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Poll: Do you use MT (Machine translation) in your work?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Sep 21, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you use MT (Machine translation) in your work?".

This poll was originally submitted by Christopher & Rozilene Frye. View the poll results »



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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Not in a month of Sundays Sep 21, 2016

Nay, nay and thrice nay

'Tis the work of the devil


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 21, 2016

Yes, a bit, in combination with my other translator skills. It can be useful in certain types of text, and the howlers it comes up with are always good for a laugh, a bit like Dragon NS when it mishears you...

PS: I don't use it on whole sentences and paragraphs though, I just use it to see what it comes up with. I find it helpful. The first MT I used was Systran, over fifteen years ago. The old version was easy to use, copy+paste and click, and not bad for certain types of text, but then they upgraded it and it became much more unwieldy to use, and I actually have a paid-for copy which I never used again after the first couple of days. Nowadays I pay a licence to use GT4T, and I'm quite happy with it. The only snag is that you're only supposed to be able to use it on one computer at a time, and have to switch the licence from one to another if you have to change, which I find extremely taxing and time-wasting. The first time I had to do it, it took me over twenty-four hours.

[Edited at 2016-09-21 20:37 GMT]


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:01
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
What is MT? Sep 21, 2016

I consider my CAT a machine, and yes, I use it for all of my translations. Fuzzy matches from my TM are coming from my machine and AutoSuggest is raw MT. Using Regex to repair fuzzies or using variables, automated conversion of date and number formats - all pure MT features.

What is wrong with using MT? For me, the real question is "where is my red line"?

My red line is:
I don't use online translation tools for my work, no matter how much MT or TM functionality they deliver


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No, never! Sep 21, 2016

I’ve never used MT professionally and I wouldn’t even dream of doing that. Being one of those dinosaurs who hate working with CAT tools just imagine what I think of MT!

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:01
Member (2006)
German to English
Oh... Sep 21, 2016

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

I consider my CAT a machine, and yes, I use it for all of my translations. Fuzzy matches from my TM are coming from my machine and AutoSuggest is raw MT. Using Regex to repair fuzzies or using variables, automated conversion of date and number formats - all pure MT features.

What is wrong with using MT? For me, the real question is "where is my red line"?

My red line is:
I don't use online translation tools for my work, no matter how much MT or TM functionality they deliver


Nope, same as Chris.

CAT = Computer Aided (or Assisted) Translation - where is the machine? It is an assitance and does not translate any old text into any old nuclear rubbish
MT = Machine Translation - Supposed to do the work for you - My experience from "Post Editing" which I accidentally got involved in was to give back and bid them good day.

And Siegfried, there is no red line, you either do it or dont. "AutoSuggest is raw MT" how is it raw MT? This has already been translated by a person and not a machine and the fuzzies are suggestions, not translations of a sentence.

I also have no idea who actually takes the effort in doing the threefold amount of work in correcting these sorts of texts either - only talking about technical texts.


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Alexandra Villeminey  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:01
Member (2010)
Spanish to German
+ ...
Do you inform your clients? Sep 21, 2016

Do these more than 20% who use MT inform their clients that they are going to use such tools?!

[Edited at 2016-09-21 12:53 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why should I use MT? Sep 21, 2016

If I use Google Translate on occasion is to get a gist, and not necessarily for my translation projects.

It's not that I'm against MT, I see no benefit in using a resource that I have to rewrite in the end.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:01
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In my pairs - NEVER! (MT <> CAT) Sep 21, 2016

IMO, the exclusive use of MT is for languages you do not speak. For a short message, emails, chats, and things like that in a language you don't speak. Now, let's make it clear that CATs and MTs are two different things. I use my CAT regularly.

A professional translator who uses MT in their own pairs is very questionable. The so-called "post-editing" that seems to be emerging or trying to emerge in the translation market is a nightmare. It requires more work than actually translating from one language to another, giver the very poor quality of the MTs. These things translate words and common phrases, nothing else. A machine cannnot and never will be able to build a sentence.

BTW, I have dismissed two translators from two different teams as soon as I found out they googled their translations before actually translating. The errors found in their translations were terrible (things the MT did and they didn't notice, mainly literal wrong translations).

