Sunday, 25 July 2021

Working more efficiently with AutoHotkey (part 2)

AutoHotkey is a must-have tool that anyone (with a Windows computer) can use to improve their Windows experience. If you’re tired of constantly navigating menus or using multiple strokes to perform repetitive tasks and would like to simplify your work life, then AutoHotkey and the scripts below will be for you!

AutoHotkey has much more power than most people will ever use, but also offers very simple scripts. Its simplest scripts – typically just one line of code – could even turn out to be those that you'll find most useful in your day-to-day computing! 

 

A few examples: whenever I type tn, the AutoHotkey script will automatically enter the word translation. Or when I enter @@k, the script will automatically enter my email address. I remember that, before I started using AutoHotkey, it would always be a pain to constantly have to type the whole email address! Check out my earlier blog post about AutoHotkey to find out more about this.

 


Teaming up with an AutoHotkey accountability partner 

A couple of months ago I teamed up with Isabel Hurtado de Mendoza, an English-to-Spanish translator. We both had only scratched the surface of what is possible with AutoHotkey then and were keen to find out more about it. So we became accountability partners: we now report back (more or less) regularly to each other on our latest AutoHotkey discoveries and learning progress. 

Isabel and I identified AutoHotkey scripts that are particularly useful to translators as well as other computer users. We either adopted existing AutoHotkey scripts (many of which are readily available on the web) or modified and adapted them to our own purposes. You’re very welcome to adopt the scripts below as well!


Simpler AutoHotkey script editing with SciTE4AutoHotkey

I would previously edit my AutoHotkey scripts in Notepad, but recently switched to SciTE4AutoHotkey upon Isabel’s recommendation. SciTE4AutoHotkey is an AutoHotkey script editor, which provides helpful features such as syntax highlighting (to highlight any errors in AutoHotkey syntax), AutoComplete, interactive debugging and others. This might all sound very complicated, but it really isn’t!

 


Advanced AutoHotkey scripts for translators
 

The following AutoHotkey scripts are slightly more advanced AutoHotkey scripts. You’ll find a number of useful, simpler scripts in my earlier blog post about AutoHotkey.
 

Note that any text following a semicolon (;) below serves as a comment, reminding you of what the script means or what you need to do to trigger it. It won’t be executed by the AutoHotkey programme.


Launching programmes by pressing a combination of keys 

It is possible to launch any programme instantly by using a hotkey. For instance, you could set up AutoHotkey to launch Outlook and define, for example, WIN + o for this. In other words, when you press WIN + o, this will launch Outlook.


Here are some example scripts which could be used:
 

;>>>>>>>>>>>>>
; Programme ausführen/Run programmes
;>>>>>>>>>>>>>

; press WIN + o
#o::
Run Outlook.exe
return

; press WIN + f
#f::
Run firefox.exe
return

; press WIN + m
#m::
Run MicrosoftEdge.exe
return

; press WIN + c
#c::
Run calc.exe
return

Note: in AutoHotkey # designates the Windows key on your keyboard.


Creating a new file in Word or Excel

In the past, I always had to perform several clicks to create a new Word or Excel file. Now, I can create one instantly by simply pressing CTRL (or, to be more precise, Strg on my QWERTZ keyboard) + n to create a Word file and CTRL + SHIFT + % to create an Excel file, respectively.


Here are the scripts:

;>>>>>>>>>>>>>
; Neue Word-Datei/New Word file
;>>>>>>>>>>>>>

; press CTRL + n
^n::
Word := ComObjCreate("Word.Application")    
Word.Visible := True                        
Word.Documents.Add                          
Return

;>>>>>>>>>>>>>
; Neue Excel-Datei/New Excel file
;>>>>>>>>>>>>>

; press CTRL + SHIFT + %
^%::
Xl := ComObjCreate("Excel.Application")     
Xl.Visible := True                             
Xl.Workbooks.Add                             
Return   

Note: in AutoHotkey ^ designates the CTRL key on your keyboard.




Entering the £ symbol

I do a lot of business with UK companies, so I use the £ currency symbol all the time; however, since I use a QWERTZ keyboard, I don’t have a £ key on it. Thanks to AutoHotkey, though, I can enter it quickly by pressing CTRL + WIN + p.


