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What do you charge for MT?
Thread poster: KateKaminski

KateKaminski
Local time: 18:58
German to English
Mar 21, 2013

An agency has asked if I will do some post-editing of MT for them. They suggest that it will not take long and would pay 50% of my normal rate.

Do you think this is reasonable?

Surely it depends on how successful the MT has been in each case and how specialised the text is?


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Tobi
Local time: 19:58
English to German
+ ...
Sounds reasonable Mar 21, 2013

Maybe you can ask for a sample of approx. 500 words to be able to calculate if the rate is reasonable for you. However, 50% sounds reasonable.

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felicij  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
German to Slovenian
+ ...
I would never Mar 21, 2013

accept 50% for MT. In most cases it is better to start from scratch than to edit. If someone asked me to do this, I would charge the normal translation rate.

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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 20:58
English to Russian
+ ...
Fully agree Mar 21, 2013

felicij wrote:

In most cases it is better to start from scratch than to edit. If someone asked me to do this, I would charge the normal translation rate.


Fully agree. I would do the same.

Nikita Kobrin


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
me too Mar 21, 2013

I agree with feli and nikita. The bit about "They suggest that it will not take long" sounds familiar too - it's the kind of thing you usually hear from the typical ignorant, patronising client who undervalues translation.
In fact, just the other day I received a couple of MT-translated texts to "revise and correct". I simply translated them outright and it took less time than puzzling over the MT shambles would have.

PS: If you do decide to do it, you should charge an hourly rate in real time - i.e. if it takes you 2 hours to do the job, then charge them 2 hours. I use this system for awkward document formats like PDF; here's my standard condition (in Spanish) about it:

"1) Las tarifas arriba mencionadas son aplicables a los documentos de texto en MS Word o compatible (de fácil manejo). Los documentos en otros formatos (Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, PageMaker, HTML, FreeHand, Open Office etc.) se tasan en función de su nivel de complejidad y el tiempo real necesario para su traducción/revisión. La tarifa vigente por horas en tiempo real es de....

[Edited at 2013-03-21 11:44 GMT]


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 19:58
English to Russian
+ ...
+1 Mar 21, 2013

Same here - I'd charge my translation rate, or maybe even extra for the moral damage suffered in dealing with MT.

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KateKaminski
Local time: 18:58
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Reassuring answers Mar 21, 2013

I was quite uneasy about this offer.

I might suggest a compromise of charging my usual per hour rate - as it is essentially an editing job of a text which might be passable, but potentially needs to be completely re-written.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:58
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
you can give a price once you've qualifed the project Mar 21, 2013

The only way you can set a price for MT postediting is by qualifying the MT project, just as you qualify any translation project request. I have provided all the questions to do that in this presentation:

Machine Translation – the new generation -questions and concerns
Presentation at the ProZ.com 2012 Virtual Conference. By Jeff Allen
http://www.proz.com/virtual-conferences/368/program/7217

We also provided answers to such questions in the following panel discussion at the same conference:

Machine Translation Postediting panel.
Expert panel session at the ProZ.com 2012 Virtual
Conference.
http://www.proz.com/virtual-conferences/361/program/7199
Moderated by Jeff Allen with Kirti Vashee, Lori Thicke, Celia Rico and Jorgen Danielsen


Both have recorded sessions that are visible to ProZ members.

Jeff


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:58
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never! Mar 21, 2013

KateKaminski wrote:
An agency has asked if I will do some post-editing of MT for them. They suggest that it will not take long and would pay 50% of my normal rate.

When I am asked that question I always report that it has to be my full rate. Given that they never accept it, I am all safe from MT work!

Now, honestly. After some experiences in the past I know that, at least in my language pairs and for the type of work I do, MT is pretty useless.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Macro's experience Mar 21, 2013

KateKaminski wrote:
An agency has asked if I will do some post-editing of MT for them. They suggest that it will not take long and would pay 50% of my normal rate.


Marco's agency (whose name ProZ.com's rules prohibit me from saying out loud) did some testing over a period of time, and found that the fair rate for MT post-editing ranges between 70% and 110% of the standard translation rate (therefore certainly not as low as 50%). See the thread here, and link to the article:

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/241918-article_about_fair_rate_for_post_editing.html


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Peter Jedinák
Local time: 19:58
English to Slovak
not THAT bad Mar 21, 2013

An agency I work for pays 60 % of my normal rate for post-editing.
It is always the same end client, always the same subject (user manuals) and the MT is generated from a TM with millions of units. The MT itself is far better than most google-like jokes, and sometimes whole segments do not need any editing. You have to be more careful compared to fuzzies, but overall I cannot complain.
Not all post-editing jobs have to be painful and morally damaging if it is done right


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:58
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
experience with well managed and poorly managed MT project Mar 21, 2013

I've participated in many MT projects, some defined, and set up by me as as well as those set up by others.

