Quality and Capacity from post-editing machine translations
Thread poster: Net-Translators

Local time: 03:56
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Jun 8, 2016


We would like to know your opinions regarding machine translations tools:

- which machine translation tool(s) do you work with

- what is usually the quality of the work

- do you charge per word or hour (if per word, what was the charge in % compared to your translation charge per word)

- what is your capacity to post edit machine translation per day compared to your capacity in translating from scratch (in terms of number of words)

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!


Local time: 06:26
Portuguese to English
+ ...
machine translation Jun 8, 2016

I usually use Systran, but one has to be very careful in checking and rephrasing the translation. In India the per word rates are low.


Kirti Vashee  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:56
MT Options for translators Jul 1, 2016

This is yet another post triggered by conversations in Rio at the ABRATES conference in early June. As I mentioned in my initial conference post, the level of interest in MT was unusually high and there seemed to be real and serious interest in finding out ways to engage with MT beyond just the brute force and numbing corrective work that is typical of most PEMT projects with LSPs.

MT has been around in some form for decades, and I am aware that there have always been a few translators who found some use for the technology. But since I was asked by so many translators about the options available today I thought it would be useful to write about it.

The situation today for many translators is to work with low quality MT output produced by LSP/enterprise MT practitioners with very limited MT engine development experience, and typically they have no say in how the MT engines evolve, since they are so far down the production line. Sometimes they may work with expert developed MT systems where there is some limited feedback and steering possible, but generally the PEMT experience involves:

1. Static MT engines that are developed offline somewhere, and that may have periodic if any updates at all to improve the engine very marginally if at all.
2. Post-editors work on batches of MT output and provide periodic feedback to MT developers.

This is beginning to change in the very recent past with innovative new MT technology that is described as Adaptive Interactive Dynamic Learning MT (quite a mouthful). The most visible and elegant implementation of this approach is from a startup called Lilt. This allows the translator-editor to tune and adjust the engine dynamically in real time, and thus make all subsequent MT predictions more intelligent, informed and accurate. This kind of an MT implementation is something that has to be cloud based to allow the core engine to be updated in real time. Additionally, when used in workgroups, this technology can also leverage the individual efforts of translators by spreading the benefit of a more intelligent MT engine with the whole team of translators. Each user benefits from the previous edits and corrective actions of every other translator-editor and user as this case study shows. This allows a team to build a kind of communal edit synergy in real time and theoretically allows 1+1+1 to be 5 or 7 or even higher. The user interface is also much more translator friendly and is INTERACTIVE so it changes moment to moment as the editor makes changes. Thus you have a real-time virtuous cycle which is in essence an intelligent learning TM Engine that learns with every single corrective interaction.

CSA tells us that the SDL Language Cloud also has similar abilities but my initial perusal suggests it is definitely less real-time, and less dynamic than Lilt i.e. it is not updating phrase tables in real time. There are several little videos that explain it and superficially it looks like an equivalent but I am going to bet it is not yet at this point in time anyway.

So for a translator who wants to get hands on experience with MT and understand the technology better, what are the options? The following chart provides a very rough overview of the options available ranked by my estimation of the best options to learn valuable new skills. The simplest MT option for an individual translator has always been a desktop RbMT system like Systran or ProMT, and it still is a viable option for many, especially with Romance languages. But there has never been much that could be done to tune these older systems beyond building dictionaries, a skill that in my opinion will have low value in the future.

You can read this with more graphics at the Empty Pages blog -- should come up in search. I will place the link below but I am not sure if it will go through.



Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
answers Jul 1, 2016

- what is your capacity to post edit machine translation per day compared to your capacity in translating from scratch (in terms of number of words)

This is the wrong question to ask. There is only "editing / revision", meaning that you check a translation for its correctness and readability. A poorly translated text will take longer to correct than it would take to translate it from scratch. The better translated, the faster the process. So you consider machine translation like any other translation. First examine it, and if it is poorly done, advise the client that it would be cheaper to have it retranslated. Editing / revision should be charged by the hour in order to reflect the fact that the amount of work varies according to the quality of of the text.


LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:56
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Post Editing - the dream vs the reality 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 17:46 GMT]


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