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Machine Translations: Should Proz.com advertise MT jobs?
Thread poster: Lingopro

Lingopro  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 22:29
Hebrew to English
+ ...
May 28, 2013

Hello Colleagues,

I recently received a personal job offer through Proz.com to post edit a machine translation. I refused.
I later heard from some of my colleagues that they too received the offer. I guess no one took the jobe because later still, I received a 'ProZ.com jobs' offer with the same offer, only this time sent to anyone who would be so kind as to pick it up.

So, what's my beef?
I think machine translations go against the fibers of our profession. If I will have to resort to post editing MTs - for rates that I would be ashamed to offer any professional - I believe it will hasten my demise as a translator and it will kill languages!

The question is not if I fear MT will "take over", but rather why Proz.com - a site I pay membership to and a community I am proud to be a member of - would post such a job. Whether or not MT will take over, I think that we - the professional community - should definitely NOT give it a helping hand.

Honestly speaking, I'm glad other translators in my language pair didn't pick up the job because it encourages me that translators (at least most of us), are intelligent beings who realize the true meaning of machine translations.

So, should proz advertise MT jobs or not, that is the question...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:29
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It is a valid task, so it must be allowed May 28, 2013

Lingopro wrote:
The question is ... why Proz.com - a site I pay membership to and a community I am proud to be a member of - would post such a job. ... I think that we - the professional community - should definitely NOT give it a helping hand.


One could also argue that ProZ.com should not post editing and proofreading jobs because it will encourage translators to not check their own work.



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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:29
Hebrew to English
Is it valid though? May 28, 2013

I disagree with Samuel in that I think the debate on the validity of MT is far from closed and I'm not sure validating it by virtue of allowing the posting of MT jobs is a good thing and there's certainly a discussion to be had whether it's a professional thing.

Personally I'm of the opinion that MT is at such a primitive stage that it isn't really editing most of the time, but re-translation, which is why I wouldn't agree to do it. It's not an economical use of my time.


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Lingopro  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 22:29
Hebrew to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hardly the same thing... May 28, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

One could also argue that ProZ.com should not post editing and proofreading jobs because it will encourage translators to not check their own work.



Thanks Samuel.
I can't say that I see the comparison.
Besides, there is a huge difference between MT and a slacking bad translator who will not earn regular clients if he keeps submitting bad unchecked work.

But I guess you were joking and you seem to get my point

[Edited at 2013-05-28 22:54 GMT]


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Lingopro  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 22:29
Hebrew to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Challenge! May 28, 2013

Ty Kendall wrote:

... and there's certainly a discussion to be had whether it's a professional thing.



Thank you Ty - I hope to see a Proz.com staff member comment here.


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Robert Holzner  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:29
German to Swedish
+ ...
I could not agree more ! May 28, 2013

Just today I received an inquiry about a railway specific translation, a field I have more than twenty years experience of. Announcing my translations rates, modest, I received another request for proof reading of the same stuff.
Do agencies not realize that proof reading of a CAT generated translation is even more demanding then a genuine translation from the beginning ?
That I did no business this time I suppose you understand.

BRGDS

Robert


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 22:29
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
thanks May 28, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:
One could also argue that ProZ.com should not post editing and proofreading jobs because it will encourage translators to not check their own work.




Thanks Samuel, it was a good joke.


Proofreading is an essential part of the translation business and I wish all agencies hired good proofreaders to deliver high-quality jobs.

Off-topic but I don't understand why it is called post-editing but not MT editing.

And yes, ProZ should not allow post-editing jobs.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 00:59
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Banning it won't make it go away May 29, 2013

MT is a fact of life and we cannot wish it away. It may be in a primitive stage now, but who knows about the future? It may improve to such an extent that it becomes the norm with most routine translations with only post-editing done by humans.

So banning it in proz.com won't solve anything. We should instead try to raise awareness about MT. MT currently is mostly gibberish, and it will require considerable effort to make it usable. So we need to develop norms for charging for MT editing/proofing. It can't be equated to the editing of human-done translation as more effort is involved. So MT editing should be charged at a higher rate than normal editing (an elegant way of doing this would be to charge by the hour).

Proof-reading MT may be actually simpler, as there are likely to be less of the human-type of spelling errors in MT as it will use computer dictionaries, but the use of wrong words will be an issue in MT for which proof-readers will need to watch out.

So proof-reading or editing MT is a different type of task to proof-reading or editing human translation.

The best way to handle MT proofing and editing is to charge by the hour. Only then will it be really worthwhile for the translator. The client should also be alerted that it would be difficult to predict how long it would actually take to edit/proof-read MT and it would involve a significant cost, which could even exceed the cost of a fresh translation, and he/she should be given the choice of getting the thing re-translated.

[2013-05-29 01:55 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:29
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
CAT is not MT May 29, 2013

Robert Holzner wrote:

.... proof reading of a CAT generated translation....


Translation using a CAT tool with a translation memory (TM) is not the same as machine translation (MT). There may be some overlap if an MT plugin is used, but these are not synonyms anyway.

Piotr



[Edited at 2013-05-29 05:17 GMT]


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:29
Hebrew to English
Facts of life are banned all the time May 29, 2013

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:
MT is a fact of life and we cannot wish it away. It may be in a primitive stage now, but who knows about the future? It may improve to such an extent that it becomes the norm with most routine translations with only post-editing done by humans.


I don't think it's about wishing it away, but the sheer fact of its existence doesn't necessarily entail that we (or this site) has to go along with it. We have free will after all. It's not necessarily "good practice" (it certainly isn't "best practice") so as an 'industry' - for want of a better term - we don't have to be turkeys voting for Christmas.

