e. on whether the tool has been
designed to provide information and functionality in different modalities and to be
supported by the users' ATs). The present paper seeks to shed light on this issue as,
according to anecdotal evidence −including personal conversations between the
authors and different blind translators, as well as the information regularly
exchanged on the topic through The Round Table4 mailing list , it seems that most
CAT tool providers do not list accessibility considerations among their immediate
priorities. While it has been reported that, to conduct translation jobs, screen reader
users adopt different coping strategies to overcome the accessibility barriers
encountered (e.g. use of mouse simulation commands, scripting, collaboration with
sighted assistants), these are not considered to be particularly effective (Owton,
2011) and therefore should not be regarded as a solution in the long run.
In what follows, and based on the premise that, as Biau Gil and Pym (2006)
stated, "technology is not an option in today's professional world; it is a necessity",
we aim at bringing to the forefront the accessibility of CAT tools as an object of
scientific inquiry. In order to do so, we first review prior work conducted on the
use and adoption of CAT systems from a user-oriented perspective (§2). Section 3
moves from the professional to the academic milieu to look at recent discussions
about translation technology training, as well as to explain how our work
contributes to the existing body of literature on the challenges of the translation
profession and its training for people with visual impairments. In the remaining
sections, we present the methodology followed to provide what, to the best of our
knowledge, represents the first general assessment of the accessibility of CAT tools
and its implications at various levels (education, employment) for the blind
community 4); we then report the results of a series of case studies about the
accessibility of SDL technology (§5) and a survey targeting visually impaired
translators 6). The article concludes with a summary of our findings, outlining a
series of recommendations for teaching translation technology to blind students
(§7) and offering some insight into potential research avenues for the future (§8).
2. The voice of end users within the new translation-computer interaction
Understandably, throughout the last fifteen years, scholars have devoted
continuing efforts to document the technological developments revolving around
the translator's work processes. This ever-growing interest has resulted in multiple
comprehensive publications on the topic, from seminal books (e.g. Austermühl,
2001; Bowker, 2002; Quah, 2006) to the most recent Encyclopaedia of Translation
Technology (Sin-wai, 2015). While these tended to offer a broader picture of the
especially without the assistance of translation technology (e.g. to meet quick turnaround times and
productivity levels, adhere to formatting guidelines, deal with complex file formats).
4 The Round Table is the leading information exchange hub for visually impaired translators and
interpreters. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
wide array of technologies and electronic resources available (TM, MT, controlled
language, localisation standards, terminology management systems,
corpus-analysis tools, voice recognition software), more targeted accounts of the
advantages and disadvantages of the incursion of these technologies on translation
practice emerged along the way, particularly referring to CAT tools.
In general, straight-forward benefits of using this software, such as obtaining
gains in productivity and terminology consistency or not having to deal with the
translation of repetitive texts thanks to TM leveraging, have been counterbalanced
by a considerable list of drawbacks; for instance, the steep learning curve needed to
master these tools, the high prices of some of them and the need for continuous
updates, the lower rates paid for the editing of fuzzy matches and the post-editing
of MT output, or the lack of context due to fragmented texts (García, 2006; Kenny,
2011; O’Brien, 2012). Some authors have also argued that the use of this type of
translation technology might have a 'deskilling' effect, restraining translators from
being creative, "altering the very nature of the translator's cognitive activity, social
relations and professional standing" (Pym, 2011). To this list, we may add that
CAT tools' lack of accessibility understood as the degree to which a product or
system can be adapted for the needs of users with different (dis)abilities can lead
to self-depreciation as a translation professional, as well as to inequality in terms of
recruitment opportunities. Within our research framework, we are particularly
interested in understanding whether these perceptions are shared by the ultimate
end users (i.e. translators) and whether their views could be taken into account to
alleviate some of the aforementioned negative effects; for example, by considering
their input for informing CAT tool design.
One of the first comprehensive studies conducted with a view to capturing user
perceptions and practices around CAT tools usage was carried out by Lagoudaki
(2006). Her survey, for which she collected 699 usable responses, revealed a high
penetration of CAT software still maintained today, according to more recent
industry studies (SDL, 2016, p. 3), with 82.5% of respondents stating they were
using such tools in their translation-related jobs. The survey focused for the most
part on identifying the profile of the typical CAT tool user (translator dealing with
technical texts, with advance IT skills) and on the evaluation of the most popular
tools among translation professionals in terms of different functional and
non-functional criteria (e.g. reliability, efficiency, learnability). However, it did not
cover the users' opinions as to how the use of CAT tools affected their professional
self-image or their working conditions, two dimensions that the accessibility of
CAT software could have a strong impact on and which are of utmost importance
in the case of visually impaired translators.
Two further studies sought to provide new evidence on these matters. With
respect to the translators' own professional image, Dillon and Fraser (2006) found
that those who were new to the industry had an extremely positive view of CAT
tools users and, therefore, perceived that mastering these tools would contribute to
enhance their profile among colleagues and work providers. This suggests,
according to the authors, that the translator's interaction with peers and the broader
industry is a key influence on the translator's perception and plays an even stronger
role than the individual's user status (ibid). It would thus follow that the blind users'
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
inability to use CAT tools could not only damage their self-esteem, but also
construct a negative image of their professional profile among potential employers.
As far as the translators' views about the influence of CAT tools on their
working conditions is concerned, LeBlanc's (2013) data collected through
interviews conducted in the translators' workplace indicated that, while translators
showed overall a positive attitude towards a computer-assisted translation
workflow, they considered that most of the disadvantages of using CAT software
already set forth in the Introduction of this paper (e.g. barrier to creativity, changes
in productivity requirements) had altered their translation modus operandi. One
interesting finding was that these concerns appeared to stem not necessarily from
the tools' conception or design, but rather from the way the companies required
their translators to use them (ibid). Nonetheless, as O'Brien (2012, p. 114) argues,
there remains a paucity of evidence showing whether translation tools are really
being designed (or not) "from the point of view of interaction with translators, as
opposed to simply facilitating functions within the translation task or supporting
the managers of the translation business."
Through her survey, Lagoudaki (2006) made one of the first attempts to bridge
this gap, collecting information about certain preferences of CAT tool users, as
well as a list of desired functionalities that translation software could integrate in
the future. Yet, most of those have either become outdated (e.g. translators
preferred MS Word as text processing environment) or are already featured in most
CAT software (e.g. the handling of PDF files or OCR capabilities). Since then, far
too little attention has been paid to hear the needs of translators to improve the user
interfaces (UI) they need to work with every day. One of the few exceptions has
been reported in Bota et al. (2013), where focus groups of experienced translators
were created to assist with the development of Lingo24's CAT tool COACH,
resulting in improvements related, among others, to configurability issues (e.g.
customisable shortcuts, font types and sizes), speed, and quality assurance support
(e.g. live highlighting of spelling mistakes). Similarly, with a view to creating user-
focused specifications for editing interfaces to better support the post-editing task,
Moorkens & O'Brien (2017, forthcoming) consulted over 200 participants and
discovered that half of them were unhappy with the default layout, colouring, and
display of mark-up tags in their current translation editors, with most of them
expressing a preference for a customizable, clean and uncluttered UI. In addition,
the survey revealed that a considerable number of translators were continuously
experiencing performance issues, such as tool bugs and slow response times.
The aspects referred to above seem to depict an overall dissatisfaction with
translation tools among sighted translators, particularly with regard to two of the
four dimensions defined in Krüger's (2016) model of CAT tool usability, namely
efficiency reliability of the software, suitability of standard configuration,
expandability and satisfaction how users feel about working with the software.
