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that's the end! Fight against machine translation!
Thread poster: Claudio Porcellana
Feb 17, 2009

Hi all

today I received a post-editing localization job
i.e. I should have to revise 4 000 words in machine translate Tageditor TUs

the product is a software of a super famous antivirus-antispyware enterprise application
whose web-site and packages are yellow ....


the strings to be revised are full of blunders and clearly I'm not willing to play along with this crap, but this is not the point:

don't you think that it is the time to fight against this barbarian practices?
don't you think that both translators and translator's associations must spare no effort to convince our customers that the machine translation is decent for brief sentences as "The pen is on the table" that can be easily translated in "La penna è sul tavolo" but it's not ***utilizable at all*** for sentences as:

Use the Scanner Role page to define what filtering functions to perform on this appliance.
Utilizzare la pagina Ruolo dello scanner per definire che cosa filtrare funziona per eseguire su questo dispositivo.

OR this page that remember to me the Diego Abantuono character in the Nirvana movie:
For Scanner-only virtual machines.
Per le macchine virtuali dello Scanner-solo.

I can't believe that a great company whose 2008 revenue was $5.8 billion can disgrace itself, only to save a bunch of dollars ...

Claudio


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autor  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:52
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...
When editing is really translating Feb 17, 2009

Hi Claudio,

There are many of us that will back you 100%. Just tell the client it's a translation job, and not an editing job, so you will have to charge translation rates....


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:52
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
At least they didn't use Google translate... Feb 17, 2009

... which would have translated that sentence as

"Usa la Scanner Ruolo pagina per definire ciò che per eseguire le funzioni di filtraggio su questo apparecchio."

or Yahoo's Babelfish:

"Usi la pagina di ruolo del dispositivo d'esplorazione per definire che cosa filtrare funziona per effettuare su questo apparecchio."

By comparison, "Utilizzare la pagina Ruolo dello scanner per definire che cosa filtrare funziona per eseguire su questo dispositivo." is an elegant translation.


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Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
TOPIC STARTER
When editing is really translating Feb 17, 2009

Thanks

I'm quite sure that my client will agree, but I don't know if their client will agree to pay for a human translation ....

from chinese stuff, to 100 000 dollars devices, machine translated documents are spreading like wildfire, so I think that translators, authors, linguists and relevant associations must try to stop it

but even devices users can do something: for example, writing to companies that sell items/devices/machines and criticising manuals

we must all fight the outrageous translations from the base, I think

Claudio

P.S. babylon translation is
Usare lo scanner ruolo pagina di definire quali funzioni filtering da eseguire su questo apparecchio.
LOL


[Modificato alle 2009-02-17 22:14 GMT]


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jlrsnyder  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:52
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
More trouble than they're worth Feb 18, 2009

In my one experience with "editing" a machine translation, I felt that I was working harder trying to make sense out of the machine's output than I would have done if I had been allowed to translate the document from scratch in the first place. It's frustrating and unsatisfying work. I'd much rather work with text produced by a human being.

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Mike Unwalla
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:52
English
Machine translation can give excellent results Feb 18, 2009

Hi Claudio,

For many companies, machine translation gives excellent results. Companies that successfully use machine translation often also use controlled language.

Machine translation is a threat to the translation industry. However, mocking the benefits of machine translation does not help the translation industry. Translators would have more credibility if they acknowledged that machine translation gives sufficiently good results in many cases.


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:52
French to German
+ ...
Nerdiness is a (legitimate) way of being, there's no changing it Feb 18, 2009

Claudio Porcellana wrote:
today I received a post-editing localization job
i.e. I should have to revise 4 000 words in machine translate Tageditor TUs


That's one of the reasons I've given up on accepting proofreading jobs.

The trouble is not only in using MT. Some time ago, I had to proofread manuals of a different virus scanner manufacturer. They seem to have translated their documents “by hand”, but all the same, their translation memory was completely mucked up. For instance, there are several different ways of translating headings of the type, “How To Cook Easter Eggs”, e.g., „Ostereier kochen“, „Das Kochen von Ostereiern“, or „Anleitung zum Ostereier Kochen“. None was used consistently.

The trouble with these companies is that they live in a machine world. They attract employees that enjoy perusing byte sequences and searching for viruses in re-engineered assemblies. Probably they had preferred hacking to talking ever since their early school days.