But I'm not against the MTs whatsoever. I think they are excellent tools in a globalized world. Very useful indeed. However, not for professional translators in their working pairs.

[Edited at 2016-09-21 17:46 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
"Use" doesn't mean "deliver" Sep 21, 2016

Alexandra Villeminey wrote:
Do these more than 20% who use MT inform their clients that they are going to use such tools?!

Quite a lot of responders seem to be confusing the two. We're free to use whatever tools we choose in the process of producing a translation. MT can sometimes pose a privacy problem but not always.

It can be useful in my job of producing marketing texts. I use it along with many other sources. But then I'm not using it to understand the text, or to produce an accurate translation. For that I'd use dictionaries and far more reliable sources. It can give a first version with room for improvement though. I doubt that I've ever delivered a long MT-produced sentence to a client. I suppose it could happen, but only as a coincidence.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:01
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I don't find it helpful Sep 21, 2016

- So no, I don't use it.

In fact it has been a real pain when a Dutch friend kindly sent me her articles with Google Translates of the originals for editing. In the good old days she used to send me her own attempts at writing English, which were FAR better.

The expression 'double Dutch' came to mind...
I got on better with the original Dutch, guessing from German, English and Scandinavian. But I can't really read Dutch, and have to send it to a colleague who can.

Controlled-language engines get better results from Danish to English, but very often it is still quicker to translate from scratch!

I have promised several of my clients that I will not use MT, so that is another reason for not using it. I am paid to do the work myself, with or without the aid of my CAT.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:01
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Like Chris Sep 22, 2016

Never in a millennium of Sundays!

Japanese is a very context-based language that relies heavily on inference and intelligent guesswork. With a name like mine, I make the perfect sleuth for this language.
Even in technical Japanese, such as functional specifications for semiconductors, which you'd think would be very clear-cut and logically written, you'll find subjects and objects missing, and in most times you can't tell if something is singular or plural if you're lucky to have it mentioned at all.

If MT was used on the stuff I translate, you'd get the Mother of all Translations.


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Odile Stuart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:01
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
Mistake in answering Sep 22, 2016

Sorry I thought you meant translation software when I answered. I would have answered 'no' as automated translation can ruin an effort to work properly on a text. This said, it can have some uses on basic texts. So I would have been nuanced about my answer.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I was amazed Sep 22, 2016

Earlier this year, one of my favourite agencies offered me a job - a bulky series of articles about French national monuments, châteaux, their architecture, furniture, tapestries, porcelain and history.
As those subjects are among my passions, I was eager to take the job. However, the PM told me the end client "has already had the text translated by Google Translate and all you have to do is review it and correct any mistakes". All ??!!
I protested that it seemed like madness to me to imagine that a text requiring considerable knowledge of French architecture, art, culture and history could be satisfactorily translated by a machine. Expecting that I'd lose the job, I asked the PM to tell the end client I'd be pleased to translate the original text from scratch.
I was amazed when he agreed with me and sent me the whole text to translate from scratch. I thoroughly enjoyed the work and learnt a great deal from doing the necessary research.
I tell this tale only to show that sometimes it pays to stand one's ground and reject offers to "edit" such soi-disant machine translations.
No, I'd never use MT in my work.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Similar experience here... Sep 22, 2016

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Earlier this year, one of my favourite agencies offered me a job - a bulky series of articles about French national monuments, châteaux, their architecture, furniture, tapestries, porcelain and history.
As those subjects are among my passions, I was eager to take the job. However, the PM told me the end client "has already had the text translated by Google Translate and all you have to do is review it and correct any mistakes". All ??!!
I protested that it seemed like madness to me to imagine that a text requiring considerable knowledge of French architecture, art, culture and history could be satisfactorily translated by a machine. Expecting that I'd lose the job, I asked the PM to tell the end client I'd be pleased to translate the original text from scratch.
I was amazed when he agreed with me and sent me the whole text to translate from scratch. I thoroughly enjoyed the work and learnt a great deal from doing the necessary research.
I tell this tale only to show that sometimes it pays to stand one's ground and reject offers to "edit" such soi-disant machine translations.
No, I'd never use MT in my work.


I had a similar experience with an agency I have been working with very regularly. I corrected the 1st paragraph with revision marks just to make my point and the end client agreed that is was best to translate from scratch…


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