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Google Translate: The New Plague
Thread poster: jmleger

jmleger  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:08
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Pne word if i may... Dec 8, 2010

omg!

 

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:08
Swedish to English
+ ...
Many moons ago Dec 8, 2010

I sat outside a bar near Termini in Rome drinking a beer and watching a maniac circling the piazza on a Vespa whilst screaming "Maurizio". Don't think the Vespa guy found Maurizio, but now Alexandre has succeeded where he failed.

Alexandre Chetrite wrote:

"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."




Edited to say I'm sorry to have gone a bit off topic, but the Vespa guy always flashes through my mind when I hear/read the name Maurizio. And Google's Maurizio and my Vespa guy really deserve each other.


[Edited at 2010-12-08 22:52 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-12-08 22:56 GMT]


 

jmleger  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:08
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Actually... Dec 8, 2010

I saw Maurizio in the Pasticceria which is on the right hand side across the street from the station. Small world. I love Rome and its swarms of vespas. I also think of Caro Diario and Nanni Moretti zipping through Rome in the summer. Way off topic I know.

 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:08
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
You cannot be serious. Dec 9, 2010

jmleger wrote:

What scares me is that a professional might find redeeming value to GT translations

Like eveybody, I will sometimes takes a piece on text from a language I do not speak and put it through GT to see what it's all about. The quality is so poor that it editing such copy into shape would in my mind require more effort that doing the translation outright. GT is not a professional tool, and it's use should be frowned upon I believe. It should come under the no-no heading of translator code of practices. I am a translator too (have been for over 30 years), and I know what i am talking about.


You can frown all you want, but (particularly for certain language pairs) Google Translate simply produces a fantastic rough draft to start with.

Furthermore, as Jabberwock said, It's the result that counts...

Who are you, a project manager, to judge how a translator gets the job done? If we deliver a perfect text, but we used Google Translate, what exactly is the problem?

Google Translate has access to GAZILLIONS of bytes of bilingual language data, and is simply allowing us to access it easier, faster, and better.

What scares me is the thought of missing out on the amazing new opportunities we are being offered as translators in this interesting period in which statistical MT is truly blooming, in the words of Jaap van der Meer.

Michael


http://www.translationautomation.com/best-practices/let-a-thousand-mt-systems-bloom.html


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:08
French to German
+ ...
Objectivity Dec 9, 2010



This, of course, is not an objective article either; I would even say it reads like a sales speech - but OK, to each their likes and dislikes...

However, I am failing to see how this solves the questions raised by the OP, namely receiving unedited (or barely edited) MT outputs from "translators" who want to be paid for this kind of "work".


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:08
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
As with any tool, however, you need to know how to use it. Dec 9, 2010

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:
However, I am failing to see how this solves the questions raised by the OP, namely receiving unedited (or barely edited) MT outputs from "translators" who want to be paid for this kind of "work".


I think it is a waste of time for project managers to try figure out exactly how their translators are making their mistakes. Is it because they are submitting unedited (or barely edited) MT output, is it because their translator is not a native speaker, is it because their translator went to sleep too late last night, etc.

It is wrong to say that it is Google Translate's "fault", and it is even more wrong to take such a tone with translators who use Google Translate and to categorically state that they are unprofessional. I use Google Translate, in combination with about a thousand other tools and methods, etc, and I do not appreciate project managers telling me how to do my job.

It would be equally useless for me to start saying things like:

"Any real translator who doesn't use some form of MT these days, and of course a good CAT tool (and I don't mean Workbench or TagEditor) and a terminology solution, and is proficient in basic DTP methods (PDF conversion, e.g.) is not a professional translator."


[How do you solve the problem of] "receiving unedited (or barely edited) MT outputs from 'translators' who want to be paid for this kind of 'work'"?


That's simple. Don't hire morons;)

But don't blame Google. That is plain ridiculous, short-sighted and pointless.

Incidentally, Google Translate is a hybrid system, which relies heavily on Statistical methods, meaning: what it is offering you is access to MILLIONS OF HUMAN TRANSLATIONS.

As with any tool, however, you need to know how to use it.

Michael

[Edited at 2010-12-09 10:36 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:08
French to German
+ ...
Yes, I see your point Dec 9, 2010

Michael J.W. Beijer wrote:

(.../...)

It is wrong to say that it is Google Translate's "fault", and it is even more wrong to take such a tone with translators who use Google Translate and to categorically state that they are unprofessional. I use Google Translate, in combination with about a thousand other tools and methods, etc, and I do not appreciate project managers telling me how to do my job.

