Ensuring it doesn’t get ‘lost in translation’

Generosity of alumnus Ralph Strozza helps to keep NIU students
who are studying foreign languages on cutting edge of technology

Ralph Strozza

Ralph Strozza

For the past decade, a successful alumnus has ensured that Northern Illinois University students in foreign languages have had access to state-of-the-art translation software.

Ralph Strozza, CEO and founder of Interpro Translation Solutions, Inc., an NIU graduate in French, Spanish and marketing, has twice donated Trados Studio licenses for 10 computer workstations in the foreign language department’s Learning Center.

“NIU is one of only a handful of universities in North America that has offered this technology to students and faculty,” said Katharina Barbe, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at NIU.

Trados Studio 2014 Professional is a powerful tool for translating, editing, reviewing and organizing terminology. It is used by more than 190,000 translators worldwide.

Central to Trados is its Translation Memory (TM) technology. TM stores content that has been input by the translator. The translator then has access to this content for future translations. This access speeds up the translation process significantly, improving productivity and helping to maintain consistency. Furthermore, users can customize Trados for their own particular needs and tasks.

“Any student considering a professional career as a translator who is not familiar with this technology will be at a considerable disadvantage,” Barbe said. “More and more companies and organizations are requiring their translators to use Trados. NIU students and graduates who have received even rudimentary training in how to use this software will have a better chance at being hired than students unfamiliar with it.”

Foreign language department faculty in French, German and Spanish include hands-on training with Trados in their 400-level and graduate translation courses. Over the years, professional translators from Interpro Translation Solutions trained not only faculty members but also students in the use of the technology.

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