For best results with Machine Translation, focus on the source

In one of our previous blog posts, we spoke with Machine Translation expert Laura Casanellas who has worked for numerous MT providers.

In her experience, many end-client departments find it overwhelming to navigate all the tools that are out there, while the vendors themselves obviously prefer to use their own tools.

With that in mind, it’s good to have somebody who’s vendor-agnostic that can advise on how to find the right tools.

Alfredo Spanga began his career as a translator before setting up his own translation agency an SLV in Helsinki in 2002. Most recently, he set up his own consulting company, Text in Context, which provides traditional translation services and interpreting services but also consultancy around quality.

According to Alfredo, your selection of translation tools depends on the kind of results you are looking for, and most importantly, the quality of the source document.

“I think selecting the right tool depends on what kind of results you want to get and of course on how much money you want to invest because that’s what the purchasing department is looking after at the end of the day.

“So what kind of text do you want to translate with an MT for example.

“I do quite a lot of post-editing and absolutely the best results I get are from technical documents that are well prepared, where the terminology is validated and the source document is well prepared with the translation memory, et cetera.

“But then you start to post-edit a machine translation of a marketing text and the result is a disaster because the language is completely different.

“So to me, post-editing of a machine translated marketing document is a waste of time or at least it’s more expensive than translating and transcribing everything.

“So again, it depends on what kind of documents you want to translate.

“I think that the tools out there are more or less all good enough, but we should focus on the source document, on the quality of the source documentation.

“So this is a problem that I have experienced for the past 30 years or more.

“Many end customers expected that from a mid-level source document they can get the top level final document. And most of the time, it’s impossible to get.”

If you want to know more about this area, visit Lion People Global’s website where you can watch back our LT Talks series of videos where we have talked to some of the industry leaders in localization for their insights into the world of translation.

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