Info needed: Large-scale Computer Translating Applications
Thread poster: Iantha
Iantha
English to Spanish
Nov 16, 2005

Hello, I am currently working for the University of Michigan. The Institute for Social Research is looking at using a computer application to translate studies into multiple languages. They would like to be able to translate studies into 25+ languages, with everything from English to Asian languages to Africaans. We are currently looking at RC Win Trans, LTC Organizer, PASSOLO, Atril's DeJa Vu, and Alchemy's Catalist. Obviously, they would only do a very rough translation and them we would have people clean the work up. Anyone have any thoughts or advice on these, or suggestions on other programs that would be useful?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-11-16 04:29]


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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 13:06
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Human translation Nov 16, 2005

There is no single machine able to provide good translations.

The named applications do not translated by themselves, they need someone to translate.

Regards

Clarisa Moraña


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 11:06
Spanish
+ ...
No automatic translation yet Nov 16, 2005

Hello Iantha,

The softwares you've mentioned are CAT tools. CAT tools don't automatically translate, they 'cut' the text in segments, save both the source and target segment (translated by a real translator) and keep them in a Translation Memory. If a segment appears again in the document, the CAT tool suggests the TU (Translation Unit) to the translator and he or she decides to use or not. More info on CAT tools: http://www.proz.com/cat

On the other hand, Machine Translation are not advanced enough. They produce translations that sometimes are difficult to understand but 99% of the time completely inaccurate or impossible to understand. Any translator can spot those 'translations'. In most cases it'd be easier and faster to translate from scratch than to proofread a machine-translated document. Not many translators would be willing to do it.

So you can have an idea of what a machine-translation looks like, I used Systran (one of the "best" machine-translation softwares) to 'translate' your post to Japanese and then back to English.

Me presently you serve today, in the Michigan state university. Although association for social research sees and translates investigation in many language development of software for computers is used. Those everything desire the fact that investigation, can be translated in 25+ language to the Asian language Africaans from English. We presently the victory TRANS of RC, the lieutenant colonel organizer, look at deja vu impression of PASSOLO and Atril and Catalist of alchemy. Very just roughly clearly, those translate, make the work which is the people in us clean. These thoughts of the other program anyone useful is there advice or proposition?


As you can read that very hard to understand to say the least, but the meaning was completely lost.

Regards,

Claudia


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:06
German to English
+ ...
Global Content Management Nov 16, 2005

For a multilingual site of this complexity you will probably want to start looking at Global Content Management Systems.

Some integrate with CAT tools - probable top-of-the-range AuthorIT, Trados-Documentum and others.

Top end of the market machine translation software is very expensive and, I suspect, still far from perfect.

[Edited at 2005-11-16 16:17]

Of possible interest:

http://www.lisa.org/archive/newsletters/2003/3.5/zydron.html
http://www.xml-intl.com/
http://www.xml-intl.com/xmltm.html
http://www.xml-intl.com/demo/trans.html
http://www.multilingual.com/lt/ltProduct.htm



[Edited at 2005-11-16 16:24]


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
I do not clearly understand you question, Nov 16, 2005

but if you want to design and manage multi language studies, have a look at www.studybuilder.com. They might be offering what you are looking for.

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Dennis Schedrivy  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:06
English to Russian
+ ...
translation software Nov 16, 2005

For Russian language Prompt 7.0 would be the best option, but as many people said here the quality of translation is so poor that it is often better to translate the whole text manually all over again, then edit the stuff this program produces. The only good thing abou this application is that they have quite extensive dictionaries.

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Iantha
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you. Nov 16, 2005

Thank you for your input. We have just begun looking at these systems, and are still learning how the programs work. Your input has been very useful. Claudia, thank you for the translation. I was unaware as to how inaccurate they can be. I knew the success rate for these was quite low but that is absurd. Looks like we have alot of work to do. Thanks again,
Iantha


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Jane Lamb-Ruiz  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Silly Endeavors Nov 16, 2005

You can't translate social science studies like computer programming.

I really think that if you are doing this, you will be wasting time and money.

There is no such thing as a good rough translation that can then be cleaned up in disciplines such as social science.

Everything about social science is very tricky and depending on the 25 languages, you are better off finding and keeping your specialized translators.

I have never seen any decent machine translations worth their salt. Since you say 25 plus languages, I wonder what those languages are. For the the more exotic ones won't even have machine translation software.

I suggest you contact Muriel Vasconcellos who is listed on this site. She was a pioneer in this field and is convinced of the nigh impossibility of it.

And I will tell you my opinion of why this is so. Language creates meaning. And that meaning is created by a person or subject, to use COntinental references. No machine can understand meaning because the programmers can't understand how meaning is really produced in all its glory. In some very narrow disciplines, you might get some half-assed text in one of the world's major languages. THe problem is that the Cost of Editing Junk will be almost as expensive as paying a good translator. I would NEVER accept an editing job done in this manner. Recently, I had a horrible experience with a person who called himself a translator who helped me on a Survey in the Field of Oil and Gas, written by some pretty fancy Brazilian sociologists. This idiot had put the text through systram or some such. I told the agency that commissioned the work that I could not edit it. I had to retranslate it in its entirety because the editing time would have been Longer than the retranslating time I would be glad to send you the Portuguese and the machine translated ENglish in private.

