Saturday, 23 July 2011

funded PhD studentship in translation technology, Dublin City University (28 July)

PhD Scholarship in Cognitive Translation Studies and Human-­Computer Interaction at Dublin City University
Funded by Symantec Ireland

Recent work by Koehn (2010) has focused on the concept of monolingual post-­editing of Machine Translation output. Similar work is being conducted within the NSF-­ and Google-­funded Monotrans, Monotrans2 (Hu et al., 2011) and Paratrans projects in the US, and within the Language Grid project in Japan (Lin et al., 2010). While these projects have shown that in certain cases monolingual experts can produce post-­edited products that outperform those generated by bilingual translators, they have not explored the cognitive dimensions associated with this new type of activity. Indeed, the following questions have yet to be fully answered:
  • Are there any pre-requisites for monolingual editors (and indeed bilingual post-­editors) to produce reliable output (background, domain knowledge, task tolerance, personality profile, interest in supporting technology, philanthropy)?
  • Are there any criteria (such as source or raw output quality) that may affect the quality of monolingual (and bilingual) editing?
The PhD scholar will be expected to carry out empirical research on cognitive and contextual dimensions to ascertain what the success factors are for monolingual vs. bi-­lingual post-­editing.

Scholarship Details

Applications are invited for a three-­year scholarship to conduct research in the domain broadly outlined above. The scholarship will include annual fees for three years (approx. 5,000 euros for EU candidates) and an annual stipend of 18,000 euros. The successful applicant will register as a full-time PhD-track student in the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University, under the academic supervision of Dr. Sharon O'Brien. The scholarship is fully funded by Symantec Ireland's Shared Engineering Services Research Group. Industrial cosupervision will be provided by Dr Fred Hollowood and Dr Johann Roturier (both of Symantec Ireland).


This study is one part of a larger funded project, with multiple partners. The student will be involved in:

• Defining several rounds of user studies involving the post-editing of Machine-­Translated User-­Generated content by both speakers of the target language and bilingual speakers. The objectives of these studies will be to compare the user productivity and quality of the generated output given different set-ups, and to compare monolingual and bilingual post-editing as a process.
• Defining user requirements to help design an enhanced Post-­Editing environment (where monolingual and bilingual user edits can be collected).
• Conducting additional tasks in the area of Corpus Linguistics, such as:

o User Generated Content (UGC) corpus analysis to identify areas where input normalisation may be required (in terms of spelling, terminology, grammar, style)
o Defining a model to classify UCG (by identifying specific utterances such as questions and answers).

• As a stipended PhD student, the student may also be asked to assist with teaching duties at some stage during the scholarship duration.
• The student would be expected to publish his or her research findings in relevant conferences and journals. Where appropriate, this will include co-publication with supervisors.
• The student will have the opportunity to take relevant modules designed for graduate training at the university.
• The student will be an active PhD member of the Centre for Translation and Textual Studies at DCU.

Qualifications, Skills and Qualities Required

• Ideally a completed Master's qualification in Translation Studies, with a minimum of a 2.1 award or higher. A Master's in Human-Computer Interaction would also be considered.
• Excellent English skills, academic writing skills and research skills.
• One or more additional languages (especially French, German and/or Japanese, but other languages will be considered).
• Good knowledge of linguistics.
• Some knowledge of statistics is desirable.
• Good IT skills are essential.
• Experience in a translation production environment is a bonus.
• The candidate must be comfortable having one foot in an industrial environment and one foot equally in an academic environment. S/he will be required to spend a signficant amount of time at Symantec’s Dublin office on a weekly basis.
• The candidate must be able to juggle short-term, industry-set deliverables with longer-term academic milestones.
• The candidate should be comfortable taking feedback from multiple channels and working within a team environment.

How to Apply

• The strict deadline for receipt of applications is Thursday, 28th July.
• Only electronic applications will be accepted. Applications should be sent to the following e-mail address: DCUSYM at
• The following should be compressed (zipped) into one file and attached to the application e-mail:

o A CV (about 3 pages)
o A current photograph
o A cover letter stating why you are interested and how your qualifications etc. match the requirements set out above. This should also contain the contact details of one academic who has agreed to be a referee for you.
o In addition to naming one academic referee in your cover letter, please ask a second academic referee to write a one-page letter of recommendation. The referee (not the applicant) should submit this to the e-mail address specified above, with the subject line: Academic Reference for [YOUR NAME], also by the deadline specified above. This referee must be different from the person named in your cover letter.

Following Application

Suitable candidates will be short-listed during August. We will endeavour to set up interviews (face-to-face or online) at the end of August/early September. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to supply electronic copies of university awards and marks at that point. We hope to make an offer by the end of September. Candidates must be available to start in early October.

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