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How to hide usage of machine translation in Trados Studio 2009.
Thread poster: europeanPRO

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:19
English to German
+ ...
Why is this information passed on at all Nov 29, 2012

I rarely use CAT tools (much less any SDL tools) and have never used MT, except to have a good chuckle now and then. But I'm reading this thread with awe, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

SDL Support wrote:

... enough imagination to know why some people might want to hide the fact they have used MT. What is really surprising is how some users seem quite comfortable with the idea of doing so and in particular the lengths they would go to cover their tracks and also share how they do it with others.



Very true. But isn't it then equally the case that it doesn't require a lot of imagination to know why certain CAT tool makers are passing this information on to other parties, through undocumented, semi-documented, hidden, or confusing features and/or tags (depending on the concrete implementation) which, as it appears to be the case, are difficult, even impossible to remove and misleading? If you ask me, this looks quite sinister.

Or which is the point that I have misunderstood?


Is it just me or does this seem wrong to anyone? Even if there are perfectly innocent reasons for using MT in the first place I think the reasons why a client would not want this should be respected. Even using simple technology to automate copy and paste from the web version of Google, which would obviously not need any fiddling to remove an audit trail, is something I think you should think twice about if you have been specifically asked not to use MT.



To me it still seems that the features belong to him who has purchased the licence, in this case the translator and not the agency? Most CAT tools these days seem to enable -- even strongly encourage -- the use of MT. But care should be taken by the software maker not to pass on any additional information (MT related or not) inadvertently. Failing to do so looks like a potential breach of privacy, or worse. At the very minimum, any such feature should be clearly and unequivocally documented.

At any rate, if the software house, namely if it is one of the leading SW makers in the industry, feels so strongly against the use of Google Translate or similar engines, it could simply disable the features and be done with it. No feature, no moral qualms -- simple.

Be it as it may, and without wanting to rub it in to the OP, using MT comes at a price -- at multiple levels. That much can be said. The reasons are mainly linguistic ones and don't really belong into this thread.

Personally I look forward to a successful career without MT.

But those who use it, and those expect it from others -- only to disqualify them at will, reducing their rates on the way -- as well as those who implement the corresponding features, should not shed crocodile tears after the damage is done.

And I believe much more damage is to come. Just stay connected.


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:19
Member (2009)
French to English
You don't Nov 30, 2012

If you feel that confidentiality is not a concern for a specific document and it is not explicitly forbidden by your client, then you are upfront about using MT and ask your client if they mind. Anything less would be unprofessional.

 

europeanPRO
Latvia
Local time: 08:19
Russian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
just a question Nov 30, 2012

Jenn Mercer wrote:

If you feel that confidentiality is not a concern for a specific document and it is not explicitly forbidden by your client, then you are upfront about using MT and ask your client if they mind. Anything less would be unprofessional.

Do you explain all your client the way you do translation job, which exactly dictionaries you use and what kind of TM you have used and how much time by using them have you saved? If you do so than my question was faulty and topic must be closed. I think this is not about being professional this is about problems with adjustments in Trados. If professional translators buy very expensive license, they have to be able to adjust their projects as it is in Wordfast.


raffaella prati
 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 07:19
English to Czech
+ ...
MT Nov 30, 2012

I'm 100% with Paul on this one: there's no reason to hide from your client that you used MT, and AFAIK this is by design. Either you can explain to your client that you use GT or any other MT e.g. as a dictionary, or don't use it at all, especially when the client doesn't like it.

 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:19
Danish to English
+ ...
Agree with Jenn Nov 30, 2012

But no, I don't explain to any of my clients which tools I use when translating, and I don't need to. They look at the quality of my work, I presume, and consider the end result worth the money they pay me. How I get to that result is entirely up to me.

On the other hand, I wouldn't dream of putting my clients' texts through online translation tools that may expose their texts to others through cloud translation.

If that is what you do, if would seem unethical to try
... See more
But no, I don't explain to any of my clients which tools I use when translating, and I don't need to. They look at the quality of my work, I presume, and consider the end result worth the money they pay me. How I get to that result is entirely up to me.

