For many years, professional translation services have been seen as a confusing equation with many variables, including volume, quality, cost, and turnaround time. Companies have been always required to set their priorities, weigh their options, and eventually compromise on one or more of the equation variables.
In another vein, language service providers (LSPs) were attempting to widen the scope of their available services to fulfil the needs of their diverse clients. Nowadays, you can prioritize your business requirements and choose accordingly between pure human translation, pure machine translation, machine translation with light post-editing, or machine translation with full post-editing.
Human translation Vs. machine translation
Opting for a thorough human translation process that includes multiple editing phases and quality checks costs more time and money. The early developments of machine translation (MT), on the other hand, fell short of providing a minimum level of acceptable quality and made it impossible to dispense with human translation.
The arrival of disruptive technologies like neural machine learning and artificial intelligence, afterwards, altered our traditional understanding of machine translation (MT) and gave rise to new concepts on the level of accuracy machines can produce. Some industries have already started to recognize and adopt neural machine translation (NMT) for internal communication purposes or simple data lists.
However, raw machine translation remained far from offering quality translation in the majority of cases, giving rise to the brand new concept of machine translation post-editing or MTPE.
What is machine translation post-editing?
The simplest answer to this question is that machine translation post-editing, better known as MTPE, is a hybrid translation solution in which human linguists edit the output of advanced machine translation to refine the text and improve its quality.
In other words, it is a process where human editors correct the errors of automated translation to make it feel more natural and retain the meaning of the original text.
MTPE is shortly seen as a perfect middle answer that has developed to be much more accurate than machine translation, and much less costly and time-consuming than human translation. The machine translation post-editing option stands out as an ideal solution for those who want to translate a large volume of content in a short time and at a reasonable cost with no compromise on quality.
Machine translation post-editing types
There are, in fact, two types of machine translation post-editing and they usually refer to the level of quality expected in the project. Given the adoption of advanced neural machine translation engines has been the case in most of the professional translation vendors, the intensity of the following post-editing practices depends on the translation project requirements, as follows:
- Light post-editing: In light of the constant improvement in machine translation capabilities, light post-editing addresses the minimum post-editing requirements. In this type of MTPE, editors fine-tune the machine’s output with regard to semantic or spelling mistakes and check for no confusion or wrong information. Light post-editing is less costly and works better for tasks with less severe quality concerns.
- Full post-editing: Full post-editing is concerned with the conduction of stylistic and structural changes and the production of a quality similar to human translation. Although full post-editing costs more money and takes more time, it extends from the grammatical and spelling corrections to the writing style and linguistic expressions and leaves no room for errors. This type of MTPE is usually preferred by quality seekers.
MTPE best practices
Machine translation post-editing services are relatively new to the translation world, yet it has quickly become one of the most favourable language solutions all around the world. LatinoBridge has been providing satisfactory MTPE translation services for a lot of our customers and here are some of the best practices or guidelines we follow to ensure the highest standards of accuracy and precision.
- Check source text for errors: It is recommended that human linguists have a quick look at the source content before it is handled by machines so as to make sure it is comprehensible and error-free.
- Feed MT with termbases and glossaries: Machines do better when they are fed industry-specific terminology and other assistive data. The results of data-driven neural machine translation are much easier to edit.
- Use TMS while editing: When editors are trained to work with advanced translation management systems, the post-editing process takes less time and comes up with better consistency.
- No need for over-stylistic edits: It is okay if the output of machine translation post-editing feels less natural than human translation as long as it delivers the original meaning properly. Avoiding over-stylistic and structural edits saves time and money.
- Ask editors for their feedback: Editors need to note down their feedback comments on the quality of machine translation and the most frequent mistakes. This can be used to improve the accuracy of machine translation or make future post-editing tasks easier.
All in all, machine translation post-editing seems to be slowly replacing pure human translation for it is capable of producing nearly the same quality at a lower cost and faster turnaround time. While raw machine translation can be used in simple data meant for internal purposes and highly creative human translation is good for literature and artworks, MTPE translation is developing as the optimal solution for almost all industries and business translation projects.
Since 2010, LatinoBridge has established its formidable presence as one of the leading translation service providers in Latin America. We have been working with top-tier brands and providing a wide range of satisfactory language solutions in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, including competent MTPE translation services.
Partner with us now and benefit from our exclusive MTPE offerings. We commit to delivering the highest quality at the most competitive prices.