Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Proofreading machine translations - have you been asked to do it?
Thread poster: Mike (de Oliveira) Brady

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
Jan 16, 2010

I was recently offered a proofreading job and was sent a small sample of the source and target texts. The translation was very literal and I said it looked like it would take more time than usual for proofreading and the rate was negotiated accordingly.

However, from the full text it became apparent that the translation was, in fact, a machine translation with the many errors you would expect from that: mistranslations, frequent incorrect use of prepositions, adjectives applied incorrectly etc.

I dropped some of the source text into an online translator and generated exactly the same errors as in the translation I received.

It was necessary to refer to the source text throughout and virtually every sentence needed correcting. This was really a translation job rather than a proofreading job and having the machine translation available saved little time.

I have not demanded extra payment, but I have pointed this out to the agency and said in future I will only take on such jobs at a translation rate. The agency was unaware, having been told by the client that the original translation had been done by someone with some knowledge of English. In future the agency has agreed to send me full texts so I have a clearer view of the quality of the translation.

I do far more translating than proofreading and have not had an experience like this before. Is it very common? What safeguards do other translators have to ensure they are not being asked to proofread a machine translation?

Has anyone received a machine translation to proofread without the source text? I imagine that would be and impossible task.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomas Forro  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 16:24
Member (2008)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Charge the Full Translation Rate Jan 16, 2010

Hello Mike,
I have done it indeed.

I don't know how about your document, but machine translations got in my hands several times and it was always such a crap that I had to retranslate it from the scratch.

It is included in my terms of cooperation that if the strings in document for proofreading require over 40% of substantial improvements, it is deemed to be translation and not proofreading. So in such cases I charge the translation rate - and this always applied to machine translations so far.

In fact, I implemented these terms after the first machine translation text I had to proofread. The client insisted on hourly rate for proofreading even though I warned them in advance that it may be cheaper to retranslate it for translation rate. And indeed, the final sum was so high that at the end I gave them a discounted price.

My point is that machine translations (at least the ones I could see so far) are not material for proofreading. It is purely informational text and it cannot be deemed even as a low-standard translation. So if you're trying to improve it, you actually have to do the whole job again.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gemma Sanza Porcar  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:24
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Post-translation Jan 16, 2010

Hi Mike,

The kind of job you are asking for is named "post-translation" and for English-Spanish, is usually paid at 0.06 EUR/word. That´s because it´s not actually a proofreading job, nor a translation one.

I was in the same situation than you several months ago. I told it to the agency and agreed for future projects.

It could be the agency was cheated by the client, and the PM didn´t have enough knowledge on the target language to realize.

Regarding MT, all of us will have to begin easing machine translation is a reality and we have to take this train.

Greetings and happy weekend!

Gemma


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Faruk Atabeyli  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 17:24
English to Turkish
+ ...
I returned it Jan 16, 2010

One of my direct clients asked me to proofread a contract that was translated by an agency. It did not take me too long to understand that it was MT. I returned the text without proofreading, informed the client, attached the MT that I ran to demonstrate and charged them my hourly rate for the time I spent on analysis.

Since then I've been getting more work from that client.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kata Koncz  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 16:24
Member (2008)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
...not without the source text Jan 16, 2010

Hi Mike,

Not without the source text, but it is common practice for some agencies now I think. They skip the translation part and give the MT and the source text to one or two "proofreaders" instead and call them post-editors. ...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:24
English to French
+ ...
How do you measure these "40% of substantial improvements"? Jan 16, 2010

Tomas Forro wrote:
It is included in my terms of cooperation that if the strings in document for proofreading require over 40% of substantial improvements, it is deemed to be translation and not proofreading.

This is very interesting, but do you have a reliable way to measure how many strings meet this criterion?
Is there a software which can do that, or could we even do some kind of "reverse analysis" with one of our usual CAT tools?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomas Forro  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 16:24
Member (2008)
English to Slovak
+ ...
It is the same like with pornography: once you see it, you know what is it Jan 16, 2010

I know it may look subjective at the first sight, but whenever this kind of situation arises, I just let the client see both original and amended segments.

By substantial improvements I understand that part or the whole segment has to be retranslated. If there are many typos in the text, it still doesn't require "substantial improvements" to fix it. On the other hand, MTs (or very bad human translations) need to be rephrased, the word order has to be changed as well as the words replaced.

So it might look as an ambiguous measure, but I'm pretty confident this is a good practice and it could be defended legally as well. There are many cases when you can't set the totally exact criteria and yet rational participants are bound to accept it.

Did you know there has never been made an exact definition of what is porn for the legal purposes? And yet, it is illegal in many countries. The funny point about it goes as this: Maybe we don't have the exact definition of porn, but what is important, we know it is a pornographic material once we see it...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

cmrawal  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 19:54
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Charge Full Rate Jan 16, 2010

I also once received such a translation for proof-reading which appeared to have been done with the help of some machine translation tool. I informed the translation agency about this and charged full rate of translation instead of proof-reading.

Yet, in another case where the translation was very bad and it appeared to have been done by using some machine translation tool, I requested the agency to pay me for more number of hours than already agreed for the proof-reading job and they did pay me for the actual number of hours spent on the job.

C.M. Rawal


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Agree in advance... Jan 16, 2010

Tomas Forro wrote:



It is included in my terms of cooperation that if the strings in document for proofreading require over 40% of substantial improvements, it is deemed to be translation and not proofreading. So in such cases I charge the translation rate - and this always applied to machine translations so far.



This looks like a good idea. I think I will add a condition like this.

However, I do imagine that as the agency may have been misled itself and quoted the end client for proofreading it is best to ensure that the agency agrees explicitly with this condition in advance.

This particular agency has agreed to provide the full document in future and I will probably make this a requirement for providing quotes for proofreading.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Sandrine A.  Identity Verified

Local time: 16:24
English to French
This happened to me this week Jan 16, 2010

Earlier this week I was asked to proofread a "translation", which turned out to be MT. As I would have had to re-translate everything from scratch, I informed the client that I would apply my usual translation rate. Strangely enough, the client gave the job to another (less picky?) translator... Do they really think we cannot see it's MT?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

jaymin
Canada
Local time: 10:24
Member (2009)
German to Korean
+ ...
interesting.... Jan 16, 2010

Seems that they have a reason to ask for proofreading MT. Perhaps for translation application development purpose.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:24
French to German
+ ...
Proofreading machine translations - have you been asked to do it? Jan 16, 2010

To answer the initial question: yes. I was contacted by an agency trying to form a team for the PR/PE of some 500K words, English to French... and declined the job, owing to the fact that:

a) it would have kept me busy for too long;
b) the agency's reputation was not the best;
c) it was a low-end job, although the client was "prestigious".


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Close to it... but at full rate Jan 16, 2010

I've been hired now and then to "fix" translations made by thoroughly incompetent translators. I'd have trashed them right away and redone from scratch, were it not for the fact that they had been delivered late already, and the end-client had rejected them pointblank.

Also, the PMs wanted to a file with tracked changes they could argue with the original perp, maybe to negotiate a price reduction, whatever. That would not be my problem.

So on account of both time pressure and the tracked changes, I "fixed" them, but at my regular translation rate.

Quite frankly, though the average translation quality was equivalent, it would have been better to "fix" a machine translation than bad human translation for one reason: in MT the mistakes are consistent throughout. So one very frequent and consistently mistranslated word or expression in MT could be fixed with bulk search and replace. Meanwhile a bad human translator now and then learns something on the way, or shifts their mistakes, so everything must be done manually.

That's why I suggest overly cheap outsourcers to use MT and check if it sticks. If it does, they'll make a bundle. If it doesn't, I can redo it at my rates, and they'll have more money left to afford that.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:24
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Conditions for proofreading Jan 16, 2010

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady wrote:

What safeguards do other translators have to ensure they are not being asked to proofread a machine translation?


When I accept a proofreading job I always state that I will proofread the document
"... provided that the document has been translated by a qualified (source language) > English translator".


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxvwkl
Canada
Local time: 10:24
Chinese to English
+ ...
I usually send it back except for some rare cases. Jan 16, 2010

First of all, I always do a quick evaluation of the quality of the source text, before taking on a contract. Especially for clients or agents I am not familiar with. From time to time I come across someone trying to pass a piece of MT text for a real translation for proofreading, and I usually rely on gut feeling whether to decline right away, or to invest further time to renegotiate the terms with the client, as well as conveying to him about my confidence level that the resulting text would be what was intended.

My experience tells me it is usually only worth the extra time doing this if it is for one of my better clients, and the new quote is typically somewhere between my proofreading rate and my translation rate.

There is one case I can recall where it works well (and happens quite often). When the MT is a terminology list, especially within a strong context, it is a piece of cake.

Vikki


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 »

Proofreading machine translations - have you been asked to do it?

Advanced search







BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



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