On the other hand, I wouldn't dream of putting my clients' texts through online translation tools that may expose their texts to others through cloud translation.

If that is what you do, if would seem unethical to try to find a way to cover up your work method.
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Claudia Marino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:19
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
@ SDL Support Jan 10, 2013

So why is Studio offering the AT feature?

 

George Cook
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:19
French to English
+ ...
The problem is not yours, but your client's Jan 10, 2013

I think the major issue here is not one of integrity. It has been well documented in this very thread that hiding use of MT when your client has requested that you don't use it is morally questionable, to put it mildly, but that is clearly not rodjer's problem. As I understand it, the only segments marked as "AT" are numbers, and, as such, this fact should not be covered up, as it takes only modest intellect to understand that there is no human input required to "translate" these segments.
... See more
I think the major issue here is not one of integrity. It has been well documented in this very thread that hiding use of MT when your client has requested that you don't use it is morally questionable, to put it mildly, but that is clearly not rodjer's problem. As I understand it, the only segments marked as "AT" are numbers, and, as such, this fact should not be covered up, as it takes only modest intellect to understand that there is no human input required to "translate" these segments.

In general, I agree with Paul and Stanislav here - trying to cover up that you have used MT strikes me as both unnecessary and dishonest. I do, however, see the problem.

Firstly, and simply, if the client has specifically requested that you don't use MT, then, er, don't use it!

If your client has made no such request, then, unless the text is obviously of a confidential nature (or the client has told you that it is), you are at liberty to use MT, and have no reason to hide the fact. If the client cannot see that the translation they are receiving is of too high a quality to be unadulterated MT output, then either they have a very high opinion of MT (in which case why are they paying you to translate when they could use MT themselves?), or your translation isn't very good!

If your client actually does not believe that you have translated segments that do not have "AT" next to them, then you do have a legitimate problem.

They saw this "AT" only near the segments with numbers and still I had problems and needed to explain that for the other part I have clean translation and I had even somehow to prove it...

If the client is unable to understand that numbers don't require any translation input, and further that those segments not marked "AT" have been translated properly by a human, then you should be concerned about their level of intelligence. If you have given them all the information and they still simply don't believe you, to the extent that they are asking you to prove a negative, then there is nothing more you can do apart from not accept any more work from them - after all, not only are they clearly absolutely barking mad, they are also questioning your professional integrity!
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George Cook
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:19
French to English
+ ...
What? Jan 10, 2013

Claudia Marino wrote:

So why is Studio offering the AT feature?


As an aside, I don't really understand this question in the light of all the previous posts.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:19
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Disclosing confidential information Jan 10, 2013

It does look like there's a dual problem of confidentiality here. On the one hand we have translators disclosing their client's confidential information (the document in question) to another party (the MT engine). On the other hand we have SDL disclosing their customer's confidential information (the translator's working methods) to another party (the translator's client). It could be argued one way or another about whether each is or is not advisable, but the fact of disclosure to a third par... See more
It does look like there's a dual problem of confidentiality here. On the one hand we have translators disclosing their client's confidential information (the document in question) to another party (the MT engine). On the other hand we have SDL disclosing their customer's confidential information (the translator's working methods) to another party (the translator's client). It could be argued one way or another about whether each is or is not advisable, but the fact of disclosure to a third party remains.

It bears some thought.

[Edited at 2013-01-10 18:58 GMT]
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Employees versus independent contractors, and machine translation Jan 10, 2013

SDL Support wrote:
To be honest I have enough imagination to know why some people might want to hide the fact they have used MT. What is really surprising is how some users seem quite comfortable with the idea of doing so and in particular the lengths they would go to cover their tracks and also share how they do it with others.


I understand your thinking, Paul, and if the translator is an EMPLOYEE of the client, then the client has every right to know whether the translator had used machine translation.

But if the translator is an independent contractor and his agreement with the client is for a contract of work, not a contract of service, then the client has no specific right to know whether the translator had used machine translation (regardless of whether the client had made known any wishes about it). The fact that information about the translator's workflow is embedded in the file without his consent (and worse: without his knowledge), is a breach of the translator's privacy.

