Speechpool roundup 41: sharing glossaries, Julian Assange, and permission to upload



Speechpool roundup

14th November 2016


logoI'm Sophie Llewellyn Smith, conference interpreter (EN<>FR(C), DE, EL), interpreter trainer and creator of Speechpool. I see the site both as a useful source of practice material and a place where interpreters can foster a sense of community by working together.


​Hello, Visitor!

Recent issues of the newsletter have been all about collaboration, networking, and tools to improve your skills. Today is no exception, as I share with you an interview with the brains behind Interpreters' Help, a terminology management tool created specifically with interpreters in mind. An article about Julian Assange and interpreters, a list of recently uploaded material, and a change to the way you can obtain permission to upload complete this week's issue. As ever, I welcome feedback. If you'd rather not receive updates, you can Unsubscribe, but I'd be sorry to see you go! 

Word count: 1800 words
Time to read: approx 7 minutes



Do you scribble down notes during meetings and write up terminology lists afterwards? Are you an app person, or do you create Excel glossaries? The need to manage terminology efficiently is common to all interpreters, and new technologies are heralding very sophisticated (and for some people, daunting) ways to do so.
This week, I want to tell you about a terminology management tool created specifically for interpreters by two young web developers, Benoit Werner and Yann Plancqueel. Interpreters' Help allows you to create glossaries, import your own, share with others, access your (cloud-stored) glossaries on any device, or use a special app called Boothmate if you have no internet connection in the booth.
The bonus, from your point of view: it's free! Students can use the Pro features (usually priced at $19.99 per month) for nothing.

Click on the photo of Benoit for an overview of how the system works.


Click on the photo of Yann to learn about Boothmate, the app that will give you access to your glossaries in the booth.

In this third video, you can find out more about creating a free account if you are an interpreting student. No strings attached! When your interpreting course is over, you will still have access to your glossaries. Just click on the photo to view the clip.
If you would like to feature as a guest speaker, get in touch!

Hello Benoît, and thanks for answering some questions about Interpreters' Help (www.interpretershelp.com)! Can you tell us a little about yourselves? Are you interpreters? What prompted you to create this app?
Hello and thank you for featuring us on your newsletter. Yann and I (Benoît) are both software engineers, we’ve been working as freelance developers and IT project managers for the past 10 years. Yann worked for the video game industry for a few years and then switched to web-development and I’ve always been working as a web-developer. We’ve known each other since college where we became friends.
We are not interpreters. Our link to interpretation is my sister Céline, who is a conference interpreter, we originally created Interpreters’ Help for her. From the moment she started working as a freelance interpreter, she has been asking me to develop a software that would allow her to quickly search her glossaries in the booth.
That’s how it started.

What were the biggest technical challenges for you in creating this app?
That’s an interesting question!
There were a few technical challenges:
- The biggest is the speed of the search function whether online or on the native apps.
It’s challenging to keep the speed while showing as many glossary lines as possible and while adding many options on the page and on the lines. Also scaling the database of glossaries is an ongoing challenge. 
- The glossary import process has many edge cases due to the variety of files the users are uploading, covering them all has been and still is a challenge.
- The Glossary History was also a heavy feature, we put a lot of thought into the model of data required to keep track of the history of modifications.
- And more recently, allowing glossary edition from the iPad app while still keeping everything in sync has not been easy, it was tricky to handle concurrent access on edition properly.

How does your system differ from others that are available? What are its most useful features, in your opinion?
I think the big difference with other available systems is that it is cloud-based.
There is a web-based interface that allows glossary creation, it also works from tablets and mobile phones.
And if you need to look up your glossaries without an Internet connection, we have a native app: BoothMate. It works on Mac, iPad, and Windows and syncs automatically all your glossaries to your device.
The advantages of Interpreters’ Help over other systems are:
- the ease of use
- no risk of data loss (we backup everything on a daily basis)
- no complicated settings via Dropbox or other cloud providers with the risk of corrupting your database and losing everything
- you just need a web-browser, no need to install Windows on your Mac or anythings like this.
I believe that glossary sharing is a top feature, no need to send Word documents to your colleagues anymore, you can share as read-only or with editing rights and see the changes your colleagues make.
The sharing feature has been popular since the beginning.

