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Friday, September 14, 2018

Magical systems to eliminate translators from translation

The rush to install time saving systems so that we can be more efficient and streamlined is, after all this time and evolution of the processes, still a dream that is not realized.

We work with many clients who seem to have a lot of faith in a technology based solutions. These promise to cut costs (mostly their personnel costs) with a magical system that will streamline the process, eliminate the need for an experienced localization industry project manager, and have translations inserted into an online platform that makes delivery to client automated and faster.

Truth is that no such fairy tale is happening. We are out here in the real world, working consistently to deliver high quality translations that will fully meet the end client's expectations--often within demanding delivery schedules. Most of the time we are working around such systems.

We are finding that the many language service providers are being sold into translation platforms and project management systems that raise expectations far beyond what is actually available out here in the real world.

Let us clear away the hype and try to see what is going down at the coal face where the real work is actually being produced.

Most translation work done is today, just as it always has been, by professional freelance translators working to support an ever growing industry. These professionals are working feverishly every day trying to rise to the challenges that are constantly thrown their way by the software and platform generating gurus who only seek to cash in on their work by promising translation buyers even greater returns through their "revolutionary" systems.

Then there is the rush to have a computer do it all. However, in reality, there is no escape from the simple fact that machine translation output is unacceptably poor. So now there are demands being put on professional linguists to convert such output into high quality target language text by a process now called PMTE (post machine translation editing). More and more we are seeing this being requested as if it were a legitimate localization industry process.

The founders of Admerix have been closely involved with the introduction and development of machine translation since 2004 when we attended seminars that promised super high-speed multi-language machine translation from any language to any target language. The boast was that this would be achieved within six months and it would have a quality standard of 96% that of human translation.

14 years on and that prediction seems to be just as likely as ever it was.

Of course, the offered payment for PMTE is a fraction of the normal translation rates. Translation buyers, charged by the hype of those with large investments in machine translation as well as some large LSPs who are looking to fatten their margins, are working hard to get professional linguists to take on full responsibility of final translation results at a fraction of the normal translation rate.

For now, most professional linguists are not interested, nor is it cost or time effective, for them to try to re-translate the mess that most machine translation produces.

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