Automation: Yes or no? How can technology contribute to the translation industry nowadays?

By: Bruno Rotondo, Team Lead







When considering the impact of technology on the translation industry, it is not uncommon to find professionals that see it as a threat to their work. While it is true that automated translation services are increasing and improving by the hour, human translation is far from being left out of the process. On the contrary: technology can be the door to more and better work. Staying up to date is the key.

In the world 3.0, where everything and everyone is connected, organizations have the need to reach an hyper-segmented audience that comes from all sort of cultural backgrounds. This has ensured the steady growth of global demand for language services over the years. In light of these increasing business opportunities both for translators and translation companies, the question of how to deliver high volume at a low cost, while preserving high quality standards becomes urgent. The answer seems obvious: technology.

The connection between translation and technology is stablished mainly through two kind of systems: machine translation engines (such as Google), which produce a finished translation that a human linguist can edit afterwards, and computer assisted translation software, also known as CAT tools. “Assisting” the translation implies that the work is still going to be performed by humans, but made easier by a specialized software. The core of this system relies on the concept of translation memories (TM), a type of file in which the software stores every translation done so that, in the future, it can detect similar sentences and structures and bring up old translation results. This saves time for the linguist, which impacts directly on the volume they can take and the overall cost of each translation project.

The use of translation memories improves efficiency, since it prevents professionals from performing the same translation twice. At the same time, it ensures quality, since technology allows you to check for consistency and terminological accuracy, two essential requirements for any client. Those are just the basics really. In the present, CAT tools offer many other additional features to support both linguists and project managers while they work on new and challenging projects.

Flexible settings constitute their main asset. Working with a variety of clients, translators need to keep track of each of their specific requirements. Thanks to this specialized software, translators can create their own term-lists and QA checks, among other settings that they can customize on a template specific to each client. This allows them to quickly launch each new project without having to re-read never-ending glossaries and guidelines.

Another asset is their compatibility with multiple file extensions. Over time, the number of formats that customers require to have translated has done nothing but increase. Nowadays, translators are required to work with anything, from traditional Microsoft Office files, to specific graphic design formats or even subtitles. It is simply not possible for the linguist to be proficient in each and every software currently in use. Technology constitutes an invaluable ally in this field, helping to process various formats without requiring new technical skills. Once the translation is done, the CAT tool converts the file back into its original format.

Technology facilitates online collaboration and management for challenging projects. During large projects, when different translators work at the same time, real-time online management becomes essential. By incorporating specific tools, project managers are allowed to check the status and progress of their projects at any given time. This helps them to get ahead of problems and greatly reduces the number of last-minute surprises. Online management also encourages communication among the project team. It allows participants to leave comments regarding the ongoing translation and exchange valuable research and points of view with both colleagues and project managers.

Finally, the inevitable cost reduction. When the CAT licenses are acquired by the LSPs (Language service provider), their use is totally free for those translators that have been granted access to the software by the company. This constitutes an invaluable benefit for the linguist, who probably has to pay for different software already.

In the world of knowledge-based economy, technology breakthroughs on the translation market constitute an opportunity to boost innovative projects, based on actual know-how. Unlike other industries, where repetitive work is at risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence, on the linguistic industry, introducing technology is a synonym of sophistication, better results and high-end quality. What is more, these innovative resources are improving and renewing themselves by the day.

The key to finding the solution that best fits our needs is to remain up-to-date and avoid becoming sluggish; keeping our eyes open to this field where new alternatives are being developed all the time. This is not about some human versus machine or translator versus technology dilemma. This is about combining the best of both worlds and having technology at the service of experts.

If you liked my article and want to know more about how technology can contribute to your translation service, you can attend my memoQ demo, which will take place on Saturday 14 at 1:30 p.m. at CLINT (Translation Industry Conference in Latin America) or approach us at our stand there at the conference center. We look forward to hearing from you!

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How Machine Translation and Post-Editing Can Help you

How Machine Translation and Post-Editing Can Help you Reach the Market Faster

post edicion

by Leandro Nunzio

Today’s fast-paced world is strengthened by technology and the Internet, producing more and more information at an increasingly faster pace. Therefore, it is important to have solutions that let you embrace these changes and, at the same time, make progress to be a step ahead of the competition.
At Go Global Language Consulting, within our translation solutions, we offer a tool that will allow you to have that extra content usefulness and speed up the information supply -the current common currency. This service is Post-Editing of Machine Translation (MT).

Machine Translation, or MT, is a utility that has been gaining strength during many years in the fields of translation and Computer-Assisted Translation tools (CAT tools), but it has been resisted by companies in general, and mainly by translators themselves, due to a number of well-grounded reasons.
The majority argues that working with MT is more time-consuming than a direct translation, because even though it saves time at the moment of generating the translated content, editing time of such generated content is greater than with a direct translation.
This could be true at the beginning, when the machine translation processing engines and servers were simply statistical, and the CAT tools technology was poor.

Today, many companies like SDL, memoQ, eBay, Google and Amazon offer enhancements in the tools processes and more independent programming, which allows programs to adapt the content they spread based on the context, to learn from the information being included into the translation databases, and to facilitate the expansion of post-editing use to other content-applied fields, besides translation itself.
For example, recent developments in MT enable customization of the use of the content according to projects, customers, fields (i.e. legal, medical, technical, etc.), and MT can be programmed to recognize when certain error is frequent and when a context is similar or equal to another, so that it can learn from that and recognize the range of instances, adapting content according to given settings.
Then, while its usage is enhanced, the tool works more and more predictably, and in turn, it learns more while it adds more content to its operation interface. Consequently, it offers more precise and better results that affect the working statistics of the finished documents and their preparation.

Viewed from another perspective, if the tool works better and its automated translations are more accurate, this implies the content analysis will be more precise, providing a more efficient quality estimate (so you will know with greater accuracy how much it will cost you and when it might be finished), and this will also allow the company working with you to deliver the end product to start using its own resources more efficiently in the efforts of the job and content production.

We are not saying the translator will be replaced by MT and, therefore, you may be able to buy a software capable of translating all the produced content in minutes and in a perfect way. That’s not the case. In fact, we will always need translators to edit the content, making sure it sounds natural and accurate, in terms of context and concept. The emotion, intention and myriad of meanings of a sentence or text always need to be properly interpreted and organized by a human being. However, post-editing of content with machine translation will feature a hybrid aspect to produce content in the target language, which brings the best of both worlds: advanced man-made technology, and the human being who operates it and guides it through the correct path -all for its own benefit.

To know more about Go Global and how our services can help you, contact us and a Client Solution specialist will be able to assist you.