MT postediting: a threat or not
Thread poster: ing. Milada Šejnohová

ing. Milada Šejnohová
Czech Republic
Local time: 19:02
Member (2004)
English to Czech
+ ...
Feb 23

Dear all,

I was offered a MT postediting project and wonder if to take it or not.
Does a MT postediting constitute generally a threat to our future work if we now accept to do this kind of job (meaning to the entire translation community)?
Do we contribute somehow to decreasing the volume of workflow in the future?
Thank you in advance for your opinions.
Have a nice Sunday,

Milada


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:02
Member (2008)
Italian to English
My standard response Feb 23

ing. Milada Šejnohová wrote:

Dear all,

I was offered a MT postediting project and wonder if to take it or not.
Does a MT postediting constitute generally a threat to our future work if we now accept to do this kind of job (meaning to the entire translation community)?
Do we contribute somehow to decreasing the volume of workflow in the future?
Thank you in advance for your opinions.
Have a nice Sunday,

Milada


My standard response to these requests is "The translation you sent me is very poor, contains numerous errors, and is not presentable for any serious purpose. I would need, therefore, to do the whole translation again, beginning from the source text in the original language. If you want me to do that my standard rate is XXX. Please let me know".


ing. Milada Šejnohová
Robert Rietvelt
Clement Cheung
K. Isaac
Philip Lees
IanDhu
Olga-Translator
 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:02
English to French
Not necessarily a threat Feb 23

In my opinion, MT postediting isn't something good enough to be a threat. It works on very technical translations, but it wouldn't do any good on a creative text, where only a human can take many factors in consideration. MT postediting is just a new tool that has genuine advantages for a special kind of translation, so in itself it is not a threat, just something we have to adpat to. The only threat would rather come from agencies or clients, and how much they think they can underpay you since ... See more
In my opinion, MT postediting isn't something good enough to be a threat. It works on very technical translations, but it wouldn't do any good on a creative text, where only a human can take many factors in consideration. MT postediting is just a new tool that has genuine advantages for a special kind of translation, so in itself it is not a threat, just something we have to adpat to. The only threat would rather come from agencies or clients, and how much they think they can underpay you since "most of the job is already done".Collapse


Sheila Wilson
Joanna Posylek
Josephine Cassar
Agneta Pallinder
Philip Lees
Laura Kingdon
Philippe Etienne
 

ing. Milada Šejnohová
Czech Republic
Local time: 19:02
Member (2004)
English to Czech
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Feb 23

Tom and Jocelin,
I am now reading through this thread at https://www.proz.com/forum/post_editing_machine_translation/336130-post_editing_of_mt_and_mt_why_do_we_have_to_put_up_with_it.html and I quite agree with what is discussed there...


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:02
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
@Jocelin Feb 23

Jocelin Meunier wrote:

In my opinion, MT postediting isn't something good enough to be a threat. It works on very technical translations, but it wouldn't do any good on a creative text, where only a human can take many factors in consideration. MT postediting is just a new tool that has genuine advantages for a special kind of translation, so in itself it is not a threat, just something we have to adpat to. The only threat would rather come from agencies or clients, and how much they think they can underpay you since "most of the job is already done".


Tell the agencies!

Although in principle I agree with you, I think Tom is more realistic. If I see the rubbish I receive from them (not only technical, but all subjects), I fear they are going to use MT on everything (and if I please could make something readable out of it for peanuts. Hey, it is MT!).


Tom in London
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
PEMT is here to stay; to accept depends on you and your job Feb 23

I don't think it's worth us fighting MT per se. The "refuse new technology at all costs" attitude has always seemed a bit sad to me. Rather than desperately trying to hold onto the past, I personally prefer to look for a way to work with the present and the future, even though that gets more difficult as you age.

I would advise you to look carefully at the quality of this particular job. Is it doable as PEMT or does it really need to be redone from scratch? If it looks doable, then
... See more
I don't think it's worth us fighting MT per se. The "refuse new technology at all costs" attitude has always seemed a bit sad to me. Rather than desperately trying to hold onto the past, I personally prefer to look for a way to work with the present and the future, even though that gets more difficult as you age.

