Benefits of Post-Editing Machine Translation

post editing machine translation

Ever since machine translation entered the scene, the language translation process has evolved. Machine translation systems like Google Translate, Watson, and DeepL produce fast and free translations for hundreds of language pairs.

The artificial intelligence that powers translation technology is getting smarter every day, and it’s much quicker than humans. So, you might be wondering: are humans still needed? For now, the answer is definitely yes.

Let’s explore why post-editing machine translation is so important, and how to involve editors in your translation workflows.

Is Machine Translation Good Enough?

In recent years, machine translation has revolutionized the translation industry. Some data scientists believe that we’re now in the “Golden Age” of NLP (natural language processing). This is a developing field of AI and computer science that uses machine learning and deep learning to perform complex tasks like language translation.

Neural machine translation (NMT) takes the technology even further: it works like the human brain to learn from its mistakes and build a memory. As the tech progresses, machine translations are getting more reliable. They’re cost-effective, and they use automation to greatly speed up the localization process.

But machine translation is far from perfect. Machines can’t accurately interpret a lot of context and cultural nuances. In a survey of professional translators, over 60% of linguists agreed that most machine translations were poor-quality.

After you run your source text through a machine translation tool, it’s not quite ready to publish yet. You should never publish raw MT output (also known as an unedited machine translation). When you rely solely on free machine translation (MT) tools, embarrassing mistakes might happen.

This is where post-editing can help you get high-quality translations.


What Is Post-Editing Machine Translation?

Post-editing refers to the editing of content after it has been machine-translated. A human translator checks the content to make sure it’s technically accurate, has the right voice and tone, and is culturally appropriate. Post-editing prevents branding blunders and mistranslations.

Image: A table showing the benefits of post-editing machine translation

Types of Post-Editing

Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE), comes in two varieties: light post-editing and full post-editing.

    • Light Post-Editing
      In a light post-edit, a human translator checks for minor problems in machine translations:

      • Spelling and punctuation mistakes
      • Basic translation errors
    • Full Post-Editing
      In a full post-edit, an editor performs a comprehensive review to ensure that the entire translation is high-quality:

      • Spelling and punctuation
      • Translation errors
      • Grammar, syntax, and word choice
      • Formatting
      • Style and tone of voice
      • Adherence to a brand’s glossary and style guide
      • Cultural nuances
      • Translation context

Image: the different types of post editing machine translation

Choosing the Right Translation Tools

A good post-editing effort can drastically improve the quality of your target text.

Post-editing ensures accurate translations, and it also helps streamline your machine translation projects. For example, it can help you learn about common errors and how to reduce them in future projects.

Look for a translation management system (TMS) with the following features to support your post-editors:

  • Glossary
    A translation glossary helps you explain key terminology to your translators and editors, and expresses how you want the phrases translated.
  • Style Guide
    A localization style guide helps your translators and editors understand your brand guidelines. These guidelines can include the tone of the translation, word choice, formatting, brand voice, writing style, and more.
  • Translation Memory
    Translation memory saves and re-uses terms or phrases that have already been translated into your target language. This helps you avoid having to pay for the same translations or edits twice.

Why Use Localize for Post-Editing Machine Translation

Localize is a full-service translation management platform trusted by hundreds of top brands like Microsoft and Cisco. We make translation fast, easy, and accurate with state-of-the-art quality assurance and automation tools.

Machine translations are always free with Localize. Plus, our tools also integrate with many popular language service providers that provide post-editing services.

To learn how we can support your localization journey, contact us today!

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