Here is the script for it:

; create the £ sign by pressing CTRL + WIN + p
^#P::SendInput {U+00A3}  

Note: in AutoHotkey # designates the Windows key on your keyboard.

 



Creating message templates

AutoHotkey can be utilized to create message templates for use not just in an email client, but anywhere in your Windows environment, for example when writing messages in a web-based interface.


Here’s an example script for it:

;>>>>>>>>>>>>>
; E-Mail-Vorlagen/Email templates
;>>>>>>>>>>>>>

; type jobno
::jobno::Dear XX,{ENTER}{ENTER}Thank you for your new enquiry.{ENTER}{ENTER}I am sorry I'm unable to take on the project as I’m currently fully booked.{ENTER}{ENTER}Kind regards,{ENTER}{ENTER}Elisabeth




Taking a screenshot

This is a script for effortlessly taking a screenshot using Paint, combining several steps. To take a screenshot, I simply have to press CTRL+ALT+1, and all that’s left for me to do is to save the Paint file (with the screenshot in it) on my hard drive (or another storage medium).


Here is the script for it:

;>>>>>>>>>>>>>
; Screenshot erzeugen und in Paint kopieren/Take screenshot and copy it to Paint
;>>>>>>>>>>>>>

; CTRL+ALT+1
^!1::                       
sleep, 100
send {PrintScreen}
sleep, 500
Run, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories\Paint
Sleep, 1000
Send, #{Up}
Sleep, 500
Mouseclick, left, 250, 250, 5
Sleep, 200
send ^v
sleep, 500

Note: Isabel and I figured out that sometimes it’s necessary to write the whole file path in the script (such as C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories\Paint in the script above), rather than just write “Run Paint”!


Converting a short dash to an m dash


Entering an m dash should be easy, but for some reason it often isn’t! Using an AutoHotkey script can help make sure the m dash always is there when you need it.


I now use this script:

; press Alt Gr + -
<^>!-:: Send, –                

Note that similar scripts could be used for any symbols that you use regularly, for example a script that changes square brackets to curly brackets.

 

The simplest AutoHotkey scripts – typically just one line of code – could turn out
to be those that you'll find most useful in your day-to-day computing
(image by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay)

 




Copying and pasting text into an open Word file


Collecting data while I’m researching terminology during a translation project has become way more comfortable thanks to the following script in that I no longer have to jump around between windows!

These days I only need to have a Word file open on my screen, and any text which I highlight (e.g. on a webpage or in an electronic dictionary) will then automatically be copied to this file by the script. I’ve named this file notes.docx, which is why the lines IfWinExist, notes and WinWaitActive, notes are used in this script, as shown below.



To trigger the script, I only need to press CTRL+ALT+n.



;>>>>>>>>>>>>>
; Text in Word-Datei notes.docx kopieren/Copy text to Word file notes.docx
;>>>>>>>>>>>>>

; CTRL+ALT+n   
^!n::                       
Send, ^c
IfWinExist, notes
{    
    WinActivate
}
else
{
    Run winword
}
WinWaitActive, notes
Send, ^v`n`n
return





This blog post lists a number of slightly more advanced AutoHotkey scripts that are particularly useful to translators as well as other computer users. They are designed to save time and take the dullness out of performing repetitive computing tasks, for example when taking screenshots, writing messages or entering special symbols.  I hope you like them and they will make your life a bit easier!




Sunday, 27 June 2021

My 60-minute writing routine: 3 surprising takeaways

How to find the time? We all want to focus more on meaningful activities – especially activities that put us in the blissful, elusive state known as flow. But how much time do we allow ourselves to pursue our very own flow activities?

 

We all want to focus more on meaningful activities – especially
activities that put us into a flow state

 

One of my flow activities is writing. I’ve always enjoyed it, yet I’d always struggled to make enough time for it. At some point, I therefore decided I wanted to do more of it, and I established a writing routine.

