Anna Iankovskaia and her cat

Summer Placement Diaries

Anna's Summer Placement at XTM International

This year I have had my annual work placement with XTM International, one of the leading companies in the industry of translation technology. I was very excited about my placement there as I wanted to see AI-related working processes within the company as well as to make my own contribution where my skills and knowledge could be of use. The placement started with meeting my supervisors Dr Rafał Jaworski and Dr Ahmed Omer who controlled my progress in the course of the placement and whose support during that time was really encouraging.

There were two main tasks for me to carry out: one was related to non-translatable elements and the other – to data annotation for machine learning. It might be important to identify non-translatable elements in texts before their translation as it is reasonable to exclude them from the word count for fair pricing. Besides, such non-translatable text elements tend to differ across languages (e.g. date or time format). That’s why it is also important to recognise them in text and check if the format is in compliance with the rules of the target language. Thus, my task was to collect non-translatables for several languages as well as to write regular expressions in Python for their in-text automatic identification. There were templates specifying particular kinds of non-translatables to be collected and I had to work in accordance with them.

The second task was to annotate a corpus for named entities by means of special tools whose usage helps to significantly speed up the annotation process. Such annotated data was required in order to improve the quality of the company’s models in operation. Looking for named entities and labeling them was fun, so I enjoyed it a lot. Apart from these two tasks, an important component of my placement was the opportunity to attend regular team calls where the progress of the department was shared and its future plans were discussed. The invitation to join the team on Slack for group calls made me feel like a real employee and let me see how everything in the company works from inside.

I can say that the work placement with XTM International was essential for my studies because it was a chance for me to see how translation technology is developed by one of the largest market actors. I also liked the fact that I managed to use my programming skills that have become a valuable asset gained from my master studies. Although the internship was virtual due to the Covid pandemic, this did not affect the quality of my placement. However, there is no doubt that having it onsite and visiting XTM’s office in Poland could be even more enriching in terms of new professional and networking experience. I hope this option will be available for EM TTI students next year.

Post Written by Anna  Iankovskaia