Translators Associations Europe: EAMT

Perfecting the European machine

Translators Associations Europe: EAMTThe European Association for Machine Translation (EAMT) is a non-profit translators association registered in Switzerland. It is the only organisation of its kind in the old continent, serving not only professionals but the growing community who have an interest in Machine Translation (MT) and all translation tools. This includes employees of translation agencies, users, developers and researchers of “this increasingly viable technology”.

EAMT is one of the three regional translation associations that are part of the International Association for Machine Translation (IAMT). The other two sister organizations are the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas (AMTA) and the Asian-Pacific Association for Machine Translation (AAMT).

In collaboration with AMTA and AAMT, the European translators association is responsible for the organisation of many events, such as workshops and conferences, like the bi-annual MT Summit or the annual EAMT conference (itself including many workshops). Together with the IAMT, the European organisation also puts together a compilation of listings of companies and products. This compilation is distributed free or “at nominal cost” to its members.

Other than this, the EAMT also has a mailing list which works as a public forum for the discussion and exchange of views on translation technology. This tool is open to the public, serving as a powerful instrument for debating the issues that currently affect both professionals and clients of Machine Translation. The European translation association requests that commercial organisations do not post product announcements in their entirety. Brief summaries with an URL pointing towards the full text are allowed.

The issue of Machine Translation

Europe’s only translators association dedicated to Machine Translation found it helpful to publish, on its website, some ideas concerning the yet somewhat controversial tool. “Machine Translation (MT) is the application of computers to the task of translating texts from one natural language to another”. For the organisation, “MT has proved to be an elusive goal, but today a reasonable number of systems are available which produce output which, if not perfect, is of sufficient quality to be useful in a number of specific domains”.

EAMT explains that, recently, translation software packages designed primarily as an aiding tool for the human translator have become popular within professional translation companies and translation agencies. These programmes, “referred to as computer-aided translation (CAT)”, make use of a variety of linguistic tools that “improve the productivity of translators, particularly when translating highly repetitive texts, such as technical documentation”.

However, the European translators association reminds that “users of MT programmes should be aware” of the system’s limitations, as they assess the translation. Round-trip translation is, according to EAMT, “a very bad way to judge whether the translation is any good”.

Why you should join, according to EAMT

The Machine Translation association mentions four reasons why you should become part of the family.

For starters, there is the MT Summit, organised by IAMT every two years. It is, according to EAMT, “a unique conference dedicated to the world of translation technology which alternates between Europe, the Americas, and Asia/Pacific”.

When the Summit is held elsewhere than Europe, the EAMT holds an annual workshop or a conference on some issue concerning MT. Sometimes, these opportunities happen in collaboration with other events. Members of this translators association may attend both EAMT and IAMT sponsored events at reduced rates.

Another reason why they think you should join them is the fact that EAMT is “an excellent way to learn more about the practical aspects of MT”. The translation association confirms the argument that “MT is still an imperfect technology” and expects its members to share their collective wisdom on the use of Machine Translation is working environments, in order to develop this technology. Through EAMT, “you may be able to reach people who have ‘been there before’ ”.

EAMT’s mother organisation, IAMT, is responsible for several regular publications, made available to members at reduced rates. This includes conference proceedings. There is also a compendium of MT Systems that is updated twice a year.

In addition, the European translators association has a bibliographic service that it offers to all members. “For a nominal amount”, all members are allowed to order photocopies of articles on Machine Translation published by a wide range of publications from the EAMT archives.

Membership categories

EAMT has four types of membership available: Student members (10 euro / year), Individual members (35 euro / year), Non-profit members (115 euro / year) and Corporate members (230 euro / year).

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