I now spend 60 minutes on a Saturday and a Sunday morning on writing: to draft blog articles by hand. To publish a blog article, complete with graphics. To translate a blog article into German. To jot down ideas. Or to engage in other writing, such as writing an email that I feel a lot of thought needs to go into. An hour to myself – something that was initially hard to fit into a weekend. 

 

I’m not proposing that something similar might work for you, too, but would instead like to highlight a few surprising insights which I gained following the creation of my 60-minute writing routine:


1. Scheduling leisure time

I’m not advocating that we should plan every single minute of our leisure time, yet I’ve found it a surprisingly effective way to more effortlessly fit in activities that we enjoy doing. It’s a time management technique which I recommend. Scheduling leisure time meticulously does not mean you enjoy it less – on the contrary!


2. Deriving pleasure from anticipation

It’s been argued that the intensity of feelings of anticipation ahead of a pleasurable activity is similar to the intensity of feelings felt during the actual activity. This is a simple yet powerful insight: schedule an activity, and it‘ll give you something to look forward to! There’s pleasure to be gained from anticipation.


3. The correlation between time constraints and creativity

I have found the effects of setting myself a 60-minute time limit astounding. An hour goes by quickly; yet because I’m finding myself under self-imposed time pressure, I often come up with good turns of phrase and solutions to language problems in my writing more quickly. It is true that self-imposed time constraints can stimulate your creativity!



Self-imposed time constraints often stimulate your creativity


 
If you’re looking for a new way to maximise your work and/or leisure time, this blog post will be for you. In it I describe noteworthy insights which I gained following the creation of my 60-minute writing routine.

 

 

A note to all blog subscribers:

Google recently announced that it would shut down some features of its Feedburner infrastructure, including the popular Feedburner email subscription service, in July 2021. Following the deprecation, the "Follow this blog by email" widget on my blog will no longer be working from next month.

If you wish to continue receiving email updates from me, please resubscribe to "The Minimalist Translator" using the new email subscription widget at the top of my blog.

Thank you for following my blog!


Saturday, 19 June 2021

Important message to all blog subscribers

Google recently announced that it would shut down some features of its Feedburner infrastructure, including the popular Feedburner email subscription service, in July 2021.

Following the deprecation, the "Follow this blog by email" widget on my blog will no longer be working from next month.

I have therefore integrated a new email subscription widget into my blog, using AddThis and MailChimp to set it up. The new widget will pop up at the top of the blog.

 

If you wish to continue receiving email updates from me, please resubscribe to "The Minimalist Translator" using this new email subscription widget.

Remember you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "Unsubscribe" link in the subscription email. Alternatively, you can always access my content directly at https://hippe-heisler.blogspot.com or by following me on Twitter.


Thank you for following my blog!





Saturday, 12 June 2021

Advanced googling for translators: WRG Take 5 Talk on 1 June 2021

How do translators go about finding correct and reliable words and phrases for use in their translations? This is where Google search operators can come in.
 

I recently gave a Take 5 Talk on advanced googling for translators to my local translators‘ and interpreters‘ association, the Western Regional Group (WRG), at its last online social on 1 June. The WRG has held regular online socials using Zoom since the pandemic took hold in the UK. The meeting on 1 June was hosted by Joint Social Media Officer Mariana Roccia.

 


To track down artificial intelligence terminology, you could use the intitle operator
to find webpages with either “glossary” or “dictionary” in the title




I shared insights into how I use Google search operators in my translations and my writing. Wildcards, the minus operator, site, intitle etc. are powerful tools which can be immensely useful: they help narrow down the hits returned by Google, extracting specific information that a less refined search query would not!

 


I shared insights in a Take 5 Talk into how I use Google search operators
to improve my translations and my writing




My talk was based on these two articles which recently appeared on this blog:

Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 1)
Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 2)

 

 



Friday, 7 May 2021

Do translators need to speak foreign languages?

“How many languages do you speak?”

“It must be amazing to be able to speak many different languages.”


 

These are remarks I frequently encounter when I mention I’m a translator. And I won’t tire of repeating: speaking languages isn’t something that translators usually do. Translators (unlike interpreters) do not necessarily have to be fluent, confident speakers of a foreign language.

