The pitfalls of machine translation for large-scale projects

Whether translators like it or not, machine translation is here to stay, and it is becoming a popular solution for companies with large, repetitive translation projects that they will keep adding documents to.

A machine translation engine automatically translates sentences into another language, while a translator or editor may post-edit the text to make sure that it is translated correctly and makes sense. Some engines “learn” from previous translations that the translator has made, and can incorporate those solutions into similar sentences that it finds in future documents.

In theory, this speeds up the translation process (the translator’s role is more editing than actual translating, since they are working with the sentence that the MT has made) and generally reduces the company’s translation costs.

But sometimes, this is all too good to be true. Although this method can speed up large translation projects, if too many corners are cut then it can lead to subpar work and some embarrassing mistakes once the translation is published.

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Thinking about the future: My impressions of CIOL 2020

BMA House, London

On 6 and 7 March 2020, I attended the Chartered Institute of Linguists’ first two-day conference at BMA House in London. It was a very fruitful couple of days with a wide range of subjects: some very topical, such as Brexit and Interpreting at the Olympic Games, and some more practical, such as digital marketing and specialising in fields like public service interpreting.

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What to do if you’re not happy with a translation you’ve commissioned

You may not have to throw away your translation

On my blog, I like to talk about how to get the best possible translation for your money and reach the happiest ending for either you or your business – but unfortunately, sometimes things may not go as planned, either for the translator or for the person requesting the translation. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never received questions about a translation I’ve done – although thankfully, these have never been full-on complaints, just clarifications 😉

Still, if you’ve hired a translator to translate your website or business documents, but something feels a bit off…how do you fix it?

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Got a bilingual colleague? Don’t use them for business translations

Bilingual employee translating company documents

In my previous job, there was a Dutch guy and a French woman (and me) and we were always called upon to do quick translations for our teams. The company we worked for was in that funny position where there wasn’t enough demand for there to be a full-time in-house translator, but the need for small or urgent translations still arose from time to time – for things like invoice queries, training materials, and certain emails.

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3 challenges of translating tourism content

Tourism Translation

I wrote a guest blog post for the translation technology company SDL about the challenges of translating tourism content.

Although translating texts for the tourism industry can be very interesting, there is a lot more work to it than meets the eye, and it’s certainly not something that should be rushed – or left to chance.

Read an excerpt from my blog post below, and read the full article here.

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When is it OK to use Google Translate?

cogs-resized

Google Translate, and other machine translation (MT) programs, have come along in leaps and bounds in the last few years. Not only can we download apps where we can just type in words and instantly get a result in another language, but you can take photos of signs and get a translation straight away, and even instantly translate voice and video calls with the likes of Skype Translator. With the magic of deep learning technology, computers are able to “learn” more and in theory, improve the quality of their output the more it is used.
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Differences in Business Culture – UK vs. France

Even though we’re only about 21 miles apart at the shortest point of the English Channel, France can sometimes feel like a world apart from the UK. Stereotyping both parties is almost too easy – The French think that the British drop everything to drink tea at 5 pm, while the Brits think that the French drop everything to go on strike…well, whenever they please! 

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