In today’s fast-paced world, machine translation has undeniably made its mark in various business processes. People turn to machine translation to save time, money, and effort. However, it’s important to recognize that relying solely on machine translation may not provide the desired results. To put it into perspective, imagine constructing a staircase without installing railings, completing a root canal without a dental bridge, or leaving home without a final look in the mirror. In each of these scenarios, safety and completeness are crucial considerations. Similarly, when it comes to translation, post-editing of machine translation by human experts is an essential step to ensure accuracy and quality.
MT is not final!
Machine translation has its shortcomings, which necessitate the need for post-editing. First and foremost, machine translation lacks context. It often translates text word by word or segment by segment without considering the overall meaning or message. In reality, a piece of text is conceived as a whole, then broken down into smaller parts, and organized accordingly. Secondly, machine translation focuses solely on words, neglecting the nuances of language, such as figures of speech, references, or idiomatic expressions. For instance, phrases like “lost like Alice” may not be correctly interpreted by a machine translation system. Humans, on the other hand, translate the ‘meaning’ and not the words. A human translator would immediately understand who was Alice and where she was lost, without the text mentioning Wonderland.
Content – By humans, for humans
Furthermore, the content generated through translation is primarily meant for human consumption. It is essential to have human intervention to ensure that the translation captures the intended meaning accurately. This is where post-editing comes into play. Human post-editors have a deep understanding of the source and target languages and quickly grasp the patterns in which machine translation can go wrong. They can identify and rectify issues that arise due to differences in grammar, style, and context.
Train the machine
One of the tricks of post-editing is that humans can rapidly discern potential errors where machines might stumble. For example, the word “we” in English can be exclusive or inclusive, and a human post-editor can determine the correct usage based on context. Additionally, machine translation often struggles with translating proper nouns, such as the names of institutes, places, or people, where human post-editors can provide accurate and contextually appropriate translations. ‘Central Park’ or ’Jan Path’ or ‘The Park Street Hotel’ need not be translated, as they are proper nouns.
Moreover, the process of post-editing helps build a memory within the machine translation system. As human editors make improvements and corrections, the machine learns from these edits, gradually enhancing its translation capabilities. It is a collaborative process that allows for continuous improvement and refinement.
Be Safe and Sure
While machine translation has its benefits, it is not a substitute for human expertise and understanding. Unsupervised, un-edited machine translation can be disastrous and can become a cause for humor. Post-editing by human professionals is crucial to overcome the limitations of machine translation and ensure accurate and high-quality translations. At TranslationPanacea, our team of skilled post-editors combines their linguistic proficiency with an understanding of the intricacies of machine translation to deliver translations that meet the highest standards.