What are the normal penalties for a Machine Translated TM?
Thread poster: Aleksandr Okunev
Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 07:36
English to Russian
Apr 17, 2005

A client offers a job with a TM which is of very poor quality: I thoroughly analyzed 12 consecutive TUs (a minimum statistical sample) and each of them contains either an terminology error or an error in style or sentence structure or a combination of the above. The rest of the TM is about the same. It looks like a good machine translation or a very bad human translation by a non-native. The job is very big, therefore this issue affects two aspects of this project:
1) payment - all 100% matches need editing, let alone fuzzies;
2) turnaround estimates - my expected turnaround is quite high and can be achieved only if the TM is perfect - I don't want to miss the deadline.

The TM, as the client says, has been aligned from a corpus of previous translations, thus, considering the amount of effort put into it, it is not quite logical to ask the client not to use it at all. I am thinking of proposing the client to apply penalties during analysis, to adjust the rates and turnaround, but I do not know the generally accepted penalty applied to machine translated TMs. I even doubt if I should go for it at all, since the client is a bit unrealistic about it. I am considering this, instead of declining the job, because I have good previous experience with the client (a few small jobs) and this job is large and my specialty field.

Please, advise what penalty percentage is fair for a machine translated TM.

Thank you for your attention
Stay well

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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:36
Member (2002)
English to German
Machine translated TM equals no TM Apr 17, 2005

There are no fixed rules of course but if the TM only consists of machine translations it doesn't help at all in my opinion.

I'd let the client know immediately and tell him that your prices and turnaround are just the same as without a TM. You have to grant him the option of cancelling this job, of course, so it's his choice to move on or not.

Good luck


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English to French
+ ...
MT is virtually worthless Apr 17, 2005

But to give you a figure, let's say a 60% penalty. It's up to you to decide whether you give a discount for 40% matches. (I don't, and I've never been asked to.)


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What are the normal penalties for a Machine Translated TM?

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