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Dedicated forum for PEMT
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Oct 30, 2015

G'day everyone

PEMT is here to stay, and more and more people are doing it. Some translators are actually making a living with it. Hopefully that number will do up in future, as rates rise. But currently there is no specific forum where one can ask serious questions about PEMT. Start any PEMT thread anywhere on the forums, and the conversation gets hijacked within a post or two. That's not useful for anyone except those are on a crusade against PEMT.

So my suggestion is a subforum specifically for PEMT, preferably in the section "Art of Translation and Interpreting". I'm not sure what one might call it, though, as "PEMT" may be a little too restrictive in the long run (and too short). How about "Machine translation editing"? Or, "Machine translation and PEMT"?

Your thoughts?
Samuel


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:24
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I’m on a crusade against PEMT (Putridly Edited Monstrous Tedium). Oct 30, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

G'day everyone

PEMT is here to stay, and more and more people are doing it. Some translators are actually making a living with it. Hopefully that number will do up in future, as rates rise. But currently there is no specific forum where one can ask serious questions about PEMT. Start any PEMT thread anywhere on the forums, and the conversation gets hijacked within a post or two. That's not useful for anyone except those are on a crusade against PEMT.

So my suggestion is a subforum specifically for PEMT, preferably in the section "Art of Translation and Interpreting". I'm not sure what one might call it, though, as "PEMT" may be a little too restrictive in the long run (and too short). How about "Machine translation editing"? Or, "Machine translation and PEMT"?

Your thoughts?
Samuel


Put your hands up, this is a hijack. Please sit down facing the wall, and do not move.

Just kidding. Or am I?

My opinion on the matter is quite clear: Refuse all forms of PEMT, and if you feel like using MT, use it, but do not call what you are doing ‘PEMT’. Call it ‘translation’, and charge your client accordingly. Working for less and calling it ‘PEMT’ is for chumps and gullible newbies (who should be protected from this idiocy). So, sure, create a special forum, but don't expect me to contribute constructivelyicon_smile.gifkeep-calm-and-don-t-be-a-chump.png

Michael


 

Jorge Payan  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 21:24
Member (2002)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Completely agree with Samuel Oct 30, 2015

PEMT is here to stay, no matter if somebody like it or not. The fact is that for the specialized fields it is applicable to one have to be a real SME for making PEMT cost-effective. I welcome and support the proposal for a forum dedicated to PEMT.

 

John Holland  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:24
Member (2012)
French to English
Why not use the MT forum? Oct 30, 2015

The MT forum:
http://www.proz.com/forum/machine_translation_mt-844.html

Maybe the name could be changed to MT/PEMT, if that would help.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:24
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Re: Dedicated forum for PEMT Oct 30, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:
Your thoughts?

Thoughts? Er, you're going to get roasted?icon_smile.gif
But good for you for having the guts to ask the question.

I wouldn't stand against such a forum myself, though PEMT doesn't figure in my life at this point.

Regards
Dan


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:24
French to English
Should apply to everything Oct 31, 2015

Michael Beijer wrote:

and charge your client accordingly.


That surely is the rule for eveything, always, no matter what you call it. Although we are where we are, I do think we need to take as our starting position that people are making rational economic decisions.

PEMT is a controversial area as it stands, although most arguments against it are more akin to (justifiable) complaints about the implementation and the business morals of most of its current purveyors, than arguments against PEMT in and of itself. (shameless plug, see here : http://cbavington.com/blog/2015/06/26/pemt-haze/)

Some of that may cease to apply in future if desktop versions take off (shameless plug 2: see here http://cbavington.com/blog/2015/09/29/welcome-to-the-machine/)

I do think, as this thread already demonstrates (and that's before the arrival of another 94 paragraph rant from Mr MT-is-not-translation) that there will probably need to be an absolutely zero tolerance policy in any new PEMT section, and for that reason alone I'm in favour of a separate place.