Why have you focused more on the social network aspect in your latest version?
Many interpreters who prepare for an assignment search for existing glossaries online to make sure they have the most important vocabulary on the subject. There are forums, groups on Facebook where people exchange glossaries.
We thought it could be great to build a public database of glossaries for interpreters shared by our members. We built it, it’s called Glossary Farm.
We’ve added the social network aspect to help develop this part. For example, now, members have a profile that can be seen by other members, so when they share a glossary publicly, we can learn more about them, it gives a sense of trust, and people can rate a public glossary.
Social networking tools help creating a sense of community. We would like to have a community of interpreters who collaborate to improve glossaries and make them evolve over time as terminology evolves.
The « notification system » also comes from the social media world. 
You get notified when someone you follow creates a public glossary, and this promotes activity, it will most likely encourage you to do the same.
Also, Interpreters’ Help has nearly a thousand interpreters, students and professionals, it’s great if they can interact, keep in touch.
We are going to develop the community aspect further and social networking tools have helped us so far.

Do you have an insight into usage patterns? Which features of your app are most used by interpreters?
While creating Interpreters’ Help we’ve talked to many interpreters and asked them how they were using glossaries and the answers are quite diverse.
They create glossaries:
- Because the process of creating glossaries helps them memorize terminology
- To be able to look at them on their phone while they commute to a job assignment
- To have a print version in the booth
- To be able to quickly search for terms in the booth while interpreting
We are monitoring some metrics on the website and since the beginning, the most popular feature has been the ability to share glossaries with colleagues. Initially we thought that members would share glossaries mostly read-only but they do it mostly with editing rights.
The glossary importer is also quite popular, as nearly a thousand glossaries have been imported from files so far.

Do you have more improvements in the pipeline?
We have tons of ideas for improvements and new features but it’s difficult to prioritize sometimes.
The next big thing that we are going to release is a “Practice section” where our members will be able to practice with videos, record themselves easily and get feedback.
The goal of Interpreters’ Help is to help interpreters with their preparation and we think that practice is part of an interpreter’s routine just like rehearsals for a musician.

And finally, is your app still free for students? How can they sign up?
Yes! they can learn all about it by watching the screencast above, or by visiting this page:

If you want to learn more about the genesis of this project and some of the technical details, listen to the soothing tones of  Alexander Drechsel interviewing them for his podcast LangFM ('talking to people at the intersection of language and technology').


Word of the week

This week's word, intended as an uploading prompt, is ELITISM. So much of the narrative following the Brexit referendum and Trump's victory in the US has been about a population left behind by neoliberalism and globalisation, and rising up against an arrogant elite. I'd love to hear your views of what ELITISM is, and where it is visible today. Please upload a speech! 

New this week on Speechpool

It's nice to see material being uploaded in some of the 'rarer' languages on Speechpool. Here are some Swedish speeches for you! Many thanks to the authors.

Mini-guidning av Luleå Gammelstad
Livet som stugvärd i fjällen
11 domande per Donald Trump


Interpreters in the Media

A few weeks ago I shared with you an article about deaf jurors and interpreters in court cases. Here is another high profile case where a qualified interpreter is required: Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, has repeatedly requested that allegations against him be made in a language he understands. He is due to be questioned this week about allegations of rape and molestation; you can read the article here. What do you make of its slant on court interpreters (and its report on 'the strangest sound in the Swedish language'??


Technical troubleshooting

Speechpool is a collaborative site, and it's always great to see new, high quality practice material being uploaded.
In order to simplify the process, it will no longer be necessary for new users to email me to ask permission to upload (a step I included in order to avoid spam or unsuitable content). New users are now asked to indicate on the registration form whether they are interpreting students, interpreters or trainers; this allows me to give uploading privileges automatically.
'Older' users for whom this feature didn't exist: if you can't see the upload page on Speechpool and you would like to upload videos, please send me a quick email with your username.

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