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Post-editing of MT and MT: WHY do we have to put up with it?
Thread poster: Reea-Silvia Podeanu

Reea-Silvia Podeanu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:49
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Jul 18

I have been asked (more like requested) more and more lately to do post-editing of MT jobs and this is completely annoying.

Of course, I have started to refuse such jobs after wasting my time on a few of them and saw they required twice or even three times more time than translating from scratch. The MT for Romanian, no matter how you put it, is awfull. I have to work a lot and read the text several times to make sure it sounds fluent, instead of simply translating from scratch th
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I have been asked (more like requested) more and more lately to do post-editing of MT jobs and this is completely annoying.

Of course, I have started to refuse such jobs after wasting my time on a few of them and saw they required twice or even three times more time than translating from scratch. The MT for Romanian, no matter how you put it, is awfull. I have to work a lot and read the text several times to make sure it sounds fluent, instead of simply translating from scratch that would take me just a few seconds. And many times The MT was so bad that I did have to translate from scratch but i was paid like for MT. This is completely unfair and not to say dishonest.

And they do pay 50% to 70% of the standard rate. I have only one client who uses MT but pays the full rate.

WHY do we have to put up with post-editing of MT jobs...

Why should we accept such jobs when it is obvious that with the help of our efforts, they want to find ways to get rid of human translation. You may say that day is far away but I think it is not. It is very close. The artificial intelligence grows more and more and it improves more and more with the help of our own efforts. Because as far as I understood, they feed the jobs corrected by humans back to the artificial intelligence and it makes the necessary corrections and LEARNS from them.

It is like we are asked or requested or forced to dig our own professional graves.

I intend to notify all my clients to stop sending me such jobs because I will not accept them. And if you love your work and love transating with your words and feel the same like me about MT, please do the same.

In my opinion, this has to stop. It is completely incorrect and unfair. Until now they requested us to not use MT and now we are asked to do it but to the detriment of us.

[Edited at 2019-07-18 13:52 GMT]
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Georgi Kovachev  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 01:49
Member (2010)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
I would use a different approach Jul 18

Dear Reea-Silvia,
I agree with you but instead of refusing such jobs, I would surcharge at least 20% of my normal rate because of the hassle.
I am confident that if most of us use such an approach, companies would opt to propose normal translation jobs.

Cheers,
Georgi


Reea-Silvia Podeanu
Tom Hoar
Florian Stauber
 

Reea-Silvia Podeanu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:49
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree but... Jul 18

Georgi Kovachev wrote:

Dear Reea-Silvia,
I agree with you but instead of refusing such jobs, I would surcharge at least 20% of my normal rate because of the hassle.
I am confident that if most of us use such an approach, companies would opt to propose normal translation jobs.

Cheers,
Georgi


They should pay us 50% more, but there are also other implications in the long term. I do think we have to stop working on such jobs. Even if they would pay us more, in the long run the artificial intelligence will eliminate us IF we help them improve it.

Look around... they estimate that the robots will take over many jobs and I think our profession and our humanity is threatened today by the artificial intelligence. We are not in a sci-fi movie where the artificial intelligence and the robots are stopped by certain laws. So far people have ignored them. And i think they do intend to replace the human translators.

[Edited at 2019-07-18 14:37 GMT]


Florian Stauber
Sabrina Ciserchia
 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:49
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Chances of success would depend on the language Jul 18

I agree that we are in a way digging our own graves with post-editing, but there are differences among languages.

I think it is possible that the into-Romanian translators could organize themselves in that way and all agree not to do post-editing. You mentioned one reason for that, and I would add that (I assume that) there is a clearly defined group of translators who can handle that language, there not being that many Romanian speaking populations scattered over the world.
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I agree that we are in a way digging our own graves with post-editing, but there are differences among languages.

I think it is possible that the into-Romanian translators could organize themselves in that way and all agree not to do post-editing. You mentioned one reason for that, and I would add that (I assume that) there is a clearly defined group of translators who can handle that language, there not being that many Romanian speaking populations scattered over the world.

However, for English, Spanish, and French, the situation is different. There are translators in many developing countries who are well-schooled in these languages; especially when one of these languages is considered to be an official language of their country. I can imagine that many of these people would be willing to take on any sort of task in order to earn a living, and refuse to say "no" when they have no other way of earning money. In addition, the MTs for these languages are pretty good already. There are too many of us to even hope to organize, and it won't take long before our freshly-dug graves await.


