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Google Translate: The New Plague
Thread poster: jmleger

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:15
French to English
Generalisations R Us? Dec 8, 2010

jmleger wrote:

Besides that, editing a bad GT translation will take more time, for a dubious result, than producing the translation from scratch (don't think I have not tried it).


I've tried to run 100m in under 12 seconds. I therefore confidentally conclude that it cannot be done.


 

jmleger  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:15
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I am not even going to touch the question of rates Dec 8, 2010

We don't set the rates, translators do. We only get to choose among the offerings using a quality/price ratio. Just like you do when you go to the store.
Jacqueline, if you belive that the better paid translators are more ethical than the lesser paid one, I have some swamp land in Florida I'd like to sell you. In my experience there is no correlation whatsoever. We just completed a multilingual project. The translator who was paid the most (twice as much as others) delivered a pisspoor per
... See more
We don't set the rates, translators do. We only get to choose among the offerings using a quality/price ratio. Just like you do when you go to the store.
Jacqueline, if you belive that the better paid translators are more ethical than the lesser paid one, I have some swamp land in Florida I'd like to sell you. In my experience there is no correlation whatsoever. We just completed a multilingual project. The translator who was paid the most (twice as much as others) delivered a pisspoor performance (late delivery, poor attention to detail, uncooperative/unpleasant attitude, the whole enchilada).

As for noticing a trend. Yes we have. When we have a sneaky suspicion, we just take portions of the text and put them though GT and very often we get a quasi verbatim translation. Sometimes the translator even pushes the carelessness to leaving the blueish highlight left on the GT copy after they cut and paste it. That is what prompted me to open this thread. I would like to know if others are aware of such things. As much as I would like to believe it, I am sure we are not that exceptional.

And, Nicole, "pédaler dans la choucroute" is a French phrase meaning going nowhere in a hurry. We do have sauerkraut in France, Why, Alsace-Lorraine is floating on a sea of it.
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jmleger  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:15
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Charlie Dec 8, 2010

I am not sure I am getting your point. Are you pointing at the necessity to rely on GT to do your work efficiently?

 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:15
French to English
Elucidation Dec 8, 2010

jmleger wrote:

I am not sure I am getting your point. Are you pointing at the necessity to rely on GT to do your work efficiently?


I was trying to be pithy, possibly even raise the merest of smiles. My point is that just because you have tried and failed to do something, doesn't mean it can't be done at all, by anyone, anywhere, under all circumstances. You made an unqualified statement that post editing GT will take longer and give worse results than human translation. I don't believe that to necessarily be universally the case merely because you can't do it. That is all.


[Edited at 2010-12-08 17:50 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:15
French to German
+ ...
What I meant by "trend"... Dec 8, 2010

is whether you have figures regarding the occurrences for which GT is being used, like:

- language pairs;
- volumes;
- countries;
- etc.

I am aware of the GT use trend as a whole, but would like to go more into details - as these will probably provide you with all the information you need to fight the use of MT.

PS: ever tried choucroute aux poissons?

[Modifié
... See more
is whether you have figures regarding the occurrences for which GT is being used, like:

- language pairs;
- volumes;
- countries;
- etc.

I am aware of the GT use trend as a whole, but would like to go more into details - as these will probably provide you with all the information you need to fight the use of MT.

PS: ever tried choucroute aux poissons?

[Modifié le 2010-12-08 18:08 GMT]
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Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:15
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Once again... Dec 8, 2010

One question: do you have an experience that well-proven translators (who have previously provided good or excellent work) have turned to GT and submit its results unedited?

If so, that would indeed be unusual and disturbing! However, I doubt it could constitute a "trend" - good translators have too much to lose...

On the other hand, if the GT translation is submitted by translators who are known for their mediocre quality or are largely untested, then it is indeed not
... See more
One question: do you have an experience that well-proven translators (who have previously provided good or excellent work) have turned to GT and submit its results unedited?

If so, that would indeed be unusual and disturbing! However, I doubt it could constitute a "trend" - good translators have too much to lose...

On the other hand, if the GT translation is submitted by translators who are known for their mediocre quality or are largely untested, then it is indeed not a question if they used GT or not (if the translation is bad, nobody is interested in why it is bad!), but how those people were awared jobs in the first place.

If that is indeed the case, then the solution is simple - get rid of bad or mediocre translators on your roster and properly test those that apply in the future. If you do that, you will not have much problems with translations of bad quality, made in GT or otherwise.

