YouTube for Translators: Beyond Networking to Knowledge Mining

Category: As if!
Dreaming in colour with clipart
As a professional translator in an “adapt or die” economic context, you know the importance of social media when it comes to building and maintaining a professional network both online and off. What you might not know is that other social media platforms can be a godsend when it comes to learning more about tools and honing technical skills.
Here’s a suggestion: Take a break from networking, get in touch with your inner autodidact and check out YouTube.

I frequently encounter colleagues who have done the hard work of completing a certificate or an undergraduate degree in translation without ever wrapping their heads around computer-assisted translation tools. Face it, one general survey course is rarely sufficient to really drive home the importance and the technical savvy necessary to actually use a CAT tool. Sadly, when it comes to CAT tools, a lot of new grads and folks who have been doing it “the old-fashioned way” since forever don’t even know where to start.
You could plunk down some cash and take a(nother) course. For folks in Quebec or Ontario, I understand that Magistrad is a pretty good bet. Or, for self-starters anywhere, you could begin refresher training by spending some time on YouTube.
Now, if you think that via YouTube you will sing and dance your way to brilliance, think again. Just because they’re on YouTube doesn’t mean that translation-centric videos are all that slick. Indeed, some are no more than PowerPoint presentations, dreary product demos devoid of usable information or stilted presentations with inexistent production values. With a little persistence, however, you can find info-rich clips with content on everything from tools reviews and pricing to brand-specific tutorials to clips from conferences you couldn’t afford to go to.
Start your YouTube tour with Dominique Pivard(aka CATguruEN). Domique has uploaded 109 videos about, what else?, CAT tools. For translators ready to take the plunge and invest in a CAT tool, his video on comparing what translators are willing to pay for tools could come in handy.
To get up close and personal with the actual tools, you should check out brand-specific tutorials. Yes, SDL International has staked out a channel, but so have other CAT tool developers. And some do a far better job than the big guys. Why? Less PR and marketing and more valuable content.
Terminotix, the Montrealcompany that brought us Logiterm, has uploaded a motherlode of clips (in French and English) hosted or narrated by Jean-François Richard. In addition to tutorials and demos you can find recordings of live presentations.
A YouTube search for Wordfast, another popular and relatively low-cost CAT tool, turns up 2,740 results. Okay, some feature disturbingly robotic narration particularly those authored by the manufacturer, but there are others authored by folks like … Dominique Pivard.
Kilgray, the company responsible for the increasingly popular MemoQ, also has a rich collection of great content. Even if you aren’t that interested in CAT tools, visiting their YouTube landing page is worth it. No, I won’t spoil it. Suffice to say that the clip might make you rethink dull translator stereotypes.
As a translator, freelance or in-house (for now), keeping your skills up to date and marketable can be a full-time job. YouTube just makes it a little easier.


  1. Great post! Récemment, mon chum a appris à réparer notre frigo grâce à You Tube, et moi, à fouetter le thé matcha! Maintenant, c’est l’une de mes sources d’information préférées!

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