Absolutely unbelievable (post-editing complex legal documents @ 0,02 EUR/trgt word; rush job)
Thread poster: Michael Beijer

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:32
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sep 3, 2015

Just received this email:

"Dear Linguist,

My name is XXX. I am a project manager at XXX in Amsterdam.

We are in need of a quick and extensive Dutch to English post-editing job of machine translation of an oral pleading.

The court hearing will take place on XXX XXX XXX 20XX. The pleadings will start at XXX GMT. Our Client will have a workable document ready to be sent by email at XXX GMT. We should receive the file after machine tran
... See more
Just received this email:

"Dear Linguist,

My name is XXX. I am a project manager at XXX in Amsterdam.

We are in need of a quick and extensive Dutch to English post-editing job of machine translation of an oral pleading.

The court hearing will take place on XXX XXX XXX 20XX. The pleadings will start at XXX GMT. Our Client will have a workable document ready to be sent by email at XXX GMT. We should receive the file after machine translation around XXX.

We will need a post-edited file by XXX GMT that same Monday.

Please note that our Client estimates the Appellants’ pleading notes will comprise around 50 pages and have a count of approximately 22.500 words. Since the given amount of time is not so big, we are thinking of sending the file to several post-editors, which means that you will receive approximately 12 to 17 pages. We would like to pay 0,02 EUR/target words.

It is a complicated legal case – in short – the civil liability of all parties involved (e.g. shareholders, managers, board etc.) in the bankruptcy of a joint venture in XXX industry.

We would be grateful to receive response from you preferably within one hour, so we can contact another linguist in case of unavailability from your side.

met vriendelijke groet/with kind regards,

XXX
Project Manager"


:O !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Edited at 2015-09-03 14:17 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-09-03 15:38 GMT]
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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Facepalm Sep 3, 2015

... words fail me (that'll be 6 cents , please)...

 

texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:32
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Stars & Wishes Sep 3, 2015


"Dear Linguist,

[…] quick and extensive […] post-editing job of machine translation of an oral pleading. […] We will need a post-edited file by XXX GMT that same day. Please note that […] around 50 pages […] complicated legal case – in short – the civil liability of all parties involved (e.g. shareholders, managers, board etc.) in the bankruptcy of a joint venture [yada yada...]


Oops! Almost forgot to mention:


We would like to pay 0,02 EUR/target words.


Oh, those silly wishes…

We all have them, don’t we? Personally, I’d like to pay $50.00 for a pair of Christian Louboutin…



[Edited at 2015-09-03 16:07 GMT]


 

Louise TAYLOR  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:32
French to English
Post edtiting? Sep 3, 2015

Last time I translated -

post-editing job of machine translation


it became

"translating"


 

Justin Trumain
United States
Local time: 19:32
Portuguese to English
+ ...
In my opinion... Sep 3, 2015

... (low-paid) post editing is one of the most dangerous inventions since the atomic bomb.

The reason is that there is this strange implied notion that translators should be paid less for post editing. In fact, post-editing (when done correctly) often takes more time because you have to be careful not to unwittingly skip over a mistake made by the computer. The agencies who sell clients this service have no idea what is going on.

The "translators" who accept these low-p
... See more
... (low-paid) post editing is one of the most dangerous inventions since the atomic bomb.

The reason is that there is this strange implied notion that translators should be paid less for post editing. In fact, post-editing (when done correctly) often takes more time because you have to be careful not to unwittingly skip over a mistake made by the computer. The agencies who sell clients this service have no idea what is going on.

The "translators" who accept these low-paying jobs are not paid enough to care or enough to take the time to read the source language text. At best, they simply skim the post-edited output, looking for anything that is ungrammatical or that doesn't make sense and skip over the rest.

As anyone knows, MT can produce a lot of sentences and phrases that seem perfectly grammatical and plausible given the context, but that nevertheless are not an accurate translation (and sometimes say the opposite or something completely unrelated).

I have noticed that a lot of low-paying automated portals attempt to circumvent this problem by paying other "translators" or language managers an additional pittance to edit or review work, unaware that there is a tacit agreement amongst their "members" to just give everyone a passing grade in order to avoid getting involved in disputes and to ensure that their own work is also "approved".

