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Who is not using MT today?
Thread poster: Gary Evans

Gary Evans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:06
Member (2007)
German to English
Aug 13

Hi folks,

I've been testing machine translation tools for a while now. Considering how many CAT tools now have MT APIs, isn't the use of MT simply logical? So my question is: who is not using MT and why?

I'd be interested in some honest answers here!


 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 07:06
English to Polish
+ ...
Me, because I am not interested Aug 13

in MT

 

Fatih Serdar ÇITAK
Turkey
Local time: 08:06
English to Turkish
+ ...
I don't use MT Aug 13

Hello there. I think MTs are not to be relied upon, inasmuch as the fact that they most usually need and will need a post-editing still by a human hand. I do not see MT as the future-thief of our profession, because translation is not just about conveying the gist but the textuality, context, connotation, wordplays etc.

If we regard the translation as a diagram, we can name the margins as "Traditional Human Translation" with zero technology and "Fully Automated Computer Translation
... See more
Hello there. I think MTs are not to be relied upon, inasmuch as the fact that they most usually need and will need a post-editing still by a human hand. I do not see MT as the future-thief of our profession, because translation is not just about conveying the gist but the textuality, context, connotation, wordplays etc.

If we regard the translation as a diagram, we can name the margins as "Traditional Human Translation" with zero technology and "Fully Automated Computer Translation" with zero humans. We should not be a the margins but in the middle. I think using CAT tools is a perfect example of being in the middle. We benefit by computer technologies (i.e translation memories, termbases etc. in a dijital platform that may be harder to produce in a non-digital platform), but we should not fully rely upon MT or miscellaneous technologies and think that they will eventually take our jobs from us.

As most futuristic people think that MT will do that; I, on the other hand, think the various technologies will cause a natural selection in our industry. Then, not every person will be able to claim they are "able to translate" just because they "know the language", which will lead to an increase in quality of both translation products and processes. Translation will require much more complicated knowledge(both theoretically and technologically), which will culminate in more professional translators taking place in the industry.

Before I finish my comment, I would like give an example. Did the sector of agriculture end when the machinery was introduced in it? No, it did not. Instead, this development oriented amateur agriculturers into new job fields, opened new business areas and only people that could cope with machinery knowledge became prominent in agriculture. I do think that this will be the case in our industry as well, not exactly the same of course but similar.

Thank you for reading


Fatih Serdar Citak - An enthusiastic and eager translator.
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Olavo Nogueira
Liviu-Lee Roth
Luiz Almeida
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:06
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I have promised my clients not to use MT - and myself! Aug 13

I am not in principle opposed to MT any more. It is not going to go away, and it has its uses.

However, I have reached the point where this dog is too old to learn all the necessary tricks, and I strongly dislike PEMT. (I don't revise/edit/proofread much at all these days, apart from my own work.)

I think it may make a considerable difference which language pair MT is used on, and a great many other factors. I translate from Danish to English, and Denmark is an affluen
... See more
I am not in principle opposed to MT any more. It is not going to go away, and it has its uses.

However, I have reached the point where this dog is too old to learn all the necessary tricks, and I strongly dislike PEMT. (I don't revise/edit/proofread much at all these days, apart from my own work.)

I think it may make a considerable difference which language pair MT is used on, and a great many other factors. I translate from Danish to English, and Denmark is an affluent, highly digitised country with plenty of resources and research being carried out into developing AI, MT and robots in general.
There are huge volumes of material to train the engines on, and I have heard a colleague call the results 'frighteningly good'. Nevertheless, we still circulate howlers when we find them, and there are some basic problems that have not yet been solved.
Gender is one with Danish to English. Danish has gender-neutral pronouns and expressions, which call for occasionally tricky decisions when they are translated into English. For a human most become routine, but MT often gets them wrong.
Another is multi-element verbs. They do not work in the same way as German separable verbs, but when the elements are separated, MT may have difficulty in associating them (and so do inexperienced humans).
One example I heard went through variations of the verb slå - basically to beat, as in thrash, heartbeat and a range of other meanings.
slå [something] op = look something up, as in a dictionary or phone book
slå op med [e.g. a person] = break up a relationship
slå ud, slå an, slå til all mean completely different things, often depending on context.

