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Proofreading a machine translation
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:55
German to English
Jun 3, 2002

I have just been asked by an agency to proofread an 800-1000 page document that was machine translated from German to English. As you can see from the sample below, it is a disaster. The agency is proposing payment of € 5 per page. As I see it, there is no cure for this text other than starting over again and translating it from the German and charging accordingly. What are your opinions?



\"Only by arising the mass media communication processes in social systems became at all the problem of scientific research. Therefore communication research is also today still above all mass communication research. The question is located in the focal point whether the system of the mass communication contributes to the content wise programming of the society.\"


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Dr. Fred Thomson  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:55
German to English
No way, Jose! Jun 3, 2002

I would try to be diplomatic, but I would reject that job unless they agreed to pay my standard rate for translation. You can\'t afford to waste your time and your tranquility on such an abomination.

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Albert Golub  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
English to French
Don't help the Devil Jun 3, 2002

That means translation and human translators still rule over words and sense

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Geneviève von Levetzow  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
Member (2002)
French to German
+ ...
Bloß nicht! Jun 3, 2002

Hallo Kim,



vor einer Weile habe ich für eine kürzere Korrekturgeschichte die Hälfte meines üblichen Tarifs verlangt.

Es war ein Irrtum, der Text war nicht so grauenvoll wie die vorliegende maschinelle Übersetzung, es hat aber fast so lange gedauert, als ob ich ihn neu übersetzt hätte.



Üblich sind auch Stundensätze.



Herzliche Grüße



Geneviève


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Bart B. Van Bockstaele  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:55
Dutch
+ ...
Not an enviable situation Jun 3, 2002

Whatever you do, chances are that it\'ll be (considered) wrong.



Machine translations don\'t work. The only people who don\'t know that, are people who have never seen one.



You may try to be diplomatic and show them a reverse machine translation to show them what you are facing.



You may try to be expensive (re-translating is cheaper than editing/proofreading in this case).



Whatever you do, don\'t do, say or don\'t say, chances are they\'ll hate you for it. So, IMO the best (least bad) thing you can do is to be blatantly honest. After all, you are a professional and professionals are supposed to know what they\'re saying. You never know, the customer may thank you for it. If not, you lose a customer but at least you won\'t lose them for \'delivering bad work\'.









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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 07:55
French to English
+ ...
machine translations are worthless Jun 3, 2002

Dear Kim:



I have always found these machine translations to be totally useless.



Isn\'t it true that you will have to start from scratch? Therefore, you must charge your regular rate. Perhaps the agency will understand for next time.



Good luck!

Rita
[addsig]


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Lydia Molea  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:55
English to German
+ ...
"agree" Jun 3, 2002

I agree with everybody! There is no way you can correct this! Well, at least not within a reasonable amount of time, and not for 5 dollars a page! Offer your normal rate and start over.

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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:55
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Quote according to the cost Jun 3, 2002

I meant to add my comment here, but clicked on the wrong link and inadvertently opened a new topic at http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic=3137&forum=23&0





Anyway, what I said was:



Are they proposing to give you the original source text? If so, the cost you can quote is simply your regular translation rate, since no doubt your best modus operandi would be to ignore the MT version and translate from scratch.



If they are proposing that you work only from the machine \"translation\", then you could reasonably quote 1.5 to 2x your normal translation rate. The .5 to 1.0 of the fee is for making intelligent guesses at the original German, and the second half (1.0) is for translating those guesses into English. For this is the process one would have to go through to turn the document into sense. It seems unlikely that they would choose to pay the higher option, when you are offering to translate anew for 1x, but the point would be made. Nevertheless, the higher fee is not suggested gratuitously merely to make the point, but to reflect your actual cost of working from the machine version.







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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:55
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone Jun 3, 2002

Thanks for confirming my own reaction. I realize it must seem perfectly obvious, but it was a long night last night. I chose the sample at random. It probably gets even worse. And yes, they intend to provide the German source text. It\'s always good to hear from GoodWords.

Saludos desde Guadalajara where everyone is ecstatic about last night\'s soccer triumph!


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:55
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks Jun 3, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-06-03 16:17, kmetzger wrote:

It\'s always good to hear from GoodWords.





Danke schön! It\'s always nice to receive a \"warm fuzzy\". (no idea what to call that in either Spanish or German!)

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Ursula Peter-Czichi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:55
German to English
+ ...
Similar offer Jun 3, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-06-03 14:24, kim metzger wrote:

I have just been asked by an agency to proofread an 800-1000 page document that was machine translated from German to English. As you can see from the sample below, it is a disaster. The agency is proposing payment of € 5 per page. As I see it, there is no cure for this text other than starting over again and translating it from the German and charging accordingly. What are your opinions?





A couple of months ago, I got a similar \"offer\":

The PM called it \"post-editing\". Translators were supposed to \"edit/clean up\" MT text ad-hoc online (To do this they had to be available at certain times and guarantee 600 words/hour.) The offer was: US$0.03/word for a quick job, US$0.06/word for a thorough job.



Anyone can get a text machine translated for no money in a few minutes. Now, why would an agency feel entitled to cash in on something that is freely available to anyone?

MT is still free because it does not work yet. This agency is trying to sell you short, that\'s all.

If that agency had invested time and money to set up something new and valuable in machine translation technology, now that would make it all different. Your sample text says: They did nothing!

GoodWords is right, but charge them triple translation rates, first for translation, second for stealing your time, third for their behavior.



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