TransSearch Tutorial, Level I


Other bilingual concordancer tutorials

Other TransSearch tutorials


Bilingual concordancers allow users to search bitexts, that is, texts that have been segmented and aligned side by side with their translations. They generally allow the user to search a single text or a collection of texts with a single search. Bilingual concordancers are popular tools with translators, because they allow them to quickly and easily consult previous translations of words, terms, sentences and phrases. These previous translations can provide inspiration and ideas, and can also help translators to maintain consistency between documents. However, because at least one of the halves of a bitext is a translation, in certain situations it is important for users to keep in mind that the results may not be as "authentic" as those from original texts.



I. Introduction


TransSearch is an online bilingual concordancer which allows a user to search large databases of ready-made bitexts. TransSearch contains a number of databases of English-French bitexts, including the Canadian Hansard (parliamentary debates) and Canadian court rulings. (There are also bitexts of English, French and Spanish international labour conventions and related documents.) You can find out more about TransSearch by consulting the online help files (www.tsrali.com > English > Help).


TransSearch, which is managed by the Canadian company Terminotix (www.terminotix.com), allows a user to consult bitexts created with an automatic aligner developed in the laboratory for Applied Research in Computational Linguistics (Recherche appliquée en linguistique informatique, or RALI) at the University of Montreal; in fact, this is the same technology that is used to align files in LogiTerm.


Since TransSearch is entirely on-line, you can access it anywhere you have an Internet connection. If you are registered in a course that includes a TransSearch subscription, your professor or teaching assistant will likely give you your username and password in class. If you are not, you will need to sign up for an account. You can get a free five-day trial of TransSearch. For instructions, consult the document TransSearch: Register for a free five-day trial.


II. Getting ready

  1. Open the browser of your choice (e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox), using the shortcut on your Desktop or from the Start menu).
  2. Type www.tsrali.com into the browser’s address bar (or simply click on the link), and explore the TransSearch help files.
    1. Click on the English link at the top right of the page to change the interface language.
    2. Click on the Help link and read through the help files to familiarize yourself with TransSearch and how it works, including the search options.
  3. Click on the Queries link to return to the home page.
  4. Log in to TransSearch by entering your username and password in the fields that appear in the right-hand side of the page. (See Note 1.)


III. Searching

  1. Choose the base of bitexts you wish to search.
    1. From the drop-down list, choose the House of Commons Hansard (1986-2011).
  2. Do a simple query for traitement.
    1. Enter traitement in the Expression field.
    2. Click the Search button.
  3. Look at the search results.
    1.  Browse through the contexts containing the search string as well as its translations, to see how the search string was translated.
    2. To see more contexts, click the More Matches button.
    3.  To see the larger context from which this context was taken, click the numbered button next to the segment. How is the bitext displayed?
    4.  Return to the list of occurrences by clicking the Back to Results button.
  4. Do a search for a multiword expression, à la mitaine.
    1. Enter à la mitaine in the Expression field and click the Search button.
    2.  Evaluate the results. What equivalents are suggested by your reading?
  5. Do a search for eventually.
    1. How is this search string translated in French?
    2. What are the difficulties of searching for translations of such words in a resource such as this one?
  6. Do a search for information.
    1. How is the search string indicated in English? In French?
    2. What does this tell you about how the tool works?
  7. Do a search for decision.
    1. Where is this search string identified? What does this tell you about how the tool works?
    2.  What are the possible equivalents?
    3. What types of words are commonly used with decision (for example, verbs, adjectives, other nouns), i.e. what are its collocates?
    4. What are the possible equivalents of those words?
    5.  What are the advantages of this type of an approach to searching compared to searching in more traditional resources such as dictionaries?
  8. Choose another base of bitexts and repeat the search.
    1.  From the drop-down list, choose the Canadian Courts rulings (1986-2009).
    2.  Re-do the search for decision.
    3. Are the equivalents the same? What about the collocates?
  9. Return to the Hansard base and do a dictionary query for the verb concevoir.
    1. Enter concevoir+ in the Expression field and click the Search button.
    2. Evaluate the results.
    3. What does the dictionary query allow you to do? In what type of situation might this be useful?
  10. Do a search for information in only one language.
    1. Click the Bilingual Query button.
    2.  Enter information in the English Expression field.
    3. How do these results differ from the standard search for this search string?
  11. Do a search for design in English.
    1. Enter design in the English Expression field.
    2.  Evaluate the results to identify possible translations.
  12. Do a bilingual query for design in English and conception in French.
    1. Enter design in the English Expression field.
    2.  Enter conception in the French Expression field.
    3. Browse through the results. What do you notice?
  13. Do a search for a semi-fixed expression that includes fox and henhouse.
    1. Click the Simple Query button.
    2. Enter fox..henhouse in the Expression field.
    3. What does the two-point ellipsis (..) allow you to do?
    4. What different forms do you notice for this search string?
    5. What are the possible translations for the expression(s)?
  14. In the Canadian Courts base, do a search for the words juge and procès appearing at a distance from each other.
    1.  Enter juge+ ...procès+ in the Expression field.
    2.  What does the three-point ellipsis (…) allow you to do?
    3. How can this type of search be useful?
  15. Reverse the words in the search string (procès+ ...juge+) and re-do the search.
    1. What effect does the order of words in the search string have on the search results? 


V. Wrapping up


  1. Log out of the session by clicking on the Quit link at the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Close the browser.
NOTE 1: Once in the system, if you want to change the interface language, click the Preferences/ Préférences link that appears near the top of the page.





VI. Questions for reflection


  • What are your first impressions of the functions and functioning of TransSearch?
  • Do you think TransSearch is a useful translation tool? In what type of situation?
  • What are the differences between TransSearch and other bilingual concordancing tools you have used? What are the limitations of this tool? What are its advantages?
  • Compare the options available in TransSearch to those available in other concordancing tools such as LogiTerm. Analyze the similarities and the differences (for example, search options available in one tool but not another, or different ways to carry out the same or similar tasks).
  • Did you have any difficulties in finding the equivalent of a search string in TransSearch? Why do you think the equivalent of the search string is not indicated by TransSearch?
  • What possibilities are suggested by searches in this type of resource that would not necessarily be proposed in more traditional resources?
  •  What approaches are used in other tools to find more than one form of the same word? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the different approaches compared to the one used by TransSearch?
  • What does the bilingual search tell you about how TransSearch searches work? How might this type of search be useful?


Tutorial updated by the CERTT Team. (2008-07-09)