Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
The dangers of 100% matches
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:26
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Jul 3, 2006

Nowadays agencies seem to trust more and more in translation software. At least the tools I know, Wordfast and Trados, are based on the believe, that a translation unit can be translated only in one fashion, regardless of its context. Though it is possible to keep double entries, very often it is left to the software to chose the target for a certain segment.
Befor the use of translation software target documents were only updated for the changes that occured in the source document. Lets take a technical document of 200 pages, the result of the work of many translators throughout the years. If there were changes to the source, only the changed sentences or paragraphs were translated anew, the rest was left untouched.
But with the use of CAT-tools like Trados, Wf etc., agencies believe, that the software is able to reconstruct the whole document every time updates are needed. They believe, that the software can find the right translation inside the TM and put it back where it belongs. Because we are only paid for the new words, we are not supposed to look at the rest. And of course the update would become too expensive if the translator would check also the 100% matches in large documents.

But practically this believe is unfounded. Everybody knows, that context is important. The most blatant example was an instruction for at device, which could use either chargeable batteries or nonchargeable batteries. In Finnish the former ones are called akku, the latter ones paristo. In these instructions only the header told the reader, what kind of batteries was meant, otherwise the text mentioned only "batteries". Because I was paid for the translation of the whole document I was able to chose the right term in each chapter, but what happens when someone later will get the update and use the "translate to fuzzy"-function of Trados? The software will chose the most recent translation of the segments and as a result one chapter will be nonsense.

I wonder if our customers are aware of this pitfall and if they care? So perhaps some outsourcer who uses Trados and reads this would like to comment.

Regards

Heinrich


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Tadej Kokalj  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 01:26
English to Slovenian
+ ...
CAT is only a tool Jul 3, 2006

CAT is tool, very helpfull, however still only a tool.

Regardless of tool one use (even a dictionary is only a tool), final decision must make the translator.

Agencies usually know that, that is why 100% matches are paid at about 30%. If agency doesn't want to pay 100% matches and demands that 100% matches must not be changed (!) I accept that, however I write down, that in this case they have responibility for those cases.

Regards,
Tadej


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I learnt the hard way! Jul 3, 2006

Actually, I was the proofreader asked to conciliate in a case very much like the one Heinrich describes.

A manufacturer made regular improvements and adjustments to a series of similar machines, and had a good working relationship with a technically minded Danish translator who translated the manuals into English. When she was busy, the agency found someone else and sent the TM with the text.

I have proof read a lot of this translator's work, but not these manuals. One day the agency received a furious complaint, and no one could believe it.

Someone had actually tried to follow the manual while operating the machine!!

There were about 50 pages each of the latest version of the translated manual and the Danish text.... which by now was the work of two or three authors. At least two other translators had also made revisions to the English version, and my colleague had only been paid to find the latest changes (compare documents) and run them through Trados, translating any new sections. The client reckoned about 2000 words, but she found nearly 3000, and they paid for that as new text. No pay for 100% matches, so the translator skimmed the pages with the changes and left the rest.

It actually took me longer to check through and add comments than it would have taken to translate the entire text without Trados!

The terminology was confusingly inconsistent between the authors of the Danish source text, so it was quite impossible to produce a consistent English version, especially if there was no time to check the entire document through.

We did sort it out, and the client was somewhat taken aback, but admitted their own share of the blame, or misunderstanding, so we ended up friends again...

And we all gained a better understanding of what Trados can and can't do!

* * * * * * * *

I have other texts where I avoid using Trados. If the client insists, I edit the cleaned text - and they agree it is better!

Examples are tourist brochures that are largely the same as last year's...

By restructuring and rearranging, adding a few different pictures and captions, you can actually conceal the fact and produce a fresh "new" brochure.

Or you can differentiate the cafes and restaurants so that they are not ALL just cosy and child-friendly with a gourmet menu and a wonderful view...

Keep the machines in their places, and let us live translators do our job too!