[Edited at 2019-07-18 15:02 GMT]
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Reea-Silvia Podeanu
 

Mihai Badea (X)
Luxembourg
Local time: 00:49
Member (Feb 2019)
English to Romanian
+ ...
MT editing and measurement of work Jul 18

In case of machine translation editing, it might be more appropriate to charge by hour.

It should be said that many things about AI are just hype and misplaced marketing. There are still some difficult obstacles to overcome before robots/machines can do intellectual work as well as humans do. It could take several decades, some specialists say (see, for instance, "Architects of Intelligence: The truth about AI from the people building it", by Martin Ford - a series of interviews wit
... See more
In case of machine translation editing, it might be more appropriate to charge by hour.

It should be said that many things about AI are just hype and misplaced marketing. There are still some difficult obstacles to overcome before robots/machines can do intellectual work as well as humans do. It could take several decades, some specialists say (see, for instance, "Architects of Intelligence: The truth about AI from the people building it", by Martin Ford - a series of interviews with people who were essential in the development of AI).

I'm not aware of any research on the impact of machine translation editing on the translators' ability to use language in a natural way. I suspect if someone exposes herself/himself to too much machine translation text, there might be consequences ...
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Francisco Chagas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:49
Member (Jul 2019)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not as it seems. Jul 18

Dear Reea-Silvia

I believe that, by now, you have answered your own question.

To deem the act and practices of translation something exclusive to Man(kind), comes from an understandable, yet reactionary, point-of-view. It is true that (y)our livelihood depends on this profession of (y)ours, however, one must not forget that the true rationale behind this service is not to be able to attain an arbitrary "state of living", but to generate a seamless chord of communicatio
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Dear Reea-Silvia

I believe that, by now, you have answered your own question.

To deem the act and practices of translation something exclusive to Man(kind), comes from an understandable, yet reactionary, point-of-view. It is true that (y)our livelihood depends on this profession of (y)ours, however, one must not forget that the true rationale behind this service is not to be able to attain an arbitrary "state of living", but to generate a seamless chord of communication between languages. It supersedes the ego and the self.

For someone or >something< to partially* replace "us" is only natural, no matter how artificial it may seem at first and second glances. Comfort--of any kind--tends to, in the long-term, harbour apparent stagnation, a reality that our euphoric selves have yet to learn how to handle. We must not forget that our species has the potential to thrive under a multitude of circumstances; who knows, this might constitute but a gateway for a shift in the general perception of what a career truly is or should be.

Nevertheless, AI language translation is still a couple of decades away from truly flourishing.
It should be understood that, by then, human input will still be paramount for language is subjective and ever-evolving--not a binary medium.

*[I chose "partially" since no matter how grim things get, there will always be a niche for that which is "man-made".]

Furthermore, a little parentheses:

To me, it is quite dazzling, if not poetic, that this topic does indeed go hand in hand with your illustrious and divine namesake. It is and was your fatalistic role, as the Meter Teon (the Mother of Gods) or the Mother of the Founding Twins, to bring to life a reality that is to be conquered by those whom succeed you.
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Adrián Pozuelo
 

Reea-Silvia Podeanu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:49
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well... Jul 18

With all my respect I completly disagree with both of you, Mihai and Francisco.

First of all, Mihai, I will NEVER believe somebody building AI. In my humble opinion and based on the information I have access to it would be a terrible and huge mistake. I can say for a fact from very reliable sources that AI is here already (and we see only a small, clumsy, and inefficient part of it, just enough to not be scared to death and run screaming - this is what they willingly let us see) an
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With all my respect I completly disagree with both of you, Mihai and Francisco.

First of all, Mihai, I will NEVER believe somebody building AI. In my humble opinion and based on the information I have access to it would be a terrible and huge mistake. I can say for a fact from very reliable sources that AI is here already (and we see only a small, clumsy, and inefficient part of it, just enough to not be scared to death and run screaming - this is what they willingly let us see) and is here to conquer.

Secondly, Francisco, come on... With respect, I see you are of Latin origin so I think convenience and comfort are something natural for you.