Although our focus is on CAT tools' accessibility,5 data presented in subsequent
5 While there is a significant overlap between the two concepts, it is often understood that usability
refers to the general quality of usage, whereas accessibility is more concerned with access to content
and functionality. In this sense, in a blind translator-computer interaction scenario, we understand that
a tool that is designed accessibly will result in an improved usability level for this user group (and
potentially to all CAT tool users).
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
sections will allow us to understand whether blind users, who were not considered
in previous CAT tool perception studies, share similar concerns regarding these
two dimensions. Additionally, we seek to touch upon the two remaining usability
components from Krüger's model when referring to the accessibility of CAT
systems for visually impaired users: effectiveness how well a given user can
achieve specified goals or perform specified tasks using the software and
learnability how easily users can familiarise themselves with the tool and which
resources they can draw on in this process (Krüger, 2016, pp. 131132), as we
consider them to be especially relevant for this user group in an educational
context. To conclude this section, it is worth mentioning that, in the light of the
growing willingness to explore, within translation process research, the physical,
cognitive, organizational and technological constraints of the translation profession
(Ehrensberger-Dow & Massey, 2014a; Ehrensberger-Dow & O’Brien, 2015), it
seems reasonable to believe that further studying the accessibility limitations of
computer-aided translation software could shed new light on a new and so far
unexplored branch of translational ergonomics: the cognitive and social effects of
an assistive technology-mediated translator-computer interaction.
3. Fitting accessibility challenges in translation technology training
Unveiling the accessibility barriers that visually impaired users encounter when
interacting with CAT tools may have an impact on the pedagogical approaches
adopted in a translation technologies classroom with mixed groups of sighted,
partially sighted and blind students. In fact, prior work (Figiel, 2015; Hagemann
2016) examining the particularities of teaching translation and interpreting to such
a diverse group has indirectly pointed at the translation technology module as
potentially the most challenging of all. Figiel (2015) suggests that to overcome
existing accessibility limitations, a potential solution would be for blind students to
receive the assistance of sighted colleagues. Hagemann (2016, p. 87), in turn,
argues that, if the ultimate purpose of the module is for students to understand the
working principles of CAT tools and not the mechanical specificities of industry
standards, users and non-users of AT could be taught different software, based on
their accessibility level. These two aspects (class dynamics and technology used)
need to be addressed when trying to design an accessible translation technology
Questions have been raised about the particular effects of attending the needs of
visually impaired students on precisely class dynamics. In the context of a
traditional translation module, Jane and Bidoli (2003), for instance, outlined the
associated challenges for the teacher, such as the need to prepare materials at least
two weeks in advance so that their accessibility can be verified by the student and,
if not, amended on time; not being able to diverge from a pre-planned lesson as a
result of the latter; the need to describe everything that is written on the board or
any visual content appearing in documents that are referred to during the class,
which slows down the pace of the lesson; or having to devote additional time in
office hours to clarify difficulties encountered in the classroom. According to
Hagemann (2016), sighted peers may be also affected by this kind of interruptions
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
or a slower pace, causing undesired distractions when concentrating on the text to
be translated.
Nevertheless, the very different nature of translation technology modules, which
are mostly organised around hands-on labs with their own distinctive dynamics
(e.g. students usually talk to each other throughout to share advice on problems
found during a given task, the lecturer can see what is happening on each screen
and therefore offer individual feedback), could soften some of these effects. In a
longitudinal study aiming at evaluating the experience of translation students in
CAT labs, Moorkens & Doherty (2013) found, for instance, that a good solution to
compensate for the different abilities in IT skills and knowledge among students
could be to provide an extended preparation class at the beginning of the semester
and offer additional support on an ad hoc basis. A similar initiative could be taken
with blind students, not only for the lecturer to learn about their needs before the
module starts, but also to familiarise themselves with their AT and foresee any
potential problems that may arise. Similarly, Pym (2013) advocates for a
translation technology teaching environment in which students use their own
laptops. This is particularly relevant for blind students, who otherwise would need
to have their AT installed in the computer lab, as well as be given an adaptation
period to get use to new hardware and software. In addition, Pym (ibid) supports
peer work, arguing that two people are more likely to find a solution to a given
technical problem and less likely to remain silent if they need help from an
instructor. Realising that sighted peers may need and request help from the lecturer
could encourage blind students to speak out about their difficulties too, if any.
Considering the introduction of more accessible CAT tools in the translation
technology class to support an enhanced learning experience for visually impaired
students only adds a new perspective to the much debated (and still unsolved)
question of which tool(s) to showcase in a university setting to prepare students for
the marketplace. Austermühl (2013) argues that "choosing what to teach" and
"how" when it comes to translation tools can be a challenging endeavour due to
differences in translator training institutions (number of years, cycles), the fact of
having students with multiple language combinations in the same class or enrolling
in MA coming from different subject areas, or simply the isolation of technology
teaching as opposed to the implementation of a more transversal "everyware"
approach, in Enríquez Raído's (2013) terms. Institutional restrictions and funding
availability have also led to new training paradigms, such as those who advocate
for the use of FOSS translation software (Pym, 2013; Veiga Díaz & García
González, 2015).
While market-leading tools, such as SDL Trados Studio, are still a recurrent
choice, we support Enríquez Raído's (2013) idea of developing "multimedia
literacy", encouraging students to critically use and evaluate different translation
tools, from different operation systems and devices, with the ultimate goal of
supporting self-discovery and long-life learning (ibid). In this sense, driving away
from a step-by-step tool teaching method to rather embrace the understanding of
core functions and concepts would not only support such approach but also better
accommodate the introduction of less well-known but more accessible CAT tools
in the module, benefit both groups: visually impaired students would be able to
adopt a more active role in the learning process and sighted students would test a
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
different tool with accessibility-enhanced features (such as speech-to-command or
text-to-speech, see section 6).
4. Methodological approach
Before further developing and implementing a teaching proposal such as the
one briefly outlined above, we deemed necessary to understand first to what extent
blind users can interact with market-leading tools. In order to do so, we adopted an
exploratory approach, given that, to the best of our knowledge, existing evidence
regarding the accessibility of CAT tools was mostly anecdotal in nature. Since we
considered that not enough background research existed to conduct a controlled
experimental study, it was decided to carry out a series of case studies, and a
survey. Both methods are explained in more detail below.
Exploratory case studies. The overall objective of the case studies was to
observe the evolution in terms of accessibility of SDL translation technology
across different tool versions, namely SDL Trados Studio 2009, 2011 and 2014. It
should be noted that we did not intend to carry out exhaustive accessibility tests
(i.e. verify full keyboard access, colour contrast, font size, multiple AT support) or
a comprehensive CAT tool evaluation following well-established assessment
criteria such as those defined in the EAGELS model (Starlander, 2015). Instead,
we aimed at understanding where the accessibility boundaries of the tool were and
what could be achieved by a blind user with it.
As mentioned earlier, several studies have pointed to SDL Trados as the leading
industry standard and one of the most popular tools among freelance translators
and LSPs (Lagoudaki, 2006; Bundgaard, Christensen, & Schjoldager, 2016;
Moorkens & O’Brien, 2017, forthcoming). It seemed appropriate, therefore, to
choose this tool for this phase of our research and further investigate whether the
reports made by different blind translators through The Round Table mailing list or
personal diaries (Owton, 2011; Dold, 2016) regarding its inaccessibility held true.
