Did you ever proofread or edit human translations that are worse than machine translations?
Thread poster: jyuan_us

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:34
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Apr 2, 2019

I got assigned today to proofread a file translated by another translator, which is lower in quality than MT. It took me more time to modify this file to an acceptable quality than it should have taken to modify a MT piece of a comparable word count.

I cannot believe someone could translate so poorly.


[Edited at 2019-04-03 02:00 GMT]


Muzaffer Sharif Bhutta
 

Elena Doroshenko  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Member (2016)
English to Russian
+ ...
That might be a machine translation Apr 3, 2019

Why do you think it is impossible? It's a rather known fraud scheme on the part of unfair agencies - to run a text through Google Translate (or other MT soft) and give such a shit translation to a reviser/proofreader. And pay a lower price because reviser/proofreader services are cheaper than translator's. You shouldn't agree to do such a work. Let the agency know about the translation quality (maybe it was a fraud on the part of an unfair translator) and offer to translate from scratch at your ... See more
Why do you think it is impossible? It's a rather known fraud scheme on the part of unfair agencies - to run a text through Google Translate (or other MT soft) and give such a shit translation to a reviser/proofreader. And pay a lower price because reviser/proofreader services are cheaper than translator's. You shouldn't agree to do such a work. Let the agency know about the translation quality (maybe it was a fraud on the part of an unfair translator) and offer to translate from scratch at your agreed price for translations. If the agency would not agree with this, add it - without any doubts - to the black list (or maybe leave the appropriate feedback in the Blue Board section) and let the translators be informed about the agency's behavior.Collapse


DZiW (X)
Josephine Cassar
Teresa Borges
ahartje
Victoria Britten
Davide Leone
Daniel Kwak
 

DZiW (X)
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
PEMT Apr 3, 2019

While wannabe translators can make blunt errs, nowadays newbies mostly either edit MT or blindly copy CAT fuzzy matches.
Maximum profits at minimum costs
No wonder lousy agencies often pass MT for human translation.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:34
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Janus Apr 3, 2019

jyuan_us wrote:
I got assigned today to proofread a file translated by another translator, which is lower in quality than MT. ... I cannot believe someone could translate so poorly.


There are people out there who pass themselves off as translators, but can't translate. I've seen their work. A machine translation is a different type of bad translation. You can't really compare the two.


Philippe Etienne
Colleen Roach, PhD
 

Tony Bennjamin  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:34
Indonesian to English
+ ...
Cheap rate for good result Apr 3, 2019

This is the trick of an agency to obtain the cheap rate. By doing this, the translator is asked to do the proofread, which is a cheap rate for us. I ever encountered such matters, and if I received this kind of text, generally, I'll ask to pay me with the translation rate. As this is an absurd task for me to do this kind of proofreading. If the agency doesn't want to pay me with the translation rate, and insisting you to do the proofreading, just reject it, and ask him/her to find other who is ... See more
This is the trick of an agency to obtain the cheap rate. By doing this, the translator is asked to do the proofread, which is a cheap rate for us. I ever encountered such matters, and if I received this kind of text, generally, I'll ask to pay me with the translation rate. As this is an absurd task for me to do this kind of proofreading. If the agency doesn't want to pay me with the translation rate, and insisting you to do the proofreading, just reject it, and ask him/her to find other who is willing to work for cheap.

I hope this helps.
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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:34
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Once Apr 3, 2019

The literal translation was so poor that I asked the customer to either have it re-translated by a professional translator, pay for the extra hours I would need to fix it, or to simply translate it from scratch. We reached an agreement, and the customer no longer works with said translator.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:34
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Apr 3, 2019

Most of my editing jobs are from translators and agencies I have been working with for a while and I know how they work and what to expect. I don’t accept editing jobs without having a good look at the translation beforehand; some of the rejections were probably machine-translated…

Josephine Cassar
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:34
Member
English to French
Predictability Apr 3, 2019

