Translation agencies machine translating into English?
Thread poster: Zolboo Batbold

Zolboo Batbold
Italy
Local time: 01:55
English to Mongolian
+ ...
Apr 17

I'm currently working for a South-East Asian translation agency. My language pair is EN-MN. So far I've completed a couple of projects. I've noticed that the English used in the source texts looked like it was machine-translated from another language. Is it common for translation agencies to use English as a sort of "middle language"?

 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 08:55
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Depends... Apr 17

Sometimes they do. Sometimes it's just a bad translator, and the standards for translations to be used as intermediary are generally lower. I know I've greenlighted translations explicitly designated for such use that I would not have if it was intended for end-user consumption.

But you have to turn it down if it just doesn't make sense. You can't translate garbage into anything but garbage.

[Edited at 2019-04-17 20:45 GMT]


Dylan Jan Hartmann
Angie Garbarino
IanDhu
 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Ethics? Apr 17

That seems shocking and, to an extent, unethical.

You might want to express you concerns to the agency involved, and refuse the jobs if the content is questionable.

Post-MT is hard enough, post-MT-TR would be a nightmare!


Kaspars Melkis
Zolboo Batbold
IanDhu
Sandra& Kenneth
 

zanzuli
Argentina
German to Spanish
+ ...
Middle-language, yes; MT, I don't know Apr 18

I met a couple agencies that focus on an English translation and then work from that as a source translation, lot of back-translation involved.
Regarding MT, I don't see anything wrong with using a machine-translated source text.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:55
Member (2018)
French to English
MT Apr 18

Zolboo, yes, agencies are turning to MT increasingly. I have had several requests to work on PEMT instead of translation in the past couple of years, and I know my translation is often used as a source text for translation into other more exotic languages. I'm now thinking I should double my proofreading rate, so that it's no cheaper to proofread that than to translate from scratch.


Lincoln Hui wrote:

the standards for translations to be used as intermediary are generally lower. I know I've greenlighted translations explicitly designated for such use that I would not have if it was intended for end-user consumption.



Since I translate into English, I have often been told that my translation will subsequently be translated into several other languages. I wouldn't dream of turning out an inferior translation in such a situation. I've seen my EN-FR colleague suffer horrendously while working on documents that clearly were not written by native English people only too often.
Mostly the English text is to be published as well as being used as a source text, but even if it isn't, I see no reason to produce an inferior text knowing colleagues are going to translate it. I might use fewer figurative expressions, poetic devices or puns, to be sure that the meaning is crystal clear and the prose straightforward to translate, but that's about all I would do differently.


IanDhu
Christine Andersen
 

Vanessa Anderson
United States
MT Aug 20

I am also working with a Translation Agency or I think the machine translation is not good for your business because there are many issues or they do not translate to your text properly so i think human translation is best for the business.

 


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Translation agencies machine translating into English?

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