The case studies took place over a period of one year at the Università degli
Studi Internazionali di Roma (UNINT) in Rome, Italy. Concretely, we conducted
three single case studies (SCS) i.e. case studies involving only one subject which
as Lazar, Feng & Hochheiser (2010, p. 150) put it, do not intend to make broad,
generally applicable claims, but simply to "understand novel problems or
situations, often with the hopes of informing new designs" or "documenting a
system or a context of technology use." By combining data from several similar
cases (same technology used, although different versions, see Table 1), we can
present cumulative evidence about a single phenomenon (Saldanha & O’Brien,
2014, p. 212): the accessibility issues encountered in a context of use characterised
by an AT-mediated interaction between the user and the CAT tool. For each SCS,
we created a research journal to collect qualitative data according to specific goals:
SCS1: In the first study, we were interested in observing how easily the
lecturer and the blind student could learn how to work with the tool, which
were the main accessibility barriers encountered, and whether the blind
student could complete a simple translation task.
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
SCS2: In the second study, emphasis was placed on observing whether a
blind student could actively participate in a project-based learning (PBL)
environment (Kiraly, 2005), and noting the coping strategies adopted by
both the lecturer and the student to overcome the accessibility barriers
found along the way.
SCS3: The last study was more tool-oriented and aimed at identifying
whether the accessibility problems spotted in the previous version were
still present and, if so, whether a solution could be proposed.
Table 1. Tools tested, AT used and timing for each case study.
CAT tool
SDL Trados
July 2010
SDL Studio
Jan 2013
SDL Studio
Nov 2013
Survey. With the aim of collecting additional CAT software accessibility data
from a larger sample, and inspired by the survey conducted by Lagoudaki (2006) to
study the general attitude of language professionals towards CAT systems, we
designed a complementary questionnaire7 particularly targeting visually impaired
translators. Its goal was two-fold: on one hand, we sought to gain a deeper
understanding of (i) their user experience when interacting with this type of
technology and (ii) the impact of the latter on their professional lives. On the other
hand, we aimed at gathering knowledge about the tools most frequently used by
blind users and their preferences for future accessible developments in CAT
The questionnaire was administered in English via SurveyMonkey and the call
for participation was sent to the Round Table (see footnote 4) on July 15th, 2015.
Potential respondents were given eight weeks time to complete it. Apart from a
comprehensive demographics section, the survey contained 40 core questions
aiming at collecting information about: (i) the accessibility level of 27 core
functionalities of a CAT tool of their choice (tool subjective assessment), and (ii)
their general perceptions with regard to different aspects of the use of CAT tools.
In this paper we want to outline the main findings related to the latter.
6 The time span in SCS2 was conditioned by the duration of the CAT course within which it was
conducted (see section 5.3). The time span of the other two single case studies depended on the
participant's and collaborators' availability.
7 A PDF version of the questionnaire is available for reference at
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
5. Exploratory case studies
5.1 Users' profile
For SCS1, we recruited an undergraduate student interpreter, Stephania8
(congenitally blind, female, 24 years old), who self-reported to have a high
proficiency level of IT skills, including the use of JAWS, the screen reader chosen
for the study (see Table 1, section 4). Her profile was considered appropriate for
the goals of SCS1, as she had followed mainly interpreting courses and was not
familiar with CAT tools.
For SCS2 and SCS3, the same participant was involved, allowing us to establish
a more meaningful comparison across versions (SDL Trados Studio 2011 and
2014). Anna Rita (congenitally blind, female, 26 years old) was an undergraduate
translation student. She reported to have very good IT skills, emphasising that she
was very fast at keyboard typing. Additionally, she showed a high degree of
commitment to improve the accessibility of CAT tools and was determined to work
as a professional translator in the future.
5.2 Single case study (SCS) 1 with SDL Trados Studio 2009 main
Drawing upon our vast experience (15 years) in translation technologies
training, we considered that the first step needed to teach a blind student how to use
a CAT tool would be to acquire a deep understanding of (i) the AT she would need
to access the tool and (ii) the quality of the interaction between the two
technologies. This, in turn, would allow us to better estimate whether the use of
CAT tools could ultimately bring some additional benefits to the blind translator's
To expand her knowledge on the use of JAWS, the lecturer received the
assistance of a blind computer engineer, who also helped her identify the
interaction gaps between this AT and Studio 2009. A second engineer joined the
team to solve a basic problem related to the accessibility of status icons and
developed a script to label the translation environment so that it was possible to
move the cursor from the source text to the target text and vice versa through a
keyboard command, letting the user know in which column the cursor was. Studio
2009 user guide had to be adapted as well according to the input received by the
two collaborators mostly by enriching the list of keyboard shortcuts and adding
explanations of which buttons or windows JAWS could not interact with. For
example, when creating a translation project, JAWS was not able to read the "Add"
and "Create" translation memory buttons, so the only way of activating them was
8 Although we suggested to use fake names when reporting the study findings, participants gave us
their consent to use their real first names without mention to their surnames.
9 A lay summary of this study's outcome has been published in 2011 in the European Blind Union
(EBU)'s Newsletter:
december/newsletter/online/en/newsletter/feature/nr/899/ Accessed 20 September 2016.
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
to use a keyboard command; hence, this piece of information had to be included in
the user guide.10
While the learning curve was steep for the lecturer, given the problems
encountered and the fact that it was her first time using a CAT tool by means of a
screen reader and a keyboard only, it was expected that the blind student would
experience fewer difficulties. Guided by the team's instructions and the knowledge
acquired during the previous preparation phase, Stephania learned to use Studio
2009 basic functions. The major downside acknowledged by the participant was
the time investment required to learn such an extensive list of keyboard shortcuts
just because of the lack of support offered by Studio 2009 for JAWS.
Once she became familiar with the tool, she was requested to translate an .html
file of approximately 200 words, using an existing translation memory and a
termbase. We sought not only to observe whether it was possible for her to
complete the task, but also to measure the time needed to do it and her subjective
opinion about the user experience of the whole process. After one hour and 30
minutes, the blind student managed to create a new TM and import a legacy one,
convert an .xls glossary with Multiterm Convert, create a new termbase and import
the terms into SDL Multiterm 2009, translate the text in Studio and export it back
to its original file format. Stephania reported to be satisfied with her job, but
acknowledged to have felt stressed by all the shortcuts she had to memorise to use
the tool.
While the outcome of the test was positive, it also revealed important
accessibility barriers that would prevent AT users from fully exploiting the tool in
a professional context. Segment check and retrieval from the TM was troublesome,
as JAWS was unable to access the translation results window and was causing
Studio 2009 to not display fuzzy matches. Similarly, tags, placeables and termbase
entries could not be identified as such by the screen reader. This could lead to
serious formatting errors in a real life scenario, particularly in the case of HTML
files, thus having a negative impact on the effectiveness of the tool for blind
translators. Finally, the learnability of Studio 2009 as per Krüger's (2016, p. 135)
model when a computer display and a mouse are not available turned out to be
low: both users (lecturer and student) had to devote considerable efforts to become
familiar with the workarounds needed to access the tool, mainly due to the low
level of detail of the documentation and the lack of accessibility-related technical
support offered by the tool provider.
5.3 Single case study (SCS) 2 with SDL Trados Studio 2011 main findings
In SCS2, the focus was placed on observing the interaction between the blind
student and the tool, as well the overall learning process, in a situated translation
project within a real educational setting (Kiraly, 2005). Anna Rita, the second blind
student participating in the case study series, enrolled in the CAT course offered at
an undergraduate level at UNINT and was evaluated throughout the course as her
sighted peers. There were two main modules: during the first one, students needed
10 According to SDL developing teams, Studio is a complex tool built using different programming
languages (Java, C++) which poses additional accessibility challenges.
