Translators in the loop: understanding how they work with CAT tools

(). Translators in the loop: understanding how they work with CAT tools : Invited talk. In: HaCat 2014 Human in the Loop: Workshop on Humans and Computer-Assisted Translation. Gothenburg, 26 Apr 2014.. Göteborg: EACL.

The research that we have been carrying out at translators’ workplaces over the past few years has provided indications that some CAT tools are not being used to their full potential or are even being ignored by the users they were (or should have been) designed for. Since by nature humans seem to resist  changing habits and procedures that do the job, it is easy to attribute that to the intransigence of older translators and shift the focus to designing new tools for digital natives. However, the cognitive demands of processing complex input in one language while producing and revising and/or assessing and revising output in another add a new dimension to the usual considerations of the human-machine loop of interaction, which may be independent of the translators’ age or experience. In fact, the productivity constraints that
many professional translators work under means that they might be adjusting more to their tools than adjusting their tools’ settings to optimize their (the translators’) performance. And if those tools have not been designed to meet their users’ cognitive and physical ergonomic needs, their use may actually slow down the translation process and have potentially detrimental effects on quality.