And when you do that, contact me again - I will let you know my business consultancy rates.
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Izabela Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:15
English to Polish
+ ...
Why is MT/GT use looked at in isolation, I wonder? Dec 8, 2010

I can't get the point of the whole discussion.

On the quality side, a bad translation is a bad translation, be it done with the use of a paper-based dictionary, CAT, Google Translate, the neighbour's dog or whatever else. Repeatedly poor performance disqualifies the provider from further cooperation, full stop. Why go hair-splitting and investigate how the provider arrived at that poor result?

On the security side, I'd simply add a paragraph to the NDA to provide exampl
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I can't get the point of the whole discussion.

On the quality side, a bad translation is a bad translation, be it done with the use of a paper-based dictionary, CAT, Google Translate, the neighbour's dog or whatever else. Repeatedly poor performance disqualifies the provider from further cooperation, full stop. Why go hair-splitting and investigate how the provider arrived at that poor result?

On the security side, I'd simply add a paragraph to the NDA to provide examples of what constitutes a breach (along the "including but not limited to" lines) for those who might be unaware which sites retain the committed content for the eyes of general public. To me it seems a 15-minute job, plus the time necessary to send out the amended NDA for signatures and receive them back. All in all, not much hassle at all.

If the poor performance (in whatever form and fashion) spread out like fire among my hitherto reliable long-term providers, I'd reconsider A) the deadlines, and B) the rates I offer. In all probability, they couldn't cope with either or both any longer and became desperate. No good translator would endanger his/her own reputation given any other choice.
If I found poor performance (again, however achieved) with an aspiring provider, I'd simply forget him/her. And if my fishing out for new providers brought consistently disappointing results, I'd concentrate on pampering the existing and proven ones instead of losing my precious time with the line and hook.

Business Management 101 course...
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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:15
German to Spanish
+ ...
Does it matter? Dec 8, 2010

René Stranz-Nikitin wrote:

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

*This* is basically wrong when using GT: translators are in breach of the implicit confidentiality they are supposed to guarantee to their clients.

Sharing contents with an automated, unprotected and worldwide system remains sharing.


This is true. However, GT (google translator, not the google translator kit) may be used as explicit url translator:

http://translate.google.com/#es|fr|Esto%20es%20una%20prueba%0A

Most Internet dictionaries are explicit url based too:

http://www.myjmk.com/index.php?tsearch=%20prueba&tdir=1

Any difference? I do not know, really...



[Edited at 2010-12-08 09:43 GMT]


If you ask me, I really see a breach of the NDA, when translators enter whole confidential source texts or paragraphs into an online tool. And that's exactly what the MT integration of CAT tools does. Otherwise it could not offer the comparison between the MT results and the matches from the translator's TM.

When I search terminology with Google or even if I would search with Google translate or TAUS using the web interface (I know that in my language combinations it's not worth the effort, I tested it some times), I enter only terms consisting of some words. I can't even remember when I entered a whole sentence the last time.

And what kind of translator would I be, if I would not own my own library of paper dictionaries. With them I can be 150 % sure, that I don't break an NDA. I am building this library since the early 1990ies. Our whole huge book shelf all along the walls of our living-room is full of them (they look nice, that's why we show them to our guests and friends). My huge collection of well chosen electronic dictionaries are not online tools as well. All my electronic dictionaries are installed on my own hard disk. Every week I do a full backup of this disk (image of the whole disk) to make sure that I won't loose them.

I must admit that I could not sleep well, if someone somewhere in cyberspace could switch of my terminology recourses over night. Yes, sometimes I use http://iate.europa.eu/iatediff/SearchByQueryEdit.do or http://eur-lex.europa.eu/RECH_naturel.do, but my own dictionaries and TMs have much more importance for my translation work than the online thingies. And even when I enter search terms into EUR-Lex, it is never more than a chunk of a sentence. Nobody in the world could put the whole source text together out of these short chunks.

Only in translations for the European Commission, EUR-Lex sometimes becomes more important than my own recourses, but those texts mostly are public or are translated for publication purposes. And here it's the client who asks me to use online resources.

So much about my confidentiality policy and my terminology resources.

If the translation industry was in good health, there wouldn't be translators relying almost exclusively on online resources. They are hired and fired - these people don't see the need to invest into dictionaries. Translators without their own dictionaries I really can't consider as professionals. No ProZ.com "P"-badge will change that.

Power to those, who keep using common sense!