Syntax… even in closely related languages like English and Danish.
And so on.

Admittedly some time ago now, I promised several of my clients that I will not use MT. It was originally for security reasons. They did hot want private and sensitive documents to end up in databases beyond their control in TM Town, Google Translate or anywhere else, even if they were supposedly fragmented beyond recognition.
Besides, I honestly find it easier and quicker to produce good results without MT.

I hope the market will settle into sections where MT is useful, and sections where only humans can really do the job. There will probably also be sections where humans interact with MT, preferably happily in time.

Personally, I aim for the human-only market, although I happily use Trados Studio with a lot of the offline bells and whistles, aka features, AutoSuggest and so on. That is as close as I go to MT!
All the input is mine or from trusted agencies and colleagues, and I really try to keep my TMs and databases up to date. I NEVER work online, except to link up with one specific client's server to use their TMs.

That is my viewpoint, and of course, I respect that others will work differently.
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Gary Evans
ahartje
Tanja Oresnik
Katalin Horváth McClure
Lidija Klemencic
Philippe Etienne
B D Finch
 

Gary Evans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:06
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
MT can be useful in new ways Aug 13

Hi Christine,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I mostly translate technical documents from German into English. The MT I use is frighteningly good to say the least. It does the bulk of the work, freeing me up to do the QA in the CAT programs I use. Of course a term base needs to be created and properly maintained. As for security, I use a machine translation tool which does not store anything, so that's not an issue.

I occasionally proofread other people's translation
... See more
Hi Christine,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I mostly translate technical documents from German into English. The MT I use is frighteningly good to say the least. It does the bulk of the work, freeing me up to do the QA in the CAT programs I use. Of course a term base needs to be created and properly maintained. As for security, I use a machine translation tool which does not store anything, so that's not an issue.

I occasionally proofread other people's translations. It's quite easy to spot if someone has used MT if they're not careful when proofreading it. The trick lies in getting this stage right. IMO pretty soon, MT will be as good as any translator in many language combinations when it comes to technical/legal translations. Poetry is another thing altogether. But AI isn't going to stop improving anytime soon, so we have to move with the times.

BTW. I've discovered a neat solution in one respect. I sometimes use MT to automatically translate whole documents in one go and then sit with the client as we proofread them together. The client pays an hourly rate and benefits from lower costs, plus they get English lessons at the same time. Quick and dirty you may think, but it works really well as it offers a different business model for me.

Kind regards,
Gary


Christine Andersen wrote:

I am not in principle opposed to MT any more. It is not going to go away, and it has its uses.

However, I have reached the point where this dog is too old to learn all the necessary tricks, and I strongly dislike PEMT. (I don't revise/edit/proofread much at all these days, apart from my own work.)

I think it may make a considerable difference which language pair MT is used on, and a great many other factors. I translate from Danish to English, and Denmark is an affluent, highly digitised country with plenty of resources and research being carried out into developing AI, MT and robots in general.
There are huge volumes of material to train the engines on, and I have heard a colleague call the results 'frighteningly good'. Nevertheless, we still circulate howlers when we find them, and there are some basic problems that have not yet been solved.
Gender is one with Danish to English. Danish has gender-neutral pronouns and expressions, which call for occasionally tricky decisions when they are translated into English. For a human most become routine, but MT often gets them wrong.
Another is multi-element verbs. They do not work in the same way as German separable verbs, but when the elements are separated, MT may have difficulty in associating them (and so do inexperienced humans).
One example I heard went through variations of the verb slå - basically to beat, as in thrash, heartbeat and a range of other meanings.
slå [something] op = look something up, as in a dictionary or phone book
slå op med [e.g. a person] = break up a relationship
slå ud, slå an, slå til all mean completely different things, often depending on context.

Syntax… even in closely related languages like English and Danish.
And so on.

