Post editing translation projects - the dream vs. the reality
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:46
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 1, 2016

I was once contacted by a "post editing" agency with a 200,000 word project (to be split up in a million tiny pieces of course). This company sent me a list of their four levels of translation that went something like this.

Level 1: Raw MT output you receive:
"After product on market launch patients complained sporadically allergic reactions."

Level 2: Light editing (only correct serious errors, ignore incorrect syntax and what is otherwise understandable)
"After product launched on market, patients complained sporadically about allergic reactions."

Level 3: Detailed context-level post editing
"After the product was launched on the market, patients complained sporadically about allergic reactions."

Level 4: Full translation
"After the product was launched on the market, there were sporadic complaints from patients regarding allergic reactions."

The goal, they said, was to provide a post-edited translation of at least level 3.

Looks easy, right?

Then they included the document to be "post edited", which looked like this:

"The agreed according to paragraph 7 deemed value guaranteed is done in accordance with indexation clause which when beyond this threshold, represents the change to the full extent and forms the initial basis for the calculation of further exceedaances."


"Turning work includes 4-axis Präzisionsmaschinen on-turning milling vertical machining for Fahrständer"

Any takers, it pays .03 a word and it's really easy.... just make some quick corrections...

[Edited at 2016-07-01 17:38 GMT]


United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
This seems such a false economy. Jul 1, 2016

The sentence beginning "the agreed according to paragraph 7" would take maybe two minutes to turn into something resembling proper English.

Translating it from scratch, and using dictation, would take about 45 seconds.

[Edited at 2016-07-01 18:18 GMT]


Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:46
Romanian to English
+ ...
Horrible Jul 2, 2016

For what possible reason should a translator exhaust his mind trying to make sense of something that doesn't make sense, before he just writes the correct translation? At a reduced rate, on top of that?

It is not just the time factor involved here, as Phil pointed out, but the mental strain. The mind doesn't work like that, an intelligent human being doesn't just retrieve the words in a nonsensical order, and then organize them into a level-schmevel 3 logic.

Having to deal with all that gibberish is like tying a rock to someone's neck, throwing them in the water and then saying: hey, you're in the water already, so swimming should be easier now!

Efforts like this could be acceptable in MT-related research only, if rewarded with a really hefty stipend for the added stress.


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Post editing translation projects - the dream vs. the reality

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