But I don't think we should give in that easily just for the sake of or in the name of comfort. There is no evolution in paradise. I think it would be an act of cowardice from us as humans.

And Jessica, again, with respect, I am not rejecting such jobs because i am rich or have too much work... God knows, this month I barelly had work. In my opinion, it is simply a matter of human dignity and fraternity (but not in the communist way ).

I do believe that we have to think way ahead of us and our lives, way ahead in the future for the sake of the whole human kind. We should not allow them to replace us with this artificial intelligence. It should be a sign of alarm the fact that in the last few years the words "artificial intelligence" have started to be heard more and more often and in more and more domains. Only this year their incidence increased several times.

I am here to sound the alarm. Look around you.

They already use quantic computers to teach the AI to edit our DNA in REAL TIME. They say they do this to heal diseases... Really? Should we believe them and just entrust our lives and future to them just because they say so? How do you know that such power in the "hands" of a cold mind without a heart won't make us lab rats and that this cold intelligence won't start transforming us in REAL TIME in whatever it considers "appropriate". WE humans have serious problems resisting to interfering with other peoples lives, so do you think such a cold, ruthless, and unscrupulous mind would have any restrain or remorse to do whatever it wants with and in this world?

Post-editing of MT is just a small part of the huge thing that is a threat for humans. We would never entrust our lives to a stranger, why would you do it with a weird and cold intelligence that is fully egotic and lacks any kind of feeling?

That thing with Sofia just wanting to be a mother is just bull...

La Fontaine has that fable about the forest and the woodcutter. I think that now, us, translators, in this field, and other people in other fields are asked to provide the handle for the hatchet that would cut (to be read erase) our human kind.

We have to be aware and have to say something and act now, the way we can in the fields we have access to, before it becomes too late. I am not an "alarmist". As i said my words are based on facts that I cannot share here, and I am not asking to just believe me... If you are willing to see the truth for yourselves research and be attentive around you. That should be enough.

[Edited at 2019-07-18 16:37 GMT]
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Tom Hoar
neilmac
Florian Stauber
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:49
Member
English to French
There's more! Jul 18

Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
....other implications in the long term...

Of course PEMT is fed back into the "system" for the MT engine to learn and improve. Like a machine. In AI/ML/NN-powered image recognition, machines can state that a Chihuahua is a muffin. Or a tree is a tank because the sky is blue. AI's mysterious ways...

But there is far worse and more insidious: sellable MT still needs human input. In this half-baked setting, with translation not entirely automated, not entirely human, the new sought-after specialist and cost-savior is the "MT post-editor", for legal, finance, IT, engineering, everything at once.
But their life expectancy may be similar to that of coal-miners in the XIXth century. I seem to understand that MT promoters are beginning to take on board the effects of MTPE activities on mental health: ungratifying, boring, a cog in the machine, lack of recognition, burn-outs...

This doesn't surprise me, because I did a sizeable amount of MTPE a decade or so ago, for several weeks in a row. It was well paid, but it bored me stiff after a while. I had a go at it some years later, and the experience was worse. Therefore I no longer offer this service to preserve my mental integrity. And in terms of self-esteem, MTPE felt more like screening waste on a recycling line than translating.
MTPE definitely requires special skills, and I sort of admire those who can post-edit MT for months in a row. And it may well be that they are not affected whatsoever by their job.

But the issue is that if/when MT gets to the level of quasi-human translation, there will be no MT post-editor sane enough to brush it up. MT will have squeezed and exhausted all MT post-editors who can issue invoices.

MTPE demand will surpass what remaining post-editors can handle, MTPE costs will increase as a result (offer lower than demand), to the point it's no longer profitable, and commercial MT will disappear to the benefit of human translations.

Unless, because MT engines will end up being fed with ubiquitous PEMT translation, MT output will reach its maximum inherent level: PEMT quality. MT will become a self-contained domain in translation, no more post-editors (thank you very much for your help), and human translation will be for those buyers for which PEMT quality is not enough.

Philippe

Edit: English

[Edited at 2019-07-18 17:14 GMT]


Reea-Silvia Podeanu
 

Francisco Chagas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:49
Member (Jul 2019)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
All is fine. Jul 18

Dear Reea,

I get your point, I really do.
There are many reasons to be wary of AI, just as with any tool that unveils a source of seemingly boundless potential.
You are putting some effort into showcasing your point-of-view, and I truly appreciate it.