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
to acquire specific instrumental knowledge and know-how with regard to SDL
Studio 2011; in the second module, they had to apply the acquired skills in the
context of a simulated localisation project, assuming different roles (project
manager, translator and reviser).
Although the lecturer was aware of the accessibility limitations of SDL
software, it was decided that there would not be, a priori, significant variations in
the pedagogical approach traditionally followed. This was based on the belief that
no major changes would have been introduced from Studio 2009 and 2011.
However, soon after the first module started, the lecturer realised that the blind
student could not work autonomously due to a decrease in the number of accessible
tool functions (see section 5.4 for specific examples). This inevitably led to slow
down the pace of the class, but it did not have a negative impact on the learning
process of the other students. The group had been divided intro three sub-groups
according to their self-reported IT skills, so Anna Rita's colleagues, who had
voluntarily joined her group, were receptive to having more time to work on each
In each lesson, Anna Rita was supported by two sighted students, as well as by
the detailed descriptions of what was shown on the screen provided by the lecturer
for each concrete tool functionality that was being explained. The dynamics of the
class improved week after week thanks to the feedback received from the blind
student at the end of each lesson. As a result, the pedagogical approach was
modified: instead of explaining in detail all the functions a user could find in each
menu or tab and then asking the class to carry out a given task, the lecturer simply
described the options needed to complete such exercise and what students should
expect from each action. This more targeted approach was welcomed by both the
blind student and her sighted peers. The fact that the lecturer is still applying it
nowadays serves as a real example of Hagemann's (2016) belief that blind students
may act as catalysts for innovations and lead to developing new ideas that can be
beneficial for all. Additionally, we find that the success of such reductionist
approach implicitly reflects, at least to some extent, the usability concerns
highlighted by translators in the study conducted by Moorkens & O'Brien (2017,
forthcoming), who complained about overcrowded interfaces (with one user
referring directly to SDL Trados UI) and considered that rather than having many
or few items on the screen, it was important to have the 'right' features.
With the appropriate consent of the group, lessons were recorded to support
Anna Rita's learning process, with the hope of contributing to boost her
self-confidence too. While this proved to be of valuable help, the blind student still
reported unease and frustration when sighted peers had to wait for her to complete
a certain task. These feelings, however, were counteracted by situations where,
precisely thanks to the use of a screen reader, she was able to quickly find a given
functionality and then guide the rest of the class towards it.
Overall, during the second module, Anna Rita showed a positive attitude,
probably because of the support provided by the group and the satisfying learning
experience of the previous module. From a technical perspective, she was able to
perform the main operations to create a translation project, but dealing with
terminology management and the translation phase was still challenging. She
successfully assumed the role of project manager, preparing a localisation project
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
and distributing the different tasks to her working team, as well as the role of
reviewer. Nevertheless, she could not complete the translation task alone due to
multiple accessibility barriers in the translation editor, which will be jointly
reported with those of Studio 2014 in the next section.
5.4 Single case study (SCS) 3 with SDL Trados Studio 2014 main findings
Drawing on our experience from SCS2, where we learned that Studio 2011 was
not as accessible as Studio 2009, in the third single case study we sought to explore
in more detail the accessibility level of Trados Studio 2014, with the hope of also
finding a solution to any possible AT-CAT interaction gap. Since Anna Rita had
already become familiar with the CAT tool environment and no major changes had
been incorporated from 2011 to 2014 versions, she felt comfortable enough to
inspect the tool by herself, listing which steps were accessible and keeping track of
those functions she could not have access to. In order to make a more informed
judgement, she used two screen readers (JAWS, NVDA). A summary of her
interaction experience is presented below. Issues reported here apply to both SDL
Trados 2011 and 2014.
a) General functionalities, prior to translation editing
The installation process can be carried out solely relying on keyboard
commands, as each button is correctly labelled with a textual description.
Nevertheless, when the installation is complete and user personal data needs to be
provided, mandatory fields rely on sensory characteristics to be identified (they are
marked in red). This information is therefore not accessible for the blind user, who
feels obliged to fill in all the details. The creation of an user profile is accessible, as
it is possible to use the space bar and Tab to navigate between options. Similarly,
the alignment feature and the functionalities provided to create termbases and TMs
are accessible. Finally, it is worth higlighting that QA and shortcut customisation
options cannot be accessed via keyboard and therefore it is not possible for blind
users to learn about or change the tool default settings.
b) Translation editing functionalities
Once in the main UI, the tool does not provide any keyboard shortcuts to
access the different windows available through the navigation pane, such as
"Projects", "File", "Editor". More specifically, the translation editor does not
provide almost any accessible functionality. Without a customised script, it is not
possible for the blind user to know where the cursor is placed (source or target
segment), although it is possible to easily move from one translation unit to
another. Segment status, tags, placeables and TM match information are shown
using symbol, colour or graphical coding, but no non-visual alternative
representation is offered (only fuzzy percentages can be read using a Braille
display). Concordance, AutoSuggest and Termbase windows are not accessible
As can be inferred from the above, a blind user would be able to accept certain
project-management related tasks in Studio 2011 or 2014, but would need sighted
assistance to successfully carry out a translation job. In what follows, we shall
report on blind users' interaction with CAT tools in more detail.
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
6. Survey
This section summarises the key findings from the survey conducted with blind
and visually impaired translators about their perceptions around CAT tools.
6.1 Respondents' profile
A total of 35 people completed the questionnaire, but just 30 usable responses
were collected. Yet, for the purposes of this paper, only data from visually
impaired translators who had tried or worked with CAT tools in the past or were
doing so at present were considered for analysis. As a result, we limited our
sample to 22 translators from 17 different countries (North America, Europe and
Asia), aged between 23 and 50,
= 34.59, sd = 8.65 (5 male, 17 female). Seventeen
(N=16) respondents were blind, five reported to have a moderate visual impairment
and one a severe visual impairment (glaucoma). The most popular screen reader
among respondents was JAWS, followed by NVDA, ZoomText and Window-Eyes.
As in Lagoudaki (2006), over 85% (N=19 out of 22) of the translators rated their
general usage competence of AT and computers as good or excellent, held a
university degree and had a translation-related qualification. This general profile
goes in line with one of the participants recruited for the single case studies.
From the 22 translators who indicated that they had used CAT tools prior to the
study, 68% (N=15 out of 22) were using them on a regular basis. Overall, sixteen
(N=16) respondents reported to have or have had a professional translation job
(mostly as freelancers, with an average experience of 7.5 years, sd = 5.44, Min. 0.5,
Max. 20), one (N=1) had decided not to enter the translation market and five (N=5)
respondents did not answer the question. The most popular file format they were
used to dealing with was doc/docx (100%), followed by PDF (73%), xls/xlsx
(41%), html (27%), xml (23%), CAT proprietary files (18%) and xliff (13%).
6.2 Top level findings
From a general perspective, data collected appears to support the anecdotal
evidence we referred to earlier, as well as the conclusions drawn from the single
cases studies we have reported above. None of the translators claimed to be
satisfied with regard to the accessibility of CAT tools in general. More specifically,
we would like to highlight the main aspects where translators reached a higher
level of agreement:
6.2.1 Poor interaction between CAT and AT
Fifty-nine percent (59%, N=13) of the respondents considered their level of
satisfaction regarding AT-CAT interaction as poor, while 27% declared to not be
satisfied at all with the accessibility level of CAT systems. Those who said they
were quite satisfied (9%) or very satisfied (5%) indicated that they were only
referring to the tool they were using. A substantial majority believed that this fact
had negatively affected their translation career only three respondents (N=3 out of
22, 14%) said that they had never seen a translation job offer that asked for CAT
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
tools knowledge. The following testimonies aim at illustrating how translators are
being "devalued by technology" (O’Brien, 2012) from an accessibility perspective:
R13: I didn't decide (to leave the translation market); unfortunately the CAT tools that
are used in translation companies are not accessible to screen readers. I would like to
translate without technical barriers that could be solved really easy in the digital age.
