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Basic principles for Post-editing Machine Translations

Can someone give me some basic principles for post-editing machine translations?


Where to stop?


"Lucrative work"... I often hear this expression from some translators, but I wonder if there are still lucrative translation jobs around nowadays.


I remember, when I started this career more than twenty years ago there were indeed many lucrative jobs to choose from, not only because translation rates were higher at that time and competition between translators and agencies was not at today's level, but also because CAT tools were not widely used yet and PEMT was still a thing to come. But now? "Lucrative" jobs were things that allowed a translator to support a whole family. Do you think this is still possible thanks to this beautiful MT idea?


When I look back at those golden times and see our oldest invoices, I can only recognize that we are now working more to earn much less. It is true that we (me and my wife) cannot really boast a niche specialization among our many working fields, but I suspect that MT is going to take away some euros from those specialized translators too who claim that their income has not been decreasing at all.


In other words, young translators have plenty of translation-related resources available which we didn't use to have, and if they are not too bad and do their work diligently, they can do acceptable translations at a much lower rate than "veteran" translators. Or am I wrong?

 


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I saw your post and actually wanted to advice to never accept post-editing :) (But that would be an uninvited advice.) 


This is a trick to decrease our rates. I send all such offers straight to the bin.


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Thanks, I see :)


PEMT is something completely different than translating.


Agree.


It can be quite a heavy mental load.


I can guess it is, given how painful it is just to read the MT output. And with PEMT, instead of just translating the text right the first time, I would need to assess whether it is not too bad or whole crap — at every segment.


It's information about what's happening out there in the real world.


The "industry" representatives might be excited to be able to shave some more percents off our pay and thus they present PEMT as "real world" developments. They popularize it by webinars and conference presentations. Sometimes the whole conferences are filled with MT presentations and nothing else. Agencies would be happy to make new translators believe that they have no other choice but accept PEMT as the new reality. This approach is a red flag to me, even more than "fuzzy matches", hence quite emotional statements.


Whether it is something that you would like to offer, could depend on the earnings per working hour, in combination with the activity / mental load.


It's a no-go area for me. No compensation would be fair enough. But everyone decides for themselves.


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The "industry" representatives might be excited to be able to shave some more percents off our pay and thus they present PEMT as "real world" developments. They popularize it by webinars and conference presentations. Sometimes the whole conferences are filled with MT presentations and nothing else. Agencies would be happy to make new translators believe that they have no other choice but accept PEMT as the new reality. This approach is a red flag to me, even more than "fuzzy matches", hence quite emotional statements.


Yes. I can understand that and I agree.


It's a no-go area for me. No compensation would be fair enough. But everyone decides for themselves.


For me it's too early to say that it's a no-go area. But I'm extremely sceptical too. I think that both the Corona pandemic and PEMT will have very negative effects on our incomes.


The short example texts I translated for Amazon yesterday were simple product descriptions. It's very boring to translate them yourself. I guess that MT will get better and better here.


At the moment I'm translating manuals for very nice agricultural machinery. These manuals (don't let the client hear this ...) are written very badly. There's no way that MT will ever by able to translate this correctly and consistently (which, of course, is a subset of correctness ;) ).


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So, hopefully there will stay enough, pleasant and lucrative work for us ...


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Seems like this important topic doesn't interest other users of CafeTran Espresso, or at least, nobody bothers to discuss it.


Not a problem.


image


De roepende in de woestijn.

BTW, not much of interaction about this topic on Proz, either. Whereas in the Dutch Translators' Coffee Corner a vivid discussion followed. 

Mario, I agree to nearly everything in your post. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights!


On the other hand: I experience that there is still enough work to make a living as a fulltime translator at the moment. 

BTW: Of course this is my personal opinion, but I experience more and more that the only way to make profit in this business is to be super efficient and use the smartest tools.


Hence my commitment to CafeTran Espresso ;).

Customers are increasingly asking to offer PEMT, where Interactive MT or On-The-Fly MT is a much more sensible choice:


(1) With IMT you can use your own glossary of preferred terms. This ensures consistency and the use of the correct technical terms.

(2) IMT allows automatic conversion of punctuation marks (quotes, dashes, etc.) to your favorite punctuation marks.

(3) IMT does not suffer from interfering markup (tags) in the middle of words, translating words into parts and glueing the results together–resulting in nonsensical translations.

(4) With IMT, you benefit from previously translated segments: in subsequent segments you do not have to 'set things straight' for the umptieth time. Towards the end of the project, your amount of work decreases, especially if you feed your glossary along the way.

(5) With IMT you can have multiple MT systems make suggestions in parallel and choose the best.

(6) ...


I think that CafeTran Espresso is very well suited for IMT :).

This is what Amazon expects you 2DO:


This task is about making the necessary changes to the text provided to improve general comprehension, clarity and accuracy for the customer, rather than focusing on stylistic concerns. Please correct issues with grammar, punctuation and wrong terms, but do not ignore or erase the Machine Translated output – rather you should maximize its usage. Do not replace words with synonyms or make alterations for the sake of variation alone. Some repetitions may occur in the target text, feel free to remove them if needed to ensure better comprehension of the product description.

I send all such offers straight to the bin.


Unless they are ready to pay the full translation rate.

Thanks for your advice :).


The fact that I post this here, is not because I engage in PEMT. It's information about what's happening out there in the real world.


PEMT is something completely different than translating. It can be quite a heavy mental load.


Whether it is something that you would like to offer, could depend on the earnings per working hour, in combination with the activity / mental load.

Unless they are ready to pay the full translation rate.


I guess they aren't.

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