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Slate Desktop: your personal MT engine
Thread poster: Mohamed

Tom Hoar
United States
Local time: 08:39
English
RE: Lack of a GUI is a bummer Sep 15, 2015

Ah ha! My bad. Our branding message is gabled. Maybe it's not such a "bummer" after all. Here's how the two are related.

Slate is a toolkit (Linux term) or SDK (Windows term) to build SMT applications. It includes command-line utilities from Moses & MGIZA++. We sell binary packages (.exe's for Windows or executables for Linux) for $50. That purchase includes a $100 rebate voucher for "DoMT Desktop" (recently re-branded as Slate Desktop).

<
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Ah ha! My bad. Our branding message is gabled. Maybe it's not such a "bummer" after all. Here's how the two are related.

Slate is a toolkit (Linux term) or SDK (Windows term) to build SMT applications. It includes command-line utilities from Moses & MGIZA++. We sell binary packages (.exe's for Windows or executables for Linux) for $50. That purchase includes a $100 rebate voucher for "DoMT Desktop" (recently re-branded as Slate Desktop).

Slate Desktop (formerly DoMT Desktop) is a GUI desktop application with the Slate toolkit at its foundation. Slate Desktop has a GUI to convert TM's to an engine. A CAT connects to the engine similar to online engines. It lists for $550. The Indiegogo campaign offers a 40% discount for per-orders before we launch in 4 months. You can combine a rebate voucher (above) with the per-order. Together, they give you 50% off the list price.

Borrowing your words, we're moving this technology from "a hobby to a necessity." When we started this work early this year, we identified three milestones to make it happen:

  • GUI to create engines - Upgrade from legacy "DoMT Desktop" (complete)

  • Native Windows foundation - Slate toolkit (complete)

  • CAT Integration - Slate Desktop and the Indiegogo campaign (in process)


Please walk "the longest yard" with us.
Free webinar demo: https://alexandria-translation-resources.com/product/webinar-slate-desktop/

$100 rebate voucher: http://www.precisiontranslationtools.com/downloads/slate-version-1-0-for-windows/

40% discount: http://igg.me/at/slate-desktop


[Edited at 2015-09-15 02:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-09-15 02:54 GMT]
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Tom Hoar
United States
Local time: 08:39
English
Re: Moses, Slate, or no MT at all? Sep 15, 2015

so what do we, freelance translators, gain when we set up an MT? That's why I gave up on Moses. I can be tremendously wrong, but when reading about Moses, I came to the conclusion it's not worth the trouble. You can of course point me to Siegfried's webinar, but Slate won't run on my OS, so I'm not much interested in Slate, whereas the Moses website seems to point to Slate as the Windows version of Moses.


It looks like my response to Michael crossed with this message. It describes the relationship between Moses, Slate and Slate Desktop. It's true Slate and Moses start with the same C++ source code, but Moses does things Slate can not, and vice versa. That's what open source packages are all about.

Re: Slate won't run on my OS, I'd like to know more about your OS. Slate and Slate Desktop run on 64-bit versions of Linux, Windows and Mac OSX, but we're not marketing the OSX version yet. If your OS a 32-bit or something else, we will not support it.

Re: I can be tremendously wrong, I think not. I totally agree that Moses and Slate are not worth the trouble for freelance translators. Here are two video examples of why I agree they are not worth the trouble for freelance translators. I think the differences will be clear when you compare these with our demo:
Preparing training data: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAONtm1dNM
Training a Moses engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOfGxTAziE0

Our June announcement that Michael found said "Slate is not a commercial application for translators or localization service providers. It does not directly integrate with popular localization CAT and TMS tools." That's why we are making Slate Desktop.

Some of you might not be aware. There's another discussion about this on the Linkedin Professional Translators and Interpreters (ProZ.com) group.

https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/138763-6044418119307452419

[Edited at 2015-09-15 10:17 GMT]


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:39
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
@tahoar: Sep 15, 2015

Thanks for the extra info Tom!

I'll be watching the free webinar demo, and if I am convinced, might just pledge some cash over in the indiegogo campaign (although I must say that I still don't fully understand the whole indiegogo/perks thing).

A question: to get a CafeTran connector (which I know doesn't exist yet), and a licence for Slate Desktop, what would the minimum amount of money be that I would need to spend? And when would I need to cough it up (would I spend l
... See more
Thanks for the extra info Tom!