I certainly see and appreciate your point - and will use a similar argumentation the next time an agency contacts me with their diverse "requirements" (no irony intended here, I am dead serious).


It would be equally useless for me to start saying things like:

"Any real translator who doesn't use some form of MT these days, and of course a good CAT tool (and I don't mean Workbench or TagEditor) and a terminology solution, and is proficient in basic DTP methods (PDF conversion, e.g.) is not a professional translator."

I would not like that kind of sweeping statement for sure.


[How do you solve the problem of] "receiving unedited (or barely edited) MT outputs from 'translators' who want to be paid for this kind of 'work'"?

That's simple. Don't hire morons;)


Agreed.


 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:08
Italian to English
+ ...
In memoriam
Quality issues Dec 9, 2010

jmleger wrote:

Like eveybody, I will sometimes takes a piece on text from a language I do not speak and put it through GT to see what it's all about. The quality is so poor that it editing such copy into shape would in my mind require more effort that doing the translation outright. GT is not a professional tool, and it's use should be frowned upon I believe. It should come under the no-no heading of translator code of practices. I am a translator too (have been for over 30 years), and I know what i am talking about.


Looking at your post here makes me wonder what you consider 'poor quality'.

Sorry if this has already been covered but I'm only now working my way through.

'Official stigmata' - move over Padre Pio - will it be a kind of Masonic recognition thing, but for translators?


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:08
Flemish to English
+ ...
Systran. Dec 9, 2010

What a fuzz about GT. The problem can be avoided by using systran or any other mt-package. Systran is an old plague for it has been around since the end of the 80-ies.

 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:08
German to Spanish
+ ...
Loud may be, but not so clear... Dec 10, 2010

René Stranz-Nikitin wrote:

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]


a) I am not defending unethical behaviours in any manner. But, do you really think you would go far in a court arguing an «ethical code»? In contrast, with a «verifiable contract breach»...

b) My technical question remains still unanswered:

How can a third person know «from the other side of the screen» what I type as an «explicit URL» like the both below (wich in fact is Google Translator's [not the Google Tranlate kit one] behaviour as like that of many other online dictionaries):

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

http://www.myjmk.com/index.php?tsearch=Probe&tdir=0



[Edited at 2010-12-10 11:39 GMT]


 

René Stranz-Nikitin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:08
Czech to German
+ ...
I sleep and work better adhering to the ethical code. Dec 10, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

a) Ethical code and contracts or POs are two different things. And I am not defending unethical behaviours in any manner. But, do you really think you would go far in a court arguing an «ethical code»? In contrast, with a «verifiable contract breach»...



What court? How can there be a court, when I don't violate anything?

What I want is to honestly adhere to the ethical code I accepted in my translator's organization. How could anybody take me to court for that?

But I get your point. You are using the "what is impossible to prove, is de facto allowed" argument. But I wouldn't feel good in this profession, if I would do things all the time, about which I would have to hope all my life long, that it stays impossible to prove them.

And how I feel in this profession has an impact on the quality I deliver, you can be sure! If agencies try to break the proud of translators of their work and force them to use MT and edit it afterwards, the resource of quality translations - the human translator - will be broken. Why are there agencies, who tend to do that? I think sadists should not work in translation agencies. Would be irresponsible.

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

b) And my technical question remains still unanswered:

How can a third person see «from the other side of the screen» what I type as an «explicit URL» like the one below (wich in fact is Google Translator's behaviour as like with many other online dictionaries): http://translate.google.com/#es|fr|Esto%20es%20una%20prueba%0A



I wouldn't be that sure about this. Somewhere on Google’s servers your Google translated sentences are saved for sure. If it would cause a serious damage to somebody, the police or the court could demand Google to provide access to this data. If together with the sentences Google saved also the information about the IP address, from which your request came, and this IP address is yours, then the fact of the disclosure would be proven. Or not?

I really don't know why a renowned translator should risk that much only to get a lousy machine translation.


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:08
German to Spanish
+ ...
Google Translate: The New Plague Dec 10, 2010

René Stranz-Nikitin wrote:

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

a) Ethical code and contracts or POs are two different things. And I am not defending unethical behaviours in any manner. But, do you really think you would go far in a court arguing an «ethical code»? In contrast, with a «verifiable contract breach»...



What court? How can there be a court, when I don't violate anything?

What I want is to honestly adhere to the ethical code I accepted in my translator's organization. How could anybody take me to court for that?

