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Google Translate: The New Plague
Thread poster: jmleger

jmleger  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to French
+ ...
Dec 6, 2010

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.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:31
French to German
+ ...
Some comments... Dec 6, 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.

Consider that many translation agencies are really NOT looking for long-term relationships, and consider that some wannabes REALLY think they can get away with GT.
What can be done on both sides long before drama hits the floor?


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.

Consider that MOST computer-assisted tools now integrate an MT feature and that many translators freely admit that they use this feature on their respective CAT tools. To which extent can you tell that MT was involved? And can you document it to protect you against accusations of lame excuse?


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

Back in 2007, I edited MT'ed texts which were "sold" as the genuine production of a human translator. The trend seems to be increasing - but is not that new.


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.

Given the fact that "this is a free market", my short answers would be:

1) no to stigmatisation, the "market" will take care of sorting wheat from chaff on its own;

2) sanction will come in the form of such translators getting less and less work owing to their methods;

3) acting individually: maybe. There are quality standards - use them at your level and make it known, network with other professionals applying the same rules;

4) best people pulling such stunts: 200% unacceptable, would need a closer examination of circumstances in each case.

(edited for typo)


[Modifié le 2010-12-06 17:29 GMT]


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:31
Member (2004)
English to Polish
It's the result that counts... Dec 6, 2010

Do you actually believe that people employing such methods would otherwise produce a translation of sufficient quality? Somehow, I doubt it...

On the other hand, I know good translators who check Google Translate results not to use them unedited, but to get better variety of synonyms, phrases etc. I know them well enough to be sure that the end result will be quite good.

What I am saying is that if the translation is good, it does not matter what methods were used in its creation (unless it's plagiarized, of course)...


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:31
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A logical outcome... Dec 6, 2010

...for any outsourcer that typically posts jobs offering between one-fourth and one-third of the going rate for translations in given language pairs. What comes to my mind is reaping what one sows and receiving one's just deserts and I find myself strangely bereft of sympathy....

 

Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:31
German to English
+ ...
Yes Dec 6, 2010

Robert Forstag wrote:

...for any outsourcer that typically posts jobs offering between one-fourth and one-third of the going rate for translations in given language pairs. What comes to my mind is reaping what one sows and receiving one's just deserts and I find myself strangely bereft of sympathy....


I have to agree with this. The current price wars among some of the larger agencies (and smaller ones who follow suit) is just inviting this type of abuse. Translators need to be paid a living wage in order to produce a quality product. I doubt you'll find a decently paid, qualified translator trying to pass off raw MT as the finished product.

[Edited at 2010-12-06 18:21 GMT]


 

jmleger  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You are mistaken Mr. Forstag Dec 6, 2010

Proz.com does not allow us to post a rate any longer. Translators tell us what they require. I for one am very happy about this, because as outsourcers we cannot be blamed any longer for the going rates, which is a great relief. Proz did us a great service by applying this policy. The market self-regulates. Just as it self-regulates for us when we bid projects for clients who are computer savvy and know all about shopping around. Also, as I pointed out, it's not always the worse paid people who are the worst offenders. Finally, I was seeking the advice of other outsourcers, which you don't appear to be.

 

Martin Stranak  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 10:31
English to Czech
+ ...
Google Translate is used by Asian agencies Dec 6, 2010

I´ve have recently come across one Indian agency producing translations for automotive industry via some machine-type tool similar to google translate and they´re offering mockingly low rates to proofreaders, who must then go through the mess. Surprisingly enough, the PMs there are not even able to switch between MS Word versions to see the tracked changes and remarks made by the proofreader. The world is going bonkersicon_smile.gif

 

Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:31
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
What is wrong when using Internet for research? Dec 6, 2010

Nothing I would say.
And if I go and Google for parts of the sentence I can also Google with the whole sentence. Will you forbid that? How then shall I do my research then?
IMHO what you say is much to simple and you are putting everyone in the same bag.
This does not help at all. When you get a well done translation, why do you care how it has been done? Provided there is no reason to keep the text fully confidential Google and any other ressource is good enough to produce a translation.
So instead of damning it by definition I would simply try to find an agreement - if the translation is OK and no NDA does prevent the usage of Google, leave it.


 

JacekP  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:31
English to Polish
+ ...
Results and standards Dec 6, 2010

Jabberwock wrote:

Do you actually believe that people employing such methods would otherwise produce a translation of sufficient quality? Somehow, I doubt it...

On the other hand, I know good translators who check Google Translate results not to use them unedited, but to get better variety of synonyms, phrases etc. I know them well enough to be sure that the end result will be quite good.

What I am saying is that if the translation is good, it does not matter what methods were used in its creation (unless it's plagiarized, of course)...


Agree. Direct or only polished GT translation will not meet quality standard applied by most agencies...
As the translation will be checked against clearly established and communicated quality standards, nothing changes. You will be able to keep quality and eliminate GT based "specialists". As you probably did with some low quality translators, not using GT.


 

jmleger  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What scares me is that a professional might find redeeming value to GT translations Dec 6, 2010

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.

 

TargamaT team  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 11:31
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
The result of low cost translations! Dec 6, 2010

Last week we applied for a project with really a reasonable price and, as in general, we proposed a specialized translator and engaged our responsibility in the outcome.

However, the vendor preferred other colleague and now we see this colleague asking wild questions as he does even not understand the technological framework!


I think that translators use Google alike as vendor 1st eliminating point is THE reduced price...

[Edited at 2010-12-06 18:29 GMT]


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:31
English to German
+ ...
I agree with Dec 6, 2010

Robert. You reap what you sow.

 

jmleger  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@tagama Dec 6, 2010

I think you are wrong to reduce this to a matter of prices/rates. We recently had a job in two different languages. The translator we selected for one charged us twice as much as the other one, yet we were able to establish that that translation had been largely using GT. We ran whole paragraph through GT and they came out barely different, which would never have happened had the translation been done by a human translator. I don't think money ois the issue. I think honesty and standards, or the lack thereof, is the problem.

 

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Look inside, not outside Dec 6, 2010

I can't help thinking that an agency generally gets the translators and clients that it deserves. Agencies that find they are receiving Google translated work should have a hard look at their own buying practices. This is where the answers will be found.

 

Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:31
English to Polish
+ ...
cosmetic Dec 6, 2010

jmleger wrote:

Proz.com does not allow us to post a rate any longer. Translators tell us what they require. I for one am very happy about this, because as outsourcers we cannot be blamed any longer for the going rates, which is a great relief. Proz did us a great service by applying this policy.


Oh please, this was a cosmetic change only. Outsources are perhaps not allowed to post their rates, but bidders (translators and "translators") are allowed to quote any rates, even the dumping ones.
Correct me if I'm wrong (I seldom bid for jobs on Proz).
Ewa

[Edited at 2010-12-06 19:01 GMT]


 
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