I think the "if it improves..." argument is too hypothetical. To be frank, if it improves to the point of being viable, then that means computers have evolved to the point of "understanding" language. As someone recently said (I'm paraphrasing, I may be wrong but I think it was Phil Hand, to attempt to give credit where credit is due) when computers begin to understand, we'll have bigger fish to fry than worrying about the viability of MT.


So banning it in proz.com won't solve anything.


I don't think it's about solving anything either. There's not necessarily a problem to solve as such. I think it's more about showing a stance on what this site believes to be "professional translation". Is MT (even with post-editing) professional translation? I'm not sure.

Proof-reading MT may be actually simpler, as there are likely to be less of the human-type of spelling errors in MT as it will use computer dictionaries, but the use of wrong words will be an issue in MT for which proof-readers will need to watch out.


Again, I disagree here. In my language pair at least MT is a minefield. It might have less spelling errors (I surely wouldn't expect too many of these from a human translator either!!!) but MT does stupid things a human translator never would, including many things which can mislead, for example, it often translates negative sentences as positive ones and vice versa. It's not just that it uses "wrong words", in fact mistranslation of individual words isn't its main problem, above and beyond that it messes up syntax, ignores important words, can't handle slang and abbreviations. It's an aneurysm waiting to happen. I also disagree with your use of "MT" and "proof-readers" in close proximity. MT needs more than proof-reading. A proof-reader can't do much with MT.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:29
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
yes CAT and MT are very similar May 29, 2013

Piotr Bienkowski wrote:

Robert Holzner wrote:

.... proof reading of a CAT generated translation....


Translation using a CAT tool with a translation memory (TM) is not the same as machine translation (MT). There may be some overlap if an MT plugin is used, but these are not synonyms anyway.

Piotr


Piotr, Yes CAT Translation Memory (TM) is just simply the commercialized marketable name which got famous in the 1990s based on the concept of Example-based MT (EBMT) that was published in articles by Nagao starting in 1984.
I know the founders of many TM companies that all began and brought TM CAT tools up to the current state.
And in talking with them over the years, they have admitted and stated that that TM is a variant of EBMT. It's just simply an approach that has focused more on the translation side of the business (and has become widely adopted by professional translators as a key tool in their workbench) rather than simply trying to break the communication barrier.

Jeff


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:29
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
Even all the Trados developers supported TM as EBMT May 29, 2013

Jeff Allen wrote:

Piotr Bienkowski wrote:

Robert Holzner wrote:

.... proof reading of a CAT generated translation....


Translation using a CAT tool with a translation memory (TM) is not the same as machine translation (MT). There may be some overlap if an MT plugin is used, but these are not synonyms anyway.

Piotr


Piotr, Yes CAT Translation Memory (TM) is just simply the commercialized marketable name which got famous in the 1990s based on the concept of Example-based MT (EBMT) that was published in articles by Nagao starting in 1984.
I know the founders of many TM companies that all began and brought TM CAT tools up to the current state.
And in talking with them over the years, they have admitted and stated that that TM is a variant of EBMT. It's just simply an approach that has focused more on the translation side of the business (and has become widely adopted by professional translators as a key tool in their workbench) rather than simply trying to break the communication barrier.

Jeff


I gave a presentation to all of the Trados development staff (and management at that time) in the summer of 1998 and stated all of the following points mentioned in my post above.
No one during those two meetings said I was declaring heresy nor was off track, yet it was a talk/presentation intended for discussion and debate, which did in fact happen on other language technology topics. But not on this point.

Jeff


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Lingopro  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 22:29
Hebrew to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The Martians are coming... May 29, 2013

Ty Kendall wrote:

I don't think it's about wishing it away, but the sheer fact of its existence doesn't necessarily entail that we (or this site) has to go along with it.

I don't think it's about solving anything either. There's not necessarily a problem to solve as such. I think it's more about showing a stance on what this site believes to be "professional translation".


This is precisely why I started this topic - not in an attempt to change the course of the future or to revolt against the machine, but rather to ask my "industry" and platforms like proz.com that are here to support and serve us - its customers, to put us (humans) first and not to serve two quite opposing domains.

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:
Proof-reading MT may be actually simpler, as there are likely to be less of the human-type of spelling errors in MT as it will use computer dictionaries...


I must admit this comment left me awestruck: I don't know about you, but I not only read my work when done, I also use a really nifty computerized tool called... the "spell checker", and a little offended: because the current state of MT in my language pair is an utter disaster (see Ty's complete breakdown as to why) so I am offended that you would compare our "meager", filled-with-errors human work to the grandness of "perfect" MT.

I am not afraid of the future, if MT will take over, so be it (hardly likely to happen in my lifetime anyway) - I am sure we humans will adapt and find other things to do with the time machines will apparently make for us...


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sanity clause May 29, 2013

While not in favour of it generally, I think it is acceptable as long as it is clearly specified in the post and ing that what is being touted is a clean-up job on machine translated or otherwise sub-standard texts. A lot of people are happy to do this kind of work, so why should we put the hems on them?

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Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
First CAT and now MT editing with only translators to blame! May 29, 2013

First, CAT tools should benefit the translator not the agencies! Fuzzy matches, rates, etc.. (AKA being ripped-off!) If an agency wants to align the document later on, let them!

MT editing is now being touted as a new feature and many translators are jumping on the bandwagon without realizing that they are simply selling their services short. Editing someone else's translation can either be a dream or a nightmare. MT editing takes as much brain power if not more to ensure accuracy.

Can someone enlighten me about what benefits can a professional translator derive from editing MTs? At the end of the day, there is opportunity cost! If you embark on doing lower paying MT editing, you will have to pass by the real job opportunities!

Would love to hear your thoughts!


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