I would like to thank my supervisor, PhDr. Jarmila Fictumová, for her advice and constructive feedback.
Table of Contents
List of abbreviations used in the thesis 7
List of tables 8
1 Scientific and technical translation 9
1.1 Increasing importance of information technologies 9
1.2 History of translation 11
1.3 Literary, scientific, and technical translation 12
1.4 Translation workflow 14
1.4.1 Computer-aided translation 15
1.4.2 Term-base 15
1.4.3 Translation memory 16
2 Machine translation 17
2.1 History of machine translation 18
2.2 Machine translation today 21
2.3 Early machine translation systems 21
2.4. Translation tools that make use of machine translation 23
2.5 Different approaches to machine translation systems 26
3 Machine translation in the Czech environment 28
3.1 General information about the Czech language 28
3.2 Specifics of the Czech language: morphology, syntax, and word order 29
3.3 Machine translation and the Czech language 30
4 The use of machine translation in technical translation from English into Czech 31
4.1 Examples of technical machine-translated texts 32
4.1.1 User manual 32
4.1.2 Instruction manual 35
4.1.3 Technical documentation 39
4.2 Common errors produced by machine translation systems in translations from English into Czech 42
English resume 48
Czech resume 49
The contemporary world is driven by technology. Technology has become an essential part of our everyday life. Every new invention strengthens our dependency (and also reliance and addiction to) on electricity, Internet connection, and our smart devices. Most of us cannot imagine their day without a digital alarm-clock, electrical tooth-brush, toaster, coffee machine, telephone, computer, car, dishwasher, and other hundreds of appliances and devices. Tentacles of progress also touch our professional lives, and our jobs reflect the changing and in a fast pace developing world of technology.
The world of translation has changed significantly during the last years and the changes are still going on. Every aspect of translation work has changed: the tools of the trade, the communication between the translator and his customer, the translated content, amounts of work, and the deadlines.
This thesis focuses on machine translation, one of the contemporary drivers in the field of technical translation, a system intended to push down the costs of translation and to make the translation process faster. Machine translation should be a tool that provides a useful service to translators and their customers. Customers (individuals, smaller businesses, and corporations ordering translations) would profit from the lower price and shorter delivery times, and the work of the translator should simplify and transform to post-editing of pre-translated texts. However, the situation is not as simple as one could suppose and this new kind of work requires a proper and detailed training to also bring advantages to translators. The aim of this thesis is not only to examine the results of such machine translation systems and to find the advantages and disadvantages they bring to translators, but also to provide a concise overview of the translation environment, workbenches, and tools used by professional translators to better understand all aspects of machine translation and its impact on translation.
The thesis is divided into two major parts. The first three main chapters briefly explain and describe the background of technical translation and individual aspects of machine translation, including different approaches to machine translation. The fourth chapter presents practical examples of machine translation use in technical translations from English into Czech.
The first chapter deals with technical translation, the differences between literary, scientific, and technical translation are described, highlighting the reasons why technical texts are more suitable for the use of machine translation. The description of a translation workflow, including the tools of the trade and a brief overview of computer-aided translation tools (term-bases and translation memories), presents an important part of this chapter.
The topic of the second chapter is the theory of machine translation, its history and development. This chapter also contains brief descriptions of MT systems (early MT systems and translation tools that use these systems).
The third chapter focuses on machine translation in the Czech environment, it includes information regarding the Czech language and the specifics of the Czech language (morphology, word order) with respect to the use of machine translation.
Practical examples of machine translation use in Czech are described in Chapter 4. This chapter contains several scenarios (user manual, user instructions, and technical documentation) providing source texts, texts translated using statistical MT systems, and texts produced by a human translator. Analysis of translated sentences and the comparison of machine translation output with the human translation is a very important part of each example.
The most important and helpful secondary sources used for the theoretical part of this thesis were Translation Engines: Techniques for Machine Translation by Arturo Trujillo, Translation and the Machine: Technology, Meaning, Praxis by Steve Berneking and Scott S. Elliott, and various articles and studies written by William John Hutchins – an English linguist who specializes in machine translation. Much interesting information associated with the Czech language and machine translation was gathered from articles written by Ondřej Bojar (and his team), a researcher in the field of computational linguistics at Charles University in Prague. Primary sources include different user manuals, user guides, and technical documentation materials. For the translation of technical texts free online translation services Google Translate and Bing Translator were used.