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Machine translations, Postediting
Thread poster: Felice Liserre

Felice Liserre
Germany
Local time: 16:31
Member (2005)
German to Italian
+ ...
Jun 17, 2014

Step by step there are more agencies which use the machine translation, looking for translators which will proof big files... offering poor rates most times. What do you think about? I believe this could be cut a lot of work. The game is easy, there is enough software, but very often the quality is very poor and the texts needs a lot of work to check everything. Sometimes I tried to ask for a fair rate: This has been refused, of course.

 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:31
Member (2008)
French to English
Ignore them Jun 17, 2014

I ignore them, so I don't know how many there are. They are no competition to the work that I do which is quality intensive.

 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:31
Russian to English
+ ...
You can, of course, accept such jobs, if they do not get on your nerves Jun 17, 2014

but charge a regular translation rate--the same. The relationship between a translator and a client should be the one of a doctor-patient, store owner--buyer--not the one of a landlord-serf. It is ridiculous that translation companies should dictate anything. Freelance work, is freelance work--you are the one who sets the rates. You don't tell your dentist how much to charge, or the the plumber, even. They would laugh at you, not to mention which tools to use.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:31
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If you want to do MT post-editing, seek out fair payers Jun 17, 2014

Felice Liserre wrote:
[More and more] agencies use machine translation, looking for translators to proof big files... and offering poor rates most times.


There are also agencies that specialise in MT post-editing that pay an hourly rate that is comparable to what you would have earned if you had done the translation yourself.

If you want to do MT post-editing, the key would be to seek out agencies that pay good rates for it.

If you find that most agencies that offer you this type of work offer very low rates, then it is not because MT post-editing itself is low-paying (it is not), but because those agencies are low-paying.


 

Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:32
Member (2002)
English to Russian
PEMT Jun 17, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

If you want to do MT post-editing, the key would be to seek out agencies that pay good rates for it.

If you find that most agencies that offer you this type of work offer very low rates, then it is not because MT post-editing itself is low-paying (it is not), but because those agencies are low-paying.


Hi Samuel,

While I absolutely agree in principle, I believe there is no need to mention post-edited machine translation (PEMT) here.

You can easily make your advice applicable to the entire translation (or any other) industry, by rephrasing it as follows:

If you want to do a job, the key would be to seek out clients that pay good rates for it.


 

Felice Liserre
Germany
Local time: 16:32
Member (2005)
German to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
May be Jun 17, 2014

"Post editing" is a wonderful expression...a maquillage may be. What does that mean? (I know...) Of course I/we can refuse, I refused a lot of time, in particular when the rate was extremely poor, and this is the problem, if it will be a trend. In this case it will be easy to offer low rates. The texts need almost a new translation, every thing to be checked. To refuse will be difficult, by trend.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:32
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
The trend is... Jun 18, 2014

Felice Liserre wrote:

"Post editing" is a wonderful expression...a maquillage may be. What does that mean? (I know...) Of course I/we can refuse, I refused a lot of time, in particular when the rate was extremely poor, and this is the problem, if it will be a trend. In this case it will be easy to offer low rates. The texts need almost a new translation, every thing to be checked. To refuse will be difficult, by trend.


Please keep in mind that there will always be someone who can work for pennies, which might be a decent income in their location.

And there will always be low-paying agencies.

However, those clients, agencies or end-clients, to who quality matters. And those do appreciate a good, qualified and highly quality-orientated translator, and pay accordingly.

Depending on the fields you are offering, do keep in mind that there are certain fields in which MT is plain useless, e.g. marketing, literature, to name a couple.

If a translator enjoys PEMT, then s/he should charge an hourly rate, which is adviceable for any proofreading/editing job anyway. Since many sentences, or even entire passages of MT are in deir need of re-translations, one should charge one's regular rate for translations. The truth is, regardless how much you lower your rates in order to secure work, there will always be someone somewhere to underbid you. As Samuel said, find agencies that willing to pay for quality translations.icon_smile.gif


 

Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:32
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Translators helping machines put them out of a job Jun 18, 2014

I was recently offered a job to edit/revise what I was told was cutting edge top-of-the-range, the very latest artificial intelligence machine translation. I didn't take the job because I'm totally against machines translating what humans should, but I did check out the quality to see how these offerings had improved over the years. Imo it needed translating properly and not revising; the quality was about that of what a "client who knows a bit of English" could provide and want revising. Most of the time revising such a thing takes longer, costs more and is more liable to error than just doing a good translation in the first place.

So as far as I can tell there's no risk of machines putting quality translators out of a job unless we help correct them when they are wrong and train the machines until they can do our job for us.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:32
German to English
Very specialized work Jun 18, 2014

Editing machine translations seems like a very specialized activity. If you really want to get into this field, then you need to figure out what kind of texts it makes sense for you to work with and what kinds of changes you can make at the prices being offered (or, if this level of editing is too low for your standards, to figure out if you can establish a higher fee with these or other clients), and you need to regularly do a lot of post-editing.

Post-editing has to go very fast, you have to be very alert looking out for mistakes that are often more bizarre or subtle than those of (good and bad) human translators and authors, and you have to have a very good feel for what you need to change and what you need to leave alone (according to the budget and the client's needs).