But I get your point. You are using the "what is impossible to prove, is de facto allowed" argument. But I wouldn't feel good in this profession, if I would do things all the time, about which I would have to hope all my life long, that it stays impossible to prove them.

And how I feel in this profession has an impact on the quality I deliver, you can be sure! If agencies try to break the proud of translators of their work and force them to use MT and edit it afterwards, the resource of quality translations - the human translator - will be broken. Why are there agencies, who tend to do that? I think sadists should not work in translation agencies. Would be irresponsible.

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

b) And my technical question remains still unanswered:

How can a third person see «from the other side of the screen» what I type as an «explicit URL» like the one below (wich in fact is Google Translator's behaviour as like with many other online dictionaries): http://translate.google.com/#es|fr|Esto%20es%20una%20prueba%0A



I wouldn't be that sure about this. Somewhere on Google’s servers your Google translated sentences are saved for sure. If it would cause a serious damage to somebody, the police or the court could demand Google to provide access to this data. If together with the sentences Google saved also the information about the IP address, from which your request came, and this IP address is yours, then the fact of the disclosure would be proven. Or not?

I really don't know why a renowned translator should risk that much only to get a lousy machine translation.


It seems I have not explained myself very well. I was neither personalizing in any manner, and never said that what can not be proved is acceptable. What I'm saying, is that an explicit contract from the projet manager's side is probably more effective than an ethical code to avoid some unethical behaviors outside the norms. It's clear that someone who uses illegal means, does not care very much or at all about ethics... Or at least, this is what might be inferred from the increasing trend to use carelessly online tools that store information without the effective consent of the owner.

And yes, if your static/dynamic IP is stored facts can be proven, with the exception of unassigned IPs...

[Edited at 2010-12-10 19:35 GMT]


 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 14:08
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Use it if you like, but deliver good quality Dec 10, 2010

Isn't that what it's really all about?

I think the real plaque now is that two days ago I received a review of an update to a previous translation I did. At first, I wondered who translated it since I know this particular client does not willingly go to anybody but me for this particluar client.

Then, working through the - small - review, it becomes horrifyingly clear, that this has simply been run through a Machine Translation Tool of some sort, and the person doing so
... See more
Isn't that what it's really all about?

I think the real plaque now is that two days ago I received a review of an update to a previous translation I did. At first, I wondered who translated it since I know this particular client does not willingly go to anybody but me for this particluar client.

Then, working through the - small - review, it becomes horrifyingly clear, that this has simply been run through a Machine Translation Tool of some sort, and the person doing so, quite obviously did not have any Danish skills or did not give a toss about the outcome, as there were several completely nonsensical passages and the likes.

This, to me, is what this is all about - clients thinking that any Machine Translation Tool is going to take care of their translation job, and then they will only have to pay for a proofreading.
I finished this very small review, but sent it with a remark regarding higher rates in future for such reviews concerning machine translated work.

I have not yet found a good machine translation tool for my language pair, so I still stay clear of it, but I am sure some translators can make good use of them and deliver high quality results - this solely depends on the individual translator's skilss, professionalism, ethics and pride in what he/she does.

So, I think it could be a good tool, but as anything else that could potentially help people, it can be abused. "Translators" abusing this tool to pass on work 'as is' after machine translating should either be educated very clearly about how to use machine translation tools, and if this is not adhered to it would be fully understandable that anyone would chose someone else to do the translations.

Just yesterday I signed a contract distinctly specifying that the use of machine translation tools was prohibited. I think this is too bad, but I gather that this company has had bad experiences like the ones the OP describes and therefore seeks to avoid in the future.

IMHO.

[Edited at 2010-12-10 21:19 GMT]
Collapse


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My clients accept my word for it Dec 10, 2010

PCovs wrote:
This, to me, is what this is all about - clients thinking that any Machine Translation Tool is going to take care of their translation job, and then they will only have to pay for a proofreading.


I've encountered this before, but then I just tell the client that the text was machine translated and that I don't want to proofread it -- but I'll willingly retranslate it (at my usual translation rate). So far, whenever this has happened, the client had accepted my word for it and changed the job from proofreading to translation. I would think that most clients care about quality, because in quality lies good reputation.


 

Annie Estéphan  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:08
Member (2010)
English to French
Google can't do the work Dec 11, 2010

I know that google translation is better than other type of automatic translation, but it could NEVER replace a translator, unless it is not only post-edited but almost redone by the translator, some companies give us text translated by google translation that aren't worth nothing and they pay us let to "post-edit" it, but in reality we have to redo it all over again because it's not worth anything !!! So its not only the translators who are using it but also the companies....very sad news.

 
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