Computer translation presented as article for reviewing
Thread poster: John Rawlins

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 23, 2008

A new client recently asked me to quote for reviewing an article that was 'written' in English.

I had a look at the text and gave a price - which was immediately accepted. As I worked my way through the text it dawned on me that it was computer translated.

I have revised the article - which is now grammatically correct but mostly incomprehensible.

I have just written to the client asking whether the article was actually written by herself, or translated by a computer. I am waiting for a response. When she replies, I suppose I will have to reply by telling her that I have done the job she asked me to do, but that another deeper revision is necessary with a copy of the original untranslated text. An additional price will have to be agreed for this work.

I was wondering if other translators have had similar experiences and how they responded to clients.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:01
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Never without the original text Apr 23, 2008

In my experience, you can never edit/revise a translation without seeing the original text. If you end up with something incomprehensible, you can be pretty sure that the text was not translated and interpreted correctly.

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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Client happy to pay Apr 23, 2008

Fortunately, the client has answered by agreeing to pay for an additional eight hours work to make a second revision with the original in hand.

I will have to keep be careful about this type of 'translation' in the future.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:01
Dutch to English
+ ...
Fair enough ... Apr 23, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:

In my experience, you can never edit/revise a translation without seeing the original text. If you end up with something incomprehensible, you can be pretty sure that the text was not translated and interpreted correctly.



... but John was told the text has been written in English from the outset (i.e. he was under the initial impression there was no source text).


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly Apr 23, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

... but John was told the text has been written in English from the outset (i.e. he was under the initial impression there was no source text).


Exactly right!


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Myriam Garcia Bernabe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:01
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Machine Translation output Apr 23, 2008

Hi John,

If this is the case, you should charge for post-editing MT output. And, at the best of times, that requires a considerable amount of re-wording or re-translating.

Luckily your client is happy to pay for the extra work...

Regards,
Myriam


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 19:01
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
I wonder if Apr 23, 2008

there is some software able to do machine proofreading of a machine translation ?

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:01
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Going by the title of your post Apr 23, 2008

John Rawlins wrote:

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

... but John was told the text has been written in English from the outset (i.e. he was under the initial impression there was no source text).


Exactly right!



The title of your post was "Computer translation presented as article for reviewing" and you also say "... an article that was 'written' in English". This made me think that you knew, or at least suspected, that it was a machine translation.


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Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:01
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
Charge by the hour Apr 25, 2008

I recommend charging by the hour for editing/proofreading work.

That way you automatically get more money for badly translated or machine-translated text.


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
On guard Apr 25, 2008



The title of your post was "Computer translation presented as article for reviewing" and you also say "... an article that was 'written' in English". This made me think that you knew, or at least suspected, that it was a machine translation.


No, I thought it was written in English. My mistake was not to have read it in sufficient detail to have noticed that it wasn't kosher when I gave my quote. However, this is the first time that something like this has been sprung on me. However, I will be on guard in the future.

And, yes Stuart, I will be charging by the hour the next time a similar job pops up.

Thanks everybody for your comments!


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Juan Martín Fernández Rowda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Post-Editing Apr 25, 2008

Hi all,

The task of reviewing machine translation output is often called post-editing.

You can find more info on this topic on http://www.invenis.net/articles/guzman/manual_mt_postediting_2007.pdf.

Cheers.
Juan


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 18:01
English to Hungarian
+ ...
strange job May 3, 2008

I for one would probably be happier translating the same text from the original than having to wrestle with the machine translation, trying to make sense of it and going back to the original every five minutes.
I suspect it would be quicker and I know it would be less aggravating.

Otherwise, we'd all just do a machine translation and then review it, instead of translating the original texts we get, wouldn't we?


Does anyone have experience with this type of job?


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Freemanson  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:01
French to English
+ ...
Even the original was gibberish, good excuses wanted Feb 21, 2014

My son was once asked by a relative to review (free) a translation. It was obvious his cousin had just run the original text through Google translate.

Here is a short extract of the original. Note that it is a single sentence. It's still online on a French institute web site.

"Enfin, c’est le caractère singulier et singularisant de la transmission scolaire à travers l’écrit — et la médiation décisive du « maître » — qui doit être opposé à la dimension massivement industrielle de la diffusion des programmes audiovisuels : ceux-ci ont la plupart du temps pour effet et même pour fonction de produire une « synchronisation » des consciences — de leur perceptions, de leur souvenirs, bref de leur expérience, qui devient ainsi plus proche d’un conditionnement —, là où l’on peut soutenir que l’enseignement scolaire et livresque, au contraire, tel que l’école de Jules Ferry en généralise le principe à l’ensemble de la société, vise en principe à la formation d’individus singuliers, c’est à dire porteurs d’un rapport à chaque fois inédit au savoir dans son ensemble : ainsi, en droit et en fait, dans la plupart des cas et même lorsqu’elle est pratiquée en commun — comme dans une classe —, la lecture est une opération foncièrement individuelle, qui à la fois requiert et développe une attitude d’attention mono-centrée, continue et soutenue, appelée attention profonde."


The final outcome was bad feeling in the family.

Anyone know any good excuses, in case it ever happens again?


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