Article: The Relevance of MT Post-editing Today and Tomorrow
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
SITE STAFF
Sep 25, 2014

This topic is for discussion of the ProZ.com translation article "The Relevance of MT Post-editing Today and Tomorrow".

 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 20:33
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
Things have changed in six years Jun 15, 2020

Since this article was published six years ago, machine translation has gotten a lot better. Now it really pays for anyone to use it. Sprucing it up is much faster than translating from scratch and the mental burden is much lighter as well, not to mention typing less.

 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:33
English to German
+ ...
Working with MT is more than just sprucing it up quickly Jun 15, 2020

Reed James wrote:

Since this article was published six years ago, machine translation has gotten a lot better. Now it really pays for anyone to use it. Sprucing it up is much faster than translating from scratch and the mental burden is much lighter as well, not to mention typing less.


When you work with MT, you encounter many problems that need to be fixed in order to get an accurate and stylistically flawless result. I wouldn't call it sprucing up.

Some clients might think that MT will give them a "pretty" accurate translation, too literal maybe, but to the point. That is never guaranteed. You cannot trust the machine. It will get things 100% right and other things 100% wrong. The rights don't make up for the wrongs.

If you want accurate, it takes a human to first ensure accuracy with regard to every word suggested by the machine and then to clean the text up stylistically.

What I provide are translations where accuracy matters. If it doesn't matter, then yes, why don't you just accept what the machine gives you.

So, in case you are asked to provide an accurate translation and use MT:

The mental burden, as you speak of above, is not always much lighter. It's simply a different process that requires the human translator's full attention. Don't forget, you are reading the original text and must compare every sentence with the suggested machine translation. When you find it wrong or stylistically inadequate, you have to come up with a new version that might require a complete reworking of the suggested translation, or a new translation of particular phrases or sentences.

Should you use MT then? Sure. If you know how to do it - meaning don't trust it to be so so okay already. No, expect the devil in the detail. It's a completely different animal than translating from scratch or using CAT tools. You say you can train a machine to use your phrasing? Sounds like a CAT tool to me or some sort of hybrid or combination of the CAT tool and MT. It's all okay, but ...

.... it doesn't reduce you to simply pushing Enter to get the accurate phrase when you realize you have a completely unacceptable sentence. New context or phrases and sentences never used before always are the biggest challenge.

Not all is bad. MT does often catch all the words in the original, it won't just leave a word or phrase out due to oversight as humans do. But it does happen, and sometimes MT will generate something twice, duplicate words or phrases. When you fix it, you have to have a good eye for picking out little added-in or missing words, phrases, numbers, capitalization, punctuation marks etc.

I agree you're faster sometimes with the help of MT (instead of typing everything from scratch) - and today we generally use a lot of technology anyway -,

but without the translator's human knowledge of what's right and what's wrong, it is not as quick and easy a process as translation agencies have us believe (in order to pay the translator less).

More than the possible quickness I believe the added step of working with MT text forces you to focus very hard on your work. That is a good thing.

Wherever professional translations are needed, it's foremost the skill AND the work of the human translator that delivers the accurate and flawless translation, not his or her technical support devices, be it MT a la Google Translate, specialized machine translation engines, or CAT tools.

What the clients pay for is the final version completed by a skilled human translator. That's what they are asked to pay for.

There is no machine yet that replaces the essential important human action in translation. And there might never be one. Not if you need a 100% accurate text.

[Edited at 2020-06-15 23:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-06-16 07:22 GMT]


Daryo
Hans Lenting
Jan Truper
Maria Rosa Fontana
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:33
Serbian to English
+ ...
If that is the aim .... Jun 16, 2020

then Machine Translation is not the right tool.

"Many such projects come from clients who just want to have a general understanding of the texts they submit."

As far as I can see it, it's more a reason NOT to use MT!

If, as it would be a reasonable assumption, the said "clients" are businesses that need translations for their business i.e. information that can make significant difference (positive or negative) for their business (i.e. it's a
... See more
then Machine Translation is not the right tool.

"Many such projects come from clients who just want to have a general understanding of the texts they submit."

As far as I can see it, it's more a reason NOT to use MT!

If, as it would be a reasonable assumption, the said "clients" are businesses that need translations for their business i.e. information that can make significant difference (positive or negative) for their business (i.e. it's a bit more than just inconsequential chit-chat), then these clients would be far better served to forget completely about MT and give the text to an expert in the field [who can understand what the text is about] and ask them for a more or less condensed summary of the ST.

There is a HUGE gap between what MT could become at some point in future and what it is now, marketing BS notwithstanding.





[Edited at 2020-06-16 04:54 GMT]
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Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
MT missing things Jun 16, 2020

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

MT does often catch all the words in the original, it won't just leave a word or phrase out due to oversight as humans do. But it does happen, and sometimes MT will generate something twice, duplicate words or phrases.


Thanks for your nice post!

In my experience, MT misses words/phrases quite often. And the detection of the omission does cost quite some time and is really hard work.


 


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Article: The Relevance of MT Post-editing Today and Tomorrow






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