R32: The few times I've had contact with translation agencies, CAT tools have been
required, so I haven't pursued translation more seriously.
R45: I realized that I could never get work in a translation agency which was what I
wanted (I didn't want to work freelance the rest of my life) because so very few CAT tools
are accessible. I would not have been able to perform the work in a satisfying way, not even
An important number of translators reported to have become interpreters
instead, not only due to the inaccessibility of CAT tools, but also to other
challenges related to the translation profession, such as meeting tight deadlines and
dealing with inaccessible source files, which had been already mentioned in prior
work (Cebrián de Miguel, 2008).
Figure 1 shows the tools more frequently used by the visually impaired
translators who completed the survey. Despite the fact that it is an old version
(SDL Trados 2007), SDL technology continues to be the most popular choice
among translators (N=13, 59%), as it appeared to be the case already among
sighted translators more than 10 years ago (Lagoudaki, 2006). A common view
amongst respondents was that the only accessible CAT tool available in the market
was Fluency Now, by Western Standard,11 which was used by 11 (50%)
respondents. However, it was claimed that it is never used by LSPs and that,
consequently, blind translators cannot currently participate competitively in the
translation market or have access to other positions in the industry. For instance,
responded R39 argued:
R39: With the exception of Fluency, CAT tools can't be used quickly and efficiently with
a screen reader [...] It's important to remember that all aspects of the CAT tool need to be
accessible so that blind professionals can work not only as translators, but also as revisers
or project managers.
The unpopularity of Fluency Now among LSPs could explain why Trados 2007
is still used, despite the fact that no further technical support is offered for this
version by the software provider. Another reason reported was that newer versions
of SDL Trados were found to be inaccessible, as we have inferred from the case
study series presented earlier, and that working in MS Word was easier for screen
reader users.
SDL Trados 2007 and Fluency were followed, in terms of popularity, by
Wordfast (N=9, 41%); Studio 2011 (N=8, 36%); Studio 2014 (N=6, 27%); STAR
Transit (N=5, 23%); Across and OmegaT (N=3,14%); DéjàVu; Wordfast
Anywhere and MemoQ (N=2, 9%); and MultiTrans, Studio 2015 and Wordbee
(N=1, 5%). The relative high number of users of Studio 2011 and 2014 was found
to be particularly surprising, especially when these results are checked against the
subjective data provided throughout the survey and the outcome of our two last
exploratory studies. We believe, therefore, that further research would be needed to
11 Accessed 20 September 2016.
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
gather data about the specific working environment (e.g. human and technical
assistance, role within translation projects) of these respondents to better
triangulate the output of both studies.
Figure 1. Main CAT tools used by blind and visually impaired users
participating in the study.
6.2.2 Lack of comprehensive technical support
Two thirds (N=14) of the respondents indicated that CAT tool user guides were
rarely accessible mainly due to the high presence of graphical content and the lack
of detail descriptions, which limited the user experience to a continuous trial and
error-based interaction. This echoes our experience with SDL technology in the
single case studies. When asked about which type of information an ideal CAT tool
user guide would include for screen reader users, the majority noted the following:
a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts, quick access menus, and descriptions
of screen layout without references to colour formatting (e.g. avoid "right-click on
blue fuzzy match panel"). In the particular case of keyboard shortcuts, we
hypothesise that this would be equally beneficial for sighted translators, as studies
indicate that they also appear to be keen users of this alternative way of interacting
with CAT tools (Moorkens & O’Brien, 2017, forthcoming). Similarly, respondent
R39 commented: It would also help if CAT tool manuals included a short section
on accessibility that mentions what settings (if any) should be adjusted for a better
screen reader experience. Fluency Now, for instance, features the possibility of
using an "accessibility mode" or allowing translators to use their own screen reader
for output. The tool also offers a speech-to-command functionality (see Figure 2)
which was appreciated by some respondents.
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
Figure 2. Fluency Now Speech to Command Settings in the Preferences
In addition, visually impaired translators (N=14 out of 22, 64%) seem to hold,
in general, a negative view about CAT tool providers (with the exception of
Western Standard) regarding their responsiveness when accessibility issues are
reported. For instance, one respondent (R43) said: I contacted several providers
and some replied they would not fix the problems as we represent a small market
compared to our sighted colleagues and the costs would be too high. While further
evidence would be needed to fully support this statement, the data collected
appears to reveal a low level of awareness among tool developers and suggests that
a change of mindset is needed.
6.2.3 Advocacy for accessible design
Almost all respondents (95%) embraced the idea that to fully exploit CAT
systems, they should be designed with accessibility in mind and AT users should
be involved in the testing phase. Respondent R13 argued: It would be necessary to
take into account the software accessibility from the beginning of the development,
but most developers doesn't [sic] have enough information or doesn't know
anything on this subject. It was also suggested that, to facilitate a higher
participation of the visually impaired community in the translation industry, the
accessibility of other relevant resources should also be improved (e.g. job offer
platforms, such as, or online multilingual termbases). From the publicly
available translation memories and termbases, Linguee and TermiumPlus were
mentioned by multiple respondents as good accessible examples.
7. Conclusions
As Ehrensberger-Dow & Massey (2014b) suggest, "professional translation has
become a multi-activity task within a complex system of client expectations,
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
technological aids, information sources and organizational constraints." In this
paper, we have attempted to shed light on how accessibility barriers could add a
new dimension to the challenges already associated to the translation profession.
More concretely, we have tried to document the needs of visually impaired users
when it comes to the use of translation technology, a topic that had not been
previously referred to extensively in the related literature. While we are aware of
the limitations associated to the methods adopted, including the exploratory nature
of the studies, the small samples and the subjective nature of some of the data
gathered, we believe that our work has provided some important insights into the
most common obstacles faced by visually impaired people who seek to actively
engage in a satisfactory translation career.
In general terms, evidence gathered through the single case studies and the
survey has revealed low levels of flexibility and usability in state-of-the-art CAT
technology for screen reader users, mostly due to a non-accessible design (e.g. lack
of accessibility enhancing features, absence of full keyboard access support,
overreliance on graphical content to display relevant information for an informed
translation process, inaccessibility of tool documentation). According to the
subjective opinions collected, only one tool in the market is accessible and
provides continuous support to the community, Fluency Now, while market-
leading tools like SDL Trados Studio are lagging behind as far as accessibility is
concerned. This comes as a surprise, given that, as Figiel (2015) argues, "the
growing tendency is not to build separate solutions for the blind, but rather make
standard products accessible out of the box." If this approach was to be followed by
translation technology providers, it is likely that the number of blind and visually
impaired people choosing a translation career would increase.
The above would also bring substantial benefits to translation technology
classrooms with mixed groups of sighted and blind students. The inaccessibility of
current most popular translation tools can lead to unease, frustration and low
self-esteem among blind students, as we have mentioned in previous sections.
