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Monday, June 4, 2012

Replacing Translators with Clouds of Amateurs

"Translation in the cloud" is another process that seems to be infecting the perception of translation in the minds of translation buyers. The concept seems to be that you just throw a document to the cloud and there it will be machine translated and then lots of translators are sitting “out there” waiting to proofread the result without charge or for minimal amounts of payment. It relies on the controversial notion that speakers of two languages are also natural translators.

However, professional translators are not sitting “out there” or anywhere else, just waiting to do work for free or for peanuts. Generally, if they are professional, they will refuse to work on MT output because they will not put their name and reputation at risk for the inevitable substandard results. That will leave cloud translation to hobbyists and amateurs, and the results of that certainly are predictable.

Nothing replaces a competent translator and editor team working with quality tools and an experienced, professional Localization Industry Project Manager (remember those people?) to coordinate the various process and keep the projects on track and compliant with QA guidelines and client instructions.

Nothing has replaced the industry standards for processes that generate quality translations in a reasonable time frame, and those companies who stick to such tried and proven industry standards will be the ones who succeed in maintaining a satisfied and loyal customer base.

At the end of the day, all the client wants is a quality translation of his documentation, software, website, etc. at a reasonable price and in a reasonable time frame.

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