I'll be watching the free webinar demo, and if I am convinced, might just pledge some cash over in the indiegogo campaign (although I must say that I still don't fully understand the whole indiegogo/perks thing).

A question: to get a CafeTran connector (which I know doesn't exist yet), and a licence for Slate Desktop, what would the minimum amount of money be that I would need to spend? And when would I need to cough it up (would I spend less in total if I selected a ‘perk’ now)?

Michael

PS: I should probably also note that, in my language pair (Dutch to English), Google Translate and Microsoft Translator very often already produce extremely good results – much better than anything I have ever be able to obtain through CAT tool auto-assembly, so Slate desktop would have to produce results that are equal to or better than GT and MT for it to be interesting to me (as I'm not particularly bothered by the whole cloud MT provider/confidentiality thing).
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Tom Hoar
United States
Local time: 08:39
English
Re: add CafeTran CAT tool connector to Slate desktop for Windows? Sep 15, 2015

I still don't fully understand the whole indiegogo/perks thing.

would I spend less in total if I selected a ‘perk’ now?

PS: Google Translate and Microsoft Translator very often already produce extremely good results – much better than anything I have ever be able to obtain through CAT tool auto-assembly.... not particularly bothered by the whole cloud MT provider/confidentiality thing.


Indiegogo has 2 purposes.

Yes, you spend less when you select a perk now. Indiegogo is a way to pre-sell product. When you select a perk valued at $330, you get Slate Desktop when we launch it. The discount is our way to say "thank you" for your patience as we complete the final features.

Indiegogo is a market research tool. Some surveys report that over 1/2 of translators use 2 or more CAT tools, so we believe an all-in-one package benefits more translators. So, we're testing these reports.

If our campaign reaches its goal, we believe the market (you guys) are interested in this new product. In return, we commit to always package all connectors in the product. Your exact $330 perk selection expresses which connector want us to make first. You know... Americans belief in democracy and all that stuff

If we don't reach our goal, the market is lukewarm. We'll sell each connector as a separate product add-on.

Specifically about CafeTran. From this forum, it seems CafeTran is more popular that I realized. We will make MT connectors based on customer demand. The old saying, "paying customers to the front of the line" comes to mind. Then again, are there any other kind of customers than "paying customers." If they don't pay, they're not customers, right?

Finally... I have seen some amazing results from GT/MS in some language pairs and subjects and I understand privacy is not a requirement for everyone. I think Jost Zetzsche is right. Translators will always need a variety of tools in their toolbox. This will be one more that we believe many will find valuable.

PS: Remember through the 1980's? Fortune 500 companies paid digital graphics service bureaus (the "cloud" of the day) $600 per hour to make overhead slides for important meetings. By 1995, PowerPoint and Photoshop emerged and most service bureaus were out of business. The funny part? In 1990 when Adobe launched Photoshop, most graphic designers knew nothing about computers and they were absolutely certain a "mouse" was a small animal that ate cheese. When they saw images from Photoshop they said, "it will never be able to make the graphics I make." Today, graphic designers aren't out of jobs, they just use different tools. We see the same future for professional translators.

[Edited at 2015-09-15 15:01 GMT]


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:39
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
OK, count me in. Sep 15, 2015

I just selected the ‘Super Early Bird - Other’ perk, and sent you a message to add CafeTran to the list of CAT tool connectors. Looking forward to trying it out!

Michael


 

Tom Hoar
United States
Local time: 08:39
English
New "how it works" animated cartoon Sep 16, 2015

I just updated the Indiegogo story with a fun, animated cartoon that shows how Slate Desktop works.

http://igg.me/at/slate-desktop/#story#how-it-works

Background: We gave the sound track to a young Thai graphic designer asked her to create an animated cartoon that shows professional translators using Slate Desktop. After a reviewing her storyboard, we gave her
... See more
I just updated the Indiegogo story with a fun, animated cartoon that shows how Slate Desktop works.

http://igg.me/at/slate-desktop/#story#how-it-works

Background: We gave the sound track to a young Thai graphic designer asked her to create an animated cartoon that shows professional translators using Slate Desktop. After a reviewing her storyboard, we gave her free reign. I hope you enjoy how a 26 year-old Thai woman graphic designer perceives your characters

Here's how she describes her work:

Tracy is a kind woman, 40-50 years old. Spencer is a smart American guy, 35-45 years old. The Slate character is a chubby child with part of the Slate logo as hair. I like its simple shape. The shapes and eyes of the Trace & Spence characters are like Slate but their hair and clothing change.
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2nl (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:39
Casmacat Sep 16, 2015

Michael Beijer wrote:

I just selected the ‘Super Early Bird - Other’ perk, and sent you a message to add CafeTran to the list of CAT tool connectors. Looking forward to trying it out!