Also, I wonder what kind of project requires translation in 25 languages. My suggestion to you and your team is to find 25 sociologists in the countries where the languages are spoken and bring them on board. The Internet is littered with junk of the machine variety ilk. I think it goes against the point of presenting research if what is being presented makes no sense.

I think social scientists more than anyone else should make it their business to understand the importance of having studies translated by competent native speakers of the target languages.

good luck!



[Edited at 2005-11-16 22:29]


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:06
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
links to examples of good quality MT and productive use of it Nov 17, 2005

Iantha wrote:
Thank you for your input. We have just begun looking at these systems, and are still learning how the programs work. Your input has been very useful. Claudia, thank you for the translation. I was unaware as to how inaccurate they can be. I knew the success rate for these was quite low but that is absurd. Looks like we have alot of work to do. Thanks again,


The problem with the translation above is :
1) it was done with a freebie push-button online MT system with no specialized dictionaries plugged in
2) was not done with a professional/expert version of MT software which do have specialized dictionaries, and can plug in custom user dictionaries
3) was translated and then back-translated (which actually combines error rates, like faxing a fax of a fax of a fax to lead to the degraded low level of print quality rather than scanning it and converting the text to a file and restarting with a more legible version)
4) a key issue is being trained on how to use a translation tool in a productive way. This is the same issue for any type of tool, whether it be Translation Memory, Machine Translation, Localization, etc.

Many examples of proven productivity and high-quality in using professional/expert MT software packages are indicated in the following 2 posts:

links to posts on MT postediting
http://www.proz.com/post/275371#275371

links to previous posts on MT productivity and usefulness
http://www.proz.com/post/275373#275373

and one of those two posts gives a link to a How-to article on using the back-translation method with MT systems in a well-defined way.

One of them also gives links to discussion topics on the lack of tool training being a key factor to unsatisfactory and inadequate use of the tool.

Software/system reviews of Translation systems are available at the Language Software Review/Evaluation site:
http://www.geocities.com/langtecheval/

Jeff


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:06
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
decent Machine Translated text examples Nov 18, 2005

Jane Lamb-Ruiz wrote:
I have never seen any decent machine translations worth their salt. ....
In some very narrow disciplines, you might get some half-assed text in one of the world's major languages. THe problem is that the Cost of Editing Junk will be almost as expensive as paying a good translator.


Who could translate from scratch (with no CAT tools and no dictation based tools) 8500 words in less than 7 hours (not in a single session, but in 30 min and 60 min sessions here and there over a period of a few days, and even some of then while walking on the street to lunch) for a critical post-sales document which is the key document for acceptance of a multi-million dollar project? and who could guarantee that their translation in those conditions would receive approval by all depts internally and then by the customer? And also to ensure that the translator who completed the 8500 in the 7 hours, is fully functional the next day to keep going at the same rate, and not taking a day off to rest the brain and hands (because 8500 words done 1 day and then a day off is 2 days of work, thus 4250 words per day on average).

Yet, I did this very thing with an MT product in those stated conditions and sessions. The customer accepted the translation and signed acceptance for the multi-million dollar project.
Read it here and a link to the published case study about it is also provided:
http://www.proz.com/post/270118#270118

Jane Lamb-Ruiz wrote:
I would NEVER accept an editing job done in this manner. Recently, I had a horrible experience with a person who called himself a translator who helped me on a Survey in the Field of Oil and Gas, written by some pretty fancy Brazilian sociologists. This idiot had put the text through systram or some such. I told the agency that commissioned the work that I could not edit it. I had to retranslate it in its entirety because the editing time would have been Longer than the retranslating time I would be glad to send you the Portuguese and the machine translated ENglish in private.


Of course. Any effective and productive use of MT software is not a simple push-a-single-button task. Upfront work is needed. But that upfront work does not need to be any more time-consuming than the overall time of traditional human translation cycle, and can be done much faster than that.

Read the case study mentioned above.

It's all a matter of knowing how to use the tools appropriately and knowing the subject matter well.

And these methods have been taught to others for different language pairs, to achieve remarkable productivity as well.
This is mentioned at:
http://www.proz.com/post/270432#270432

Nothing was tweaked. Just using a professional/expert level tools combined with a solid methodology on how to use it.

Another case study with even more details on the productivity is currently being written.

Jeff
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/about-jeffallen.htm




[Edited at 2005-11-19 11:49]


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:06
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
a company wanting 60 translated language pairs Nov 18, 2005

Jane Lamb-Ruiz wrote:
Also, I wonder what kind of project requires translation in 25 languages. My suggestion to you and your team is to find 25 sociologists in the countries where the languages are spoken and bring them on board. The Internet is littered with junk of the machine variety ilk. I think it goes against the point of presenting research if what is being presented makes no sense.


One major world-wide company came to me a few years ago with the specific request to translate their information into 60 languages.

Jeff


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Iantha
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Valuable information Nov 18, 2005

Thank you Jeff Allen. The links you provided were very helpful, and gave me valuable insight. This is exactly what I needed. The info provided in the links really cleared a few things up, especially on the training and work that we need to put into learning how to use the systems. Thank you all for your valuable input.

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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:06
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
You are welcome for MT info Nov 19, 2005

Iantha,
you are welcome.
Jeff


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