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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Realities of Editing

In the real world we still depend on expert linguists despite the lure of cheap crowd-sourced work or an automatic miracle.

We also know that even when the most qualified subject specialist is employed on a project, others who edit/proofread/check their work will attempt to take it apart, often for completely unjustified reasons, perhaps as a justification for their own employment as an editor. This is just a syndrome we have to account for in the very subjective realm of localization.

So even top experts are disputed by other experts. Augmented or MT does not really address, in any way, the actual quality of a translation and the subjective decisions that have to be made.

Where it does come into play, we suspect, is as another attempt to chip away at what translators are paid. First it was the translation tools like Trados which had as their first advantage that an employer could discount repetitions and not have to pay a full-word rate for each word translated.

Now exactly the same thing is happening with MT--linguists are asked to assume every word is essentially a repetition and then vouch for the work for a fraction of their per word rate (or even an hourly rate). It seems incredible that any professional linguist would willingly accept such a bargain.

This race to minimize or eliminate the cost of the human element in any field is always going to be a driving element in business. However, the editor and the subjective decision are likely to remain part of the industry for a long time to come.