Michael



See also a thread about Casmacat: http://www.proz.com/post/2470595#2470595


 

Patrick Porter
United States
Local time: 08:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
generality vs. specificity Sep 20, 2015

tahoar wrote:

...You control the quality of the draft translations because the engine learns only from what you give it to learn from. If the TM segments are all yours, then the engine will very closely mimic your translation style....


This is a very important point. I'm not sure how many translators are aware that MT is more than just GT and the others. The general-purpose public engines are pretty good at doing a fair-to-middling job on giving you the gist of whatever you throw at it in any subject area. That's their strength...they are not suitable replacements for human translators (despite all the hype). But for a professional translator, an MT engine trained with your own translations can be a really powerful production tool. I use this kind of resource in my work all the time...all free and open source tools that anyone can use with a little bit of technical knowledge. But if 'Slate Desktop' is as simple as installing any other Windows program, then I think it is going to be very useful for many translators.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:39
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Let's wait and see Sep 20, 2015

Patrick Porter wrote:

tahoar wrote:

...The general-purpose public engines are pretty good at doing a fair-to-middling job on giving you the gist of whatever you throw at it in any subject area.


I disagree. What they give you is like a roulette. Worse. Show me two or three longer sentences where any engine gives you the gist - you're saying you can trust it to tell you a minimum of correct information. Let's start with some legal paragraph. Or medical. That kind of gist is been selling as MT, ready for post-editing.

Not sure what's so new about this new engine. You can build your own TM (translation memory) already that you can trust and work with.


Patrick Porter wrote:
That's their strength...they are not suitable replacements for human translators (despite all the hype). But for a professional translator, an MT engine trained with your own translations can be a really powerful production tool. I use this kind of resource in my work all the time...all free and open source tools that anyone can use with a little bit of technical knowledge. But if 'Slate Desktop' is as simple as installing any other Windows program, then I think it is going to be very useful for many translators.



That's right, MT is not a suitable replacement for human translators. There is indeed plenty of hype, all the time. Why that constant support for any form of MT? You're going to be replacing the natural way of translating with constant checking and re-checking, cause you can never be sure that what you get is correct. Whatever engine or TM or whatever it's called you use, if it's not 100% the same text you had before, you will have to check, accept or edit or replace. But I get the impression we're being sold the ultimate translation machine built on our powerful own words that will just spit out the right stuff and save us lots of time.

Let's wait and see.

[Edited at 2015-09-21 00:13 GMT]


 

Meta Arkadia
Local time: 20:39
English to Indonesian
+ ...
In Real Life Sep 21, 2015

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
But I get the impression we're being sold the ultimate translation machine built on our powerful own words that will just spit out the right stuff and save us lots of time.


I entered a segment of a text of an EU notification I translated in the "public" MT I usually refuse to use:



The main thing that's wrong with it, is that it is wrong. Like completely wrong. The translation claims the opposite of what the original says. Moreover, it's an anacoluthon, the verb is missing.

The same sentence in my CAT tool, using its MT technology (like Auto-Assemble, Virtual Matches):



Three mistakes in it, very minor mistakes, two as a result of different rules for capitalisation German-Dutch, one as a result of a spelling mistake in the IATE termbase (which in turn is a result of the complete craziness of changing the Dutch spelling every ten years, but don't get me started).

I think this is an example of how MT/MT technology can contribute. You can counter that this is a very specific subject, and that for this very specific subject there are lots of ready-made resources (DGT, IATE), but hey, I translate that stuff. And besides, that's the idea of your own "trained" MT.

Cheers,

Hans


 

Tom Hoar
United States
Local time: 08:39
English
Full context Sep 21, 2015

Thanks, Patrick for carrying over the conversation from this SDL Trados discussion:

http://www.proz.com/forum/sdl_trados_support/291422-unusual_high_charges_google_translate_api_august_with_studio-page2.html

First, thank you for clarifying your usage of "fork." I fully support your strategy and retract my "sadness"

all free and open source tools that anyone can use with a little bit of technical knowledge.


