I am always talking about a term: ‘translation editors’. In my opinion, today’s ‘translators’ will change into ‘translation editors’ considering the advances in machine translation. However, I have read an article and the author is more pessimistic than me! The focus of her article is the current situation of translation agencies. She thinks some translation agencies are unreliable because they use machine translation. This is not the case in many translation agencies of course. That’s why you should be careful while choosing an agency. Agencies, like AIM Consulting, offer the full services -not just translation but also a second round of editing and then a third round of proofreading. That’s the way it should be. Other than translation agencies, she is also talking about post-editing and how machine translation fails when the source text does not have a neat and simple grammatical structure. S/he has found this comment on web, which is quite right:
“I was with a company back in 1995 that sold consumer translation software for PCs, and they marketed it as something magical: input an English business letter or marketing brochure’s text, and out comes a French or Spanish version. So simple, so inexpensive. No more expensive human translators. But linguists laughed at the French and Spanish output which was often not only inaccurate, but offensive. Then they thought up the idea to combine machine translation (MT), as it is commonly-called, of business text, often marketing materials, with a low-paid, non-trained cadre of foreign language speakers, not translators, for a service offering to produce faster, accurate translation, but it turned out that this was not a faster process since even those linguists could not quickly “post-edit” poor quality machine translation of marketing content. It takes longer and is much more difficult to do that than just translating manually. Here we are years later facing the same issues. Most marketing material is not written with translation in mind, and contains abbreviated, “jargony” English language that is nearly impossible to translate accurately by machine. “Robo translators” can only work if the source language is carefully controlled, written in a simple grammatical style, and key term dictionaries are developed in advance that can be used to handle a company’s specific terminology. The “crowdsourcing” model for translation for business purposes is a disaster waiting to happen in my opinion. For a global business, a careful, well thought out, culturally appropriate, quality localization project cannot happen magically with “robo translators” and volunteers.”
“So, why the ‘most’ translation agencies suck? Because it is not about human translation any more. Just learn from the example of Fortune 500 companies and try to understand why they don’t trust your “human” translation offerings. It’s a boiling soup, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time for a wake up call, or you’d be part of statistics.”
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