Getting help with a MT system

  By: Sofiane Madani

Volumes of material to be translated are consistently increasing, cost too, and translators are consequently suffering from fatigue and stress-related illness because of working long hours and pressure. Clients are always looking for lower translation prices, because all their other production costs are increasing and they need to cut somewhere in their budget. Automation and machines have always been an effective solution for various industries. Without robots and machines many industries would never be what they are today, the translation industry is also seeking new technological innovations to improve.

Machine Translation systems have always been at the centre of the translation’s industry research and the reason is simple: automation will help clients with a fast and less costly service and the provider with the capacity to handle more volumes and increase output. Even with grossly decreased prices, the provider will still get high profits with machines. Technology evolution is allowing more and more the use of Machine Translation which has been widely tested and accepted in the language service industry. We are getting better results with technical texts where nuances are less present and the style is more direct. In this type of texts the output is generally deemed decent and needing a minimum of edits. The MT experts are combining translation engines with translation memories and glossaries databases to improve the translation, but the final text still needs light editing and proofing at the end of the process by a human translator. This technology is not used at random with any text, the translation engine is tailored to a specific field or organization and used only with specialized texts, and the translation memories as well as the glossaries are also specific to the area concerned.

An individual translator cannot translate more than 3,000 words a day, and depending on the difficulty of the texts this output can be a little higher or lower. However, it is possible to edit up to 8,000 words translated by a tailored Machine Translation system supported by translation memories and glossaries. The outcome is no doubt attractive and cost-effective when the editing is reduced to the minimum. Many translators cannot translate this amount of words even in a week. This option is also interesting for end-users who are always looking for faster turnarounds and reduced prices.

This solution might also be conceivable for freelancers who are facing lower prices and tight deadlines issues, if they are able to use these systems adequately and deliver edited and well proofed documents. Translation agencies already offer dedicated platforms for their clients who are willing to run this risk and use a tailored translation engine and edit the output. Clients will register online, so that the specific resources, TMs and glossaries, can be allocated in the Machine Translation process. The benefits are: extremely low prices and faster turnarounds even when we add time for the editing.

Technology achievements in Machine Translation technology have not yet reached a level that will make the human intervention a needless task, the human translator is still at the centre of the process. However, the translation business is more technology-oriented and depends heavily on the economy, so getting help with a MT system is sometimes not a bad idea.

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