https://www.proz.com/forum/post_editing_machine_translation/338270-what_is_a_%22spot_check%22_for.html

What is a "spot check" for?
Thread poster: philgoddard

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Oct 24

I have a customer in the UK that used to give me lots of translation work, but has now switched to postediting of poor-quality machine translation. This takes almost as long as translating from scratch, and pays badly, so I decline the many automated job offers I receive unless I'm short of work.

They also offer me lots of what they call "spot checking" work, which involves checking a few hundred words of a much longer translation, presumably done by a machine. I've asked them three
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I have a customer in the UK that used to give me lots of translation work, but has now switched to postediting of poor-quality machine translation. This takes almost as long as translating from scratch, and pays badly, so I decline the many automated job offers I receive unless I'm short of work.

They also offer me lots of what they call "spot checking" work, which involves checking a few hundred words of a much longer translation, presumably done by a machine. I've asked them three times what this is for, but I never get a reply - they use one of these faceless portals which makes it difficult to communicate with a human being.

Has anyone else come across this? Perhaps you even know the company I'm talking about. Why they would be doing this?
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:17
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Weasel words Oct 24

To me this sounds like weasel words to disguise the fact that what they're looking for is you to not check a whole machine translation, but only a few words here and there. Their aim: to pay you as little as possible.

Clearly they're in trouble because they can see for themselves that the translation is cr*p. But having already agreed a price with the end client, they're looking for some sucker to put the worst of it right without eating into the tiny profit margin they've allowed
... See more
To me this sounds like weasel words to disguise the fact that what they're looking for is you to not check a whole machine translation, but only a few words here and there. Their aim: to pay you as little as possible.

Clearly they're in trouble because they can see for themselves that the translation is cr*p. But having already agreed a price with the end client, they're looking for some sucker to put the worst of it right without eating into the tiny profit margin they've allowed themselves.

I would walk away from this.

[Edited at 2019-10-24 17:29 GMT]
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Daryo
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Phil Oct 24

philgoddard wrote:
They also offer me lots of what they call "spot checking" work, which involves checking a few hundred words of a much longer translation, presumably done by a machine.


Well, it sounds as if they mean that you should proofread/edit samples of longer translated texts. This isn't really MT related (unless it is, somehow). Simply charge them your usual editing rate. There is nothing wrong with getting an idea of the quality of a translation by editing a small sample of it.


 

Alexandra Hirsch (X)  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 19:17
English to German
+ ...
They'll come back Oct 24

@Phil

If they honestly think that checking bits of a machine-translated text will ensure the flawlessness of the whole text then they've either gone bonkers (pardon me) or they've got another thing coming! It's not speed-reading, for g**'s sake! You can't just skim over it or follow some kind of pars-pro-toto routine! (Unless, of course, there are identical passages.)

Some of those machines are brilliant, yes, but -- as we all know -- they serve up some beautiful b**s**
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@Phil

If they honestly think that checking bits of a machine-translated text will ensure the flawlessness of the whole text then they've either gone bonkers (pardon me) or they've got another thing coming! It's not speed-reading, for g**'s sake! You can't just skim over it or follow some kind of pars-pro-toto routine! (Unless, of course, there are identical passages.)

Some of those machines are brilliant, yes, but -- as we all know -- they serve up some beautiful b**s** sometimes, usually when you least expect it, simply because they are dumb machines built to match patterns. They don't understand grammar! They match patterns in their databases. Tell your client that, if you like (or better still, send them to my website blog where I post some of those seemingly inexplicable, often hilarious and frequently detrimental errors).

And as for the remuneration, I'd go with what the others have said: charge translation rates.
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Daryo
 

Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Phil Oct 25

I've never been asked to do this but I imagine the purpose is:

1) to spot check the general quality of the MT;
and/or
2) to use the revised section as the basis for machine learning to improve the quality of this and future MTs.


 

Mihai Badea (X)
Luxembourg
Local time: 19:17
Member (Feb 2019)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Let's keep it respectful, shall we Oct 25

Tom in London wrote:

To me this sounds like weasel words to disguise the fact that what they're looking for is you to not check a whole machine translation, but only a few words here and there. Their aim: to pay you as little as possible.

Clearly they're in trouble because they can see for themselves that the translation is cr*p. But having already agreed a price with the end client, they're looking for some sucker to put the worst of it right without eating into the tiny profit margin they've allowed themselves.

I would walk away from this.

[Edited at 2019-10-24 17:29 GMT]


There are agencies who have a deep respect for their final clients. And they have respect for translators (generic) as well: they allow the translator and the reviser to collaborate. But if the final client complains twice or three times already, maybe the agency just wants to make sure the files had not been mixed in the flow. Current technology allows that kind of thing to happen.


 


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