Poll: Do you think DeepL is something for human translators to worry about?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Local time: 12:21
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Nov 6, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think DeepL is something for human translators to worry about?".

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
Me, worry? Nov 6, 2017

Why should a newfangled technology, be it machine translation, neural network-aided MT or even robotic surgeons like Da Vinci be a concern to us professionals? I had no idea what DeepL was until I googled it. Interestingly enough, its engine only offers translations into English from a small number of languages.

Why do we keep kneejerking an opinion every time some company comes up with an assistive, complementary solution to the way we do things, or whenever it is a novelty? Whose agenda are we serving or responding to? An equivalent question would be whether a new stem cell therapy will relieve us of a certain medical specialist. The whole question is idiotic and poorly thought because it makes the flimsy assumption that respondents are a bunch of worrywarts, insecure about themselves and the achievements of humankind. After all, Rolls Royce engines don't fly Boeings or Airbuses, it's the pilots and copilots who do that.

I could go on about driverless cars and trucks, but it's too early in the game to say that we will dispense with commercial truckers in the next 20 or 30 years thanks to Mercedes Benz automatic lorries. Technology adoptions do not happen simultaneously and at the same rate across the world.

Here's an idea: I vote for the quick poll feature to be eliminated, as it does nothing for any of us, except the strained sliver of humor or chuckle whispering under the gargantuan weight of the poll's morbidly obese stupidity.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:21
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Nov 6, 2017

I'm not worried at all! Not only it is as good as Google Translate but also it does not cover my language combinations...

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Joëlle Bouille  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 21:21
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Still a long shot from human translation Nov 6, 2017

As referenced on the DeepL page itself, an article from Le Monde compares performances for the main MT tools, including newcomer DeepL.

Conlusion: there is progress, yes, "Tout en restant loin des performances humaines".

When a 6-grader makes huge progress in a writing assignment, do published writers suddenly start to fear the impending competition?

Article states, among other things, that DeepL "correctly translated" a poem by Emily Dickinson, "except for one missing qualifier at lines 3 and 4".

One tiny detail seems to be ignored, though: "translated" poem doesn't rhyme anymore. And there are obviously a number of more creative ways to render it beautifully, while making it rhyme.

Also, this poem is the piece of text that was "best translated", because lines are extremely short.

The material that many professional translators adapt to their native language and culture day after day is entirely different: it is poorly written, too often by non natives in the case of English.
And poor writing keeps spreading, partly because humans read less and less properly written material, and more and more "digital content", when the latter actually does involve reading at all, rather than binging images, videos or movies.

MT, whether statistic or neural, does not spot poor writing, nor mistakes. If you feed gibberish to these tools, they will return even worse gibberish.

It it also worth noting that DeepL is built on linguee, a resource of questionable quality. For example, "business intelligence" is only translated correctly twice.
Oooops, did I say "intelligence"?

Let's not forget what a dictionary is, and is not. And if you look for the copyright notice, you will see "© Linguee Dictionary, 2017".

The real question is: can a dictionary (no matter how huge and whether digital or not) spot when an "author" writes gibberish, and uses words improperly or slightly off the mark?

If these tools were so efficient, we would all already be without a job. We clearly aren't.


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Joëlle Bouille  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 21:21
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Question should be... Nov 6, 2017

As a professional translator, do you think DeepL could help you work quicker and boost your productivity, while providing the same top quality?

Definitely no. Complete waste of my time.

Does a published writer ask a 6-grader to help him, because said 6-grader is making "huge progress"?


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
fearmongering vs blablamongering Nov 6, 2017

Oh, no! XXXX will change/kill YYYY! God forbid! Or life won't be worth living and we all gonna die!


So many such funny statements make me smile)

[Edited at 2017-11-06 11:27 GMT]


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Make mine vote no. 2 Nov 6, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:

Here's an idea: I vote for the quick poll feature to be eliminated, as it does nothing for any of us, except the strained sliver of humor or chuckle whispering under the gargantuan weight of the poll's morbidly obese stupidity.


But besides losing the occasional chuckle the poll provides, eliminating it would also deprive a number of people from their daily dose of self-advertising.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 6, 2017

I'm not worried about it myself, at least not for now. However, I think that as time goes by and the technology develops, many clients, for example small businesses, may make use of it for basic translation purposes and end up taking away a certain portion of the market for human translation.

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George Kihanda
Tanzania
Local time: 22:21
Swahili to English
+ ...
I do not know yet, why should I worry? Nov 6, 2017

I do not worry about it right now because it is still in early stage! It might be more accurate but there is no machine that is more accurate than human beings. Google Translate is a Giant Translator I have ever used. DeepL does not have my Swahili language, how can I know it is more accurate?

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:21
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No Nov 6, 2017

Even though DeepL is a tiny bit better than Google translate (doesn't take much to accomplish that), there's no need to worry about it. The exception could, just maybe, be if one translates only parts list & co. Fields such as marketing, advertisement, multi media, poetry, literature, etc., might one day be threatened by advanced technologies...in a millennium or two.

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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:21
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Same thought Nov 6, 2017

writeaway wrote:

Mario Chavez wrote:

Here's an idea: I vote for the quick poll feature to be eliminated, as it does nothing for any of us, except the strained sliver of humor or chuckle whispering under the gargantuan weight of the poll's morbidly obese stupidity.


But besides losing the occasional chuckle the poll provides, eliminating it would also deprive a number of people from their daily dose of self-advertising.


But one pompous one in particular.



[Edited at 2017-11-06 17:56 GMT]


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:21
French to English
+ ...
Another vote Nov 6, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:

Here's an idea: I vote for the quick poll feature to be eliminated, as it does nothing for any of us, except the strained sliver of humor or chuckle whispering under the gargantuan weight of the poll's morbidly obese stupidity.

Another vote - great idea! Though agree with writeaway's point too

[Edited at 2017-11-06 18:50 GMT]


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Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:21
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
I believe it will impact certain segments of the translation industry Nov 7, 2017

...but I'm not worried personally, neither in the niche combinations I offer, nor the specialties I work in most.
However, I do see a trend that many agencies now offer up "light post editing" of google translations for language combinations where I know google is completely worthless, so I'm worried about the suckers who take on these jobs (that would entail complete rewrites to be readable) and then are stuck in contracts where they are ultimately responsible if something goes wrong.

However, I do believe that in the long run, these practices will eradicate themselves (at least in my languages) due to the fact you either make no money, or end up with terrible translations.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:21
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not at all Nov 8, 2017

MTs are very useful in a globalized world. I think they were a great invention and they will have a postion of increasing importance in our world.
MTs will severely affect market B of translation, where the peanuts who use Google Translator professionaly all are. But they will not get close the Market A, where real translators are, and where GT and its cousins are very useful for many things, but certainly not for professional translation.
So DeepL is just one more acquisition in a set of several applications and sites that tend to improve every day. But if their intent were ever to replace translators (which I don't believe), they would be a fiasco.


[Edited at 2017-11-08 01:20 GMT]


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