It's not an area I work in as it stands, but provided all parties concerned are aware of the process and happy with the T&C (including confidentiality), I see no reason to deny others the pleasure. (And yes, I'm intrigued, at least, by the desktop version.)

And I would be inclined to say there are probably too many, rather than too few, restrictions in place in general on proz forums about what can and can't be said.

But any PEMT forum would need to be protected, I feel. You might think that if a forum needs special protection, that should raise a flag, and in general, you'd probably be right, but the point about the anti-PEMT ranters and ravers is that logic flies out the window, and most (all?) of the anti-PEMT arguments are not actually arguments against PEMT itself at all, they are against exploitation in general or issues affecting translation in general. All good things to rant and rave about, if you're a ranter or raver. Just not unique to PEMT but somehow treated as if they are.

[Edited at 2015-10-31 13:16 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:24
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I vote in favour Nov 1, 2015

I listen, interested, to progress reports on how MT is developing - or not always developing as expected.
Some progress is being made, and there are situations where post-edited machine translation is at least better than no translation at all.

A forum to post news and comments about PEMT would certainly be a good idea. Those who are not interested can stay away - just as we all stay away from forums about languages we can't read or subject areas we don't work in.

Relevant discussions of the shortcomings af MT and difficulties with PEMT are necessary, but should be kept at the factual level.

Constructive discussions will be necessary about when MT is suitable and when it is not, so that we can advise clients, and future generations of translators can adapt their skills to a changing market.


 

Patrick Porter
United States
Local time: 22:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
a friendly troll? Nov 1, 2015

Michael Beijer wrote:

Put your hands up, this is a hijack. Please sit down facing the wall, and do not move.

Just kidding. Or am I?

.....



Yes, Michael, I think you are just kidding, at least a bit.icon_wink.gif

Ok...we all know that there are some agencies who will try and manipulate gullible translators into accepting a ridiculously low rate for so-called "post-editing", when in fact it is really just plain-old translating with the minor aid of MT. And in many cases it is simply Google Translate output that the agency is offering, so there is absolutely zero added value in that, because a translator can use Google Translate just as easily (ok, well maybe not zero value, but $20 per mil. chars is minimal).

However.....there are in existence some agencies that try to gauge the real value of MT systems and in fact are more interested in coming up with a fair price, because they recognize that experienced, high-quality translators are an asset and they don't want to alienate them. I have seen examples of this in my own experience (albeit only recently).

Also, I was recently reading an academic paper on the subject, describing a study conducted in a real commercial setting by an existing agency, which stated:

A common practice when negotiating MTPE discounts is to either annotate a sample of the MT output according to any of the methods described below or similar ones, or post-edit it in order to generate a reference for automatic evaluation, while possibly gathering other data such as time spent or key strokes. Since rates are normally set before handing off a project, a good MT evaluation at this stage is critical to avoid underpayments and the mistrust this situation may cause. [emphasis mine]


Ok...so this is just one example, but still, it shows that at least some people in the industry acknowledge it.

IMO a forum related to the topic is a good idea. It doesn't seem that Samuel is suggesting that the subject of MT/"post-editing" shouldn't be debated on Proz at all, but that there should be a forum where the issue can be discussed outside of that debate, because inevitably many posts on MT end up sucked into the vortex of the merits/evils of MT. Granted, the phrase "post-editing" is a bit inaccurate, but I think it has become a term of art in the industry that is here to stay. In other words, people who know what they are talking about know that the work involved is more than mere "editing".

[Edited at 2015-11-01 15:13 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@John Nov 1, 2015

John Holland wrote:
The MT forum:
http://www.proz.com/forum/machine_translation_mt-844.html
Maybe the name could be changed to MT/PEMT, if that would help.


Well, the MT forum is in the "technical" subsection of the forums, which leads me to think that the current MT forum is more for theoretical discussion of machine translation as an academic subject. Renaming might be an idea, but only if it is also moved to the Art of Translation and Interpreting subsection.


