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Machine translations in TM
Thread poster: Elke Fehling

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
English to German
+ ...
Feb 12, 2014

Recently, one of my clients started to send me translations with translation memories that include lots of machine translations. That's new, I have never seen that with any other client and I am very much surprised about that.

I did a small translation with lots of machine translations for this client, but I quickly realized that the "funny" TM slows me down enormously. The machine translations usually don't make no sense at all, but still influence the train of my thoughts, so that I need some extra time to find better terms/phrases. On top of that the client only pays me about 65% of the full rate for these machine translations, which is completely inacceptable.

I now get more and more translations with bad and completely absurd machine translations (for those who understand German, "bead hopper", a machine used for construction work, in German became "Perlenhüpfer" - it would be funny if it wasn't so serious). I have to thoroughly check every translation before I accept a new job, and I started not to accept TMs with machine translations any more, but they seem to be in almost every single job this one clients sends me.

My question: Have you experienced that as well? How do you react? Can machine translations be good?


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:14
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
No such experience ... Feb 12, 2014

... but, in my opinion, the only reasonable advice would be to stop accepting jobs from this client immediately and to explain why.

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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:14
English to Dutch
+ ...
MT has no business in TM Feb 12, 2014

A TM should only contain checked and approved text. By definition, it should therefore be free of MT.
Agree with Steffen, these TMs are simply unuseable. Don't you have a TM yourself? If you can't do without a client TM, you can do without the client.


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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 21:14
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
I did one MT job - but won't do it again very soon Feb 12, 2014

Some time ago I had a request from a client that asked me to post-edit MT. He claimed that lots of work had gone into the preparation of the TM and that I should be able to work a lot faster. I was careful enough to only accept a small batch of this very large project and found that in this case MT wasn't speeding up my work in any way. I concluded that MT still has a long way to go, that "well prepared TMs" is a rather vague expression.

I would refuse to work on anything where my rate gets reduced for repetitions or fuzzy matches because the client has added an MT-based TM, what seems to be the situation you describe.

But I believe MT can be helpful in the future and I will be following the development. Ultimately, we have to assess case by case whether it really helps us to work faster or not. If not, we have to apply full translation rates.

Have you talked with your client about the situation? Do you earn less for "funny matches"?


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Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Do without the client? Feb 12, 2014

Jan, I still need my clients to earn my living, so I can't simply do without the client. And I am one of these people who like to work with client TMs

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Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Complain Feb 12, 2014

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro wrote:

Some time ago I had a request from a client that asked me to post-edit MT. He claimed that lots of work had gone into the preparation of the TM and that I should be able to work a lot faster. I was careful enough to only accept a small batch of this very large project and found that in this case MT wasn't speeding up my work in any way. I concluded that MT still has a long way to go, that "well prepared TMs" is a rather vague expression.

I would refuse to work on anything where my rate gets reduced for repetitions or fuzzy matches because the client has added an MT-based TM, what seems to be the situation you describe.

But I believe MT can be helpful in the future and I will be following the development. Ultimately, we have to assess case by case whether it really helps us to work faster or not. If not, we have to apply full translation rates.

Have you talked with your client about the situation? Do you earn less for "funny matches"?


Anna, I complained once about the bad quailty of the MT and the client payed my full rate. In other cases I didn't accept the job at all, but I explained why. The client still keeps sending jobs with MT, so he doesn't seem to care.

On top of that they use a special translation tool, so I can't really get rid of the TM myself.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:14
English to Dutch
+ ...
Misunderstanding? Feb 12, 2014

Elke Fehling wrote:

Jan, I still need my clients to earn my living, so I can't simply do without the client. And I am one of these people who like to work with client TMs


OK, maybe I spoke too soon. Also, I prefer client TMs, provided they are of good quality. Just to clarify.


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Jing Nie
China
Local time: 03:14
Member (2011)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Yes, complain Feb 12, 2014

I think you should tell the client directly, 65% of the normal rate for MT match is totally unacceptable, after all, you can create MT yourself if you really need it.
ANd I think this client is really unfriendly, so I suggest that when you find another client, just refusing this client.


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Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Unfriendly Feb 12, 2014

No Jing, I don't think this client is unfriendly. They are just not well organized. Or maybe over-organzied. They start to automate everything, and that's not good.

