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Marek Makosiej
March 13, 2023
14 min read

Why Not Save on Machine Translation Post Editing?

Why Not Save on Machine Translation Post Editing?



Translations enable companies to reach their foreign audience and create high-quality content in many languages. 


You can use machine translation software or hire humans to complete this task. If you choose the first option (MT), the challenge is post-production and machine translation post editing.


Most translation teams, including post-production teams, work exclusively with humans, meaning they need human services like translation editing to ensure quality results. 


Should you use such a process for your content-driven business? You will find the answer in this article.




What is Machine Translation Post Editing (MTPE)?



Why Not Save on Machine Translation Post Editing?



Machine Translation Post Editing is a process of proofreading machine-translated texts to improve the translations so that they reach the same level of quality as texts produced by human translators.


Professional localization companies that offer such services will most likely be certified under ISO 18587 and have project managers who can understand the complexity of the post-editing process. Look for companies that hire linguists trained and certified with TAUS who also have deep knowledge of the source language and output language you need.


Light post-editing involves checking and correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors in the machine translation output. 


Full post editing involves linguists checking and updating the content of the translation as well as grammar and spelling errors.


In full post editing, the machine translation results are reviewed by human linguists who make changes to the text based on their expertise. This may include replacing the machine translation with a human translation or making other language-specific corrections.


One advantage of full machine translation post editing is that linguists can make more precise changes that would not be possible with the LPE. However, as FPE is more time-consuming, it usually comes at a higher price point. A slightly higher cost of full post editing is an investment, considering the benefits of quality assurance provided by human professional.




The Process of Machine Translation Post Editing



The Process of Machine Translation Post Editing



In machine translation post-editing (MTPE), a text previously pre-translated by a machine translation engine is edited by a human translator to achieve its final form. 


Post-editing ensures accuracy, good voice and tone, and cultural appropriateness. The final check also prevents branding errors and mistranslations.


To perform MTPE effectively, post-editors use translation memories, glossaries, and other tools to work faster and better. These specialized tools help verification teams save time and produce high quality translation services more efficiently. 


However, the process requires a thorough understanding of the grammar and linguistics of the source language (SL) and the grammar and linguistics of the target language (TL). Only with this knowledge can post editing teams continuously improve the quality of their services.



How does this process typically work?


  1. Pre-editing the source text to achieve clear form for the machine translation tool
  2. Machine translation of the texts to the target language
  3. Automatic evaluation of raw machine translation output
  4. Human verification of the MT document after initial automated evaluation
  5. Post-editing of the machine-translated MT text: light or full post-editing, depending on the chosen method
  6. MTPE quality control and quality improvements for better results
  7. Final feedback and document output is ready for client review



What are the Different Types of Machine Translation Post Editing?



What are the Different Types of Machine Translation Post Editing?



Post-editing of machine translations involves changes to the machine-translated text, such as correcting grammar and spelling errors. This type of verification is called light. In contrast, full post-verification involves an in-depth process that includes changes to improve style, tone, and cultural and linguistic aspects.


Translation glossaries can define key terms and describe how those terms should be translated. This can help readers better understand the meaning of the text.


Machine translation also stores terms and phrases for reuse in the text, referred to as translation memory. Human linguists and editors manually review the text and correct errors to ensure the translation is accurate and readable.



Full Post-Editing (FPE, deep PE)



Light Post-Editing (LPE, fast PE)



Full Post-Editing is a machine translation process that aims to obtain a target text comparable to a human translator's output. It includes an analysis of translation quality and style and cultural considerations such as appropriate language and idioms.


FPE goes beyond grammar and translation accuracy to analyze the quality and style of the translation. In addition, full post-editing also takes into account cultural aspects, such as the appropriate use of language and idioms in the desired language.


What does this mean for your business?


  • Your translated content retains the meaning and fluency of the text
  • Regardless of the content type (marketing collateral, technical documentation, user manuals, etc.), the style is fully adapted to its requirements 
  • Terminology consistent with any provided glossaries and references
  • No confusing sentences and the right message conveyed with up-to-date terms, brand names
  • Fully adapted cultural references with your style-guides applied




Light Post-Editing (LPE, fast PE)



Light Post-Editing (LPE, fast PE)



Fast PE of machine translations is a process of producing understandable output without attempting to compare it to the quality of human-produced work. 


Light post-editing is a production method with minimal human intervention. It is suitable for content not visible to the public, such as internal communications. Light post-editing is also often used for content that requires minimal human review, such as text output for backend needs that clients in the target audience will most likely not see. 


This version of the post-editing process is more cost-effective for a large-scale project with limited budgets.



What does it mean for your business?


  • Correct terminology, spelling, concordance, and conjugation
  • Confusing sentences changed to convey the right message (if needed)
  • The final output does not need to be a stylistically perfect text
  • LPE is ideal for any technical, internal documentation that is not disclosed outside your company



How Does MTPE Differ From Human Translation?



How Does MTPE Differ From Human Translation?



In machine translation post editing, a source text is prepared by humans into a source text and then machine-edited into the target text in the target language. Then, a translator checks the content for accuracy, language, and cultural appropriateness.


Post-editing enables companies to publish software and websites in multiple languages quickly. It saves companies time and money by reusing specific constructs and translations.


Post-editing shortens the time it takes to translate a source text, resulting in lower client costs. 







Related content: What Happens When You Experiment with Machine Translation






Machine translation post editing should be distinct from human translation.




In MTPE, translator checks content for accuracy, voice, and cultural appropriateness. Machine translations are literal, and humans can make them sound more natural.