MT errors are often predictable (negative vs. affirmative/masculine vs. feminine/meaning mix-up/synonyms...). After a while you know what to focus on. And MT doesn't make typos or agreement mistakes.
Conversely, human errors are unpredictable: poor language command, common expressions misunderstood, typos, grammar, leniency (up translated as down thanks to CAT tool matches...). Unpredictability in human translation is what makes it so unique, exquisite to read, emotionally engaging and imp
... See more
MT errors are often predictable (negative vs. affirmative/masculine vs. feminine/meaning mix-up/synonyms...). After a while you know what to focus on. And MT doesn't make typos or agreement mistakes.
Conversely, human errors are unpredictable: poor language command, common expressions misunderstood, typos, grammar, leniency (up translated as down thanks to CAT tool matches...). Unpredictability in human translation is what makes it so unique, exquisite to read, emotionally engaging and impossible to render by a machine. Ever.

So yes, an awfully poor human translation can be more challenging to edit to a level merely acceptable formally. And I'm not even talking about style or flow. I occasionally "assess" new translators, so I have come across a few traslatoin-of-the-year award competitors over the years. And MTPE is so easy to spot.

More generally, resent about editing comes from accepting to be paid on a word basis, ie assuming that the agency has done their duty and selected a skilled translator for the translation. As we all know, it's not always the case. What can happen next (delay in delivering to the end client, budget exceeded...) is not the editor's responsibility, but the agency's, for not choosing the adequate service provider in the first place.

Philippe
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Victoria Britten
Chris Spurgin
Nadja Balogh
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:34
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Be thankful you've got the source text to refer to! Apr 3, 2019

jyuan_us wrote:
I got assigned today to proofread a file translated by another translator, which is lower in quality than MT. It took me more time to modify this file to an acceptable quality than it should have taken to modify a MT piece of a comparable word count.

I cannot believe someone could translate so poorly.

One of my specialist services is polishing English texts that were written from scratch in English by non-native speakers. "Polish" is not what some of them are in need of, I can assure you! There are people out there who simply can't write a structured, meaningful sentence in their own language (and I'm not excluding English native speakers from that), and writing in a foreign language compounds the problem. I'm left trying to "guess" the meaning, although really all I can do is flag the sentence for more work. If entire paragraphs are unintelligible then all I can do is hand the text back -- no payment due. All I can offer them is a suggestion to rewrite the text in their native language and order a professional translation. Some of them don't take it too well .

I agree that although a machine translation can be dire, there is often a certain logic to it for those who speak the source language. When the logic is missing, the meaning can be totally hidden.


Björn Vrooman
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
When understandlng is lacking… Apr 3, 2019

…and context is not sufficiently taken into account, the human component is significantly weakened.

Add non-existent translation skills and poor source/target language abilities to the mix, and you’re in for a (mis)treat.

Here are two EN>FR examples from a recent “heavy editing job”, for those who speak French:

DAYS LEFT ON FREE TRIAL = JOURS GAUCHE SUR ESSAI GRATUIT

Setting Name = Définition du nom


You’d expect a
... See more
…and context is not sufficiently taken into account, the human component is significantly weakened.

Add non-existent translation skills and poor source/target language abilities to the mix, and you’re in for a (mis)treat.

Here are two EN>FR examples from a recent “heavy editing job”, for those who speak French:

DAYS LEFT ON FREE TRIAL = JOURS GAUCHE SUR ESSAI GRATUIT

Setting Name = Définition du nom


You’d expect a human, professional translator to know their… left from their right.

MT engines don’t even get these wrong.

Mindless word-for-word translation (what with typos and other unpredictable treasures) can sure be a human feat…

If MT is only fit for gisting purposes, such translations are only fit for jesting purposes…


[Edited at 2019-04-03 11:54 GMT]
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Colleen Roach, PhD
Gareth Callagy
 

Jiaying Ma
Australia
Local time: 11:34
English to Chinese
+ ...
some agents will pay very low for bad translators then find a checker to improve it Apr 5, 2019

You just need to be careful, before you accept the job, have a look at the quality first.

David Lin
 


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Did you ever proofread or edit human translations that are worse than machine translations?

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