If you are an insurance company writing policies for these agencies, you'd better raise your rates by 1000% because it doesn't take a genius to figure out that a very big lawsuit is coming.

Once again the problem is client education. Was the law firm informed that for a rush .04-a-word complicated legal job, they would receive completely useless and unreliable garbage and they would be better off shredding a dictionary and pasting it back together randomly? Probably not.

[Edited at 2015-09-03 16:45 GMT]
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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:32
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Legal fees Sep 3, 2015

I wonder how much the agency's lawyers will charge to defend them for the subsequent professional liability suit?

"We would like to pay lawyers 0,02 EUR per word to defend us in court..."


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:32
Chinese to English
Who would wind up paying? Sep 3, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:



If you are an insurance company writing policies for these agencies, you'd better raise your rates by 1000% because it doesn't take a genius to figure out that a very big lawsuit is coming.



[Edited at 2015-09-03 16:45 GMT]


It would fascinating to know how such a lawsuit would go. I'm assuming the agency has a cookie-cutter Master Agreement they have all translators sign that puts liability for mistakes squarely on the shoulders of the translator. However, I'd also imagine there is some level of incompetence/negligence on the part of the agency beyond which a judge would be willing to throw out the agreement and toss things back onto the agency.


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:32
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
MT potential is rising Sep 3, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

As anyone knows, MT can produce a lot of sentences and phrases that seem perfectly grammatical and plausible given the context, but that nevertheless are not an accurate translation (and sometimes say the opposite or something completely unrelated).

Once again the problem is client education. Was the law firm informed that for a rush .04-a-word complicated legal job, they would receive completely useless and unreliable garbage and they would be better off shredding a dictionary and pasting it back together randomly? Probably not.

[Edited at 2015-09-03 16:45 GMT]


Clients believe MT is going to command better language service providers but clients lack knowledge of how translation processes go.
I have similar cases but medical translation were finally denied by the end user who prefers to read the non-localized version texts, even in MT format!!!

Soonthon L.


 

Michael J.H. Davies  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:32
Member (2009)
English to Danish
+ ...
"pay peanuts and you get monkeys" (a favourite quote of my long departed dad) Sep 4, 2015

My usual response to enquiries such as this is to suggest that the agency find a translator in e.g. China or India who may be willing to work for such low rates since it is way below the going rate for a professional translator in this part of the world (Europe).

For post-editing or proof reading, I invariably offer a per hour rate since the time required is highly dependent upon the quality of the source text.

The only way we professional translators can combat this ki
... See more
My usual response to enquiries such as this is to suggest that the agency find a translator in e.g. China or India who may be willing to work for such low rates since it is way below the going rate for a professional translator in this part of the world (Europe).

For post-editing or proof reading, I invariably offer a per hour rate since the time required is highly dependent upon the quality of the source text.

The only way we professional translators can combat this kind of attempt to undermine our earnings (which are not high to begin with) is to stand together and refuse to accept such laughable rates.
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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:32
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Is there any translator in your language pair in those countries? Sep 4, 2015

Michael J.H. Davies wrote:

in e.g. China or India who may be willing to work for such low rates since it is way below the going rate for a professional translator in this part of the world (Europe).



 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:32
Serbian to English
+ ...
if the accepted wisdom is Sep 4, 2015

that such "offers" are a legitimate attempt at penny-pinching (sorry, cost optimization), then it's surely also perfectly acceptable to give them a piece of your mind, assuming you don't prefer to just ignore them.

I would ask them for the audio file and its transcript, and offer them a reasonable rate for translating, so that they have an opportunity to be reminded how it should be done - (you never know, it might stick ...)


 

Wojciech_ (X)
Poland
Local time: 01:32
English to Polish
+ ...
One more thing... Sep 9, 2015

Notice, that there's a new profession, supposedly - namely post-editors.
I was also once offered such a job by a Hongkong-based agency, but declined.


 


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Absolutely unbelievable (post-editing complex legal documents @ 0,02 EUR/trgt word; rush job)

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