In contrast, a trained and skilled linguist interprets the text during the translation process. Human translators use their knowledge and language abilities to understand the intent and nuance fully. 


Then, grasping the non-text-based context, they produce a final translation of high quality to convey the message between languages. Even if that means changing words used in the translated text to pass on the context and message in another language properly. 



So, what do human editors bring to the MT post editing?




Human Post-Editors Ensure the Accuracy of Tone and Style


When post-editing machine translations, it is vital to ensure precision and consistency. Human post-editors use tools such as glossaries and interactive translation tools to ensure the quality of the linguistic work. 


They also use their language skills and experience to ensure that the translated text is accurate, relevant, and matches the tone and style of the original text

Human post-editors must remain vigilant to ensure that the translated text is accurate and matches the desired tone and style of the original text.




Human Post-Editors Ensure Correct Grammar and Syntax


Post-editing services provide that machine translation results are linguistically correct. It involves human editors who check the translations for errors in grammar and syntax. To do this, they either check the machine translation results or edit the translation manually, depending on your service.


In addition to correcting grammatical and syntactical errors, post-editing services often include other language-specific tasks such as localization, cultural adaptation, and localization of scientific terms.


Linguists performing such tasks must have specific skills and competencies to perform them effectively. To deliver precise and consistent translations, they must be proficient in source and final languages. 




Human Post-Editors Preserve Cultural Context


Post-editing AI-based translations mean that professional translators manually review content after machine translation to correct errors, improve readability, and maintain cultural accuracy. 


Human post-editors are critical to ensuring MT output does not result in inaccurate translations. Therefore, human post-editors play an essential role in providing high-quality output.




Benefits of Machine Translation Post Editing



Benefits of Machine Translation Post Editing



Machine post-editing of translations (MTPE) is a process in which a text pre-translated by an MT machine is edited by a human translator to obtain its final form. The work of the expert translator can improve the quality of the MT. In addition, post-editing can eliminate translation errors at the linguistic level and ensure translation consistency.


MT engine post editing reduces translation costs because fewer humans are needed for post-editing. Human translators can focus on more nuanced translation tasks better than machines.


Finally, the increased productivity that results from improved translation quality leads to greater efficiency and productivity in your company.





Related content: 7 Tips to Avoid Wasting Your Translation Budget



Cost Savings From MT Post-Editing


Machine translations post-editing can save time and money when localization is required. Since expert translators spend less time translating from scratch, they can focus on quality and accuracy instead. 


The result is faster, higher-quality translations, essential for quickly publishing high quality documents. 


Machine translation post-editing is a cost-effective way to improve the accuracy and quality of your translations. It automates part of the post-editing process, reducing the time human linguists spend on this tedious work. 


However, machine post-processing of translations is challenging to predict. The result may vary depending on the language, initial text, and target audience.




Machine Translation Post-Editing is Easily Scalable


Machine translations are very effective for companies with specific, tight budgets. 


Human linguists can effectively translate around 3000-3500 thousand words a day


In contrast, machine translation AI-based algorithms take care of large quantities of text and complete translation tasks within minutes in multiple languages.


This saves time and money and makes machine translation cost-effective for companies of all sizes.


Whenever the scope of the project changes, machine translation paired with post-editing services will be a much faster solution and potentially more cost-effective than translating initial text from scratch.


When speaking of scale, the process is suitable for small and large translation projects. If your company has many texts to translate for several months and then would like to scale down, the savings are more significant: no minimum fees and retainer charges for localization companies. After a few months of scaling back, moving forward with another larger project is easy too.




MTPE Increases the Consistency of Terminology Use


Post-editing ensures consistency of terminology between translation memories and other translation tools. Consistent language use can help prevent translation errors, such as the incorrect translation of terms or the use of wrong word choices.


To ensure accurate and understandable text output from machine translation, post-editing also uses glossaries and memories to review all possible translations for a given term regularly. 


This process allows post-editors to quickly identify and correct terminological errors before incorporating them into the final text. 


Overall, post-editing of translations balances speed and accuracy in translating text files.





Related content: How to Reduce Turnaround Time for Content Translation



Improved Accuracy In Shorter Turnaround Time


Post-editing of machine translation can improve the accuracy of a final text. It combines the speed of machine translation with human expertise and experience to produce high-quality results translations.


The benefits of machine post-editing translations are significant. It is a worthwhile investment for businesses that rely on accurate translations. By combining the quality of human translations with the speed of machine translation, machine translation post-editing helps ensure that good quality work is quickly integrated into business operations. 


A faster turnaround time is immediately noticeable. Since materials get to the internal teams faster, other departments do more efficiently and finish their projects in less time.







To Summarize...

MT post-editing services are ideal for editing machine translated content that may have been inaccurately or even incorrectly translated. Choosing a machine-translation post-editing from the best language service providers guarantees high-quality content. This is now a translation industry standard. Human post-editing ensures consistency in terminology and cultural context. Thus, human post-editing services contribute to better machine translation post-editing results. 


Since machine translation post-editing services are scalable, both big and small businesses can utilize them. Translation work can use the help of machine translation technology. Language industry and subject matter experts who translate specific language pairs have specific needs when it comes to terminology management, translation management system, appropriate tone, and high-quality translations. Google translate is not their tool of choice. So, don't be surprised when your next translation project will be done with the use of machine translation.


If you want to save time in post-processing your multilingual content and learn more about machine translation content and editing projects, our expert team prepared more exciting blog posts worth checking:



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