When presenting the main take-aways of our single case studies, we have
suggested some potential solutions to improve their learning experience, such as
the customisation of tool documentation based on previous AT-CAT interaction
analysis, working in peers or lesson audio recording. Similarly, it seems advisable
to work closely with IT teams and to listen to the student needs and concerns (get
to know which ATs they are using, their IT skills) in order to avoid any undesired
disruptions during the class. At present, another viable and recommendable
approach would be to consider Fluency Now as an additional tool to be taught
since, as it has been highlighted earlier in this article, this could benefit all students,
regardless of their functional diversity.
8. Future research directions
We agree with Harper & Yesilada (2008, p. v) in that "people are disabled not
by their impairment but are handicapped by the technology, infrastructure
surrounding them, and the environment in which they are working or living in." In
this sense, we are committed to promote awareness, social inclusion and equality in
both the translation professional and academic milieu. While there is abundant
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, (1)2, p. 115-135
room for further progress in determining how the best AT-CAT interaction can be
achieved, future investigations should start by looking at the capabilities of
emerging web-based CAT systems, where accessibility best practices could be
easier to implement. Additionally, it would be interesting to look at the overlap
occurring between translational ergonomics, usability, user experience (UX) and
accessibility to identify tool innovations that could be beneficial for all users. This
could, in turn, help translation technology providers design more 'caring'
translation tools, a suitable term coined by O'Brien (2012). In the short term, we
plan to conduct follow up interviews with survey respondents who reported to have
more experience in the use of CAT tools to assist with the design of more
accessible translation technology training programmes.
9. Acknowledgements
The authors want to express their sincere gratitude to the two Italian translation
students who participated in the cases studies for their availability, their
determination and their interest in translation technologies; to Vincenzo La
Francesca, from the Centro Nazionale Tiflotecnico (Unione Italiana Ciechi), and
Giovanni Cellucci, computer engineer at Istituto Cavazza (Bologna), for the
technical support offered during said studies; and to Rania Python, screen reader
user and professional translator at, for her valuable suggestions during the
preparation of the survey content and the verification of its accessibility.
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... Alanyazına bakıldığında engelli çevirmenlere yönelik az sayıda araştırma yapıldığı görülmektedir (Kellet Bidoli, 2003;Figiel, 2015;2018a;2018b;Rodriguez Vazquez, Mileto, 2016;Rodriguez Vazquez ve diğ., 2018). Bu araştırmaların tamamı görme engelli çevirmenler ve Çeviribilim öğrencileri üzerine yapılmıştır. ...
... Türkiye dışına bakıldığında ise durum pek de değişmemektedir. Avrupa'da görme engelli çevirmenler ve Çeviribilim öğrencileri üzerine yapılan az sayıda çalışma mevcuttur (Kellet Bidoli, 2003;Rodriguez Vazquez, Mileto, 2016;Rodriguez Vazquez ve diğ., 2018;Figiel, 2015;Figiel, 2018a;Figiel, 2018b). Bunlar, özellikle 2015 tarihinden sonra belli başlı akademisyenler tarafından yürütülmüştür. ...
... Andaş çeviri sırasında çevirmen, konuşmacıyı en iyi şekilde görebileceği bir yerde durmalıdır. Özellikle de metinden okumak yerine doğaçlama konuşma yapılıyorsa; çevirmenin konuşmacının jest ve mimiklerine, beden diline de dikkat etmesi gerekir (Kellet Bidoli, 2003, 198) (2) programın profesyonel yaşama etkisini ölçmeyi hedeflemiştir (Rodriguez Vazquez, Mileto, 2016). ...
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Bourdieu Sosyolojisi toplumdaki dezavantajlı ve savunmasız grupları özellikle konu edindiği için, Türkiye’deki engelli çevirmenlerin mesleki alanda nasıl konum aldıkları ve konumlandırıldıklarını inceleyen bu çalışmanın yöntemsel çerçevesi, Bourdieucü Çeviri Sosyolojisi üzerine kurulmuştur. Bu amaçla, engellilik olgusu ile ilgili kuramsal ve uygulamalı çalışmalarla kanun yapıcıların kararlarını etkilemeye çalışan Engellilik Araştırmaları adlı yeni akademik disipline ilişkin alanyazın ele alınmıştır. Çeviri Sosyolojisinin ilişkisel doğası sayesinde Engellilik Araştırmalarının kuram ve kavramları; dolayısıyla da engelli çevirmenlere yönelik çalışmalar, Çeviribilimin kapsamına girebilmiştir. Bourdieu Sosyolojisi kuramdan ziyade pratiğe odaklandığından, bu çalışmada dördü görme ve biri ortopedik engelli olmak üzere beş engelli çevirmen ile fenomenolojik yaklaşım doğrultusunda yarı yapılandırılmış yüz yüze derinlemesine görüşmeler gerçekleştirilmiştir. Temmuz 2018 – Şubat 2019 arasında gerçekleştirilen bu görüşmelerin çevriyazılarının incelenmesi sonucunda üç ana tema elde edilmiştir: (1) Engellilik, Aile ve Toplum başlıklı ana temada katılımcıların engellilik olgusuna yaklaşımları ve engellilik tanımları ile aile ve toplumla olan ilişkileri; (2) Sivil Toplum Kuruluşları ve Kamu Kurumları başlıklı ana temada katılımcıların bu kurum ve kuruluşlar lehine ve aleyhine aldıkları konumlar; (3) Çevirmenlik ve Çeviri Eğitimi başlıklı ana temada ise katılımcıların çevirmen olarak mesleklerini icra ederken veya üniversitelerin Çeviribilim bölümlerinde eğitim alırken yaşadıkları deneyimler ele alınmıştır. Tez çalışmasının sonucunda Türkiye’deki engelli çevirmenlere yönelik hem mesleki alanda hem de üniversite eğitimi sırasında ayrımcılığın olduğu ortaya çıkmıştır. Yine bu çalışma kapsamında engelli çevirmenlerin ve çeviri öğrencilerinin sorunlarına Bourdieucü Çeviri Sosyolojisi odağında birtakım çözüm önerileri getirilmiştir.
...  STILL: Scarcity of translation technology research focusing on end-users with special needs  Exploratory Single Case Studies (Rodríguez Vázquez & Mileto, 2016)  Blind user interaction with different versions of SDL Studio  Questionnaire for blind and visually impaired translators (Rodríguez Vázquez & Mileto, 2016)  Low levels of satisfaction with current state-of-the-art desktop CAT (Lazar et al. 2007, Ceaparu et al. 2004 3. Fill in a post-task questionnaire after each exercise ...
...  STILL: Scarcity of translation technology research focusing on end-users with special needs  Exploratory Single Case Studies (Rodríguez Vázquez & Mileto, 2016)  Blind user interaction with different versions of SDL Studio  Questionnaire for blind and visually impaired translators (Rodríguez Vázquez & Mileto, 2016)  Low levels of satisfaction with current state-of-the-art desktop CAT (Lazar et al. 2007, Ceaparu et al. 2004 3. Fill in a post-task questionnaire after each exercise ...
... In order to achieve the latter, translation software providers try to account for different end user profiles by designing cross-device, cross-platform solutions and multimodal interfaces. Nevertheless, and in spite of the progress made to date in the area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), recent experience reports by end users as well as research work have suggested that leading desktop-based CAT tool providers fail to consider the particular needs of screen reader users when developing their software [6,7]. Although some efforts have been devoted in the past to developing translation tool prototypes that particularly target blind translators [1], we contend that, for them to be treated equally as their sighted peers at a professional level, accessibility should be built into the development and design practices of the commercial tools available on the market. ...