After reviewing your profile and activities, I dare say your technical knowledge and more importantly skills extend a little bit beyond a little bit. I know hobbyists like you and others who enjoy MT/NLP/computational linguistics are out there supporting your work with your hobbies. I use the term hobbyist to reflect the intention of your skills in creating your own engine. Your use of that engine in supporting your work is very professional. I hope our work with the Moses team standardizing the C++ source helps your work.

Not sure what's so new about this new engine. You can build your own TM (translation memory) already that you can trust and work with.


Hi, Bernhard. This is new in that we implement the SMT engine your local Windows PC. This allows for new designs that are impossible with Cloud-based engines. It's another tool that sits along side your TMs, glossaries, dictionaries, termbases, etc. It's as different from TMs as your TMs are from your glossaries, etc. even though there are overlaps between their respective contents.

I am, indeed, aware of and sensitive to the "plenty of hype" in this area. FYI, Patrick was a stranger until he spoke up in the forum discussion above. His experiences parallel our experience with our customers, and stands as an example of what's possible with a new design. We are launching Slate Desktop so a broader range of professionals can experience the same benefits as Patrick (and others), without the prerequisite skills of being an MT/NLP hobbyist.

I hope you can all join the discussion at our free Webinar & demo on Wednesday.

https://alexandria-translation-resources.com/product/webinar-slate-desktop/

I'll wet your appetite with my last comment in my closing slide:

Translation software can equal a translator some of the time, but it only surpasses a translator when the translator does a bad job.


[Edited at 2015-09-21 01:25 GMT]


 

2nl (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:39
Connector for CafeTran Sep 21, 2015

tahoar wrote:

Your exact $330 perk selection expresses which connector want us to make first. You know... Americans belief in democracy and all that stuff

If we don't reach our goal, the market is lukewarm. We'll sell each connector as a separate product add-on.

Specifically about CafeTran. From this forum, it seems CafeTran is more popular that I realized.


Indeed it is. I'm a CafeTran user myself. However, I use it on a Mac. So'd like to use Slate Desktop in its OS X version.

I translate a lot of repetitive texts (longer manuals for machines mostly). I have no idea, whether an MT system using my old TMs will improve my productivity with a few percents, but the experiment would be interesting (and I'd be willing to pay for that – provided that OS X is supported from the beginning).

About the connector. That would be something like this?



And am I right that the CAT tool vendors would have to be willing to implement support for 'yet another connector'? Did you already ask them about their willingness? So, how did they respond? I'll ask CafeTran's developer in the meantime.

Cheers,

Hans
Using CafeTran under OS X


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:39
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes, devising carefully constructed counterexamples is fun. Sep 21, 2015

Meta Arkadia wrote:

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
But I get the impression we're being sold the ultimate translation machine built on our powerful own words that will just spit out the right stuff and save us lots of time.


I entered a segment of a text of an EU notification I translated in the "public" MT I usually refuse to use:



The main thing that's wrong with it, is that it is wrong. Like completely wrong. The translation claims the opposite of what the original says. Moreover, it's an anacoluthon, the verb is missing.

The same sentence in my CAT tool, using its MT technology (like Auto-Assemble, Virtual Matches):



Three mistakes in it, very minor mistakes, two as a result of different rules for capitalisation German-Dutch, one as a result of a spelling mistake in the IATE termbase (which in turn is a result of the complete craziness of changing the Dutch spelling every ten years, but don't get me started).

I think this is an example of how MT/MT technology can contribute. You can counter that this is a very specific subject, and that for this very specific subject there are lots of ready-made resources (DGT, IATE), but hey, I translate that stuff. And besides, that's the idea of your own "trained" MT.

Cheers,

Hans


Hans,

I'm sure we can all come up with counterexamples to prove that either method (machine translation vs CAT tool auto-assembly) is (much) better or (much) worse, and providing yet another oh-look-how-bad-Google-Translate-is! example isn’t going to do anyone any good.