I'm not saying that clients have no means of preventing translators from using machine translation -- for example, if the machine translation is an online service, the client can attempt to exclude it in an agreement on the treatment of confidential information.

In theory, if the translator is an independent contractor, then the client can specify what the deliverable must be, but not what methods may or may not be used to create the deliverable. In practice, translators often do follow clients' instructions, simply because following those instructions is usually the best method of generating the deliverable anyway.

John Fossey wrote:
On the other hand we have SDL disclosing their customer's confidential information (the translator's working methods) to another party (the translator's client).


I did not read your post before I wrote my reply, but I actually made this point originally as well (but then deleted it again to focus on just one subject). FWIW, therefore, I fully agree with your statement.



[Edited at 2013-01-10 20:37 GMT]


 

SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:19
Member (1970)
English
Interesting viewpoint... Jan 10, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

I understand your thinking, Paul, and if the translator is an EMPLOYEE of the client, then the client has every right to know whether the translator had used machine translation.

But if the translator is an independent contractor and his agreement with the client is for a contract of work, not a contract of service, then the client has no specific right to know whether the translator had used machine translation (regardless of whether the client had made known any wishes about it). The fact that information about the translator's workflow is embedded in the file without his consent (and worse: without his knowledge), is a breach of the translator's privacy.



I must be misreading the red part because this doesn't sound right to me at all. Irrespective of any CAT tool related discussion I could not agree with this statement at all under any circumstances. You seem to be saying that even if the Client specifically asked not have their confidential material shared with Google or any other public MT engine that it would still be ok to do this if you wanted and then hide this fact from your Client. I hope none of your Clients are reading this.

With regard to Studio embedding this information, the same as it embeds the TM provider information, I see as being nothing more than a natural extension of the history retained in the SDLXLIFF already. Certainly nothing is hidden here as the SDLXLIFF files are all available for anyone to see... in fact it's even part of the XLIFF specification to retain information relating to where the translation match came from. (check the origin attribute in the XLIFF spec.)

With regard to SDL disclosing your Clients confidential information... it seems to me the Client has more to worry about from the translator (at least some translators). The Translator is warned before using MT that source information will be sent to the MT provider (essential requirement to get the translation of course) so the decision to do this rests with the Translator; as does the decision to ignore the Clients requests. Both things... using MT and retaining information in the SDLXLIFF are made known to the translator so you have no excuse for not knowing this before using it, irrespective of any other points I have made:


The choices are all yours, and in my opinion it doesn't matter whether you are an employee or a contractor. If you are asked not to use it then don't. There are no grey areas here for me.

Regards

Paul


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:19
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Troubling Jan 11, 2013

SDL Support wrote:

The choices are all yours, and in my opinion it doesn't matter whether you are an employee or a contractor. If you are asked not to use it then don't. There are no grey areas here for me.

Regards

Paul


I think the issue that has come up here is not whether or not MT should be used or whether or not the translator should inform or ask the client about its use. Rather the issue here is whether it's any of SDL's business to inform the client, SDL not being a party to the relationship between the translator and his or her client. That is troubling.

The matter the OP raised is a perfect example - in a situation where the use or non-use of MT (or AT) is really irrelevant, the information about the translator's workflow provided by SDL to the translator's client throws an unnecessary spanner into the works of the relationship between the translator and his client, information which could conceivably cause harm, as the OP describes.

[Edited at 2013-01-11 02:57 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 13:19
Chinese to English
Accountability Jan 11, 2013

John Fossey wrote:

I think the issue that has come up here is not whether or not MT should be used or whether or not the translator should inform or ask the client about its use. Rather the issue here is whether it's any of SDL's business to inform the client, SDL not being a party to the relationship between the translator and his or her client. That is troubling.

The matter the OP raised is a perfect example - in a situation where the use or non-use of MT (or AT) is really irrelevant, the information about the translator's workflow provided by SDL to the translator's client throws an unnecessary spanner into the works of the relationship between the translator and his client, information which could conceivably cause harm, as the OP describes.

[Edited at 2013-01-11 02:57 GMT]


I don't really see this. First, we should be clear that "SDL" is not getting involved. SDL the company isn't informing anyone of anything, any more than Microsoft the company isn't getting involved when Word tags your document as being created on your computer.

