Constraints on creativity: the case of CAT tools

; (). Constraints on creativity: the case of CAT tools. In: TRANSLATA II: "Translation Studies & Translation Practice" 2nd International Conference on Translation and Interpreting Studies. (30 October-1 November 2014). Innsbruck: University of Innsbruck.

Constraints on creativity: the case of CAT tools

The increasing use of language technology tools, such as translation memory, termbanks, and online dictionaries, has prompted an interest in their impact on cognitive processes, creativity, and the quality of translation products. Originally designed to improve consistency and increase speed, tools also facilitate searches for information and the recycling of previously-translated passages. Ideally, CAT tools relieve translators of the tedium involved with text production and help produce creative, appropriate solutions by freeing up cognitive capacity to deal with challenging translation problems (cf. O’Brien 2012). Recent research, however, indicates that CAT tools are not being used to their full potential or are even unnecessarily constraining the users they should have been designed for (Ehrensberger-Dow & Massey 2014a, b). Drawing on a large corpus of translation processes collected from professionals and students, we discuss the nature of translation in terms of cognitive, physical, and organizational ergonomics. The cognitive demands of comprehending complex content in one language, while producing and revising output in another, add a new dimension to the usual considerations of computer usability. In fact, the productivity pressures imposed on many professionals might be forcing them to adjust to their tools rather than adapting those tools to their own needs. On the basis of our findings, we argue that professional translators need to take increased ownership of language technology tools, and play a more prominent role in contributing to needs assessment, product development, application testing, training, and the integration of language technologies into organizational processes.

References
Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen & Gary Massey. (2014a). “Cognitive ergonomic issues in professional translation.” In: Schwieter, John W. & Aline Ferreira (eds), The Development of Translation Competence: Theories and Methodologies from Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Science. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 58-86.
Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen & Gary Massey. (2014b). “Translators and machines: working together.” In: Proceedings of XXth World Congress of the International Federation of Translators, Berlin, 4-6 August 2014.
O’Brien, Sharon (2012). “Translation as human-computer interaction.” Translation Spaces 1: 101-122.