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anne Seerup
Ireland
Local time: 00:26
English to Danish
+ ...
100% matches are a right pain!! Jul 3, 2006

Especially when the client "forgets" that the translator is not responsible for the 100% matches and time and time again, makes hundreds of corrections to these after the document has been translated.
Then, as it happened to me, I was told to correct them, which I of course refused or demanded a surcharge for doing, since it was not my errors and I had not been paid for looking over them during translation. But it's still time consuming and straining to have these kind of discussions with clients.
So I am thinking about not offering Trados rates any longer - at least not to new clients - I will still use it as a tool though, as it 's handy enough for consistency and terminology purposes.

A lot of clients are not very good at managing their TMs either, they forget to update them and we end up with TM's that are littered with errors and inconsistencies. As as linguist and a translator it is mildly dissatisfying, to say the least, to work with bad material and not being able to deliver a product that's up to scratch.

Best,

Anne


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 01:26
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Spot on! Jul 3, 2006

Translation tools are increasingly "translation agency tools" and this is becoming a real problem for the business. In particular, there are several agencies who refuse to pay for 100% altogether and I recently heard about a new practice, according to which repetitions are eliminated from the text: as a result, the translator is left alone, with no context.
Another new outsourcers' method is to give fairly identical texts (such as a general letter to shareholders + letter to the shareholders who are private investors + letter to shareholders who also participate in a share option scheme). It's clear that most of the text is identical, but for the latter two texts the agency pays for, say, only 30-50 words, even though each of the three letters shall be "complete", well formatted etc.

So I believe that CATs are being misused by the translation agencies and, at the end of the day, this is detrimental for our business as a whole. In the short run, only for the translators (=lower income) and the editors (=more work), but in the longer run, also for the agency who does not care...

TMs are excellent to maintain consistency within a project and for all projects to the same client, but they should be used as a quality management factor, rather than a pricing factor. Let's fight for that.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mario Cerutti  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 09:26
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
Also a matter of personal satisfaction Jul 3, 2006

Tadej Kokalj wrote:
If agency doesn't want to pay 100% matches and demands that 100% matches must not be changed (!) I accept that, however I write down, that in this case they have responibility for those cases.
Tadej


This is certainly one approach. However I also think that it is a matter of personal satisfaction: would this approach satisfy you as a professional translator? Won't you try to put forward your view instead?

This is one of the aspects that make me hate CAT tools despite their unquestionable usefulness. On the other hand, as far as I have been regularly realizing mainly with technical translations Trados *oriented* agencies or even manufacturers themselves don't care much about quality, nor probably the end users do (have you ever heard about an end user complaining for a badly written manual?).

Also, in most cases translation agencies simply want to be able to check multi-lingual works by themselves without knowing much of each target language. Too many times they tell me: "Why have you changed this sentence while translators in the other languages haven't?".

In my experience exceptions are very few.

Mario Cerutti
http://www.aliseo.com/english/index_e.php


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 01:26
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
let's all raise the price for 100% repeats to 75% Jul 3, 2006

So I believe that CATs are being misused by the translation agencies


... or ask the agency to do 100% themselves - I know, I know, let's not pour oil on the fire... But the issue, Heinrich, it's dead on.

My immediate practical decision - in case of "repeats" documents I'll invest some time to check how the rest looks like. If it needs a major reworkr, the agency should face this fact - and my invoice if they want the best for their client.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 01:26
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Actually, 75% for 100% matches is a good idea Jul 3, 2006

And please don't say it's too much: this is what I get since years - but then, I bear full responsibility for integration into the context, text flow etc.

Actually, in the meantime, I checked: I get 30% for repetitions and 75% for full matches against the TM (even if that TM was compiled earlier by myself - usually, it is).

[Módosítva: 2006-07-03 11:17]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 01:26
German
+ ...
Matches & Repetitions need to be paid (usually) Jul 3, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Because we are only paid for the new words, we are not supposed to look at the rest. And of course the update would become too expensive if the translator would check also the 100% matches in large documents.


Sounds like you're working with some pretty crummy agencies that they don't pay you to have a look at the matches & repetitions.

Tadej Kokalj said it and I can second it: We usually pay our translators 30 % of the usual word price just to have a second look at each match & repetition, for precisely the reasons you mentioned. (Congratulations to Eva for managing to negotiate a 75 % fee - that's VERY rare.)

And of course, this precludes the use of "Translate to Next Fuzzy" or at least requires careful proofreading afterwards.