Secondly, "could conceivably" arguments are a bit of a waste of time. If there are real outsourcers who don't know what the AT means, and who reject it wrongly, then that's a problem, and we should educate the outsourcers.

In the case raised by Rodjer, this wasn't a case of the outsourcer jumping to the wrong conclusion, though, was it? If the outsourcer doesn't want MT used, and he uses it, then that's a problem between them.

Thirdly, accountability matters. Clients have a right to know who's made what changes to their texts. If you didn't do the numbers and got a computer to do it, that's fine, but the client deserves to know.


Finally, I'm very impressed with Paul's attitude to this.


 

George Cook
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:19
French to English
+ ...
Absolutely spot on Jan 11, 2013

SDL Support wrote:
If you are asked not to use it then don't. There are no grey areas here for me.


I agree absolutely 100% with what Paul says. This entire thread seems to have got bogged down in the arcane intricacies of something which is entirely straightforward.

Sometimes things actually are black and white, folks.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Paul Jan 11, 2013

SDL Support wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
But if the translator is an independent contractor and his agreement with the client is for a contract of work, not a contract of service, then the client has no specific right to know whether the translator had used machine translation (regardless of whether the client had made known any wishes about it).

You seem to be saying that even if the Client specifically asked not have their confidential material shared with Google or any other public MT engine that it would still be ok to do this if you wanted and then hide this fact from your Client. I hope none of your Clients are reading this.


Actually, if any of my clients read this, I just hope that they check my original post, in which I did explain the thing you are now asking about.

[Anyway, what we're discussing here is largely theoretical. On the one hand there are the rights of the translator, but... on the other hand there is good business practice.

A translator will be more successful in business if he is considerate and compromising towards clients, even if it means eroding away at some of his "rights". In practice, therefore, the translator shares information about his workflow with the client, to contribute to the client's belief that the translator is good, and, in practice, the translator follows the client's workflow instructions, if doing so would make life simpler for both parties and contribute to a smooth business relationship.
]

Yes, if the confidentiality agreement that you have with the client precludes the use of MT, then you absolutely must not use MT, regardless of whether the client had asked you not to use MT (silly as this may sound), and regardless of whether you believe it is your right to use MT.

But if the confidentiality agreement is worded in such a way that it would not preclude online MT, and if you have done due diligence yourself and you have confluded that online MT would not breach confidentiality, then taking a decision to use MT would be within your rights. And taking a decision not to inform your client of that fact would also be within your rights, and would not be unethical and would not be dishonest.

In my opinion it is not unethical for the translator to simply not inform clients of some or all of the procedures that were used during the creation of the translation. There may be good reasons for not doing so, e.g. the client might have a misconception about the process and come to incorrect conclusions about your business ethics.

In my opinion it doesn't matter whether you are an employee or a contractor. If you are asked not to use it then don't. There are no grey areas here for me.


I agree with you 99%.

The 1% is this: if you know better than your client how to do your job, then you must do what you know is best and not what the client tells you he thinks is best. What matters in the end is that the thing that you deliver is the same as that which the client had wanted you to deliver.

With regard to Studio embedding this information, the same as it embeds the TM provider information, I see as being nothing more than a natural extension of the history retained in the SDLXLIFF already.


Do I understand correctly that you regard it as dishonest if the translator changes the "origin" attribute's value in the bilingual file to something else? Would you then also regard changing e.g. the creation date or the creation user ID of segments as dishonest? I know of many agencies that do just that (they "anonimise" the TM before sharing it). Is it okay for clients to anonymise the TM or bilingual file, but not for translators to do so?

Anyway, I'm not necessarily pointing a finger here. I do believe that revealing certain information without the knowledge or consent of the translator infringes on the translator's rights, but the fact is that a lot of information is leaked in many programs, in ways that translators may not always be aware of. Even a simple MS Word file may reveal a lot about the translator. A knowledgeable translator can anonymise the file, if he prefers.

Also, for the record, I did see the screenshot you posted, in which the translator is warned that the information would be in the "bilingual file".


 
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