René Stranz-Nikitin
www.uersn.de

Please note that English is neither my target language nor one of my source languages.



I'm not saying that introducing one single word, a sentence, or a whole paragraph at GT is not a violation of the confidentiality agreement implied in any translation. But I'm just curious to know how a third person can see «from the other side of the screen» what I type as an explicit URL, and if it is possible, whether it is worth to do such an investment.

Regarding terminology, I use (between many others) propietary dictionaries of certain computer companies, but the fact remains that these very specialised IT dictionaries «with his own business jargon» you can not find anywhere else, are sold by these same companies to anyone willing to pay the price of the containing CD or DVD. So, as any translator can access the same dictionaries and terminological sources as myself, I do not care. Usual terminology follows the same trend too. To give a sample, I own the hard cover german dictionary WXXXXg. Now I have the very same dictionary on CD with an additional application that makes me easier to do a query and saves me time. But who warrants me that this application does not register my queries (or anything else...) on an external server?

Coming back to the OP's original issue, «nothing and nobody prevents him to specify in his purchase orders or contracts to write that using automated translation of any kind is explicitly prohibited» and he will be and remain on his right. But for that, I imagine that first there should exist such contracts or purchase orders.




[Edited at 2010-12-08 18:08 GMT]


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:15
German to Spanish
+ ...
Google Translate: The New Plague Dec 8, 2010

jmleger wrote:

As a project manager, I have become aware these past few month of a new practice among some translators. Namely, we see some people trying to pass off translations made with Google translate as their own. Sometimes the copy is more or less edited, sometimes, it is serveed raw! (As if there was a chance in a million of the trick actually working). We note this particularly when we supply Word files or similarly editable copy to translators.

We have established a policy at our firm. If after a few tests of the copy we can establish that the copy went through Google Translate (in a preponderance of evidence), we inform the translator, reject the work, and cross him/her of the list of our providers for ever + 1 day.

My questions are: has anyone else noticed this? And what measures have you taken?

Should the be some sort of special official stigmata to mark these people as a danger to the profession, not to mention the clients they purport to serve? How could we sanction these people, we as a group? Are we condemned to act individually in the face of such dishonesty and lack of professionalism? If it were a question of pay I might understand it, but sometimes it's the better paid people who pull stunts like that, which is doubly infuriating.




I am not an outsourcer since many years ago, but...who prevents you to specify in your purchase orders or contracts to write that «using automated translation of any kind is explicitly prohibited»? Of course, to be able to do that such contracts or purchase orders should exist before.




[Edited at 2010-12-08 18:21 GMT]


 

Izabela Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:15
English to Polish
+ ...
Yes and No Dec 8, 2010

jmleger wrote:
We don't set the rates, translators do. We only get to choose among the offerings using a quality/price ratio. Just like you do when you go to the store.


First of all, you work out the project's budget, based on A) the price offered to your end customers, and B) your own assumed chunk of it.
Taking your store-based example, if you have $20 in your pocket, you're not likely to get a Calvin Klein unless there's a massive sale. As X-mas is just once a year, one way out is to stick to junk sales and be happy with it, the other is to fill up your wallet before going out shopping. It's the shopkeepers who set the rates, don't they?

[Edited at 2010-12-08 18:33 GMT]


 

Jacqueline Sieben  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
Better paid translators... Dec 8, 2010

jmleger wrote:

We don't set the rates, translators do. We only get to choose among the offerings using a quality/price ratio. Just like you do when you go to the store.
Jacqueline, if you belive that the better paid translators are more ethical than the lesser paid one, I have some swamp land in Florida I'd like to sell you. In my experience there is no correlation whatsoever. We just completed a multilingual project. The translator who was paid the most (twice as much as others) delivered a pisspoor performance (late delivery, poor attention to detail, uncooperative/unpleasant attitude, the whole enchilada).

As for noticing a trend. Yes we have. When we have a sneaky suspicion, we just take portions of the text and put them though GT and very often we get a quasi verbatim translation. Sometimes the translator even pushes the carelessness to leaving the blueish highlight left on the GT copy after they cut and paste it. That is what prompted me to open this thread. I would like to know if others are aware of such things. As much as I would like to believe it, I am sure we are not that exceptional.

And, Nicole, "pédaler dans la choucroute" is a French phrase meaning going nowhere in a hurry. We do have sauerkraut in France, Why, Alsace-Lorraine is floating on a sea of it.





Could you please define "better paid translators"? If they are paid less than $ 0.13 per word, I would consider it "lousy paid".