 

“How many languages do you speak?”
It’s a question which I, as a translator, have been asked what seems like hundreds of times
(photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash)


 


Translators don’t speak many languages


Instead, the following skills are way more important – in fact, critical – to what translators do in their jobs:

- Translators need to be able to fully understand, capture and transfer the meaning, nuances and complexities of a text that has been written in a foreign language.

- Translators need to put their antennas out to sense the finer subtleties of any language around them, with the aim of exploiting language observations in their translations.
 
- Translators need to be skilled in writing well.

 

Translation work is written work

 

This means I’m a translator, but I don’t speak many languages. For example, I offer translations from Italian, but I admit I don’t speak Italian well. I can read and understand (and obviously translate from) Italian, but my spoken Italian is rusty, to say the least.

I’m also learning Swedish because I’m keen to be able to speak and understand it; however, Swedish is a language that’s never going to feature in my job. The basic Swedish speaking skills which I’ve acquired are worlds away from the highly specialised work required in professional translation.

 

Native language skills: a translator’s most important toolset

 

Translators don’t tend (or need) to jump at opportunities to speak, because written language is the tool that they predominantly work with. As a German translator, I therefore constantly work on sharpening my German writing skills. To this end, I routinely expose myself to language around me, by reading, listening to and observing language.

 

Translators don’t tend (or need) to jump at opportunities to speak,
because written language is the tool that they predominantly work with
(photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pixabay)


Finally, whilst the ability to speak a foreign language isn’t a prerequisite of the translator’s job, there’s no doubt that it is a beneficial additional skill that will stand a translator in good stead. The ability to strike up a conversation with a new business contact, for example, may help translators acquire clients of a wholly different calibre. 

 

“How many languages do you speak?” It’s a question which I, as a translator, have been asked what seems like hundreds of times, but which still leaves me stumped for an answer. Perhaps my answer should simply be: “I don’t need to speak much in my job. Translators produce written translations, and I translate texts from English and Italian into German.”



Monday, 5 April 2021

Becoming a specialist translator

To succeed and prosper as a translator, it’s no longer enough to just be a translator: you need to be a specialist translator. These days it is more important than ever to develop an in-depth understanding of one or more specialist fields – ideally something that will hold your interest enough to make you want to explore it ever more deeply.


The unusual nature of translators’ CPD

To become well versed in a special area of work, translators are first and foremost required to read widely around their chosen subject, especially in their target language (i.e. the language they translate into). For me this means: since I’m a German native speaker and am qualified to translate into German only, I read a lot in German with a view to improving my translation skills.

As I regularly deal with computing patents in my job, some of the “informal CPD” that I engage in is reading computer programming books in German. I read them predominantly in German because I’m required to learn how IT contexts are phrased correctly and idiomatically in German. Reading technical books enables me to take mental notes of typical words or text conventions.

 

To succeed and prosper as a translator these days, it’s no longer enough
to just be a translator: you need to be a specialist translator

(photo by Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler: Raspberry Pi)


Should translators’ CPD be focused on studying translations?

But wouldn’t it be better if I read not just German IT texts, but instead compared them meticulously side by side with similar texts in English (if available)? This is a valid question I was once asked, and I agree this would indeed be a good approach. However, I also feel that not all translators’ CPD needs to be translation-related to be useful.

In an actual translation project (and in the areas I work in), my “translator brain” will in many situations be able to match terms and phrases picked up in my monolingual reading with the corresponding terms and phrases in the text I’m translating. For instance, when I’m faced with translating pseudocode in a patent, I will then know that certain words in the code should ideally be in English in the German translation, while any embedded explanatory programmer’s notes (which, for instance, are preceded by a hash sign) will be readily translatable into German.

