Reliable innovation: A Tecchie's travels in the land of translators

Alain Désilets*, Louise Brunette, Christiane Melançon, Geneviève Patenaude

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Machine Translation (MT) is rapidly progressing towards quality levels that might make it appropriate for broad user populations in a range of scenarios, including gisting and post-editing in unconstrained domains. For this to happen, the field may however need to switch gear and move away from its current technology driven paradigm to a more user-centered approach. In this paper, we discuss how ethnographic techniques like Contextual Inquiry could help in that respect, by providing researchers and developers with rich information about the world and needs of potential end-users. We discuss how data from Contextual Inquiries with professional translators was used to concretely and positively influence several R&D projects in the area of Computer Assisted Translation technology. These inquiries had many benefits, including: (i) grounding developers and researchers in the world of their end-users, (ii) generating new technology ideas, (iii) selecting between competing development project ideas, (iv) finding how to alleviate friction for important ideas that go against the grain of current user practices, (v) evaluating existing or experimental technologies, (vi) helping with micro level design decision, (vii) building credibility with translators, and (viii) fostering multidisciplinary discussion between researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Event8th Biennial Conference of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, AMTA 2008 - Waikiki, HI, United States
Duration: 21 Oct 200825 Oct 2008

Conference

Conference8th Biennial Conference of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, AMTA 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWaikiki, HI
Period21/10/0825/10/08

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