... Taking into account the conclusions drawn in prior research work about the low level of accessibility featured by the most popular desktop-based CAT tools [7], we conducted a follow-up study to explore the potential of web-based CAT tools as a more suitable solution for blind translators. Our study, which took place over a period of two months (May-June 2016), was grounded on the belief that web development techniques are more standardised than most of the computer programming styles available and, therefore, a higher level of accessibility can be achieved. ...
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In spite of the progress made to date in the area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), recent experience reports by end users as well as research work have suggested that leading desktop-based Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) tool providers fail to consider the particular needs of screen reader users when developing their software. The study presented in this paper was conducted to assess the usability of two popular online CAT tools (Matecat and Memsource) that could serve as an alternative solution to inaccessible desktop applications. Findings indicate that Matecat is significantly more usable than Memsource, although changes would be needed in the former for blind translators to be able to perform a translation job completely autonomously and efficiently. Overall, our study suggests that accessibility awareness is still low in the translation technology industry, and that further research and development is needed in to guarantee equal opportunities for all in the translation market.
... przy sporządzaniu notatek w tłumaczeniu konsekutywnym (Figiel 2013, Dold 2015. W minionych latach sytuacja ta zaczęła się zmieniać: powstały publikacje wskazujące na konstruktywną (i partnerską) współpracę między badaczami bez niepełnosprawności a niewidomymi tłumaczami lub studentami przekładu (Rodriguez-Vázquez, Mileto 2016, Hagemann 2016, Rodriguez-Vázquez, Fitzpatrick, O'Brien 2019. Dzięki tej współpracy udało się przybliżyć dydaktykom przekładu, ale także i innym tłumaczom, problematykę dostępności, albo raczej jej braku, profesjonalnych narzędzi dla tłumaczy. ...
... przy sporządzaniu notatek w tłumaczeniu konsekutywnym (Figiel 2013, Dold 2015. W minionych latach sytuacja ta zaczęła się zmieniać: powstały publikacje wskazujące na konstruktywną (i partnerską) współpracę między badaczami bez niepełnosprawności a niewidomymi tłumaczami lub studentami przekładu (Rodriguez-Vázquez, Mileto 2016, Hagemann 2016, Rodriguez-Vázquez, Fitzpatrick, O'Brien 2019. Dzięki tej współpracy udało się przybliżyć dydaktykom przekładu, ale także i innym tłumaczom, problematykę dostępności, albo raczej jej braku, profesjonalnych narzędzi dla tłumaczy. ...
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W książce ukazano niepełnosprawność jako zagadnienie o charakterze interdyscyplinarnym, pozostające w polu zainteresowań przedstawicieli wielu dyscyplin naukowych. Znalazły się w niej rozdziały poświęcone: rozwiązaniom systemowym i politykom w obszarze niepełnosprawności, roli i znaczeniu instytucji w systemie wsparcia osób niepełnosprawnych, społeczeństwu i społecznościom wobec niepełnosprawności i osób niepełnosprawnych, interakcyjnemu wymiarowi niepełnosprawności, a także niepełnosprawności jako doświadczeniu osobistemu. Publikacja, poza jej wymiarem naukowym, ma również istotny walor społeczny poprzez jej praktyczny i aplikacyjny charakter. Proponowana książka jest zatem skierowana zarówno do przedstawicieli środowiska akademickiego, przede wszystkim socjologów i pedagogów zainteresowanych problematyką niepełnosprawności, jak i praktyków zaangażowanych w udzielanie pomocy i wsparcia tej grupie klientów pomocy społecznej, a także tych wszystkich, którzy w życiu codziennym stykają się z ludźmi z niepełnosprawnościami, ich bliskimi oraz członkami rodzin.
... Rodríguez y Mileto (2016) analizan las dificultades que presentan las versiones SDL Trados Studio 2009, 2011 y 2014, en las que, entre otras cuestiones, el lector de pantalla no es capaz de identificar algunas funciones básicas de la interfaz ni tampoco de trabajar con bases de datos terminológicas, etiquetas, etc. La inversión de tiempo y esfuerzo que Resulta llamativo que las versiones más recientes del programa sean incluso menos accesibles que las anteriores, lo cual explica que algunos traductores opten aún por la versión de 2007, en la que se podía trabajar con MS Word(Rodríguez y Mileto, 2016: 129). A su vez, este hecho está en la línea de lo manifestado por Figiel (2015: 200) yRodríguez y Mileto (2016: 117, 131): mejorar la accesibilidad de la herramienta no constituye una prioridad para SDL Trados, ya que los traductores con DV representan una parte pequeña del mercado y conllevaría un gran gasto 5 . ...
... Another important aspect of the tool is the incorporation of web accessibility principles from the outset of development, with the aim of opening translation editing to professionals with special needs. In particular, the tool has been designed to cater for blind translators, whose difficulty in working with existing tools has been highlighted by Rodriguez Vazquez and Mileto [3]. ...
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Commercial software tools for translation have, until now, been based on the traditional input modes of keyboard and mouse, latterly with a small amount of speech recognition input becoming popular. In order to test whether a greater variety of input modes might aid translation from scratch, translation using translation memories, or machine translation postediting, we developed a web-based translation editing interface that permits multimodal input via touch-enabled screens and speech recognition in addition to keyboard and mouse. The tool also conforms to web accessibility standards. This article describes the tool and its development process over several iterations. Between these iterations we carried out two usability studies, also reported here. Findings were promising, albeit somewhat inconclusive. Participants liked the tool and the speech recognition functionality. Reports of the touchscreen were mixed, and we consider that it may require further research to incorporate touch into a translation interface in a usable way.
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Engelli bireylerin gelişen teknoloji ile geleneksel olarak istihdam edildikleri mesleklerden farklı alanlara yöneldikleri; ancak bu alanlarda ayrımcılıkla karşılaştıkları gözlemlenmiştir. Bu mesleklerden biri de çevirmenliktir. Engelli çevirmenlerin mesleki alanda nasıl konum aldıklarına vurgu yapan bu çalışma, Çeviri sosyolojisi ve Pierre Bourdieu’nün kavramlarından yararlanarak Fenomenolojik yaklaşımı araç edinmiştir. Çeviri sosyolojisi, çeviri pratiğine dahil olan bütün eyleyicileri ilişkisellik içinde inceler; Fenomenolojik yaklaşım ise bireylerin deneyimlerine ışık tutarak onları görünür kılar. Bunu gerçekleştirmek için de sahanın sesine kulak vermek gerekir. Bu araştırmada görme ve ortopedik engelli beş çevirmen ile derinlemesine yüz yüze görüşmeler yapılmış; kaydedilen görüşmelerin çeviri yazıları incelendikten sonra iki tema öne çıkmıştır. Bu temalardan biri engelli çevirmenlere işverenlerinin ve akademik eğitimleri sırasında öğretim elemanlarının gösterdiği ön yargılı yaklaşımlardır. Bu ön yargı beraberinde ayrımcılığı getirerek engelli çevirmenlerin yeterli mesleki eğitimden yoksun kalmalarına sebep olmaktadır. Diğer tema ise başta Bilgisayar Destekli Çeviri (BDÇ) araçları ve ders materyalleri olmak üzere engelli çevirmenlerin önlerindeki erişilebilirlik engelidir. Erişilebilirliğin kamuya açık bütün kurumların yerine getirmesi gereken bir zorunluluk olmasına rağmen engelli çevirmenlerin hem eğitimleri hem de çalışma hayatları sırasında erişilebilirlik engeline takıldıkları ortaya çıkmıştır. Bu çalışma, engelli çevirmenlerin alandaki dezavantajlı konumları ve karşılaştıkları sorunları görünür kılarak akademi ve sektörde farkındalık yaratmayı amaçlamaktadır. Çevirmenlik eğitimi ve mesleği önündeki engellerin kaldırılmasıyla şimdiye kadar yalnızca belli başlı alanlarda istihdam edilen engelli bireylerin yetenekleri ve eğitimleri doğrultusunda istedikleri mesleklerde çalışmalarının da önü açılacaktır.