I think that most translators have a healthy sense of interpreting being an activity that is very different from translating and that requires specific skills, strategies and techniques, but this often tends to be lacking in the case of various kinds of editing - and post-editing is probably even more tricky than most other kinds.

Like John and Lilian, I can't imagine why anyone would choose to specialize in post-editing and I do not think that MT is going to make any great strides in my working lifetime (the next 20-30 years) in terms of the market for quality translations of non-standardized source texts (that is, the market relevant to my work). On the other hand, I could certainly be wrong and it certainly does represent an expanding market.


 

Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:32
English to Dutch
+ ...
Hype Jun 18, 2014

PEMT is the current hype in oh-translations-is-so-expensive-let's-cut-some-corners-land.
Ten years ago, they gave poor Koreans a dictionary and let them 'translate' by looking up every word one by won. Then, big surprise, the quality was awful, so that died out.
Seven years ago, they replaced the poor Koreans by dictionary software, which they dubbed 'automated translation'. Then, big surprise, the quality was awful, so that died out.
Four years ago, they invented statistical translation software (Google Translate). Then, big surprise, the quality was awful, so that died out.
One year ago, they invented post-editing of all of the above. Then, big surprise, the quality is awful, so that is already dying out.
In two years time, they will invent [xxx]. Then, big surprise, the quality will be awful, so that'll die out.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:32
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
post?? Jun 18, 2014

Why is it called Post-editing?

anyone done any pre-editing lately?


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:32
Member
English to French
Exactly Jun 18, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:
There are also agencies that specialise in MT post-editing that pay an hourly rate that is comparable to what you would have earned if you had done the translation yourself.

If you want to do MT post-editing, the key would be to seek out agencies that pay good rates for it.

If you find that most agencies that offer you this type of work offer very low rates, then it is not because MT post-editing itself is low-paying (it is not), but because those agencies are low-paying.

The MT segment is just like any other translation-buying group. MT post-editing deserves fair compensation, and it's up to translators to set their own rules. Or not.

I have done a fair amount of MT post-editing at EUR0.045/0.05 (no fuzzy discounts or whatever) in 2008-2009 for a smallish long-standing agency, and my hourly earnings were higher than translation only, because the raw MT was good enough and the scope was clearly set.
I have tried a tiny bit in 2013 at EUR0.07 for a larger agency I hadn't worked with before, with an option to get a month of work, but I threw the towel after the test because it wasn't worth it in terms of hourly earnings.

Now that I know what serious post-editing (ie not GT or other off-the-shelf rubbish) actually is and requires, I wouldn't make it a "specialty", and I leave online help and similar post-editing tasks to others. Even though MT post-editing can easily pay the bills, it is very boring. If the source text is not written from the onset with MT in mind (there comes "pre-editing"!), MT will not yield adequate results (ie will not be less expensive than standard translation, provided that no translator charges proofreading rates for MT post-editing). So the source text per se is already boring.

Gladly, there is still plenty of traditional work, and traditional work is less risky in terms of wasting one's time with all the misconceptions some translation buyers still have about MT.

And remember: Machine translation is the future of translation... And will always be.

Philippe


 

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 20:02
German to English
+ ...
Buy your own MT software Jun 19, 2014

What agencies that offer post-editing jobs probably do is buy desktop MT software such as Systran or Promt and attempt to recover their investment from clueless translators. Or what's worse, they may be using Google Translate and violating data confidentiality.

Why not instead (a) buy your own desktop MT software (a hefty investment of course, at USD 900 or so) and recover your own cost from the increases in productivity (possible!) and (b) refuse all MT Post-Editing jobs?

There's even a hidden bonus to this approach! (c) When I get the usual super-urgent high-volume jobs from Chinese/Indian agencies, I quote them the rates they want, and throw in the casual "Since you want so much text translated in such a short time, I will naturally be using MT software (without post-editing of course)." That is usually sufficient to make them beat a hasty retreat! J



[Edited at 2014-06-19 07:13 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:32
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
PRE-editing is the key to it Jun 19, 2014

Texte Style wrote:

Why is it called Post-editing?

anyone done any pre-editing lately?


Certain highly repetitive texts can be pre-edited, and if you then feed them into a specialised translation engine, you can get acceptable results for the kind of text that is here today and mulched tomorrow.

Refusing to have anything to do with this kind of thing is almost like insisting on having your socks knitted by hand on four or five needles, or your clothes hemmed by hand instead of by machine.

Undoubtedly some people will try to palm the post-editing jobs off on 'poor Koreans' at low prices, but if the language is Korean it might work, otherwise it won't!

Clients should not be allowed to dictate the prices - anyone prepared to take on the work should negotiate a suitable rate.

Even - or especially - if you are desperate for work and any pay is better than no pay, you should at least try to push the rate up! Propose a (slightly) higher rate and see if the client will accept it. Keep pressing up, or clients will press the rates down.

And above all, compete with your skills and quality, not how low a rate you can offer!


 

Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:32
English to Dutch
+ ...
Flawed comparison Jun 19, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:

Refusing to have anything to do with this kind of thing is almost like insisting on having your socks knitted by hand on four or five needles, or your clothes hemmed by hand instead of by machine.



There is a BIG difference: machine knitted socks are OK in quality, whereas machine translation is not (in most cases). I'm not insisting on obsolete practices, I'm insisting on quality. That's something else entirely.


 
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