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"Proofreading" you say?
Thread poster: Lily von Wielligh

Lily von Wielligh
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:13
Member (Jun 2020)
English to Russian
+ ...
Jul 9

Dear bright minds! Please advise. I encounter more and more ads, even on ProZ, that recruit "machine translation editors". In other words, the agency puts a translation through CAT and then hires a translator to "proofread" the outcome, while offering them a proofreading rate. The "proofreading" entails that you do deep comparison of source and target (produced by machine), perform general language editing, re-create abbreviations (as machines cannot do that), format and present a neat shiny pro... See more
Dear bright minds! Please advise. I encounter more and more ads, even on ProZ, that recruit "machine translation editors". In other words, the agency puts a translation through CAT and then hires a translator to "proofread" the outcome, while offering them a proofreading rate. The "proofreading" entails that you do deep comparison of source and target (produced by machine), perform general language editing, re-create abbreviations (as machines cannot do that), format and present a neat shiny product. Am I the only one who thinks it's highly unethical and, in fact, is abuse of a professional service? Paying proofreading rates for translation skills? Do any of you, clever people, take such jobs? I personally think such offers must be banned from ProZCollapse


Tom in London
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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:13
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Proofreading MT Jul 9

An excellent way of getting a perfect translation for peanuts.

If anyone does accept MTPE jobs, they should always charge by the hour and not accept a few cents for proofreading. Agencies will of course not start offering rates that reflect the actual amount of work required in order to deliver a perfect translation. Therefore, the only education a translator could provide would be to do only the work they are paid for. In other words, just provide the correction of spelling mistake
... See more
An excellent way of getting a perfect translation for peanuts.

If anyone does accept MTPE jobs, they should always charge by the hour and not accept a few cents for proofreading. Agencies will of course not start offering rates that reflect the actual amount of work required in order to deliver a perfect translation. Therefore, the only education a translator could provide would be to do only the work they are paid for. In other words, just provide the correction of spelling mistakes. This would return a mediocre translation to the agency. Unfortunately, no professional translator of good standing would deliver such a document.

So you can only let the customer know how much work is actually involved and get the proper payment for it, or not accept MTPE at all.
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Vera Schoen
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Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:13
English to Arabic
+ ...
twofold scheme Jul 9

It's not just about cheap-purchase and expensive-sale of such MT-editing translation service, it's also about training and progressing the accuracy of that MT to eventually replace the very human translators who were helping these efforts.

Tom in London
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:13
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Lily Jul 9

Lily von Wielligh wrote:
I encounter more and more advertisements, even on ProZ.com, that recruit "machine translation editors". In other words, the agency puts a translation through [machine translation] and then hires a translator to "proofread" the outcome, while offering them a proofreading rate.


Yes, this represents a misunderstanding of what machine translated assisted translation or machine translation editing is. MTPE should be paid a per-word rate similar to that of normal translation, or it should be paid per hour. If the client doesn't require that the translator stick as close to the machine translation as possible, then the per-word rate can be even lower, but certainly not as low as a proofreading rate.

Am I the only one who thinks it's highly unethical and, in fact, is abuse of a professional service? Paying proofreading rates for translation skills?


I don't think it is unethical for a client to offer a translator a rate that the translator is willing to accept. Translators who accept these types of jobs should be aware that these are not simply proofreading jobs but rather a type of assisted translation, and they should evaluate the rate offered by the client in the same way as they would evaluate a translation offer.

I personally think such offers must be banned from ProZ.com.


MTPE is a legitimate service, and it can pay poorly or well depending on the client. Calling it a type of "editing" is also not inaccurate, in my opinion, although I understand that newbie translators may burn their fingers with the first job or two if they don't realise that "machine translation editing" is a completely different type of task from "human translation editing".


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:13
Member (2008)
Italian to English
trans Jul 9

Lily von Wielligh wrote:

......Paying proofreading rates for translation skills....


Anyone who has ever done this knows that to correct a machine-translated text you have to actually re-translate the whole thing. Only a fool would accept work of this kind and yet these job offers continue to appear. There must be a lot of fools in our profession.

[Edited at 2020-07-09 08:06 GMT]


Florian Stauber
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Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 09:13
Member (2016)
English to German
Proofreading is always monolingual Jul 9

I think that we should be crystal clear on the term "proofreading": It means the checking of the target text only. Proofreading includes checking of spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting, and style (based on a style guide, if applicable). That's all. If a task includes any reference to the source text, it is not proofreading.

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I think that we should be crystal clear on the term "proofreading": It means the checking of the target text only. Proofreading includes checking of spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting, and style (based on a style guide, if applicable). That's all. If a task includes any reference to the source text, it is not proofreading.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proofreading#An_example_table_of_distinctions_between_different_services:_editing,_copy-editing,_proof-editing_and_proofreading

This distinction will become more important since machine translation output contains fewer grammar errors than before, so that it "looks fine" on first sight, while actual mistranslations are more difficult to find since the more fluent language can be very deceiving. You can proofread MT results and the result of your proofreading should be impeccably fluent, but proofreading is not about checking against the source.
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Lily von Wielligh
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:13
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What proofreading is Jul 9

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
I think that we should be crystal clear on the term "proofreading"...


