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What you need to know about Machine Translation Post-Editing

The translation landscape is rapidly transforming, with the global machine translation market surpassing $1.1 billion last year. Projections suggest a tripling by 2027.  One such transformation that has gained prominence is Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE).

This article sheds light on the intricacies of MTPE, exploring the concept, the reasons behind its growing demand, the distinctions between traditional human translation and MTPE, and its best practices.

What is Machine Translation Post-Editing?

MTPE represents a revolutionary blend in the translation process. During MTPE, human linguists refine and enhance the output generated by advanced machine translation systems.

The primary objective is to proofread carefully, correct errors, elevate overall text quality, and ensure the translated content mirrors the original text while preserving its intended meaning.

MTPE has evolved into a pivotal middle ground, overcoming the limitations of raw machine translation in terms of accuracy yet maintaining a cost and time advantage over full human translation services. This positions MTPE as an optimal solution for those seeking an equilibrium between efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and linguistic precision.

Why is there a steadily growing demand for MTPE?

The answer lies in the evolving landscape of translation technology. While machine translation has been in existence for decades, MTPE has gained prominence only recently, thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Modern machine translation systems, powered by sophisticated algorithms, generate outputs that meet a certain quality threshold. This process allows human editors to review and enhance translations more efficiently than ever before, catering to the escalating demand for rapid and cost-effective solutions.

What are the differences between full human translation and MTPE?

Understanding the disparities between a full human translation and MTPE is crucial for making informed decisions.

Opting for a comprehensive human translation process involves multiple editing phases and quality checks, consuming more time and resources. While this traditional option ensures a meticulous approach with attention to stylistic and structural nuances, MTPE strikes a balance by offering refined translations at a lower cost and faster turnaround time. The key lies in understanding the specific project requirements and choosing the most suitable option based on the desired level of quality.

What are the different types of MTPE?

MTPE services are divided into two main types: light post-editing and full post-editing.

Light post-editing

Primarily focused on enhancing text comprehension, this level involves proofreading for grammatical errors and clarifying unclear phrases. While the quality may be lower than a human translation, the advantages lie in affordability and quicker delivery. This option is ideal simpler texts, such as lists or meeting minutes, but wouldn’t be sufficient for technical, medical or more complex texts where subject knowledge is required.

Full post-editing

A more comprehensive approach, full post-editing, delves deeper into the process. It includes not only proofreading and clarification but also extensive revisions to ensure the text reads naturally, maintaining a cohesive tone and style. Post-editors also address cultural and linguistic nuances often lost in machine translation, resulting in a higher-quality output akin to human translation.

How to decide between using MTPE or full human translation

MTPE finds its niche in scenarios where a large volume of content needs translation within a limited timeframe and budget. Industries looking for a quick and cost-effective solution, such as internal communications or data lists, can benefit from MTPE. It’s a pragmatic choice when the highest level of stylistic and structural perfection isn’t paramount.

However, for projects where absolute linguistic precision, industry-specific knowledge, creative flair, and human touch are non-negotiable, full human translation remains the preferred option. Literature, artworks, and content that demand an unparalleled level of finesse are best suited for the thoroughness of human translation.

What are the best practices in MTPE?

Collaboration between machines and human translators

Successful MTPE relies on effective collaboration between machine translation engines and human translators. Establishing a seamless workflow where each component complements the other is crucial. Human translators bring their linguistic expertise and cultural understanding to refine the output generated by machines, ensuring a harmonious blend of efficiency and accuracy.

Quality assurance measures

Implementing robust quality assurance measures is fundamental in MTPE. These measures include thorough proofreading, editing, and validation processes to catch any residual errors or inconsistencies. Quality assurance helps guarantee that the final translated content meets the desired standards and aligns with your specifications.

Industry-specific considerations

Recognising and addressing industry-specific nuances is a best practice in MTPE. Different sectors may have specific terminology, jargon, or regulatory requirements, and tailoring the post-editing process to accommodate these considerations ensures that the final translations are not only accurate but also contextually relevant within the given industry.

Embrace MTPE today

As disruptive technologies continue to refine machine translation capabilities, MTPE has emerged as a strategic choice for businesses seeking a judicious balance between quality, cost, and efficiency.

We hope this article has provided valuable insights into the world of MTPE, empowering you to make informed decisions about your translation needs.

SwissGlobal is at the forefront of language solutions, including cutting-edge MTPE. For more information or a free quote on your next translation project, contact SwissGlobal today. Let’s embrace the future of translation with confidence and precision together!