 

I am first and foremost a language specialist, and the type of activity
which I perform as a translator is a language activity, not a hands-on activity

(photo by Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler: extract from book
"Einstieg in Python" by Thomas Theis)
 


Acquiring a subject specialism in translation

I love complementing my CPD reading activities with some hands-on experience by occasionally typing up the code explained in my books in a development environment. I derive pleasure from seeing with my own eyes that the theory works in practice! Sometimes, though, the programmes that I type up won’t run and I can’t figure out why, but here’s the thing (and this will probably surprise anyone reading this who is not a translator):

Absorbing and memorising the language that’s used to describe the context in question is more relevant to me and my translation work than actually succeeding in running the programme. For in the end the type of activity which I perform to provide my services is a language activity, not a hands-on activity. I am first and foremost a language specialist. I’m a language specialist who has acquired a subject semi-specialism.


To succeed and prosper as a translator these days, it is no longer enough to just be a translator. In this post I set out one of my approaches to specialising as a translator, which has been highly effective and successful.


Friday, 19 March 2021

GDPR training with the Western Regional Group on 12 March 2021

On 12 March 2021 the ITI Western Regional Group (WRG) ran an online training event about GDPR. It featured a high-quality, information-packed presentation by Viviana Mucharraz, commercial legal advisor at Carbon Law Partners, which specialises in GDPR for businesses. It had been organised with superb efficiency and was facilitated by WRG member and former WRG Events Officer Sandra Mouton.

Viviana’s presentation provided a clear insight into GDPR obligations and the use of associated terminology: a “data controller” (for example an end client) is the person who decides how and why data is collected and processed, whereas a “data processor” (for example a freelance translator or interpreter) is a separate person or organisation processing such data on the controller’s behalf and in accordance with the controller’s instructions. Controllers have the highest level of compliance responsibility, whereas processors do not have the same level of obligations.


For GDPR purposes it is necessary to always
consider the purpose for which data is processed


 

The distinction between these roles depends on the particulars of each situation: an end client, an agency or a freelance translator or interpreter may act as a controller or a processor or as both! Viviana set out useful criteria and discussed how to ensure compliance in general. She explained that data is personal data if it relates to an identifiable living individual. Data processing covers almost any use of data: collecting, recording, storing, analysing, combining, disclosing and even deleting it!


She stressed that it is necessary to always consider the purpose for which data is processed or for which it is kept once an assignment has been completed. Keeping data may be acceptable, for example to comply with the provisions of an insurance policy (for a new purpose), even if an instruction (for a previous purpose) has been given not to keep such data. In this scenario it would be necessary to take steps to be able to demonstrate that such data was kept for a new purpose.


Viviana’s illuminating presentation was followed by a question and answer session, in which she provided comprehensive answers to the many burning questions on translation- and interpreting-related GDPR issues from attendees. None of her information should be taken as legal advice, but she advised us to generally err on the side of caution (which may involve deleting personal data on our systems after it has been used) and to demand written documentation of any work instructions.


The afternoon moved along at a brisk pace and was rounded off with an insightful talk by John O’Shea from FIT Europe about a recent survey conducted among translators and interpreters about GDPR. Findings from the survey include that there is widespread confusion about and low awareness of GDPR and that the availability of privacy policy templates would be desirable.


The Western Regional Group would like to thank both speakers and Sandra Mouton for a thoroughly useful event. GDPR issues inevitably are a part of all our businesses. The event has equipped us with the knowledge necessary to better deal with many of these issues in future.

 


 

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 2)

Google search operators are powerful tools which translators can employ to create correct and idiomatic translations. They help narrow down the hits returned by Google, extracting specific information that a less refined search query would not.

The headache of online searches these days is that many of the words and phrases found online are unreliable, fishy or incorrect. How do translators go about finding correct and reliable words and phrases for use in their translations?


This blog post is the continuation of my previous blog post "Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 1)", which you can find here.

 

Focused internet searches are vital to the specialised work of translators
and can be powerfully aided by Google search operators

 
 

Reading a Google result
 

It is necessary to understand how a Google result is read.

When I enter, for example, the search words "Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler" into the Google search bar (known as "search query"), this is one of the results that will be displayed by Google:

 



The URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of a given unique resource on the web.

The title is the title which the author of the webpage has added to the webpage.

The search words "Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler" will be displayed in bold in an extract from the webpage text.

 
Note that all examples which I’ve given below are based on translations from English to German (the main language combination I work with), but are, of course, applicable to any language combination.
 