Admittedly some time ago now, I promised several of my clients that I will not use MT. It was originally for security reasons. They did hot want private and sensitive documents to end up in databases beyond their control in TM Town, Google Translate or anywhere else, even if they were supposedly fragmented beyond recognition.
Besides, I honestly find it easier and quicker to produce good results without MT.

I hope the market will settle into sections where MT is useful, and sections where only humans can really do the job. There will probably also be sections where humans interact with MT, preferably happily in time.

Personally, I aim for the human-only market, although I happily use Trados Studio with a lot of the offline bells and whistles, aka features, AutoSuggest and so on. That is as close as I go to MT!
All the input is mine or from trusted agencies and colleagues, and I really try to keep my TMs and databases up to date. I NEVER work online, except to link up with one specific client's server to use their TMs.

That is my viewpoint, and of course, I respect that others will work differently.
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Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:06
Member (2018)
French to English
. Aug 13

Some of us don't even use CAT tools!

If you're doing technical translation, of course it makes sense to use a CAT tool and why not hook up MT with it, especially if you find it useful.

In my lines of business (art music fashion textiles cosmetics marketing...) I do need to be consistent with terminology but it's mostly well dinned into my head by now. Apart from the technical terminology, the most important talent is a beautiful writing style, which includes using orig
... See more
Some of us don't even use CAT tools!

If you're doing technical translation, of course it makes sense to use a CAT tool and why not hook up MT with it, especially if you find it useful.

In my lines of business (art music fashion textiles cosmetics marketing...) I do need to be consistent with terminology but it's mostly well dinned into my head by now. Apart from the technical terminology, the most important talent is a beautiful writing style, which includes using original turns of phrase, puns, poetic devices such as alliteration and metaphor, the ability to rewrite the same text in a way that will appeal more deeply to my readers.
MT won't help with any of that, just like CATs.
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Gary Evans
Kaspars Melkis
Christine Andersen
missdutch
Barbara Carrara
 

Gary Evans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:06
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
What happened to the agricultural sector? Aug 13

Hi Fatih,

Of course MT output needs to be post edited. Same goes with human translations, but MT is getting better and is much faster than us humans. And we're only just getting started! Nobody is considering dumping CAT tools anytime soon. In fact, CAT tools with integrated MT engines are now quite normal and commonly used across the industry. It's just that some translators are not admitting to using MT. It'S so useful, you'd be mad not to make use of it IMO.

Expect M
... See more
Hi Fatih,

Of course MT output needs to be post edited. Same goes with human translations, but MT is getting better and is much faster than us humans. And we're only just getting started! Nobody is considering dumping CAT tools anytime soon. In fact, CAT tools with integrated MT engines are now quite normal and commonly used across the industry. It's just that some translators are not admitting to using MT. It'S so useful, you'd be mad not to make use of it IMO.

Expect MT to be doing the bulk of translations in the near future and plan for this, or you'll probably be looking for work elsewhere in the future.

As for your parallel with agriculture, before industrialisation, most of the population (over90%) literally worked in the fields. Today only a tiny fraction of the population are farmers. The jobs have mostly been automated. They're gone. Those who are still in the industry are mostly supplying or using the tools for automation. Same goes for the translation industry. Sure, many will be post editing, but the grunt of the work will be automated. Of course there will be work translating hand-written documents and also translations into simple versions, but that's it.

Is this a good thing? Like with any disruptive new technology, the question we should be asking ourselves is what will it mean for us? Less boring typing I'd answer and more focusing on quality assurance instead. Personally, I'm preparing to find more work teaching, which is more fun than being chained to a desk all day.

Kind regards from Germany.


Fatih ÇITAK wrote:

Hello there. I think MTs are not to be relied upon, inasmuch as the fact that they most usually need and will need a post-editing still by a human hand. I do not see MT as the future-thief of our profession, because translation is not just about conveying the gist but the textuality, context, connotation, wordplays etc.

If we regard the translation as a diagram, we can name the margins as "Traditional Human Translation" with zero technology and "Fully Automated Computer Translation" with zero humans. We should not be a the margins but in the middle. I think using CAT tools is a perfect example of being in the middle. We benefit by computer technologies (i.e translation memories, termbases etc. in a dijital platform that may be harder to produce in a non-digital platform), but we should not fully rely upon MT or miscellaneous technologies and think that they will eventually take our jobs from us.