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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:14
German to English
+ ...
Do you know how many potential clients Feb 12, 2014

there are in the translation world? Thousands and thousands, many of whom still value quality over quantity. It seems that a few new clients would be good for you, and here is a terrific place to start looking:

http://www.proz.com/blueboard/?sp_mode=applications

In case the link doesn't work for you (I am logged in and it may only show in my language pairs), it goes to the Blue Board. -->http://www.proz.com/blueboard/

On the right hand side of the page you will find a list that starts with "Overview", and the sixth item on that list says "Applications". Click on that and you will be sent to another list, which this time contains outsourcers who are currently looking for translators with either your specific language pairs or in general, and all of them have ratings between 4 and 5, so there is (hopefully) little to no risk in applying to them for work.

I would not work with an agency that is "automating" to the point of including MT junk in their TMs, because their idea of quality does not match mine. They are obviously only interested in quantity now, even if they may have not started out that way. You say it is slowing you down and is less pay. Finding that acceptable makes no sense at all to me. We are entrepreneurs, after all, and don't have to agree to any terms that do not coincide with our goals or values.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:14
Member (2008)
French to English
Marketing Feb 12, 2014

Elke Fehling wrote:

Jan, I still need my clients to earn my living, so I can't simply do without the client. And I am one of these people who like to work with client TMs


So many problems translators have could be solved by sufficient marketing. If no single client represents more than 20-25% of your clientele, you won't feel trapped to comply with unreasonable requirements. As soon as we hear "I can't simply do without the client" it's a red flag that more marketing is needed. There should be no client that you can't do without, because that can become necessary with any client, for any number of reasons.


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Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:14
Polish to English
+ ...
Why use the incorrect MT entries? Feb 12, 2014

Elke Fehling wrote:

Anna, I complained once about the bad quailty of the MT and the client payed my full rate. In other cases I didn't accept the job at all, but I explained why. The client still keeps sending jobs with MT, so he doesn't seem to care.

On top of that they use a special translation tool, so I can't really get rid of the TM myself.


I think you can keep accepting jobs from this client but there's a quetion:
are you REALLY forced to use the Machine Translation entries from his TM?

Just translate and make your own entries into his TM. And you can - and may - delete those absurd MT entries. And you can - and may - save this TM on your computer.
Step-by step, some day you'll find that you have a pretty good translation memory to be used for jobs from this client.

All in all, it's the translator who is responsible for the linguistic part, not the client.
Or is it not as simple as I imagine?


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:14
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Not as simple Feb 12, 2014

Andrzej Mierzejewski wrote:

Or is it not as simple as I imagine?


It isn't: Elke is paid less for segments for which there's a machine translated entry in the TM.


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Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not as simple Feb 12, 2014

Andrzej Mierzejewski wrote:

Elke Fehling wrote:

Anna, I complained once about the bad quailty of the MT and the client payed my full rate. In other cases I didn't accept the job at all, but I explained why. The client still keeps sending jobs with MT, so he doesn't seem to care.

On top of that they use a special translation tool, so I can't really get rid of the TM myself.


I think you can keep accepting jobs from this client but there's a quetion:
are you REALLY forced to use the Machine Translation entries from his TM?

Just translate and make your own entries into his TM. And you can - and may - delete those absurd MT entries. And you can - and may - save this TM on your computer.
Step-by step, some day you'll find that you have a pretty good translation memory to be used for jobs from this client.

All in all, it's the translator who is responsible for the linguistic part, not the client.
Or is it not as simple as I imagine?


As efreitag already said, I am paid less for the MT segments and - I have to work with a tool where I cannot save the TM on my PC. Besides that the MT distracts me. I need files with either valid TM or no TM at all. Not files with gibberish in the TM!


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Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:14
Polish to English
+ ...
Well, then... Feb 13, 2014

Then, I understand this client thinks that their command of the target language is better than yours. That's a difficult case, really.

I don't know if there is one reliable method to make them understand that relying on MT for professional translations is a serious error.

Maybe a feedback (opinion, report) on the translation quality from their business partners in the target country would help? But what if the client draws a conclusion 'My translator is no good' - quite in opposite to your intent?

So, I 'm not sure what your move should be.

[Zmieniono 2014-02-13 13:28 GMT]


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