The most helpful Google search operators for translators (part 2) 

 

intitle: 

The intitle: operator serves to search for words likely to appear in the title of a website. It is called “title” because in the underlying HTML code <title> tags are used:




Example:

Since machine learning and artificial intelligence are a frequent topic of my patent translations, I often need to equip myself with relevant English/German glossaries before embarking on my translation. It is possible to track down webpages with the German word “Glossar” or the English word “glossary” in the title.

 

The following search query will bring up 74 glossaries with either “Glossar” or “glossary” as well as “künstliche Intelligenz” (German for “artificial intelligence”) in the title.

intitle:Glossar|glossary intitle:"künstliche Intelligenz" 

 

For a more minimal use of words in my search query, I could alternatively shorten the search query as follows: 

allintitle:Glossar|glossary "künstliche Intelligenz"

 


Example: 

Say I’m thinking of using the term “Beacon-Frame” in my German translation, but am unsure whether it is a term that’s typically used in a German data communications context. Assuming further that I trust the reliability of terms on the itwissen.info site (or say I’ve been instructed to use this site for reference), I can then test for this term by typing the following query into Google:

"Beacon Frame" intitle:itwissen 

 

2 Google search hits will confirm to me that “Beacon-Frame” is used on itwissen.info. This convinces me it is appropriate to use the translation “Beacon-Frame” in my German translation.


The tilde symbol 

The tilde symbol ~ is the Google operator for finding synonyms.

 

Example:

To broaden my search for German deep learning-related glossaries, I can either use the OR operator | (the pipe symbol) and include various synonyms for “Glossar” (German for “glossary”) in my hunt for German glossaries:

"deep learning" intitle:glossar|begriffe|fachbegriffe|lexikon|terminologie 

 

Or so as to have to type less, I could simply use the tilde symbol:

"deep learning" ~intitle:glossar
 

Who (apart from translators and writers) uses Google to track down synonyms? Note: the tilde operator was deprecated several years ago, but I'm listing it here anyway, not least to demonstrate that Google will sometimes drop support for operators if usage is low!


related: 

The related: search operator is used to find sites similar to the one that is useful to me. 

 

Example: 

epo.org is the European Patent Office’s website, so related:epo.org will bring up other IP-related sites relevant to me as a patent translator as I can consequently extract useful terminology from them.

 


 


filetype:

The filetype: operator serves to limit searches to a specific file format of documents I want to look at online.

 
Example: 

Many reliable glossaries are contained in and available on the web as PDF files. If I’m required to collect glossaries for a mechatronics translation and, for instance, want to restrict my search to PDF files, I could use the following search query:


Mechatronik intitle:glossar|glossary filetype:pdf

 

Combinations of search operators (for example site: and intitle:) 

There are obviously lots of ways in which search operators can be combined for more efficient web searching! For example, one particularly useful way of tracking down terminology for a translation is combining the site: and intitle: search operators.


Example: 

Say it occurs to me that the expression “operatively connected” (or “operatively coupled”), which is typically used in patents, has already been discussed by translators on ProZ.com and I want to take a look at the discussion around this expression. 

English-to-German glossaries in the KudoZ database on ProZ.com are listed at http://www.proz.com/glossary-translations/english-to-german-glossaries, and they all have the words “English to German” in the browser title bar. For quick access to KudoZ results right from my Google search bar, I therefore usually use the following search command:

operatively intitle:"English to German" site:proz.com

 



Conclusion


Focused internet searches are vital to the specialised work of translators and can be powerfully aided by Google search operators. Google search operators are strings of characters that are added to a search engine query to help narrow down the hits returned by Google and produce more accurate translations.

 

This blog post is the continuation of my previous blog post "Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 1)", which you can find here.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 1)

Focused internet searches are vital to the work of translators, as just entering keywords into a search engine often isn’t enough. For more targeted, granular search results, it may instead be necessary to add certain parameters, known as search parameters, to a search query.

 

Google search operators are powerful tools
which translators can employ to create correct and idiomatic translations

 

Creating correct translations using search operators 

The headache of online searches these days is that many of the words and phrases found online are unreliable, fishy or incorrect – a situation exacerbated by the fact that the internet is becoming increasingly swamped with machine translations. How do translators go about finding correct and reliable words and phrases for use in their translations?