Still, I am almost forced to believe that you merely skimmed through this passage of mine (which, to be fair, is understandable, I am not an authority in this subject):
-- "Comfort--of any kind--tends
... See more
Dear Reea,

I get your point, I really do.
There are many reasons to be wary of AI, just as with any tool that unveils a source of seemingly boundless potential.
You are putting some effort into showcasing your point-of-view, and I truly appreciate it.

Still, I am almost forced to believe that you merely skimmed through this passage of mine (which, to be fair, is understandable, I am not an authority in this subject):
-- "Comfort--of any kind--tends to, in the long-term, harbour apparent stagnation, a reality that our euphoric selves have yet to learn how to handle."
In other words, I am not defending comfort, in fact, one could state that I am relinquishing it; perhaps in a similar, yet more progressive [/inviting] (be it positive, or not) manner than yours.

Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
Secondly, Francisco, come on... With respect, I see you are of Latin origin so I think convenience and comfort are something natural for you.

As heart-warming as this comment may be (on the basis that this must be an elaborate joke), I am forced to tell you that such prejudiced behaviours do not help (in) consolidating your argument, nor do they befit your intelligence.

Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
There is no evolution in paradise

One could argue that paradise is not organic, it does not exist, it is utopian.
The opposite may be said and observed about the Universe (as we know it).

Nonetheless, I will say: your stance is valuable as mine, keep on nourishing it.
Do look into the past, present and future.

EDIT 1&2: Formatting issues.

[Edited at 2019-07-18 17:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-18 17:26 GMT]
EDIT 3: Worry not, Reea-Silvia. (I am inserting this here so as to not overflow the thread.)

[Edited at 2019-07-18 17:43 GMT]
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Reea-Silvia Podeanu
 

Reea-Silvia Podeanu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:49
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I am sorry! Jul 18

Francisco Chagas wrote:

Dear Reea,

I get your point, I really do.
There are many reasons to be wary of AI, just as with any tool that unveils a source of seemingly boundless potential.
You are putting some effort into showcasing your point-of-view, and I truly appreciate it.

Still, I am almost forced to believe that you merely skimmed through this passage of mine (which, to be fair, is understandable, I am not an authority in this subject):
-- "Comfort--of any kind--tends to, in the long-term, harbour apparent stagnation, a reality that our euphoric selves have yet to learn how to handle."
In other words, I am not defending comfort, in fact, one could state that I am relinquishing it; perhaps in a similar, yet more progressive [/inviting] (be it positive, or not) manner than yours.

Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
Secondly, Francisco, come on... With respect, I see you are of Latin origin so I think convenience and comfort are something natural for you.

As heart-warming as this comment may be (on the basis that this must be an elaborate joke), I am forced to tell you that such prejudiced behaviours do not help (in) consolidating your argument, nor do they befit your intelligence.

Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
There is no evolution in paradise

One could argue that paradise is not organic, it does not exist, it is utopian.
The opposite may be said and observed about the Universe (as we know it).

Nonetheless, I will say: your stance is valuable as mine, keep on nourishing it.
Do look into the past, present and future.

EDIT: Formatting issues.

[Edited at 2019-07-18 17:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-18 17:26 GMT]


First of all I apologize. Indeed I didn't get your point correctly. And second of all, since I AM of LATIN ORIGIN myself, i thought it was obvious the joke is ON ME!

I am really sorry.


Francisco Chagas
 

Reea-Silvia Podeanu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:49
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That is in the case of AI we all have access to... Jul 18

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
....other implications in the long term...

Of course PEMT is fed back into the "system" for the MT engine to learn and improve. Like a machine. In AI/ML/NN-powered image recognition, machines can state that a Chihuahua is a muffin. Or a tree is a tank because the sky is blue. AI's mysterious ways...

But there is far worse and more insidious: sellable MT still needs human input. In this half-baked setting, with translation not entirely automated, not entirely human, the new sought-after specialist and cost-savior is the "MT post-editor", for legal, finance, IT, engineering, everything at once.
But their life expectancy may be similar to that of coal-miners in the XIXth century. I seem to understand that MT promoters are beginning to take on board the effects of MTPE activities on mental health: ungratifying, boring, a cog in the machine, lack of recognition, burn-outs...

