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Poll: What are your views on MT and post-editing?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Apr 12

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What are your views on MT and post-editing?".

This poll was originally submitted by Patricia Posadas. View the poll results »



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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:24
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Decreases quality Apr 12

I have been post-editing MT on a regular basis since 1980 (over 35 years), possibly longer than anyone else. With certain documents it can speed up your work, but at a high cost:
1. It's more stressful because you have to keep looking at the source text while thinking of how to change the target.
2. Any misspelling in the source text messes everything up.
3. There is a high chance of error because the MT output may look OK but in reality an adjective--or worse, a negative--might have bounced over and attached itself to the wrong bedfellow. I often find substantive errors that could easily have slipped by if I hadn't been checking the source text.
4. The result is rarely as good as the output of a translator who reads a sentence and processes it in his/her head before starting to write. Even with the best post-editors, it tends to have a bland, sometimes awkward quality. I once translated a document both ways to show the difference. The post-editing was "correct," but the HT was easier to grasp, more "meaningful."

The famous ALPAC studies demonstrated that post-edited MT takes longer to read than a regular "human" translation, and that HT takes longer to read than original text.

The system I work with tends to be more specialized in medicine and does best with technical texts. it has been under development since the 1970s and sometimes can produce fluent output. I continue to do this work because of my long history with the organization and because they pay very well.

[Edited at 2017-04-12 08:43 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:24
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Decreases quality Apr 12

My view hasn't changed...

http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/303853-poll_do_you_think_it_is_wise_for_translators_to_accept_machine_translation_post_editing_projects-page2.html
http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/281701-poll_do_you_accept_projects_that_involve_post_editing_machine_translated_content.html


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:24
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Apr 12

In my experience, a load of rubbish.
Accidentally got involved in a large project and will never do it again!

Quality a load of rubbish, post-editing was so much effort that it could have been translated properly by a (bad) "normal" translator in the first place and the revision work would have been a lot less.


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 17:24
Member (2005)
English to German
Shooting oneself in the foot Apr 12

It decreases quality *and* it takes longer to do.

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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:24
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
It's a nightmare, takes ages and decreases quality Apr 12

I haven't changed my mind about PEMT either since I wrote this post, a while ago now, on my blog: https://nikkigrahamtranix.com/2015/05/30/the-latest-trend-in-the-translation-industry-pemt/

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:24
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I don't like it Apr 12

THANK YOU, Muriel Vasconcellos, for your detailed and useful comments.


1. It's more stressful because you have to keep looking at the source text while thinking of how to change the target.
2. Any misspelling in the source text messes everything up.
3. There is a high chance of error because the MT output may look OK but in reality an adjective--or worse, a negative--might have bounced over and attached itself to the wrong bedfellow. I often find substantive errors that could easily have slipped by if I hadn't been checking the source text.
4. The result is rarely as good as the output of a translator who reads a sentence and processes it in his/her head before starting to write. Even with the best post-editors, it tends to have a bland, sometimes awkward quality. I once translated a document both ways to show the difference. The post-editing was "correct," but the HT was easier to grasp, more "meaningful."


I have seen this too.
I have been to several seminars about it, and from being totally opposed, I am more or less accepting MT as a help in the right places. Meanwhile I am very glad that at my age I can opt out and hope the younger generations will be able to benefit.

Most of the time, when more general systems are used, they produce low-quality text. It is often un-idiomatic, not at all easy to read or understand, and trying to sort it out is a nightmare. If the results sound good, beware - they may be way off the meaning of the source!

Where quality really matters, I don't think MT is going to replace human translators in my language pairs for a long time.


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Bora Tasdemir  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 17:24
Member (2012)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Never accept Apr 12

I never accept such jobs. It's just something that smart business people invented to decrease the "cost". Therefore, I think they can post-edit it themselves too!

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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:24
Member
English to French
Use cases Apr 12

Like using a screwdriver to drive a screw, a saw to saw a branch, machine translation to sound like a machine translating, humans to sense the human touch...

As Confucius used to say, all cars are bad when you require them to fly.

Philippe


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Lol Apr 12

Philippe Etienne wrote:

As Confucius used to say, all cars are bad when you require them to fly.



That pretty much sums it up.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Exactly my view Apr 12

Ricki Farn wrote:

It decreases quality *and* it takes longer to do.


It decreases quality by lowering the bar for the PEMT-er.
The "good enough" for PEMT is often worse than what would be acceptable upon translating from scratch.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:24
Member
Italian to English
(I suppose it) depends on the text Apr 12

Let me start by saying I have (luckily) never been asked to do one of these jobs.

I suppose it may be useful in some cases, if the text is extremely repetitive and formulaic, like certain technical manuals or similar. That said, user manuals are usually gibberish...

[Edited at 2017-04-12 14:27 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:24
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
If... Apr 12

There are some programs that have been improving over the past years. However, IMO MT is normally of poor quality, though good for some laughs. PE usually takes much longer, especially when the client's platform suggests "translations" that are so far away from what the source text says that it's simply annoying.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Can be helpful to a translator Apr 12

I use an MT application on short chunks of text to speed things up, or to see what the program suggests. I started doing this donkeys ago, at least fifteen years, but more like twenty, with Systran. I found out it was quite good at doing certain types of officialese texts, regional and local government stuff. However, as happens with so many other softwares, they brought out the "new improved version" and I didn't like it, found it too fiddly. Nowadays I'm using GT4T. Apparently there is an MT app included with Windows 10, but I've never tried it and things like that from Microsoft usually suck. I'm happy with GT4T, although it's a tool, not a panacea or a magic wand.
That and Dragon have helped me work a little faster, with less typing and more copy+pasting. However, this is not the same thing as an agency dumping an MT translated mishmash in your lap to sort out in order to avoid paying proper translation rates. In the normal course of events, I don't do that kind of work. And though I use it myself, I don't think machine translation means that any old Tom, Dick or Harriet can now suddenly produce pristine translated documents like rabbits out of a hat.

PS: And combined with Dragon, the bloopers it makes are good for a laugh, as long as you catch them in the act.

[Edited at 2017-04-12 15:49 GMT]

Here’s an example of my translation process for an article about meat quality we did last week:
1.- I translate the text in WF Classic, using MT on odd sentences or clauses as I see fit.
2.- Once the rough draft is ready, I go over it again, tweaking the segments before cleanup.
3.- I check the spelling, read through it once to check for any improvements that might be made or mistakes.
4.- I send it to a colleague who revises it, highlighting anything she thinks could be corrected or improved, with suggestions and comments, and sends it back to me.
5.- I compare her revised draft with my own and make the changes I consider appropriate, while ruling out others.
6.-The definitive translation is returned to the client. And with any luck, it should get published without any quibbles from the reviewers or staff, at least as far as the language is concerned.


[Edited at 2017-04-12 15:57 GMT]


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:24
Portuguese to English
+ ...
MT should be banned Apr 12

MT is the worst thing to have happened to the translation industry. The future of the profession is very gloomy indeed as machines take over the work that translators could do. The market is already very bad, what with the recession, Brexit and all that, and MT only makes it worse. It is just another way of companies increasing their profits.

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