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Technology 07.12.17 BLOG 

MT: Robot Intelligence Technology with a Human Touch

By TransPerfect Machine Translation Center of Excellence

Machine Translation

MT: Robot Intelligence Technology with a Human Touch

I was working for an agency when I was first introduced to machine translation (MT) years ago. At the time, MT didn’t mean much to me…I imagined a giant robot that could magically translate snippets of text in seconds. I never considered the human aspect behind the solution, and I certainly never questioned using Google Translate to verify translations at work. It wasn’t long before a major client left our agency for a competitor who worked with a reliable language service provider, and I learned my lesson relying on poor and risky translations. I eventually grew a passion for ‘the solution’ that opened new doors for me at TransPerfect as a certified MT consultant. Since that one failed project at the agency, I vowed to educate all my language partners, old and new, on the ins and outs of MT. After all, it’s the human brains (not robot) behind the technology that makes it so darn amazing!

Which MT solution makes sense for me?

Nowadays, more and more language service providers (LSPs) apply machine translation (MT) to their translation workflow. It’s a powerful evolving tool that allows for LSPs to offer cost-effective solutions and impressive delivery times. Thanks to combining MT with traditional translation services, LSPs and their clients can pick and choose from a wider range of services such as fast MT with no customization or further editing, customized MT adapted to specific client content, or MT output with linguistic post-editing. If this is your first time working with MT, you’re probably wondering, which MT makes sense for me? Before you discuss project requirements, budgets, and deadlines, educate yourself on MT as a whole.

MT with a human touch

MT technology has evolved a lot in the past few years, with solid results in statistical and neural MT. No matter which version or variation of MT is applied to your project, human involvement in the process is beyond crucial. Whether you’re localizing medical content where every word must be 100% accurate, or branding material, which showcases your brand to millions of potential clients on the internet, top quality should always be treated as a top priority. Only highly professional linguists (not robots) can provide top-level quality. The beauty of working with a global language solutions provider like TransPerfect is that you get the best of both worlds in translation: a highly professional team of linguists who not only apply MT, but review the final output. The more expert eyes on your project, the better!

Post-editing linguists – who are they?

Machine translation post-editing (MTPE) is the process in which human translators review draft translations produced by an MT system and correct them to achieve desired quality. MTPE is normally used as a way to decrease translation turnaround time from the normal three-step review process. TransPerfect is known to have one of the industry’s largest pools of expert post-editing linguists who are also   subject-matter specialists. That means that your pharmaceutical project will only be handled by a certified life sciences post-editor who knows the industry (language, jargon, and standards) inside out.

Additionally, TransPerfect linguists are also a crucial component in developing the MT process . They work alongside our machine translation specialists to continuously improve the performance of our MT systems. In fact, linguistic feedback is the most important and efficient resource for MT development.

The TransPerfect approach

At TransPerfect, we believe that all benefits of MT technology should be shared with linguists. MT allows our language partners to improve translation turnaround times and save costs, while ensuring quality and consistency. Since it’s in our benefit to share the cost savings with our linguistic community, we apply a fair and transparent approach when suggesting payment rates. MT not only enables companies to offer less costly translation services with shorter turnaround times, but also serves as a productivity tool for linguists so they can increase their income as well. It’s a win-win situation.

Why translation matters more than ever

There is a huge amount of content being generated every day in hundreds of languages and most of it remains untranslated. Our industry copes with this challenge by developing computer tools, and machine translation is one of them. Just like CAT tools, electronic glossaries, and other software, MT helps increase translators’ productivity, allowing our partners to expand their reach and translate more. More and more linguists are beginning to understand how MT can help them grow their own business within this booming industry, rather than replace the human element that they represent.

If you‘re interested in learning more about TransPerfect’s MT solutions, contact us at mtquestions@transperfect.com. If you’re a linguist who’s interested in MT technology and joining our team of rock stars, check out our careers page.


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