Machine Translation (MT) has proven to be a recurrent industry solution, enabling companies to publish more content, in more languages, faster than ever before. Numerous competitors and public institutions are extensively using MT, and in order to keep up with the fast-moving translation industry, TransPerfect decided to get on board!
As a result, I got invited “as one of their trusted linguists” to get certified as a Machine Translation Post-Editor for free, which meant getting high-quality lessons on MTPE and ultimately a certificate for MTPE.
That was huge for me, because TransPerfect is one of the biggest translation agencies internationally with more than 90 offices around the world. I’ve been working with this agency since 2011, and fast-forward 7 years, I am one of their trusted linguists for Macedonian. This just shows how much it means to build a steady and trustful relationship with your clients.
When Machine Translation is customized based on specific project needs, constantly improved with the help of linguists, and combined with post-editing by specially trained language professionals, it becomes a valuable tool for reducing translation turnaround time and costs and increasing linguists’ productivity.
As this is a new skill even for more experienced translators, here are some information that I’ve gathered in the form of questions and answers. How does Machine Translation affect professional linguists?
1. Will Machine Translation replace human translators?
MT will not replace human translators. It is an innovative tool that, under the right circumstances, increases productivity (similar to translation memories). As such, serious agencies are not trying to force Machine Translation across all projects. In most cases, they will require linguistic support as MT alone cannot provide a sufficient quality level.
2. What аre the benefits for translators to say yes to an MT job for a translation agency?
Post-editing of Machine Translation is a marketable and transferable skill that is more and more in demand. For example, through working with TransPerfect, I will receive training on Post-Editing and will be able to apply this new skill expertly after a couple of projects. Acquiring new skills means getting ahead of the curve and investing in your future career.
3. Will you get paid less?
No. You will most probably be paid your standard rate, while achieving better results. A serious agency will always pay you a fair price for the work you do, no matter the task!
4. Does this mean you will now be a proofreader too?
Post-Editing is a completely different task than proofreading. Through your feedback and changes during the post-edit process, you have the opportunity to collaborate with engineers and project managers through linguistic recommendations, thus becoming a consultant for your language. Your feedback directly impacts the efficiency of the machine and you will see the benefits on your next project.
5. I’ve used Google Translate before and the quality is terrible. Why should this be any different?
Machine Translation engines are usually customized for every project using Translation Memory and glossaries applicable to that content only. A MT engine is not Google Translate, so the quality is significantly better. A well-trained engine provides at least a 25% increase in quality over Google or Bing – and that’s just on day one! As time goes on, and you continue to re-train, the engine will only get better and better.
Remember to be patient! Like any new task, it will take some time to get used to. A serious agency will be willing to work with you while you hone your skills and become comfortable with the expectations and requirements of post-editing.
As you can see, the possibilities for new projects and new experiences increases to an appropriate extent depending on where you are in your career.
After 10+ years of working in the industry, I decided it’s time to expand my skills and experiences with an additional certification.
I advise you to take the opportunity too if such arises, where the benefits are immeasurable.