As most futuristic people think that MT will do that; I, on the other hand, think the various technologies will cause a natural selection in our industry. Then, not every person will be able to claim they are "able to translate" just because they "know the language", which will lead to an increase in quality of both translation products and processes. Translation will require much more complicated knowledge(both theoretically and technologically), which will culminate in more professional translators taking place in the industry.

Before I finish my comment, I would like give an example. Did the sector of agriculture end when the machinery was introduced in it? No, it did not. Instead, this development oriented amateur agriculturers into new job fields, opened new business areas and only people that could cope with machinery knowledge became prominent in agriculture. I do think that this will be the case in our industry as well, not exactly the same of course but similar.

Thank you for reading


Fatih Serdar Citak - An enthusiastic and eager translator.
Collapse


Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Richard Purdom
 

Gary Evans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:06
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
MT is not much cop at fashion I agree Aug 13

Hi Denney,

I tried and failed at translating fashion. It's really not my thing! MT is great for the bulk of documentation that's out there though.

The sort of translations I get are often horribly long technical reports, assessments, manuals etc. from a wide range of subjects. Idioms or the like hardly ever pop up. Doing the background research on the technology and terminology etc. forms a large part of my work while MT does a lot of the translating. I find I have to t
... See more
Hi Denney,

I tried and failed at translating fashion. It's really not my thing! MT is great for the bulk of documentation that's out there though.

The sort of translations I get are often horribly long technical reports, assessments, manuals etc. from a wide range of subjects. Idioms or the like hardly ever pop up. Doing the background research on the technology and terminology etc. forms a large part of my work while MT does a lot of the translating. I find I have to type a lot less, which is fine by me as I increasingly suffer from RSI due to many years of typing behind a desk.

That said, I need to take a break! Enjoy the creative world. You have quite a rosy future!



Kay Denney wrote:

Some of us don't even use CAT tools!

If you're doing technical translation, of course it makes sense to use a CAT tool and why not hook up MT with it, especially if you find it useful.

In my lines of business (art music fashion textiles cosmetics marketing...) I do need to be consistent with terminology but it's mostly well dinned into my head by now. Apart from the technical terminology, the most important talent is a beautiful writing style, which includes using original turns of phrase, puns, poetic devices such as alliteration and metaphor, the ability to rewrite the same text in a way that will appeal more deeply to my readers.
MT won't help with any of that, just like CATs.
Collapse


 

The Misha
Local time: 01:06
Russian to English
+ ...
You are extrapolating from your own experience... Aug 13

... assuming that everyone else is in the same boat. But we are not. Quite a few of us do not translate technical specifications or vacuum cleaner user guides. Indeed, like Kay mentioned above, there are plenty of jobs out there that require good writing skills and a certain finesse. It's a different kind of translation and a different market altogether.

Ever wondered why jewelers do not ordinarily use jackhammers?


Kaspars Melkis
Daryo
Tanja Oresnik
Katalin Horváth McClure
Michele Fauble
Liviu-Lee Roth
Jan Truper
 

Gary Evans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:06
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
We're all in the same ocean Aug 13

Hi,

Most translators use CAT tools as they increase productivity and consistency, plus many agencies demand it. The industry is huge and it's changing rapidly as MT becomes more established as a useful tool. Of course all translators need to have good writing skills. They are a fine instrument when used properly. Your jeweller analogy doesn't apply here.

Of course there will be work for translators in niche sectors (simple versions etc), but my question, which you didn'
... See more
Hi,

Most translators use CAT tools as they increase productivity and consistency, plus many agencies demand it. The industry is huge and it's changing rapidly as MT becomes more established as a useful tool. Of course all translators need to have good writing skills. They are a fine instrument when used properly. Your jeweller analogy doesn't apply here.

Of course there will be work for translators in niche sectors (simple versions etc), but my question, which you didn't address, is how many translators (who are using CAT tools if that helps), make use of MT? I reckon many are making use of MT without admitting it.



