Post-edits from English and Spanish into Dutch

Apart from regular translations, I also provide post-edits from English and Spanish into Dutch. Post-edits are becoming more and more popular. This is mainly due to the improving quality. However, at this very moment, the quality of machine translation depends very much on the source text. If the topic is a complicated one, such as in medical texts, the output of machine translation suffers quite a lot. This is mainly caused by complex terminology and difficult sentences. The same happens when the source text has been written in English by a non-native speaker. I have seen many clients who translate their texts into English and then send that English translation to translators all over the world. If the English translation is poor, it is quite difficult to achieve a good machine translation output. This directly influences the ability to post-edit the text instead of translating it the normal way. It would require more time, but could also lead to more mistakes, especially when the post-editor relies too much on the machine translation output.

Neural machine translation

We have all been using translation tools like Google Translate at some point. In general, the output is not great. This is especially the case when the text contains complex sentences or when the topic is a complicated one. Nowadays, translation tools often use neural machine translation which can predict the likelihood of a sequence of words. NMT can be ‘trained’ in order to continue improving the output. This way, NMT models continuously learn from previously translated sentences and can then provide better translations in the future. All in all, I think it will take quite some years before machine translation dominates the translation world, but it will definitely happen at some point.

The role of the translator and reviewer

The standard translation process nowadays consists of a regular translation which is then reviewed by another person. With post-editing, the process changes slightly. The regular translation turns into machine translation, which is edited by a translator. Afterwards, the post-edited translation is still reviewed by someone else. At some point, I believe the role of the translator/post-editor will cease to exist. When the machine translation output has improved significantly, a text could simply be translated automatically and then only be reviewed once by a human reviewer. This means that only one person is needed instead of two. In any case, I am very excited to see what the world of translation looks like in a few decades. Would you like more information about post-edits? Just drop me a message!

Laptop with tools for post-editing