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This presentation reports on the results of a usability study of a browser-based translation and post-editing tool that accepts multiple input modes and follows web accessibility principles. The tool was conceived to be used by professional translators and will include standard features that are necessary for integrating translation memories (TM) and machine translation (MT) synergetically. Its distinctive features include the option of using touch and voice commands, in addition to the typical keyboard and mouse commands. Another important feature is the inclusion of accessibility principles from the outset, with the aim of improving translation editing for professionals with special needs. In order to assess whether the usability and accessibility features included in the tool translate into improved performance and user experience, we have carried out experiments with a varied cohort of participants. The current presentation reports on the results of the accessibility tests with three blind translators. The results were analysed based on frustration reports, a usability & accessibility questionnaire and an interview. The findings will help understand how the possibilities offered by the newest technologies can improve the translation process from the user’s perspective and will inform future stages of the tool’s iterative development.
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Este artículo analiza las tendencias que han contribuido a reorientar el panorama actual de las tecnologías de la traducción, como la ubicuidad, la movilidad, la conectividad y la inmediatez, y propone una serie de razones pedagógicas para promover la docencia de las tecnologías de la traducción desde la perspectiva de la ubicuidad tecnológica (“everyware”), así como la incorporación transversal de las destrezas para la gestión de la información en línea como recurso que favorece el crecimiento personal y el aprendizaje a lo largo de la vida.
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In this paper, I attempt to contextualise computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools from a theoretical and a professional perspective and to model the usability of these tools. The theoretical contextualisation of CAT tools is based on Risku’s (2004) cognitive translational theory of Situated Translation, which claims that cognition is not isolated in the translator’s head but emerges in dynamic processes of interaction between the translator and his or her working environment. The potential influence exercised by CAT tools on the translator’s cognitive per-formance is illustrated by means of the Cologne Model of the Situated LSP Translator, which is based on the theory of Situated Translation and which conceptualises CAT tools as important environmental artefacts in the translational ecosystem. The professional contextualisation takes the form of a survey of the role of CAT tools in the different phases of the computer-assisted translation process. In this context, I discuss how the various sub-tasks of these process phases can be supported by different CAT tools. Following this theoretical and professional contextualisation, I propose a general model of CAT tool usability as well as a more specific model of translation memory system (TMS) usability. These models are derived from ISO standard 9241 “Ergonomics of Human-System Interaction” and attempt to capture all relevant dimensions of CAT tool usability from a user-oriented perspective.
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Though we lack empirically-based knowledge of the impact of computer-aided translation (CAT) tools on translation processes, it is generally agreed that all professional translators are now involved in some kind of translator-computer interaction (TCI), using O'Brien's (2012) term. Taking a TCI perspective, this paper investigates the relationship between machines and humans in the field of translation, analysing a CAT process in which machine-translation (MT) technology was integrated into a translation-memory (TM) suite. After a review of empirical research into the impact of CAT tools on translation processes, we report on an observational study of TCI processes in one particular instance of MT-assisted TM translation in a major Danish translation service provider (TSP). Results indicate that the CAT tool played a central role in the translation process. In fact, the study demonstrates that the translator's processes are both restrained and aided by the tool. As to the restraining influence, the study shows, for example, that the translator resists the influence of the tool by interrupting the usual segment-by-segment method encouraged by translation technology. As to the aiding influence, the study indicates that the tool helps the translator conform to project and customer requirements.
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The relation between technology and translating is part of the wider question of what technology does to language. It is now a key question because new translation technologies such as translation memories, data-based machine translation, and collaborative translation management systems, far from being merely added tools, are altering the very nature of the translator's cognitive activity, social relations, and professional standing. Here we argue that technologies first affect memory capacity in such a way that the paradigmatic is imposed more frequently on the syntagmatic. It follows that the translating activity is enhanced in its generative moment, yet potentially retarded in the moment of selection, where the values of intuition and text flow become difficult to recuperate. The redeeming grace of new technologies may nevertheless lie in new modes of opening translation to thespace of volunteer translation, where humanizing dialogue can enter the internal dimension of translation decisions. The regime of the paradigmatic may thus be embedded in new modes of social exchange, where translation becomes one of the five basic language skills.
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In Spanish universities, free and open-source software (FOSS) is widely used in technical areas because of its usability, adaptability and costs. Conversely, the use of these tools in the field of translator training has been minimal despite the existence of suitable software specifically developed for translation activities, such as OmegaT, Anaphraseus, bitext2tmx, Sun Open Language Tools, ForeignDesk or Transolution. In this context, GETLT was created to promote the use of FOSS both in translator training and professional translation, and to acknowledge the effort made by FOSS localization teams. The first part of our paper focuses on the phases and results of research project PGIDIT07PX1B302200PR, Creación dunha plataforma docente GNU/LINUX para a formación de tradutores - localizadores de software - subtituladores, funded by Xunta de Galiza, within the framework of programme Incite. More specifically, we will present and discuss the results of a number of surveys conducted among translation students and professional translators on the use and usability of FOSS. The second part of our paper presents the current research activities of GETLT, which include the preparation of a user guide for the MinTrad distribution developed in previous stages of our research and the testing of the usability of free and open-source translation memories and text aligners with different types of texts.
Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction is a comprehensive guide to performing research and is essential reading for both quantitative and qualitative methods. Since the first edition was published in 2009, the book has been adopted for use at leading universities around the world, including Harvard University, Carnegie-Mellon University, the University of Washington, the University of Toronto, HiOA (Norway), KTH (Sweden), Tel Aviv University (Israel), and many others. Chapters cover a broad range of topics relevant to the collection and analysis of HCI data, going beyond experimental design and surveys, to cover ethnography, diaries, physiological measurements, case studies, crowdsourcing, and other essential elements in the well-informed HCI researcher's toolkit. Continual technological evolution has led to an explosion of new techniques and a need for this updated 2nd edition, to reflect the most recent research in the field and newer trends in research methodology. This Research Methods in HCI revision contains updates throughout, including more detail on statistical tests, coding qualitative data, and data collection via mobile devices and sensors. Other new material covers performing research with children, older adults, and people with cognitive impairments.
This paper proposes an approach to teaching translation technology that focus less on exposing students to ever more types of CAT tools than on two sets of meta-competences—revising skills and documentary research skills—and on the technologies that allow students to optimize these skills.
Translation is a highly technologized profession. This article describes tools and resources associated with the work of translators. These include electronic dictionaries, termbanks, terminology management systems, termextraction tools, corpora, corpus-processing tools, and translation memory tools and social networking. In contemporary approaches, computer-aided translation is generally set off from machine translation (MT). Electronic dictionaries have been familiar for centuries. Termbanks share a number of similarities with electronic dictionaries. Search results can be displayed in user-definable ways in electronic dictionaries. They can be integrated into common editing environments. A corpus is a collection of texts held in electronic form. A terminology-extraction tool can be optimized to automatically extract candidate terms from a given corpus, using one or both of two basic approaches. Terminology management is about storing, retrieving, and displaying terms and associated data. Although MT may not be displacing human translation, translation memory technology envisages greater automation in the future. © Editorial matter and organization 2011 Kirsten Malmkjær and Kevin Windle. All rights reserved.