The Misha wrote:

... assuming that everyone else is in the same boat. But we are not. Quite a few of us do not translate technical specifications or vacuum cleaner user guides. Indeed, like Kay mentioned above, there are plenty of jobs out there that require good writing skills and a certain finesse. It's a different kind of translation and a different market altogether.

Ever wondered why jewelers do not ordinarily use jackhammers?
Collapse


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:06
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Confidentiality, rightly or wrongly Aug 13

Gary Evans wrote:
I've been testing machine translation tools for a while now. Considering how many CAT tools now have MT APIs, isn't the use of MT simply logical? So my question is: who is not using MT and why?

I am not dead set against the use of MT, but the limited tests I have conducted in my pair and field of specialization suggest that it isn't that useful, as it required me to perform a lot of editing. It didn't feel to me as if I was getting any improvement in productivity.

A year or so back, I was talking to the person who was heading up the internal MT effort at a very large Tokyo agency, and they told me straight out that their results had been poor, and not remotely ready for deployment.

For gisting MT may be useful, but for my pair it doesn't seem suitable for output that is bound for a formal publishing process. Maybe this will change.

More importantly, my clients are concerned about the misuse of (often confidential) data by MT services to the point that the majority of them explicitly forbid its use.

Regards,
Dan

[Edited at 2019-08-13 16:26 GMT]


Katalin Horváth McClure
Kaspars Melkis
Liviu-Lee Roth
Daniel Williams
Christine Andersen
Ekaterina Yakushcheva
Tom Hoar
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
A false friend / a bad disservice Aug 13

While a tailored MT may give a proper general idea, serving as a typing timesaver, for (A) serious/sensitive papers and (B) high responsibility works I use neither CATs nor MT, because even (i) 100% matches or (ii) likely grammatically correct sentences still often require both double-checking and restyling.

[Edited at 2019-08-13 16:46 GMT]


Daryo
Ekaterina Yakushcheva
Tom Hoar
 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:06
Serbian to English
+ ...
Are you aware of your own fallacies? Aug 13

Gary Evans wrote:

Hi Fatih,

Of course MT output needs to be post edited. Same goes with human translations, but MT is getting better and is much faster than us humans. And we're only just getting started! Nobody is considering dumping CAT tools anytime soon. In fact, CAT tools with integrated MT engines are now quite normal and commonly used across the industry. It's just that some translators are not admitting to using MT. It'S so useful, you'd be mad not to make use of it IMO.

Expect MT to be doing the bulk of translations in the near future and plan for this, or you'll probably be looking for work elsewhere in the future.

...


An output that "of course needs to be post edited" in my rulebook IS NOT a "translation" - at best it could be charitably called an "attempted translation"

versus

"Same goes with human translations" NO IT DOES NOT - it might come as a surprise to you (/ or maybe you have forgotten it) but there is a number of true professionals whose output is in no need of any "editing".

Are you seriously trying to equate the two?

MT being in essence a FAKE description of what is more accurately "machine produced text" that tries to be a translation, I can't see how anyone could "admit" to using it. With a bit of stretching, you could call "MT" any use of glossaries or dictionaries, or reusing fragments of your own previous work.

The story of "Machine Translation" reminds me in some regards of the story of speed cameras - a technology initially created to help racing drivers improve their driving was perverted into a money making device for fleecing ordinary drivers.

What is today called "MT" will at some point in future be good enough to produce an output that can honestly be called a "translation" but the way that unfinished product still not ready for release is used today by agencies, it is just an excuse to exploit unsuspecting translators by making them do translations at the rates of supposed "editing".


 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:06
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
The jury is still out Aug 13

Gary Evans wrote:

Expect MT to be doing the bulk of translations in the near future and plan for this, or you'll probably be looking for work elsewhere in the future.


I’ve been hearing this for at least the last fifteen years.


DZiW
Kaspars Melkis
Liviu-Lee Roth
Kay Denney
writeaway
Philippe Etienne
Daryo
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:06
Member (2012)
French to English
Not me Aug 13

It wouldn't occur to me to do so.

 
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