 

René Stranz-Nikitin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 10:15
Czech to German
+ ...
My approach is the other way round: As long as disclosure is not explicitly allowed, it is forbidden Dec 8, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

... «nothing and nobody prevents him to specify in his purchase orders or contracts to write that using automated translation of any kind is explicitly prohibited» and he will be and remain on his right. But for that, I imagine that first there should exist such contracts or purchase orders.



As long as no contract or NDA is signed or it doesn't contain an explicit permission of the disclosure of the source texts to online tools, it is forbidden for me. Even if no PO is issued or the PO doesn't say anything about confidentiality, disclosure is prohibited for me. This is just part of the ethical codex, that all members of translators organizations have to accept and to fulfill. As a translator it is not my right to make blind assumptions and to disclose something on the ground of such assumptions.

The use of renowned dictionaries, even in electronic form, is a necessary and normal business practice for translators - we can't invent all the terminology ourselves. If the software producer steels data out of our machine without us knowing of it, any complaints should go against the software producer, since we translators must assume, that such data theft should not be possible. The software house would loose its good reputation very quickly, wouldn't be able to sell its products anymore and would have to pay compensation to our client for the damage it caused.

When a translator uses an online MT tool and thus it is impossible that he don't know about the data transfer to the third-party-server, than it is him who breaches his ethical duty of confidentiality.

This is what common sense tells me and how I performed even before I signed my first NDA and before I became a member of the Union of Interpreters and Translators (JTP) of the Czech and Slovak Republics.

René
www.uersn.de

Please note that English is neither my target language nor one of my source languages.

[Edited at 2010-12-08 19:22 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:15
French to German
+ ...
Loud and clear, René! Dec 8, 2010

René Stranz-Nikitin wrote:

As long as no contract or NDA is signed or it doesn't contain an explicit permission of the disclosure of the source texts to online tools, it is forbidden for me. Even if no PO is issued or the PO doesn't say anything about confidentiality, disclosure is prohibited for me. This is just part of the ethical codex, that all members of translators organizations have to accept and to fulfill. As a translator it is not my right to make blind assumptions and to disclose something on the ground of such assumptions.



And this is probably one of the reasons why Mr. Léger is infuriated when he sees that GT has been used (along, of course, with the poor results produced).

Without even speaking of rates, "work conditions" etc., our business builds on mutual trust.

No NDA in the world will ever cover that.


 

René Stranz-Nikitin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 10:15
Czech to German
+ ...
Not much MT in my language pairs. Dec 8, 2010

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

is whether you have figures regarding the occurrences for which GT is being used, like:

- language pairs;
- volumes;
- countries;
- etc.

I am aware of the GT use trend as a whole, but would like to go more into details - as these will probably provide you with all the information you need to fight the use of MT.

PS: ever tried choucroute aux poissons?

[Modifié le 2010-12-08 18:08 GMT]


I am translating from Czech to German, from Slovak to German and from Russian to German, mostly for clients in the German speaking countries. But I get requests from the whole of Europe.

So far I have never been asked to use MT in my translation processes. There were a few cases, when I was asked if I provide editing of MTed texts, but I refused so quickly and loudly, that probably now the whole neighbourhood of the asking agency knows about it.

Have a nice evening.

[Edited at 2010-12-08 20:15 GMT]


 

Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 10:15
English to French
Some highlights on GT Dec 8, 2010

Hello,

I found some interesting information on how Google envisions the use of Google Translation in the translation chain.

It may be of interest to some of you.

Extracted from http://www.google.com/adwords/globaladvertiser/gsg-translatesite.html

Note that this is an example given bu Google to describe the mechanics
... See more
Hello,

I found some interesting information on how Google envisions the use of Google Translation in the translation chain.

It may be of interest to some of you.

Extracted from http://www.google.com/adwords/globaladvertiser/gsg-translatesite.html

Note that this is an example given bu Google to describe the mechanics of the Global Advertizer tool.

"Maurizio finds a reputable agency online by searching on Google and settles on a price.
Maurizio then uploads his original-language file into Translator Toolkit, selecting Italian as the source language and Portuguese (Brazil) as the target. He shares the instantly translated file with the translation agency, who shares the file with a freelance translator. When the translator is finished, Maurizio inspects the file to make sure the translations are completed . He pays the agency, downloads the file from Translator Toolkit and gives the file to his software engineer to prepare the Brazilian Portuguese website."
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