 

Alejandro Cavalitto
Local time: 23:24
SITE STAFF
Good idea Nov 2, 2015

Hello everyone,

Thanks for the suggestion. I have created a forum dedicated to Post-editing & Machine Translation at http://www.proz.com/forum/1777 , and will keep an eye on it to ensure discussions remain on topic. There is a forum dedicated to technical issues related to MT at http://www.proz.com/forum/844 , but it makes sense to have another one for discussions about the service itself.

Please let me know if you have any question or need anything else.

Best regards,
Alejandro


 

John Holland  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:24
Member (2012)
French to English
@Samuel Nov 3, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

Well, the MT forum is in the "technical" subsection of the forums, which leads me to think that the current MT forum is more for theoretical discussion of machine translation as an academic subject. Renaming might be an idea, but only if it is also moved to the Art of Translation and Interpreting subsection.


Sorry for the slow response to what in the meantime has become a moot point...

I rarely look at the categories here, just the questions, so that aspect hadn't occurred to me.

In any case, I hope the new forum will work out as you would like. icon_smile.gif


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:24
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Speak of the devil … (Jost Zetzsche mentions PEMT in the latest Tool Box Journal) Nov 5, 2015

Since it is rather relevant to the current discussion, I thought I'd quote this article from Jost Zetzsche's latest (254th) Tool Box Journal:

"1. Fair Trade Translation
Gert van Assche and Daniel Marcu are what you would call veterans in the world of translation. Gert has worked independently and for SDL (or companies that were eventually acquired by SDL) for many years; Daniel Marcu was the brain behind LanguageWeaver, the first viable commercial statistical machine translation system that was eventually also acquired by SDL and is now, after many rebirths, the engine that drives the SDL BeGlobal and Language Cloud solutions.

They have now teamed up to offer something rather interesting that they call FairTradeTranslation. I agree, it's a funny name -- reminds me of the smell of Nicaraguan coffee beans from my youth -- but it seems to be a relatively accurate description of what their system actually does.

Let's start from the beginning, though.

In a recent article on LinkedIn, Daniel states that "in spite of massive progress, MT does not yet deliver consistent or high quality. However, low-quality MT is often shoved onto the workbenches of professional translators who are asked to create high-quality products by post-editing bad MT while being paid less for 'the privilege of being more productive.'"

I know many would agree with this, but to appreciate it completely you have to understand who's talking. This is the person whose company was the first to commercialize statistical machine translation.


When I talked with Gert and Daniel a couple of weeks ago, Daniel said something similar but almost more striking. While some big enterprises have built good machine translation engines, he said, the percentage of the market that is served with those is "a drop in the bucket."

I know! Right!?

I'm writing this at the tail end of the MT Summit 2015 in Miami where I was asked to be on a panel on translators and machine translation. Those who have read my newsletter for a while know that I have been invited a number of times to speak at MT conferences as a quasi-representative of translators. Each time I felt honored and always tried to represent you adequately (knowing all along that I was inevitably doomed to failure because there is no "collective you"). It was interesting this time, though, that some of the responses I received were a little edgier than before. I had suggested that machine translation is a very welcome technology, especially as we've been able to work with it in the last year or so - as an integral component of the existing translation process rather than exclusively as a source for post editing. One fellow from IBM in particular was exceedingly unhappy with the suggestion that post-editing might not be the most productive way of dealing with machine translation, pointing to the IBM translators who worked with IBM's high-quality internal machine translation and how little they have to change to the output. So why would I suggest otherwise?

He might be completely right -- but what he is saying has nothing to do with you or me (minus the folks who do indeed work for IBM and a handful of other comparable customers with a similar setup).

And really, that's one of the areas where relatively isolated discussions on machine translation are just that: isolated or, to quote Daniel again, "a drop in the bucket."

