Clara Ginovart Clara Ginovart
Apr 01

HOW LSPs HANDLE POST EDITING MACHINE TRANSLATION

Clara Ginovart, PhD student at Pompeu Fabra University and CAT and MT Tools Consultant at Datawords Datasia, has run a web-based survey addressed at European Language Service Companies (LSC) who handle part of their translation production via post-editing machine translation (PEMT). 

A total of 66 valid submissions were received from 19 different countries. 68% of the respondents have less than 50 employees, which shows how willing medium LSCs are to learn more about PEMT and develop this service.

An ‘expertise level’ was assigned to each respondent by crossing their answers regarding their experience in PEMT (in years) and their workload (in percentage of translation production handled via PEMT, as opposed to ‘human’ translation). The questionnaire inquired on very detailed topics, such as the main, secondary and eventual tasks (cf Appendix 1) of the freelance and in-house post-editors of the firm; criteria considered by the firm when hiring a post-editor (cf Appendix 2); skillsseen as important to an MT post-editor by the individual respondent to the survey, as opposed to the firm (cf Appendix 3); and training elementscovered by the in-house organized training courses on PEMT (cf. Appendix 4).

It was observed that quality checking, revision and proofreading are very often performed by post-editors, even more than post-editing itself when it comes to in-house staff. For hiring purposes, industry stakeholders’ most praised criteria of a candidate are: revision & proofreading skills, subject field specialization, and CAT tools knowledge. The skills most valued are the capacity to post-edit up to ‘human’ quality (full post-editing, if we use the traditional dichotomy scale), capacity to decide when to edit or discard a segment, and capacity to post-edit according to PE guidelines.

Out of the 66 participants, 22 have in-house PEMT training courses set up. Among them, there are 12 who do not refer to an external training provider or expert, in other words, for whom the trainer is also in-house staff. According to these 12 participants, the topics covered most often in PEMT training courses are the following:

  • PE levels: light and full post-editing
  • PE attitude: decide when to discard and translate from scratch
  • PE guidelines: exhaustive list and examples in the relevant language pair

Their input about these contents is in line with the skills most valued. However, we notice how no clear assessment possibilities exist to select a candidate from a human resources perspective. The industry and the academia alike are pursuing together the effort to define better this professional profile and, by doing so, establish clear and agreed assessment (and payment!) methods.