I would advise you to look carefully at the quality of this particular job. Is it doable as PEMT or does it really need to be redone from scratch? If it looks doable, then you need to consider how much you'd be paid per hour of your time. Of course the rate per word will be lower as it should be quicker, but there's no sense in working for less per hour than usual. Lastly, do you think you could do the job professionally, or would your work be compromised because you feel resentful, demeaned or bored?
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Wout Van den Broeck
Jan Truper
Gitte Hovedskov (X)
Laura Kingdon
 

Chiara Santoriello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:02
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
MTPE: a thread or not Feb 23

As far as I can see, MT is not widely required. I saw many requests a couple of years ago, now they are decreasing. That said, this means skipping one human step and spend more time on the review/editing. MTPE does not cut costs for the time being because one review/postediting step is not enough. MTPE is paid less than a translation but more than a review, and it requires an MTPE and a review step. At the end the cost is similar to the usual translation-revision flow.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:02
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Milada Feb 23

ing. Milada Šejnohová wrote:
Does a MT postediting constitute generally a threat to our future work...


The only way to form an opinion about that is to accept this and a few more PEMT tasks to see what you think about it.

There is definitely room for PEMT, though unfortunately PEMT'ed stuff are often of very poor quality (I mean, after editing), and this sort of translation should not be used for texts that will be read by the public or people who are not specialists in whatever field the translation is in. For example, product brochures should not be PEMT'ed but should be translated by humans who create translations that are best suited for the purpose.

I know the "E" part of PEMT is done by a human, but it is often done at a low rate by someone who is willing to work for a low rate, and so the quality suffers.


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Daniel Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:02
Member (2018)
German to English
+ ...
Depends how good the machine is and how long the editing takes Feb 23

I am generally happy to do MTPE work, but only if the MT output is so good that I can get through the job in half the time it would take me to do the whole document from scratch; I refuse to give clients re-translations at half rate because they're looking to cut corners. I would say MTPE is not a threat (yet), provided you can get it done quickly enough to keep your hourly rates up.

 

Chiara Santoriello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:02
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Unfortunately the situation is not the same for the Italian language Feb 23

I think that this depends also the language structure. For the italian language the machine does not recognize genders in some cases, or it cuts prepositions such as "della" writing de la. I also noticed that sometimes it wrongly translates words according to their similarities and it does not translate them according to the context. For example for "a pool of experts" I found "una piscina di esperti" meaning a swimming pool of experts. It might happen that some experts gather in a swimming pool... See more
I think that this depends also the language structure. For the italian language the machine does not recognize genders in some cases, or it cuts prepositions such as "della" writing de la. I also noticed that sometimes it wrongly translates words according to their similarities and it does not translate them according to the context. For example for "a pool of experts" I found "una piscina di esperti" meaning a swimming pool of experts. It might happen that some experts gather in a swimming pools but it was not my case.

Daniel Williams wrote:

I am generally happy to do MTPE work, but only if the MT output is so good that I can get through the job in half the time it would take me to do the whole document from scratch; I refuse to give clients re-translations at half rate because they're looking to cut corners. I would say MTPE is not a threat (yet), provided you can get it done quickly enough to keep your hourly rates up.
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Kay-Viktor Stegemann
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:02
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Language structure Feb 23

I agree with Chiara; in Italian, sentences and paragraphs can be constructed in a completely different way as compared to other languages, e.g. English. In my experience MT usually fails to recognise that. I also agree that MT does not understand masculine and feminine nouns and adjectives.

[Edited at 2020-02-23 22:00 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:02
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Google Translate is half clever nonetheless Feb 24

Tom in London wrote:
Ìn Italian, sentences and paragraphs can be constructed in a completely different way as compared to other languages, e.g. English.


In Afrikaans, there is a purist word order (which is very different from English) and there is a modern word order (which is similar to English, for simple sentences), and Google Translate somehow manages to get the purist word order right most of the time. In fact, since I often prefer to use the modern word order in my types of texts, I end up having to transpose more stuff than what Google Translate's engineers might have hoped to achieve.

On the other hand, the Google Translate believes that compound nouns in Afrikaans form in the same way as they do in Dutch, so I have to watch out for superfluous joining letters (Afrikaans "verblyfstatus", Dutch "verblijfsstatus", Google "verblyfsstatus"). However, this error shows that Google Translate forms compound nouns by rule, not by list, which does deserve some credit.