So, back to FairTradeTranslation. They provide you with a platform that allows you to upload MS Office or text files or (SDL)XLIFF files. The next steps:

machine translate the file (if the system thinks that the three connected engines -- Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, and SDL Language Cloud -- have a "good enough match"),
evaluate existing translations (if the file is a pretranslated XLIFF file),
replace those translations if it can find better ones, and
give you an estimate of the quality of the machine translation so you know how profitable it will be to work on that file or project.
The underlying software for the tool is a statistically-based system that attempts to evaluate the quality of the MT proposals (even in comparison to low fuzzy TM matches) and, according to a setting determined by you, simply deletes or replaces poor MT suggestions (or TM matches) rather than passing on the bother and frustration to you.

Gert and Daniel know that the system is not infallible; in fact, in the FAQ section they say this: "Q: How can I fool the system? A: In many ways. For example, if you choose to submit a file with human translations, we will reject some as being not good enough -- translations produced by machines and humans are different, after all."

That's right, but if a) you're using machine translation as a base translation that you then want to post-edit; b) you know that your clients have no problem with their texts going to public resources (especially the Microsoft Translator is an issue here); and/or c) you need a quick way to look over a pre-machine-translated project to see whether it's worth your time before you commit to post-editing it, FairTradeTranslation might be a very interesting solution for you.

As a rare and casual user (up to 5,000 words a month), and if you're only interested in the basic features, you can use the system for free. If you want to process higher volumes and want the system to learn from your editing choices and selected options, you can pay $149 a year (for up to half a million words).

I'm not sure whether this system is going to completely change how most of us work -- it might mean some changes for some -- but what I really, really like about it is this: It's just so creative and it shows that we are doing very well if we have smart folks coming up with such smart solutions for us.

The complaint that the world of translation is not vibrant enough and does not come up with enough creative solutions is just wrong. We are doing quite well on that front."

Michael


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Don't quote the entire article... Nov 5, 2015

Michael Beijer wrote:
Since it is rather relevant to the current discussion, I thought I'd quote this article from Jost Zetzsche's latest (254th) Tool Box Journal...


Don't quote the entire article (even with attribution).


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:24
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Why not? Nov 5, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

Michael Beijer wrote:
Since it is rather relevant to the current discussion, I thought I'd quote this article from Jost Zetzsche's latest (254th) Tool Box Journal...


Don't quote the entire article (even with attribution).


It was in the free part of the Tool Box Journal. Not the Premium part, reserved for paying subscribers. Hmm, will have to check whether I am allowed to quote from the free part.

In any case, it's probably just good PR for Jost. Will ask him.

Michael

##############################
OK, I asked him. See: https://twitter.com/michaelbeijer/status/662400621920821248

[Edited at 2015-11-05 22:48 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Please make it selectable Nov 6, 2015

Alejandro Cavalitto wrote:

Hello everyone,

Thanks for the suggestion. I have created a forum dedicated to Post-editing & Machine Translation at http://www.proz.com/forum/1777 , and will keep an eye on it to ensure discussions remain on topic. There is a forum dedicated to technical issues related to MT at http://www.proz.com/forum/844 , but it makes sense to have another one for discussions about the service itself.

Please let me know if you have any question or need anything else.

Best regards,
Alejandro


I don't do PEMT, and have no interest in going that way. So while I respect anyone's right to move from professional translation (if they've ever been there) to PEMT, I couldn't care less about it, so I expect these folks to respect my right to avoid wasting time reading about PEMT on my Proz forums home page.

Likewise, I don't use Trados, however individual CAT tool forums are NOT selectable on Proz.

Therefore every day about 50~70% of my Proz forums home page is taken by posts on technical issues with that specific program, which IMHO should be named Troublos.

Though I've never used it, considering the amount of questions and problems Trados users have, its developers are unable to write proper instructions and/or to make it perform adequately. Worst of it, apparently that company's technical support relies heavily on the Proz forum, using free peer users in lieu of "wasting" their profits in hired and trained tech support staff.

In any case, as a Proz paying member, I'd like to preserve the right to opt out of both PEMT and Trados forum posts.


 
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