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Poll: Do you think it is wise for translators to accept machine translation post-editing projects?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:25
SITE STAFF
Jul 1, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think it is wise for translators to accept machine translation post-editing projects?".

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Elodie Bonnafous  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:25
Member (2009)
German to French
+ ...
No opinion but.. Jul 1, 2016

I have no precise opinion about this question, but I never accept such "projects".
The fact that the very question has been asked shows that I am probably not the only one to do so.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:25
English to Japanese
+ ...
Seconded Jul 1, 2016

Elodie Bonnafous wrote:

I have no precise opinion about this question, but I never accept such "projects".
The fact that the very question has been asked shows that I am probably not the only one to do so.


But some people must learn the hard way that how troublesome it is to edit a machine translation post-editing projects at 0.02 or 0.03 cents per word.


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Ana Vozone  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:25
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Worse than toxic waste Jul 1, 2016

I delete all (usually potential, I wonder why?) job offers involving machine translation...

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:25
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No! Jul 1, 2016

Wise? I do some proofreading and checking, mainly for two agencies and for the same translators on a regular basis. Poor quality causes me to reject most of the projects I’m offered, some are without doubt machine translation post-editing projects…

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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Irrelevant Jul 1, 2016

Considering that
Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text
, there can be no translation from MT, which is but no language.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No Jul 1, 2016

Ana Vozone wrote:

I delete all (usually potential, I wonder why?) job offers involving machine translation...


Why cut off the branch one's sitting on?


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:25
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Jul 1, 2016

If they are in the quality that I have been requested to do in the recent past (and refused) then I would say no.
It is just a cheap way of exploiting us because you ar eproofread a load of C**P and getting the payment of a review, takes almost twice as long as if you were translating it in the firtsplace, then the subsequent reviewer must make sure that the inital review was done properly and the only winner there is the Agency getting the rubbish done in the first place.

I am only referring to technical texts here, I am not sure what the world looks like elsewhere.


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:25
Member (2006)
German to English
Have Jul 1, 2016

Thayenga wrote:

Ana Vozone wrote:

I delete all (usually potential, I wonder why?) job offers involving machine translation...


Why cut off the branch one's sitting on?


you actually accepted one of these jobs? If you have not then it is difficult to understand why, and believe me the stuff that I was offered to review and I noticed that it was an MT was seriously just a load of rubbish - and I threw it back and told them not to do that to me again!


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No but yes but no Jul 1, 2016

Why would anyone collude in an activity that undermines their very profession?

Oh, to feed their families. Fair enough, then.

I, however, would never contemplate it. I'm an artist, darling.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
In the yesteryears Jul 1, 2016

Michael Harris wrote:

Thayenga wrote:

Ana Vozone wrote:

I delete all (usually potential, I wonder why?) job offers involving machine translation...


Why cut off the branch one's sitting on?


you actually accepted one of these jobs? If you have not then it is difficult to understand why, and believe me the stuff that I was offered to review and I noticed that it was an MT was seriously just a load of rubbish - and I threw it back and told them not to do that to me again!


I did accept this type of work a long time ago when I started my freelancing career.

Like you, I found this type of work highly unproductive, having to basically translate everything from scratch. Back then I didn't quite realize what this MT was about to do to our profession. But it didn't take long to get fed up with this "junk"-work and see the consequences it had on the translation industry, so I refused PEMT after a very short period, and looked for real work. This is why I've been deleting any such offers right away for several years now. In short: been there, didn't like it, never again.


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:25
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
No Jul 1, 2016

It's bad enough to deal with agency TMs that come from human idiots.

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Katrin Bosse  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:25
Member (2009)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Definitely no! Jul 1, 2016

Last year, I had been asked to "proofread" a translation, huge volume, very short deadline, to which I agreed but the outsourcer "forgot" to tell me that it was a machine translation! When I realised what a cuckoo's egg had been placed in my nest, I returned the job straight away and blacklisted the agency.

Since four years now, I only do proofreading for very select clients and colleagues and take on only a handful of offers altogether. I hate proofreading in general, it's always trouble and too much of it for too little money.

But there are positive experiences as well:
Just lately, I got the offer to edit a machine translation for a patent application and I could convince the outsourcer (direct client) that it would be to both our advantage if I just treated this as a normal translation from scratch. He agreed. And accepted my usual rate. A typical win-win situation in my opinion!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:25
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jul 1, 2016

And I don't accept them. Not from having done so before, but I used to work in-house where they'd substitute me every summer with an "assistant" program. The mess wasn't easy to clean up.

Then the boss told me, use the program. I invested more time typing and correcting than I would've spent producing something more aceptable. From a management point of view, it simply wasn't what they were paying for.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:25
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No, but I have a different view on MT Jul 1, 2016

I expected MT to play a different role in the marketplace, I expected it to fill the needs of all bottom-feeders so that cheap, unqualified/incompetent translators would be motivated to seek another way to eke out a living.

Now and then I'm hired to fix/salvage/redo some horribly bad translation work. Upon probing, I realize that it is human translation done at half my market-average rates or less. And upon perusal, I notice that despite the flaws being different in their nature, the overall quality is equivalent to what could have been obtained with free, immediate, online machine translation.

I expected bottom-feeders to move to machine translation, thereby depriving lo-grade wannabe translators of any demand whatsoever. My assumption was that anyone thirsty and unwilling to spend money on any drinkable liquid would resort to the nearest river, pond, or faucet.

It took me years to figure out why this failed to happen, the ultimate reason being the universal human motivator: BLAME!

If we learned to blame suicide bombers themselves alone, and never the organization they represented in their final act, we wouldn't have such incidents any more. If we were trained to think, "Poor demented idiot! Took his own life and many others for no purpose whatsoever," no organization would be interested in motivating their people into becoming explosive proxies.

Bottom feeders don't use free machine translation because it fails to provide them with a culprit to blame. They can't blame Google for having done a bad translation for free. However they can explain the bad quality in their deliverables as "having unfortunately hired, in good faith, a native speaker whose credentials seemed impressive".

So I've chosen to state it loud and clear on my web site, after providing a comparison: "If automatic translation fulfills your needs, it is not worthwhile to pay cheap for a translation that is just as bad.

PEMT is like someone driving a tanker to a mineral water bottling plant, and saying, "Hey, I've got 1,000 gallons here I pumped from Guanabara Bay, in Rio. I don't want to pay what you charge for your Precious Springs water. What's your rock-bottom price to get my water here as clean, healthy, and drinkable as yours, neatly bottled under your label?"

Of course, the best answer here is dumping that tanker's contents (back?) to the sewer, and selling them the legit Precious Springs water, aka redoing the translation from scratch at full rate.


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