These programmers have real trouble believing that document translation is different from program translation. They have no linguistic feeling. It is hard for them to see what havoc is being wreaked.

Since it is not really our business to change our customer's way of being, I simply refuse such “editing” jobs when they come up and leave it at that.

Peter

[Edited at 2009-02-18 08:19 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-18 10:47 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A new market - Let's discuss the rate Feb 18, 2009

Let's face it: we all see this trend coming. Replacing bad translators with worse machine translation does not sound very sensible to us, the people who love this craft and try to deliver good translations. But for companies it is simply a business need and many will listen to "the benefits" of machine translation as expressed by irresponsable translation firms. Of maybe may corporate decision makers will read the news and get dollar signs scrolling over their eyes.

Ok. This new kind of work is here to stay I reckon. Let's discuss what are we going to charge for the editing stage.

Now, as far as I am aware, the usual editing rates are anything from 1/3 to 1/5 of the translation rate, which probably matches the effort of fixing mistakes in a human translation.

Now, as machine translation is clearly not ripe for professional translations, we will be offered the editing stage, which in many cases will mean fixing a lot of misunderstandings. My estimate that doing so can take anything from 1/2 to 1/3 of the time it would take to translate the text.

So, let's change the mindset: reviewing MT translations takes longer -> we should charge more than for editing a human translation. Let's make agencies aware of this.


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Lucy Brooks  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:52
German to English
+ ...
Hear hear Feb 18, 2009

Last time I was given a job of this nature to "proof-read" (for proof-read" read "translate from scratch") I insisted on being paid full rate, and truly started from scratch.

Trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear of a machine translation is a hopeless task. Much better to start again. The same applies to a translation performed by a human - but badly.

The sooner end clients understand this (and they will when their translations start costing an arm and a leg) the better.
Lucy


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:52
French to German
+ ...
More time consuming indeed. Feb 18, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Now, as far as I am aware, the usual editing rates are anything from 1/3 to 1/5 of the translation rate … So, let's change the mindset: reviewing MT translations takes longer -> we should charge more than for editing a human translation.


Easy. My estimate is: Fixing machine translation takes at least three times the time of fixing (adequate) human translation. Moreover, it ruins your style, since you have to spend your day reading through bad style. So fixing machine translations should be priced a little higher than translating from scratch.

Mind you, there are human translations as well that are very time-consuming to fix - so time-consuming that re-translating from scratch is faster and easier work. This is not only about machine translations.

P.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:52
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Machines are not entirely stupid... Feb 18, 2009

My brother once told me: computers are stupid. They do what you tell them. Exactly

But in the intervening years, the inventors and programmers of machines have learnt a lot, and the computers are apparently not as stupid as they used to be. (Now they jump to conclusions and will not admit they are wrong when I disagree. )

Machine translation is here, whether we like it or not, and in some situations it produces usable results. I heard it suggested at a conference that we should study it, because where it can be used, perhaps it should be. Let the machines do the routine jobs, just as we let CAT tools take their share of the load.

Our job will be to analyse texts and tell the client which are suitable for machine translation and which are not. Clients often find this enormously difficult, but we should act as consultants and help them at an early stage in "text production" to sort the work correctly.

Some really do not understand that their brilliant slogan will be gibberish if machine translated, and fall flat in another language if rendered by a human 'as is'. It takes the same sort of creativity to find an equivalent slogan in the target language (to fit the culture) as to think up the original one. And then the graphics and art work may need adapting...

Machine translation will not put human translators out of work. On the contrary - we need to be able to handle it, or we will end up spending more and more time "editing" and re-translating in a panic before deadline instead of doing the job properly.




[Edited at 2009-02-18 15:01 GMT]


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 07:52
Japanese to English
Nail soup Feb 18, 2009

Alternatively, you could play a jolly game of nail soup, explaining how you have this machine in your office. Unlike other products, it actually learns. It has intelligence. It accesses and analyses a vast array of information sources to pick out exactly the right vocabulary with no errors. In an effort to come as close as possible to human capabilities in terms of intuitive comprehensive, it also sometimes imitates human activities such as eating real food and defecating. Of course, the services offered by this highly sophisticated machine cost a little more than less developed options, but if it's a machine you want...

This linguistically flawless message was drafted by Unit No.33BXL6.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:52
Member
English to French
Endless debate Feb 18, 2009

Claudio Porcellana wrote:
....the strings to be revised are full of blunders...

