Media player for translators - feci quod potui
The description of the add-on below has already been made by me on our site, but there the article is written for users. Here, I would like to convey the idea to someone from the developers of adult software, who will not come to our site in life. Both the goal and the audience are completely different, so by no means - in my, of course, humble opinion - it does not attract a dumb repost. Here. Who thinks the same way - welcome to cat.
Why does a translator need a media player?
Not quite then, why, say, to the average user. One can listen to it a) music; b) podcasts; c) porn (I do not know exactly what is the point of listening to it, but Rule 34 is the same); d) what the hell, but all these use cases require the program to have a certain and generally the same set of functions (previous / next track, playlist, equalizer, etc.) and the corresponding controls and hot keys. The translator, on the other hand, listens, in addition to points (a) to (d) above, for which “specials” are not necessary, to your beloved self, and not for the purpose of narcissism, but quite the contrary, in order to critically interpret your own - or, if we are talking about audit, stranger - work.
I must say right away that laziness took its toll, and before sitting down to write code (well, it's not mine after all), I tried to find some ready-made program. It didn’t take off, ordinary powders refuse to wash. Here are some difficult spots they could not cope with:
1. Sound files, as a rule, are very long: a session of a translated event lasts an hour and a half, but sometimes three hours without a break, the file length is appropriate. For modes (a) and (b), this is rather the exception (even concert recordings have long been beating on tracks, I have a record - Jethro Tull, Thick As A Brick, 20:08); for (c) - a very desirable property, but - while maintaining the quality of the material - difficult to achieve; for materials auditioned by translators, it’s more likely the rule. Using the previous / next track functions in this case does not work (and is not necessary at all), and traveling back and forth through such a file with a slider in the user interface is a very nasty pastime, if only because with such a file length each hand trembling on the slider can “cost” plus or minus ten seconds.
2. You need to listen to two files at once - the original and the translation. To assess the quality of a translation without hearing the original is silly; the reverse does not make sense at all. Open two players or constantly jump from one file to another - see above. Opening one player in case 3 (b) - see below - is possible, and even some kind of analysis of such a sound stream can also be done, but at the same time listening and trying to analyze two texts in different languages is a very serious memory stress, playing one and the same piece will need to be sooo often - see above. The correct way is to listen first to a short segment of the original, then to the corresponding segment of the translation (that is, simultaneous translation in the recording turns into practically consecutive).
3. The original and translation may arrive in different form (s) x. In general, there are three ways to record simultaneous interpretation at this stage of the revolution:
- a. the original is written separately, the translation is separate (for example, if the sound engineer, on the instructions of the event organizer, writes only the original, and the translator writes his work on his own laptop / recorder / voice recorder);
- b. the original and translation are written in one sound file (for example, the channels of the Russian and English channels are entered into the left and right channels of the stereo recorder);
- c. one language is written in one sound file, and another in another (for example, translation of bourgeois webinars to a Russian audience is most often conducted on the principle of “only Russian”: Russian-language reports in the original, English-language ones in translation; in this case, two recorders are used for recording , then when editing, the sound of the translation is superimposed on the video report).
4. Only in case 3 (b) can we expect that both sound streams that will be given to the translator for analysis are synchronized, that is, when we lose the 1128th second of the translation, we hear how the translator reacted to the 1128th second of the original. In the two remaining cases, it is possible to hope for synchronization, but not to rely on it. And while listening, you still want to be simultaneous: are we witches or not witches? are there no synchronists? moreover, one of the variables for assessing the quality of translation is the delay between the original and the translation, and it makes sense to consider it only during synchronization. It should be borne in mind that few of the translators are able and willing to use programs that allow you to trim the “tails” of audio files.
5. Quite often, when listening, there is a feeling that here you did something wrong, and what specifically, you cannot formulate (option 2 - you really liked the version you just heard of the translation, and they definitely need to share it with the world). Usually this is treated (option 2 - aggravated) by listening to the same section again after a while. So, it is necessary to write down which segment aroused interest, that is, put a bookmark. And if the task is to parse the translation of the whole session, there can be more than a dozen such segments - plus the analysis can be quite far in time from listening, - so it would be nice to save all the bookmarks that were set for this file, and subsequently load them to open them so that Do not do the same job twice.
6. Since within the framework of one session translation is most often done in both directions (report in Russian - questions in English - answers in Russian - next report in English - etc.), the Russian and English files will, in turn, be the original then the translation. When parsing, the original should always be played before translation (see p. 2), so you need a quick file swap function.
7. Since the boundaries of the segments can be in the middle of the semantic group or in general the middle of the word - and also because, depending on the software and / or acoustics used, the volume may be incomplete for the first half second-second after silence, the playback of the next segment should not start from the end previous, and with an overlap. Comfortable overlap - three seconds, although this is IMHO.