This doesn't surprise me, because I did a sizeable amount of MTPE a decade or so ago, for several weeks in a row. It was well paid, but it bored me stiff after a while. I had a go at it some years later, and the experience was worse. Therefore I no longer offer this service to preserve my mental integrity. And in terms of self-esteem, MTPE felt more like screening waste on a recycling line than translating.
MTPE definitely requires special skills, and I sort of admire those who can post-edit MT for months in a row. And it may well be that they are not affected whatsoever by their job.

But the issue is that if/when MT gets to the level of quasi-human translation, there will be no MT post-editor sane enough to brush it up. MT will have squeezed and exhausted all MT post-editors who can issue invoices.

MTPE demand will surpass what remaining post-editors can handle, MTPE costs will increase as a result (offer lower than demand), to the point it's no longer profitable, and commercial MT will disappear to the benefit of human translations.

Unless, because MT engines will end up being fed with ubiquitous PEMT translation, MT output will reach its maximum inherent level: PEMT quality. MT will become a self-contained domain in translation, no more post-editors (thank you very much for your help), and human translation will be for those buyers for which PEMT quality is not enough.

Philippe

Edit: English

[Edited at 2019-07-18 17:14 GMT]


I would be more than happy if everything you said would really happen. But unfortunately the trend says something different. A few years ago MT was forbidden in translations. I do think they have ways to make MT better and better because artificial intellignce doesn't have to spend its time with family and friends and everything it has to do is to learn. And learns fast. Of course, as i said we see only the clumsy, inefficient part of it. For now... and I hope it will remain for now.


 

Guofei_LIN  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 09:49
Chinese
Our decision would not change the price of fish by a farthing Jul 19

I guess whether we decide to put up with MT or not, our decision would not change the price of fish by a farthing because the fact is MT will get better and better with each iteration and it is here to stay, while at the same time, the talent pool of human translators will get drier and drier and for those who decide to stay to fight the rearguard battle, the future is at best uncertain, if not downright dire.

MT is a very empowering tool (for the clients). It improves efficiency an
... See more
I guess whether we decide to put up with MT or not, our decision would not change the price of fish by a farthing because the fact is MT will get better and better with each iteration and it is here to stay, while at the same time, the talent pool of human translators will get drier and drier and for those who decide to stay to fight the rearguard battle, the future is at best uncertain, if not downright dire.

MT is a very empowering tool (for the clients). It improves efficiency and enables in-house staff who are familiar with the subject matter (and who are not professional translators) to have more control and if necessary, step in to do the post-editing themselves, what they might lack in translation skills, they more than make up for with familiarity with subject matter.

[Edited at 2019-07-19 10:38 GMT]
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Jorge Payan
IrinaN
Reea-Silvia Podeanu
 

Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 23:49
Japanese to English
Call the police if someone is holding a gun to your head Jul 19

Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
WHY do we have to put up with post-editing of MT jobs...

We don't.
Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
Why should we accept such jobs when it is obvious that with the help of our efforts, they want to find ways to get rid of human translation.

We shouldn't if we don't want to.


Philip Lees
Reea-Silvia Podeanu
IrinaN
 

Reea-Silvia Podeanu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:49
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agree... Jul 19

Kuochoe Nikoi wrote:
Reea-Silvia Podeanu wrote:
Why should we accept such jobs when it is obvious that with the help of our efforts, they want to find ways to get rid of human translation.

We shouldn't if we don't want to.


My point exactly. The problem is to be aware of the fact that we really don't want to.:) I think for some of us this is not clear yet.


 

Tom Hoar
United States
Local time: 18:49
English
The superstition of the improvment feedback loop Aug 16

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Of course PEMT is fed back into the "system" for the MT engine to learn and improve.


Superstition: 2. a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary. (Merriam-Webster)

This improvement feedback loop was promoted early when corpus-based machine translation (statistical machine translation) became commercial viable circa 2008. It remains a prevalent superstition.

After 12 years of building engines, I can assure you that training/re-training/updating MT engines with post-edited segments actually degrades the machine translation output.


 
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