Far more than a human translation to edit. This is why the post-editing rate per word (which could be pounds of bananas per colon, it is only a measurement of the anticipated work) is/should be much higher than editing a human translation. As a guideline, my rate for MT in specific settings is almost 100% higher than my rate for human translation editing (I edit only texts from agencies who use suitable translators).

I think all this bitterness about MT in general is because agencies may take advantage of you by paying you a human-editing rate. This is crookery.

I sometimes get this kind of work for online help or technical specifications. Let's face it, even humanly translated, this kind of texts is not overly exciting and stylish, either to translate or to read. It is translated according to very strict rules, and will sound repetitive and boring. A bit like MT. Anything where the source is strictly codified, with set phraseology and terminology, may be a good candidate for machine translation. But simply put, don't expect to produce a human-like translation with post-editing. Simply because such texts are not meant to sound human. If you thrive to write what you would have written without any MT/rule constraint, then yes, you should turn down MT projects.

This is how I understand my job with MT output: to make up a legible text (and flowing to the extent possible), free from mistakes and mistranslations, out of the MT output. Not to "create" a human translation. And any project where the text should sound "human" (creative, marketing, etc.) is not suitable for MT. See a previous thread http://www.proz.com/forum/translator_resources/100328-machine_translation:_your_experience_with_the_various_mt_programmes_state_of_play.html (remove spaces in the address if any).

Also I don't think MT is suitable of a one-off project below say 100,000 words, because MT systems need "training".
My latest MT assignment (part of a 1-million word project) was online help and used a combination of CAT tools and MT. The first phase was dedicated to "training" the MT system with human translation and approved glossaries, then work live on the output to further improve it by reporting recurring mistranslations/oddities/terminology issues.
After a week or two, the MT system reaches its peak performance. Interestingly, I could compare the output of MT with the suggestions of the CAT tool and, from there, detect a trend: in other words, I could range the MT output as an average Trados-equivalent (human) fuzzy match. In practice, I would read both suggestions, MT and TM, and retrieve the suggestion that would need the least rework. It confirmed what I already knew about how much time I need to postedit MT output, compared to the Trados discounts I practise.

Lastly I don't feel I betray the profession, specifically technical translation, by accepting such jobs. Everything needs to be done more quickly and more cheaply and MT can be a tool to achieve it in the translation business. But certainly not at my expense. And I make sure I earn as much (or more rather) as if I were spending my working hours translating from scratch. There is no reason for us not to benefit from technology improvements. Unless we don't see them.

So no, I am not bitter about MT stealing our work and quality decreasing. MT is a tool that can speed up the translation process when used with sense.

My humble un-passionate opinion.
Philippe


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:52
French to German
+ ...
Well, THIS situation doesn't seem to have changed much over the years Feb 18, 2009

Christine Andersen wrote:
My brother once told me: computers are stupid. They do what you tell them. Exactly. But in the intervening years, the inventors and programmers of machines have learnt a lot, and the computers are apparently not as stupid as they used to be.


The last time, I evaluated machine translation a quarter of a year ago. As far as translations are concerned and for all practical purposes, computers still are as stupid as they used to be.

They still are useful for making yourself understood for simple facts and circumstances and for getting the general gist of texts written in a language you don't understand at all. Seen in this way, translations from or into English are somewhat more “useful” than translations from a FIGS language into another. This is all very similar to the situation about four to five years ago. I really don't see important progress in this area.

“Proofreading” quality into a machine translated text, after the fact, still can't be done. Before you can say knife, you're into changing every other word and rewriting every other phrase.

If it were different, I'd have started integrating MT into my toolbox long ago.
P.

[Edited at 2009-02-18 11:09 GMT]


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Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
TOPIC STARTER
Endless debate Feb 18, 2009

interesting Philippe ....

but this job contains 2 extra insanities:
1 - the translation is mostly human translated, and well translated as I can see, with a smooth language that sounds very human; on the contrary, the TUs that I'm supposed to revise, are a minority so their crappiness jars on nerves much more ...

2 - the machine failed not only to decipher descriptive text, but it failed to implement localization rules

definitely, one can use a machine to translate simple descriptive sentences, may be expressly made to be machine translated, but not to ***localize***

furthermore, CAT tools are not my substitutes, to me
i.e. a CAT is like a prosthesis device that help my memory, it's NOT my brain!

Claudio

[Modificato alle 2009-02-18 11:09 GMT]


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