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14 Feb Post-editing and Document Translation Services

Post-editing and Document Translation Services by Planet VeritasThere has been great progress in machine translation (MT) in the past few years, and programmes such as Google Translate have rapidly developed, but it is still a very hotly contested method of providing document translation services to clients.

What is post-editing?
Post-editing describes the act of editing, or in some cases, rewriting the translation of documents that has been produced by a translation programme.

There are several companies that provide this service, such as SYSTRAN, Google Translate, Babel Fish and Worldlingo, and the process is used by many providers of document translation services, but there has always been an issue surrounding just how much post-editing needs to be done.

 

Isn’t MT just as good as a human translator?
MT is most certainly not as ‘good’ as a human translator, as no machine exhibiting complete grammatical perfection can recognise the subtleties and connotations attached to certain contexts. This is illustrated perfectly in Grice’s idea of conversational implicature, discussed in his work Studies in the Way of Words.

The principle here is that a listener would pick up ‘hidden’ meaning in what the speaker had said. For example, if my boyfriend was an hour late getting home for dinner, and I said “do you know what time it is?!” his reply would most likely not be “yes”. This is because, unless he was being sarcastic (not advised!), he would recognise that the question was inferring that an explanation, or indeed apology, is required!

Although document translation services are no doubt carried out by companies who use MT and post-editing, the levels of required time and effort are arguably too high at this time for the process to be efficient.

Are there any MT advocates out there? Are there certain situations where you find it easier to post-edit? Please do give us an insight into how and why it works (or doesn’t work) for you.

For more information about how Planet Veritas can help your business, take a look at our document translation services page.Post-editing and Document Translation Services by Planet Veritas
There has been great progress in machine translation (MT) in the past few years, and programmes such as Google Translate have rapidly developed, but it is still a very hotly contested method of providing document translation services to clients.

What is post-editing?
Post-editing describes the act of editing, or in some cases, rewriting the translation of documents that has been produced by a translation programme. There are several companies that provide this service, such as SYSTRAN, Google Translate, Babel Fish and Worldlingo, and the process is used by many providers of document translation services, but there has always been an issue surrounding just how much post-editing needs to be done.

Isn’t MT just as good as a human translator?
MT is most certainly not as ‘good’ as a human translator, as no machine exhibiting complete grammatical perfection can recognise the subtleties and connotations attached to certain contexts. This is illustrated perfectly in Grice’s idea of conversational implicature, discussed in his work Studies in the Way of Words.
The principle here is that a listener would pick up ‘hidden’ meaning in what the speaker had said. For example, if my boyfriend was an hour late getting home for dinner, and I said “do you know what time it is?!” his reply would most likely not be “yes”. This is because, unless he was being sarcastic (not advised!), he would recognise that the question was inferring that an explanation, or indeed apology, is required!

Although document translation services are no doubt carried out by companies who use MT and post-editing, the levels of required time and effort are arguably too high at this time for the process to be efficient.

Are there any MT advocates out there? Are there certain situations where you find it easier to post-edit? Please do give us an insight into how and why it works (or doesn’t work) for you.

For more information about how Planet Veritas can help your business, take a look at our document translation services page.

1Comment
  • Estrella Ruiz, Project Manager
    Posted at 16:53h, 15 February Reply

    Great article Megan. Personally I think this is a tricky issue, and as linguists, it’s our responsibility to know where the line is, and to be able to recognise that this method can be detrimental to the quality of the work.
    Some see post editing as being advantageous in terms of cost and the time spent producing the work, and there are actually some types of text, such as automated messages – e.g. confirming an online order, where it may be useful.

    However, there is also a big BUT: the quality is never going to be the same, and these tools are never going to be a substitute for professional human translation.

    Provided customers are aware of the above beforehand, then they will be free to choose their preferred service level. My main fear is that companies may play dirty to make a larger profit by selling post-edited machine translations as professional translations.

    This is definitely a very controversial issue, and I’m sure our readers will have their own opinions on it. Please share your thoughts with us!”

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A modern language services provider for a modern world
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