This is where Google search operators come in. Google search operators are powerful tools which translators can employ to create correct and idiomatic translations. They help narrow down the hits returned by Google, extracting specific information that a less refined search query would not.


What are Google search operators?

Search operators are strings of characters that are added to a search engine query to narrow the focus of the search. You can, for instance, limit a search to just examining all the text on a particular website by using the site: operator.


Reading a Google result

It is first of all necessary to understand how a Google result is read.

When I enter, for example, the search words "Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler" into the Google search bar (known as "search query"), this is one of the results that will be displayed by Google:

 



The URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of a given unique resource on the web.

The title is the title which the author of the webpage has added to the webpage.

The search words "Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler" will be displayed in bold in an extract from the webpage text.

 

Note that all examples given below are based on translations from English to German (the main language combination I work with), but are, of course, applicable to any language combination. 


The most helpful Google search operators for translators (part 1)


site:

The site: operator can be used to extract words and phrases from a particular website.

 

Example: 

The site: operator comes in useful, for example, when I’m scouring the leifiphysik.de website for typical German terms or collocations in a physics context for use in my translations. (This website has been recommended to me as a reliable online source for physics by my brother-in-law, who teaches physics in Germany.)

For instance, to find collocations containing the term “Körper” (the German translation of the English term “body”, which in physics is used to describe an object with mass), I input the following search query in Google and will hence be able to browse a host of typical German collocations:

"der Körper" site:leifiphysik.de

 



 










Example: 

Another useful search method which I frequently apply is to use the site:de operator to display websites from Germany only. In other words, the Google search results will be limited to a particular top-level domain (TLD). For instance, I could use the following search query to look at websites with artificial intelligence-related content specifically from Germany:

site:de "künstliche Intelligenz"



Wildcards 

A wildcard is designated by an asterisk (*), which stands for a keyword not yet known at the time I enter my search query. 

 

If I’m unable to remember all the words in a technical term I need to use, I can use a wildcard on Google to find this out quickly. Searches with wildcards – as opposed to searches without them – will usually yield pages about exactly what I'm looking for straight away, thus speeding up my search.

 

Example: 

"Redundant * of Independent Disks"

 


 

I love wildcards and use them all the time – and not just for work! Since I’m not a native speaker of English, I don’t translate into English. I do write a lot in English, though, with much of my writing targeted at British readers. To make sure my English writing sounds right to British ears, I frequently use combinations of wildcards and the site:co.uk operator.


Example:

"pandemic is still * havoc" site:co.uk



Bilingual searches 

Bilingual searches are useful for finding bilingual internet pages that will likely contain both the term and its translation. To narrow down the search, a field-related term in the target language could be added. 


Example: 

I recently had to deal with the term “interrupt coalescing“ in a computing translation. Since I had not come across the term before, I was first of all keen to find a definition of it, ideally a German one to assist me with the appropriate phrasing in my German translation.

I input the following search string into Google:

"Interrupt Coalescing ist"


3 Google hits came up, one of which read: "Interrupt Coalescing ist das Zusammenfassen von mehreren IP-Paketen auf dem Netzwerk-Adapter, bevor ein Interrupt ausgelöst wird." I was satisfied with this definition, not least because I noticed it was part of an e-book, and consequently went on to use „Interrupt Coalescing“ in my translation.

Note: I generally deem text found in e-books or Google Books much more reliable than text found on webpages as the latter are frequently sloppily worded and not properly proofread. 

 

The minus operator – 

The minus operator is used to exclude certain keywords or particular websites from a search. 

 

Example: 

Say I’m thinking of using the translation “Sequenzdetektor” in a machine learning context and wish to check whether this is a common term in German. Say I also wish to to exclude Amazon and Ebay from my search because the machine translations on these sites are known to be unreliable and won’t therefore be of much use in my hunt for the correct term. For this, I use the minus operator:

"Sequenzdetektor" -amazon -ebay

 

Google provides 389 results for “Sequenzdetektor”, including a host of useful German computer engineering sites or book extracts (but not Amazon or Ebay).  