I recall in one website localization project about 5 years ago where there was no real coordination. I took one language pair, did all of the terminology work upfront in consulting the marketing brochures and user docs, and ended up with the translated pages with a very small amount of editing feedback comments. The workflow was extremely productive, I used a different MT software package from the one we were told to use, and in the final calculation, the cost per word for my language pair was less than half of each of the other language pairs which were also using MT.

I do recall having lunch with another professional translator about 7-8 years ago who was beginning to use MT output for his very specific technical domain (which I also know well). He showed me the MT output from the translation agency he was working with, and I laughed. I told him that I would not work with such unprepared MT files, and I told him how I would do it.

Another example of a website localization project for consumer electronics about 5 years ago. A company had a localization expert work on MT (with no training) for about a week, with little success. I did a 4-hour mini project of the website and was able to get the MT sofware to replicate with nearly the same accuracy the already translated content of the sample pages for such electronics merchandise that we buy each day.

So many MT projects have been poorly thought through, poorly defined, poorly managed and poorly executed. These are the types of MT projects which I wouldn't want my name associated with.

It's all about methodology, business processes, and optimizing everything as much as possible.

And this is why I created the list of questions in that video presentation to help professional translators qualify an MT project. If a project lead cannot give me clear, concrete answers to each of those questions, then I know the project will have problems. And then I wait for them to come to me in urgent mode to fix up the whole workflow.

About 4 years ago I was asked to put together an MT solution workflow and pricing model for a company. In presenting the solution, they wanted something faster to implement, cheaper to implement with the least amount of training the people, and cheaper overall. I told them that this was the most optimized model with the most up-to-date MT technologies at that point in time, including having just talked with the MT solution experts of each of the MT vendors.

Decision makers who don't want to invest the necessary resources and expertise into an MT workflow, and make the investment as a long-term commitment, well they end up making short-term decisions which don't optimize much at all. They set up the project, it fails.
Sadly, it wasn't the fault of MT, but that the people behind it often don't have the experience in doing such projects, so they put a process into place that simply isn't optimal. Also, I find that such project managers are usually junior people who don't have the guts to say "no", (or don't know how to say so on some parts) to the people who have asked them to put it in place. So they keep going down the path trying to make something work which those of use with a few decades of experience know will not work in that way.
I pursue the avenues which I know will work well with much experience on many types of projects, and several different types of MT technologies and brands.
And I simply say no to what I know will not work with what is available.

Jeff


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:58
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
Will include these point in my new book chapter on MT postediting Mar 21, 2013

I am currently writing a chapter on MT postediting for a new book for translators. I'll make sure to add this pricing question into the list of topics to address in the chapter.

Jeff


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Kirti Vashee  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:58
References for PE Rate Calculations Mar 21, 2013

There is a fair amount of detailed discussion on various approaches to determining fair rates and it should ALWAYS be based on the specific quality of the MT you are dealing with.

50%could be more than fair if the MT system is very good or could also be viciously unfair if the MT is not very good

http://kv-emptypages.blogspot.com/2012/03/exploring-issues-related-to-post.html

This is a description of methodology used by some LSPs or agencies http://kv-emptypages.blogspot.com/2012/10/effective-determination-of-pemt.html

Some may find the issues raised here interesting. It is in the interests of transl-tors to understand this to bring about an equitable structure.


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xxxTasogare
Netherlands
Local time: 19:58
Japanese to English
+ ...
Normal rate + 10% for the nerve to ask Mar 23, 2013

50% discount for running the source file trough a (probably free online) MT service? No way!

Running the source file trough my own MT tool (Honyaku Brain 3 at the moment) will cost me what? 5 minutes tops. And correcting a machine translation is uselessly so time consuming that you can better start new from scratch. I only use MT to generate a list of technical terms to work with. But the translation part is done by me. Even with expensive professional MT tools, the results for Japanese to English and vice versa are poor to somewhat reasonable at best, and only for short sentences. Longer or more ambiguous sentences always amount to complete gibberish. Half of my normal translation rate only applies to the proofreading of human translations.

[Edited at 2013-03-23 21:52 GMT]


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