Machine Translation, in particular in the form of free online translations, has been one of the favorite translators’ jokes for quite some time.
But things are changing now, and after many years of ignorance, then scepticism of MT, I must confess I am now slowly but surely edging towards becoming an MT zealot.
Jeff Allen has provided abundant proof that after adequate post-editing (postediting), a “translator using MT produces approximately three times more in a day than the average translator without MT”. Of course to be a good post-editor, you must first be an excellent translator, which means perfect linguistic competency, supreme cultural fluency and sound subject matter expertise.
Here is Jeff Allen’s conclusion after an experiment with MT PE (Machine Translation Postediting): “An average human translator would normally produce 2400 words per day and thus take 3-4 days to translate this translation product job (nearly 8400 words) from scratch. This implementation shows that a fully bilingual subject matter expert, with professional translation experience, combined with excellent mastery of a commercial MT system, can complete the entire translation workflow of the translation job in slightly more than 1 day of work. This clearly shows, for this specific language direction, and on a given MT commercial tool, that the results obtained on production documents by such an individual can attain production rates that are 25%-30% of the time necessary and expected via traditional translation methods.”
Lorena Guerra is another pioneer of the MT PE model. Her master’s thesis at Dublin City University in 2003 was on the subject of comparing human translation with Machine Translation and postediting. Using the ME PE method, she recorded productivity increases of 60% to 70%, even on marketing texts. Lorena Guerra has now started her own ME PE company: Euromix.
A German company, Delta, located in Bonn has been specialized in this field for years.
All this has put the final nail in the coffin of my scepticism
You can find more info on this topic by visiting the following links (If a link doesn’t work, just copy and paste it in your browser address):
You can also take a look at John Yunker’s “Global by Design” blog, specially the article: “The End of Translation As We Know It” ( http://www.globalbydesign.com/blog/2007/11/30/the-end-of-translation-as-we-know-it)
Says Jeff Allen: “The translation and localization industry at large does not like MT technology. MT is regarded as a threat rather than an opportunity.”
Now, I urge you to consider this as a great opportunity: you can still embrace a brilliant postediting career. All it takes is “perfect linguistic competency, supreme cultural fluency and sound subject matter expertise.”
What do you say?
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