There is one notable exception to this rule, namely text without any context:

In an Excel list of words and word groups (e.g. the dreadful parts lists with their endless "hex nut 123", "torque wrench 1-250 Nm" etc.), how would you be able to tell the difference between "spacer ring 123" and "spacer ring 234"? You can't, and it's very likely to be the same thing anyway, so therefore you just accept all matches and repetitions unchecked (the numbers are changed automatically in Trados).

For these projects, we often pay more per no match (i.e. 10..50 % on top of the regular price) and less per match or repetition (just a 10% base fee).

Regards,
Benjamin

edit: minor clarification

[Edited at 2006-07-03 11:16]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:26
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Is it practical? Jul 3, 2006

If there are about 1000 new words in a 200 pages text even a low rate for the 100% matches would result in exorbitantly high costs. Instead of perhaps 100 Euro for the changes the cost would rise at least 10-fold.

Do outsourcers really use the newly compiled files and import them completely into the dtp-software or do they only take those parts that actually need updating? Perhaps I should ask my customers about it.

Regards
Heinrich


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 01:26
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Practicability - depends on the business line, of course Jul 3, 2006

As usual, pricing is very dependant on the project. If I translated manuals, with lots of repetitions and similar previous jobs, a 75% rate would be out of question, I think. But in my field, 100% matches usually are very small segments (such as organisational units, names, positions, prepared by, person in charge - this kind of stuff), so they don't lose too much on being generous. And I have a certain number of clients who do not apply reductions at all - it is true they do not insist on my using a CAT, either.

The problem is that agencies tend to use a "manual" approach, to all translations - this is what I meant we shall fight against. For stable clients, updates (such as quarterly reports of the same company) it is appropriate to charge less, but it is not that evident that I shall charge less for quarterly report of a similar company in the same business.
Why? Does the agency charge them less?!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Tadej Kokalj  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 01:26
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Sad, but true Jul 3, 2006

Mario Cerutti wrote:

Tadej Kokalj wrote:
If agency doesn't want to pay 100% matches and demands that 100% matches must not be changed (!) I accept that, however I write down, that in this case they have responibility for those cases.
Tadej


This is certainly one approach. However I also think that it is a matter of personal satisfaction: would this approach satisfy you as a professional translator? Won't you try to put forward your view instead?


I tried and I still try, however to often the result is: this translator is pain in the ass. Why does he want to change the system since nobody (end-customer) complains.

Mario Cerutti wrote:
This is one of the aspects that make me hate CAT tools despite their unquestionable usefulness. On the other hand, as far as I have been regularly realizing mainly with technical translations Trados *oriented* agencies or even manufacturers themselves don't care much about quality, nor probably the end users do (have you ever heard about an end user complaining for a badly written manual?).


Sad, but very true.

Tadej

BTW: I am hardcore CAT user, however there are limitations one have to be aware of.

[Edited at 2006-07-03 13:07]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxDavid Le Cou  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:26
German to English
Machine translation Jul 3, 2006

I can remember when machine translation was in its infancy and the familiar expression "Out of sight, out of mind" was translated into Russian and back again. The result? - "mindless idiot". Has anything changed?

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxOlaf
Local time: 01:26
English to German
One solution would be XTranslate/ContextTM Jul 4, 2006

I agree that blind reliance on 100% matches is dangerous. That's why Trados introduced XTranslate, which was later renamed to ContextTM. This technology relies on older bilingual files instead of TMs for the pre-translation. Basically, it compares the new document with the old one and if it finds groups of identical segments, the old translations are carried over. The only catch is that XTranslate/ContextTM is very expensive and time consuming otherwise more vendors would be using it.

Olaf


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:26
French to English
+ ...
nothing to do with machine translation Jul 4, 2006

David Le Count wrote:

I can remember when machine translation was in its infancy and the familiar expression "Out of sight, out of mind" was translated into Russian and back again. The result? - "mindless idiot". Has anything changed?


David, we're expressly not talking about machine translation here - current Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools are translation memory tools, and translation memory only stores what you yourself (or someone else) have previously translated.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

The dangers of 100% matches

Advanced search


Translation news





Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs