Machine Translation Restrictions
Thread poster: Andrea Schwam

Andrea Schwam
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:15
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
Jul 2, 2015

I am new to working with agencies who prohibit machine translation (related to Non-Disclosure Agreements with clients) - especially when the machine translation in question is sold by the agencies themselves!
I would like to know what you think about machine translation.
I am a fan of "cloud" MTs. As I am not a conspiracy theory nut and looking over my shoulder every second to see if Big Brother is watching, I really enjoy the idea that a community of like-minded freelancers like myself are out there working towards making better translation decisions.
I only say this because what my cloud TM comes up with is far superior to TMs provided by the agencies.
Who is creating the Cloud? Who comes up with sometimes accurate technical terms or elegant turns of phrase?
Am I just naive and my cloud MT is being controlled by "the man"?
Of course I do the tough work. But I also live in a time when my rates have been slashed in half by market competition and the deadlines are so tight that translation from scratch is now an idea that makes me laugh....


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:15
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Just say no Jul 2, 2015

I don't use machine translation or accept any post-editing jobs. Simple as that.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It's about feeding the cloud, I imagine Jul 2, 2015

aschwam wrote:
I am new to working with agencies who prohibit machine translation (related to Non-Disclosure Agreements with clients)

Isn't it about putting their segments into the cloud to get the proposed translation that they're worried about? You putting their clients' data into the cloud could be a massive problem, I'd have thought. You aren't just sharing that confidential data with a couple of colleagues, but with potentially millions of Internet users, many with hidden agendas that go far beyond finding a correct translation. OTOH, I don't suppose the agencies care what steps you go through on your way to providing the translation, as long as the NDA isn't breached.

Of course I do the tough work. But I also live in a time when my rates have been slashed in half by market competition and the deadlines are so tight that translation from scratch is now an idea that makes me laugh....

Then maybe now is the time to look for clients who don't work in that way. They ARE out there.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:15
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Could be a blessing in disguise, one day Jul 2, 2015

aschwam wrote:
my rates have been slashed in half by market competition and the deadlines are so tight that translation from scratch is now an idea that makes me laugh....

I'm sorry to hear that and a little surprised, as you have much longer freelancer experience than myself. Is there nothing to be done through greater specialisation?

I myself feel that perhaps I list too many areas of specialisation - even though I have genuine and rather unusual work experience to back it up - and I am wondering whether I shouldn't reduce the list to just one or two fields.

On subject of MT, my main concern is confidentiality and it seems many clients feel the same way. I have noticed that a majority of my agencies prohibit the use of MT in their NDAs. That's fine by me right now - I don't use MT at the moment - but in the future it may become an issue as I would be open to using non-public MT if confidentiality concerns could be assuaged.

The only non-public MT I have seen in Japanese to English was not that impressive; it acted like a slightly souped-up TM but the reaction time was slow. Still, I could see a use for it in certain situations.

If the response time improves a decent MT platform could help a good translator become more efficient, just as an extension of the existing TM and termbase tools. It would still need a significant amount of translation experience to use well.

Regards
Dan


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:15
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Question of legal compliance and confidentiality Jul 2, 2015

For me the main question is where is the cloud server, and how is access controlled? I don't know all the ins and outs of data protection law, but it seems to me that you put yourself at a great liability risk by entrusting your clients' translations to a cloud server based who-knows-where and potentially accessed by third parties like the cloud server provider themselves, other users, hackers if security is not sufficient, etc. If nothing else it becomes a question of ethics and the worst case scenario is that your clients' information gets into the wrong hands and it's because you were careless about protecting it, which makes you legally culpable.

The EU and also specific countries have varying levels of strictness about data protection, but I have heard of some laws stating that information cannot be stored outside of the EU, for example, which would mean that if your cloud server is based in California or somewhere, you would be breaking the law.

That's my two cents.


 

The Misha
Local time: 23:15
Russian to English
+ ...
Your problem is your own doing. Well, for the most part. Jul 2, 2015

aschwam wrote:

my rates have been slashed in half by market competition and the deadlines are so tight that translation from scratch is now an idea that makes me laugh....




No offense, but if you didn't laugh at doing your translations from scratch chances are you wouldn't have to worry about your rates being "slashed in half by market competition". You'd be in a totally different segment of that market - where agencies and end clients alike are racing around searching for those who can handle highly specialized jobs just right. You'd be in a position to command top dollar too.

That said, I do concede that French to English MT may indeed produce slightly more palatable results than those in my own primary working pair and specialization. I would still argue though that except under some very specific and limited circumstances it is easier, faster, and ultimately better to do the job from scratch, regardless of the language pair. And that's before we even start talking confidentiality.


 


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