The Challenges of Machine Translation (MT) and MT Post-Editing
This presentation was given at the General Meeting of the Northern California Translators Association (ncta.org) in San Francisco on May 1, 2010.
The economic challenges of the last year reignited a strong interest in the potential of MT as a key productivity tool. Large localization buyers that before 2009 were merely curious about MT were all of a sudden trying to make correct buying decisions on MT systems and services. MT is a fascinating problem because it reintroduces a number of variables into the established productivity metrics and pricing structures of the industry. As such, it may be an interesting problem, but without proper due diligence, it can pose significant financial risks to novice practitioners. Welocalize as a company is committed to principles of openness and collaboration. Consequently, we believe that by collaborating in the development of MT programs, the industry will enjoy the greatest shared productivity gains. As an alternative to a lecture/listen format, Mr. Bell would like to lead a group discussion with the audience and Dr. Flournoy from Adobe in which we “whiteboard” our collective thoughts and concerns regarding MT on the relative positions of the three key players in the localization transaction: end client, linguist/translator and vendor/MLV.
For each of these players: we will brainstorm around the following key questions:
- How is this player’s role in an MT production workflow different from a traditional translation workflow?
- How are this player’s responsibilities in an MT production workflow different from a traditional translation workflow?
- What are the player’s risks?
- What are his or her opportunities?
Hopefully, this discussion will also provide ample opportunity for Mr. Bell and Dr. Flournoy to clarify a number of technical and operational details regarding MT in the context of the business interaction between the three groups.
Adobe Systems has begun investigating incorporating Machine Translation into its localization workflow, as a way to lower translation costs, improve consistency, and increase the amount of text that the company localizes. In this talk Dr. Flournoy will discuss Adobe’s experiences with MT post-editing and the Company process for interacting with LSPs and translators on post-editing projects.
Ms. Fernandez will share her experience working as an MT post-editor.
About the speakers:
Raymond Flournoy is a Senior Program Manager at Adobe Systems, leading Machine Translation initiatives within the company. After earning his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford, he worked both as a MT researcher/developer and more recently on the product management side, including serving as the Product Owner for Yahoo! Babel Fish.
Andy Bell is a program director at Welocalize, providing strategic and technical guidance in the company’s largest account. In his “spare time” he also leads Welocalize’s MT program, building operational and technical process, as well as coaching the sales team and even external vendors. In an out of the translation world since before email, he also has experience working with text analytics and large text corpora in the field of legal discovery. He believes that as an industry, we will make the fastest progress with MT if we look carefully for ways to share the productivity gains between end-clients, vendors and linguists.
Ellen Fernandez came across translation entirely by accident. She took a job as interpreter/translator for a large military installation under administration by the British Forces Germany and very quickly found that translation was what she wanted to do with her life. She took the Diploma Translator exam with the Institute of Linguists. A few years later, Ellen turned to freelancing and has never looked back. Ellen lives near Sacramento, California, translates from English into German and specializes in manuals for medical devices, industrial machinery and IT. She can be reached at Ellen@TranslationsIntoGerman.com.