Despite die-hard attempts to define the terms "editing" and "proofreading" to mean just one thing, the fact is that both clients and translators use these terms for a wide variety of things, and being stubborn about it won't really help anyone.

When translators and translation clients use the word "proofreading", it usually means something bilingual, and that is perfectly all right. There is no "rule" that editing and proofreading can only ever be monolingual. It's a very small step to take the Sfep's definition of "proofreading" and apply it to situations in which the "proofreader" has one additional task, namely that of checking the translated version against the original version while doing all the other things that a "proofreader" normally does.

There is nothing on the Wikipedia page about Proofreading that suggests that proofreading can only ever be monolingual. Simply take whatever is written in that table and add one extra line, namely: while editing and proofreading, ensure that the edited or proofread version remains an accurate translation, and if it aint, then fix it.

[Edited at 2020-07-09 09:29 GMT]


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2005)
Italian to English
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PEMT Jul 9

I was very wary when offered PEMT jobs in Memsource by an old client in May who has just started using this system, and actually asked them if I could do a free test run before doing a real job both because of the chosen CAT tool and the way the PO is calculated.

Basically anything not in the TM is run through MT so there are no "No matches" and after the job is done Memsource calculates how much you edited/changed the MT segments and re-calculates them as a perfect, fuzzy or no mat
... See more
I was very wary when offered PEMT jobs in Memsource by an old client in May who has just started using this system, and actually asked them if I could do a free test run before doing a real job both because of the chosen CAT tool and the way the PO is calculated.

Basically anything not in the TM is run through MT so there are no "No matches" and after the job is done Memsource calculates how much you edited/changed the MT segments and re-calculates them as a perfect, fuzzy or no match.

To me this sounded like a way to get the job done on the cheap so I was curious to see what the price would be.

The MT is supposed to be pretty good, which was one of the reasons I accepted, but it's output is still clunky at best unless it's really simple stuff and most of it needs editing, re-writing like a human would write. It definitely needs checking more carefully than human translation as it can make stupid mistakes, things that look OK at a glance, things that maybe a new translator might miss.

So far all the jobs calculated this way have paid pretty much what they would have if calculated at normal CAT rates without MT so for me this seems like an intelligent way to use MT, if you really want to use it.



[Edited at 2020-07-09 09:55 GMT]
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Philippe Etienne
 

Florian Stauber  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 09:13
Member (2009)
Japanese to French
+ ...
MTPE charged at a proofreading rate is indeed abuse of a professional service Jul 9

Last summer, some agency asked me to take MTPE jobs at 50% of my translation rate, on the grounds that their NMT-based technology was producing 'unparalleled output', and that I would benefit from a high productivity gain (the usual false argument to put pressure on costs). I told them I would only accept MTPE tasks at an hourly rate, which they rejected, so I ended up moving away from them. I personally believe we should all decline MTPE offers paid on a per-word rate basis.

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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 09:13
German to Swedish
+ ...
Monolingual gibberish Jul 9

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

I think that we should be crystal clear on the term "proofreading": It means the checking of the target text only.


Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
the result of your proofreading should be impeccably fluent


Those two don't go well together if the text is gibberish. It's impossible to proofread MT without looking at the source text.


 

Lily von Wielligh
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:13
Member (Jun 2020)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What would the hourly rate be then? Jul 9

Thank you everyone for all your insight, I'm glad to see that most of you agree with my viewpoint. May I ask, what would the appropriate hourly rate be then? I know it's tricky to give precise figures, but what would be the estimation? Let's say, what would YOU ask for it? Sorry for a lot of questions, I'm new in this commnity and trying to find my feet

 

Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:13
English to Arabic
+ ...
rate would be Jul 9

Twice the rate I would charge for that specific translation, each and every time.

Why? Because, I would not only be translating, I would also be educating, and educating my very own replacement to say the least.


 

Stepan Konev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 10:13
English to Russian
Proofreading is always monolingual Jul 10

Joakim Braun wrote:
It's impossible to proofread MT without looking at the source text.

If you 'proofread MT', you don't proofread. You do something else but not proofreading.


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:13
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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@Lily Jul 10

Lily von Wielligh wrote:
May I ask, what would the appropriate hourly rate be then?


If you have different hourly rates for different difficulties of tasks, then machine translation assisted translation can be charged towards the lower end of the scale. MTPE isn't particularly difficult or taxing on the mind, nor would you need frequent breaks, nor would you be so tired after several hours that you can't function properly.

[Edited at 2020-07-10 05:12 GMT]


 

Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
@Samuel Jul 10

Samuel Murray wrote:

MTPE isn't particularly difficult or taxing on the mind, nor would you need frequent breaks, nor would you be so tired after several hours that you can't function properly.


This is strictly your personal opinion, right?

I’m sorry to disagree. I experience PEMT to be a doubled cognitive load, since I not only have to compare the source segments with my optimal translation, but also with the suggested MT suggestion.


Lily von Wielligh
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Philippe Etienne
Florian Stauber
Kay-Viktor Stegemann
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