 


 

Alternatively, I could specifically exclude Amazon and Ebay websites from my search:

"Sequenzdetektor" -site:amazon.de -site:ebay.de

 

The pipe symbol |

The pipe symbol stands for OR and is used to include various alternatives of a word in a single search query to cover a number of possibilities. 

 

Example:

I could use the OR operator to find explanations of the meaning of “wear leveling” in an electronics context in German:

 "Wear Leveling ist|bedeutet|wird"

 


 

Example: 

The OR operator comes in useful, for example, in double-checking if “sequenzielle Abhängigkeit” is a typical German term in a deep learning context.

For broader search results, I additionally include various German declensions of the adjectives and nouns I’m using in my search query as well as alternative German spellings (note that I don’t always include so many alternatives):


"sequenzielle|sequentielle|sequenzieller|sequentieller|sequentiellen|sequenziellen Abhängigkeiten|Abhängigkeit" "Deep Learning"


This approach will bring up a few hits. The following book extract convinces me of the reliability of the term “sequenzielle Abhängigkeit”, as a result of which I go on to use it in my translation:

 


 




inurl:

The inurl: operator is employed to check for words likely to appear in the URL of a website.

 

Example: 

I recently had to translate the phrase “to act as a packet capturer (e.g. packet sniffer) during training mode” in a patent translation about machine learning. The term “packet sniffer” is used in German, too, but how to translate “packet capturer”? Translating literally was out of the question. 

Here, the inurl: operator came in useful in the following search engine query:

 "Packet Sniffer" inurl:glossar
 

It transpired from this search that “aufzeichnen”, “abfangen” or “ausspähen” are typical verbs in this context, so I settled on the following translation: “während des Trainingsmodus (z. B. als Packet Sniffer) Datenpakete aufzeichnen”.


Example: 

Recently, the term “feature extractor” (again in a machine learning context) came up in one of my texts for translation, and I wasn’t sure what the correct German equivalent was. I was keen first of all to track down a glossary. To this end I used the following search query:

"feature extractor|extraction" inurl:glossar


The following useful glossary came up: https://quizlet.com/de/459396454/glossar-mti-flash-cards. So I settled on the translation “Merkmalsextraktor”. 
 

Feature extraction
Beim maschinellen Lernen, bei der Mustererkennung und in der Bildverarbeitung beginnt die Merkmalsextraktion mit einem ersten Satz von Messdaten und bildet abgeleitete Werte (Merkmale), die informativ und nicht redundant sein sollen, was die nachfolgenden Lern- und Verallgemeinerungsschritte erleichtert und in einigen Fällen zu einer besseren menschlichen Interpretation führt.


Conclusion

Focused internet searches are vital to the specialised work of translators and can be powerfully aided by Google search operators. In this post I give an overview of Google search operators that are most helpful to translators.

 

This is part 1 of a 2-part article. You can find part 2 of this article here.

 





Saturday, 9 January 2021

The absolute no list

Do you wish to eliminate activities or break habits in your life because you find them draining or frustrating? If so, this post might be for you.


The absolute no list has been proposed by Cheryl Richardson and is a technique designed to help us give up activities that drain us or make us resentful or short-tempered. The absolute no list is a simple, minimal technique that can make a huge difference to our wellbeing!


It focuses on certain aspects of our lives that we’re currently not happy with and therefore want to change. An absolute no list can be created simply by combining the words “I no longer …” with whatever it is we’re no longer willing to do.

 

An absolute no list involves becoming minimal about aspects of life that you find unsatisfying

 


The sentences resulting from this will be almost like mantras. My own absolute no list, for example, now includes the following:

 

I no longer answer the phone while I’m working on something important.


I no longer work in the office after 9pm.


I no longer care about what other people think of me.


I no longer visit Twitter regularly.


I no longer volunteer unless this feels 100% right to me.



Creating an absolute no list can help improve the quality of life significantly and is all about setting new limits – your own limits! It involves becoming minimal about aspects of your life that you find annoying or unsatisfying.