On topic again, unfortunately Afrikaans is a very forgiving language w.r.t. word order (or: various types of word orders are okay and will be understood by readers without any difficulty), so lazy editors of machine translation tend to leave such translations in a non-purist (and/or non-idiomatic) state as long as the translations still "make sense". This is fine for internal content, but for published content that will be consumed by the public, it's killing the language. It's not quite at the point where the only reader who will understand the translation is a reader who also understands the source language, but I can imagine that it might get to there eventually.



[Edited at 2020-02-24 06:56 GMT]


 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:02
English to French
@Robert Feb 24

Robert Rietvelt wrote:
I fear they are going to use MT on everything (and if I please could make something readable out of it for peanuts. Hey, it is MT!).


Oh don't worry, this is already the case. Not too long ago I had the coordinator of a subtitling agency telling me they're going to propose subtitling post-edit, after it went through automatic translation. And they mainly deal with series and movies, nothing technical. I am confident that this will be a disaster.


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

ing. Milada Šejnohová
Czech Republic
Local time: 19:02
Member (2004)
English to Czech
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Let's focus on trascreation Feb 24

I agree with Tom:
I recently post edited a text of a certain topic, but the machine translation did not take this topic into consideration and instead offered such a translation that was far distant from the original meaning of the source text. So, the PE took longer than a translation from scratch would do.
However, this new customer expects me to post-edit 500 words in 1 hour. Nevertheless, he says it takes usually longer at the beginning to finish the job.
I agree with Jocel
... See more
I agree with Tom:
I recently post edited a text of a certain topic, but the machine translation did not take this topic into consideration and instead offered such a translation that was far distant from the original meaning of the source text. So, the PE took longer than a translation from scratch would do.
However, this new customer expects me to post-edit 500 words in 1 hour. Nevertheless, he says it takes usually longer at the beginning to finish the job.
I agree with Jocelin:
With creative translations, transcreations you bypass the PEMT.
Collapse


 

Hamish Young  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 06:02
Member (2010)
Chinese to English
Same thing in Chinese Feb 25

I would say that Chinese has already reached the point where texts are being produced that are actually more understandable if you run them through Google Translate. I would not be surprised at all if you were to tell me that people are producing original Chinese texts by writing first in English and then machine translating them.

I recently translated a Chinese patent that consisted almost entirely of copied and pasted sections from related English-language patents online. The cont
... See more
I would say that Chinese has already reached the point where texts are being produced that are actually more understandable if you run them through Google Translate. I would not be surprised at all if you were to tell me that people are producing original Chinese texts by writing first in English and then machine translating them.

I recently translated a Chinese patent that consisted almost entirely of copied and pasted sections from related English-language patents online. The content had of course been translated into Chinese, but so poorly you can imagine it was a machine translation plus a very quick post editing. It resulted in a text that was really only decipherable by referring to Google translate and the original English sources, which were fortunately easy to find.


Samuel Murray wrote:

Tom in London wrote:
Ìn Italian, sentences and paragraphs can be constructed in a completely different way as compared to other languages, e.g. English.


In Afrikaans, there is a purist word order (which is very different from English) and there is a modern word order (which is similar to English, for simple sentences), and Google Translate somehow manages to get the purist word order right most of the time. In fact, since I often prefer to use the modern word order in my types of texts, I end up having to transpose more stuff than what Google Translate's engineers might have hoped to achieve.

On the other hand, the Google Translate believes that compound nouns in Afrikaans form in the same way as they do in Dutch, so I have to watch out for superfluous joining letters (Afrikaans "verblyfstatus", Dutch "verblijfsstatus", Google "verblyfsstatus"). However, this error shows that Google Translate forms compound nouns by rule, not by list, which does deserve some credit.

On topic again, unfortunately Afrikaans is a very forgiving language w.r.t. word order (or: various types of word orders are okay and will be understood by readers without any difficulty), so lazy editors of machine translation tend to leave such translations in a non-purist (and/or non-idiomatic) state as long as the translations still "make sense". This is fine for internal content, but for published content that will be consumed by the public, it's killing the language. It's not quite at the point where the only reader who will understand the translation is a reader who also understands the source language, but I can imagine that it might get to there eventually.



[Edited at 2020-02-24 06:56 GMT]
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