Notes by Autumn Light

On Hebrew, English, translation, editing, and more—by Jonathan Orr-Stav

Meet Targo—my helper and occasional stand-in

2 Comments

1170401-TargoYesterday, after ten years of research and development at the University of Waterloo—including two years of collaboration with yours truly and a small collection of other selected translators and editors around the world—I took delivery of a device that will allow me to take real vacations (not the kind pseudo-vacations I usually have, where I furtively try and get some work done as Mrs. Autumn Light yells at me to get off my laptop and join her in seeing the sights or just truly taking it easy on the beach).

I immediate christened it [if can I say that, as a Jewish Israeli translator—I certainly didn’t give it a brith] by the fairly unoriginal name “Targo” (from the Hebrew letargem = to translate)—and, as expected,  it is already revolutionising my working practices and productivity.

I simply dictate the source text into it (because of my participation in the study, it also “understands” Hebrew), and Targo translates it into English (American or British—as I specify, in accordance with my own rules on the matter) in real time, and stores it for delivery to me at my convenience, in a plain text file, by email or Dropbox. Since Targo is already familiar with my writing style (from the training conducted during the R&D stage), and is aware of all the typical traps and errors that I warn about in my Hebrew Al-Fadiḥ (“Don’t Screw Up”) blog, it avoids the common mistakes of machine translation and “translatese”, and I have little left to do with the output text except to stylize it and format it to APA standards.

In the opposite direction—English to Hebrew—Targo translates into SimHebrew  (standard Square Hebrew script, as in many software applications, is not supported at this stage—nor is planned to, in the foreseeable future), but with the online Hebrew Simulator, the conversion to Square Hebrew is a piece of cake.

Targo and its ilk are not yet available to the general public—the device that my research partners and I have received are prototypes to test their performance in real world applications—but if this test period is successful, it may be launched as early as 2018.

Until then, my clients and I both benefit. Tell me if you notice the difference in output and quality.

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Author: יונתן אור-סתיו | Jonathan Orr-Stav

מתרגם עברית–אנגלית, עורך באנגלית, וסופר. כל הזכויות שמורות © 2016

2 thoughts on “Meet Targo—my helper and occasional stand-in

  1. Sounds wonderful, Jonathan! History will record this day as the birthday of a great labor-saving invention.
    Like the late-night infomercials used to claim “Folks, this one *really* works; not like the old Schmargo version you put in the attic after a few tries. ” (And I assume it detects emphasis and italicizes ‘really’.
    Bravo. Just be sure when using it on the beach that it doesn’t simply print {‘-sounds of waves breaking on the shore-}

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This sounds really exciting Jonathan. Star Trek anyone? I’ve seen lots of machine translation attempts that turn out results that are not so pretty. Tango is definitely the future it appears.

    Liked by 1 person

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