My experience with auto-assembly in CafeTran is exactly the opposite: 95% of the source sentences I feed it will be translated much better by Google Translate (which I currently happily use, via the plugin) than CafeTran's auto-assembly system. You will then tell me that that is because I haven't properly tuned my AA system, whereas you have. I will then answer: true. Not, however, that this is exactly what your example is based on: you are comparing your carefully tuned AA system with a general purpose, free, online, MT engine. How could you fail?

The whole point of Slate desktop (or a custom MT engine), for me at least, and according to my limited understanding of it at the moment, is that you can customize it so that it works better with your particular kind of texts. I think they also make use of dictionaries, and various other tricks. Basically just different ways of achieving what you do when you tinker with your AA system CT to make it produce better results.

What I'm curious about is what would happen if I took the massive CELEX and EU TMX databases I bought from András Farkas*, combined these with a carefully chosen dictionary/glossary of EU terminology, and fed all of this to Slate desktop to create my own custom ‘EU BS’ (to borrow your terminology) engine, and THEN tried to translate a EU document in CafeTran, using the Slate desktop connector (which doesn't exist yet, I know).

However, it would obviously be even better if you did it, seeing as how my own auto-assembly system in CafeTran is far from optimal (because I currently rely much more heavily on a combination of Dragon, Google Translate, and my own special everything but the kitchen sink approach to CafeTran glossaries). Since your EU AA system is already finely tuned, you'd be in a much better position to compare it with the results of a finely tuned custom MT engine. That would be a much fairer comparison.

Michael

* http://www.farkastranslations.com/glossaries.php + http://www.farkastranslations.com/eu_translation_memories.php

{This email was dictated using Dragon Professional 14. Please excuse any typos!}


[Edited at 2015-09-21 13:41 GMT]

PS: with a little luck, the other Hans (i.e., Hans Lenting aka 2nl here on Proz) will get himself a Slate desktop licence, and then he can test it against his finely tuned CafeTran AA system. Pity he does technical manuals rather than EU stuff, as it is much easier to obtain huuuuge EU-related German-Dutch TMXs than it is to get your hands on huge German-Dutch technical manual TMs.

[Edited at 2015-09-21 13:48 GMT]


 

Meta Arkadia
Local time: 20:39
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Too much honour Sep 21, 2015

Michael Beijer wrote: devising carefully constructed counterexamples is fun


Not carefully constructed, I'm afraid. I just took a rather old screenshot (no Recall as you undoubtedly noticed) from my archives to compare it with the MT of the Thieves of Mountain View (congrats, by the way) in an answer to Bernard. I wanted to show that an optimised use of MT technology can be very useful, whereas a "general" MT translation will most likely produce err, not so good results.

I do believe MT holds a promise, and I do think it can be useful for freelance translators. I only wonder if users of advanced CAT tools (DejaVu, CafeTran) that already implement MT technology will need it. But so far, I didn't get an answer to that question.

And by the way, tahoar, it's OS X here. Forever.

Cheers,

Hans


 

Tom Hoar
United States
Local time: 08:39
English
Re: examples, counter or not... Sep 21, 2015

Our customers work with aggregate productivity. One measure is how many drafts require zero editing. We work with customers to do blind tests, meaning the translator does a batch without help from the engine, runs the same batch through the engine, and then compares the two results side-by-side. This blind test guarantees that the translator didn't biased his work through in the proof/edit process.

One easy method to compare is simply copy/paste the two sets of translations into col
... See more
Our customers work with aggregate productivity. One measure is how many drafts require zero editing. We work with customers to do blind tests, meaning the translator does a batch without help from the engine, runs the same batch through the engine, and then compares the two results side-by-side. This blind test guarantees that the translator didn't biased his work through in the proof/edit process.

One easy method to compare is simply copy/paste the two sets of translations into columns A & B in a spreadsheet. Column C becomes a simple formula "=A1=B1" etc. Then, count how many are true. The lowest quality batches sometimes reduce to under 30% matches. The best batches can reach as high as 60%.

Engines that perform at the lower end of the range typically have many segments from publicly available TMs or from TMs mismanaged by the localization engineer at the agency. Engines performing at the highest end of the range typically have TM segments from a translator's private collection and few (if any) segments from outside sources.

In the end, the translator is free to do anything he/she wants with the mis-matches during proofing. If they're bad, just start from nothing. If they're close, edit it.

So, pick any one segment as an example and you can demonstrate almost anything. Aggregates are where the real power comes to play.

[Edited at 2015-09-21 15:48 GMT]
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