It was with all these functions that the media player “Translator’s Conscience” was made. It was made as an MS Word add-in, because its author did not learn anything else in programming. All sound functionality is implemented only through mciSendString, which opens two different players - mysound and mysound1 and performs standard manipulations with them. Based on the specifics of the Word, only the implementation of the alternate work of two players made them break their heads. It was decided by the OnTime method, after a second starting the same PlayAlternate procedure, which looks at the statuses of both players and makes a decision, leave them alone and look again after a second, start the first second from such-and-such or the second from such-and-such such and such. Strictly speaking, the implementation is imperfect: in the Timer Word, OnTime can simultaneously work no more than one, moreover, in the event of a conflict, the last of those running is left alive, and if any other timers are running on the computer via VBA - daily procedures, for example, in the Normal template, ¬- the PlayAlternate timer destroys them without declaring war, and the user is then surprised, why exchange rates in Word are not today's (I wrote such an add-on when I worked at RIA Novosti). But I did not find other ways in Word.
All bookmark data (and generally everything that needs to be saved - for example, the last file to be played) is recorded in the user properties (CustomDocumentProperties) of the active document (this is an empty document opened by Word based on a template; if you write the entire project in a document, not a template, this document will always be considered active) and are saved with it with the format name “Interpretation_Analysis_Report”. For the sake of fidelity, all the information to be stored is printed in the text of the document: suddenly the analysis will be done on ordinary players, then at least, looking at a piece of paper, you can immediately open bookmarks, and not listen to ".... stop-stop-stop, but where was it? ”
Separately, I had to beat the Word with my feet in order to implement hot keys through VBA. One control - in this case, the Play / Pause button - has been assigned a private procedure for processing all keystrokes when it is in focus. The hot keys are hardcoded and displayed on a user-defined form - it was scary too lazy to write a separate most part of the code for any three perverts who would not want, like all normal people, to use the bottom line of QWERTY. And the focus is transferred to this button at the end of each - in general - procedure: whatever we do, the last step is “yes, by the way - and we transfer the focus to the Play / Pause / Resume button”. Surely there is some less surgical way, but this one, in any case, works.
The Step list sets the duration of the playing section. By default, a normal translator can keep 30 seconds of speech in his head without using notes; there may not be enough context in a segment of shorter duration, and the beginning of the minute segment to its end can be forgotten (at a “normal” pace of speech it is about two-thirds of a page of text, everyone remembers school grades in the reading technique, when those reading slower than 120 words per minute were declared criminals ? So, this is a comfortable pace of speech - not reading - a professional speaker). But the opportunity to choose the length should still be: maybe the speaker’s speech rate is very fast or, conversely, very slow.
The Sync list makes it possible to compensate for the difference in the start time of two files. It happens, for example, because before turning on the chairman’s microphone and saying “Good morning, dear colleagues”, the translator turned on the recording a bit in advance so as not to be distracted during the work, and the sound engineer on the remote control turned on the recorder exactly before how to send sound to speakers. Or vice versa. Then run after the organizers and ask for a cropped file - a) they won’t give it, b) you forget it yourself, c) it’s a pity. One day of the conference, even in MP3, is a gigabyte, on the Internet you can’t really transfer it. I already wrote about the ownership of cropping programs - there is none of it. And so, using the scientific poke method, synchronization is obtained from two to three times; it is then stored in the corresponding document, of course, and this pair of files will be loaded next time with this synchronization. Positive values correspond to the “delay” of the translation file. Typically, the difference is two to three seconds, but just in case I entered the list of 60 seconds in each direction, which I feel sorry for something.
The rest are the standards from the thick book "Word 2000. Developer's Guide", to describe them, probably, does not make much sense, since the implementation is like in all other players. I documented the code as I could, do not throw stones.
Now about the deep meaning of writing this post. Of course, not to brag - not that audience. And try to arouse interest in writing a normal, adult player for, for example, tablets and smartphones. For example, I spend a lot of time behind the wheel, and this time could be spent usefully - on listening to translations and arranging bookmarks. In its current form, you need to open the laptop, put it on the passenger seat, secure so that it does not fly away from the brakes under the chair, open the Word and connect it to the car's audio system. In general, the whole thing. And if such a player were on a smartphone, which I connect in any case, for navigation and hands-free, life would be much easier and more productive. My file can be taken from here .
I can’t promise a large audience to the author of the adult Translator’s Conscience: in Russia - hundreds of four people, in the world - probably ten thousand. But then, unlike 97, as I recently heard from Bob Dorf himself, the percentage of downloads, no one will demand this for free. She even deserves to be very expensive: these will survive. Well, I definitely can handle it.