Supporting your business worldwide
Translation - machine or human?
Machine Translation (MT)
You are familiar with Babelfish and Google - and you will probably have enjoyed some of the more amusing results. It is less amusing if your company reputation suffers through apparent incompetence.Surely computers can help? Yes, they can.
Translation Memory (TM)
Translation Memory, a form of Computer Assisted Translation, is a surprisingly simple concept. As the translator translates the text, each sentence (or translation unit" since it may also be a title or text cell) is also saved automatically to a database memory. Subsequently if the translator encounters a similar sentence, this will appear on screen, with the differences highlighted for editing. Sometimes, in fact surprisingly often, there will be a 100% match. In the case of a later edition of a text, the majority of sentences may well be 100% matches. Gradually, as the translator gains confidence in the system, he may even allow the program to "translate" automatically until it encounters the next fuzzy match, before later editing it. Every phrase is human translation, but recycled when appropriate. So Translation Memory is extremely neat. It enables the translator to achieve greater speed and accuracy. A linked terminology database ensures he translates the term not only accurately and in context, but with rigorous adherence to the preferred terminology of the specific client. Translation Memory ensures that he does so the next time too, whether it is five minutes later, five hours, or five years.
The ISO 9000 Quality Assurance standard defines Quality as "The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs." (BS 4778 Pt 1) Consequently our natural starting point is you, the customer and your needs. Generally speaking you will need translations to be accurate, consistent, finished to perfection - & preferably yesterday. You will probably take for granted that company preferred terminology will be used throughout and that company house style will be preserved. In the past it was not always so. The fact that the translation is of a higher overall quality through enhanced accuracy and consistency is a direct benefit to you as you are less vulnerable to litigation. Translators become accustomed to the security of using Translation Memory and are likely to feel very vulnerable when working "freehand". The translation is not only better - but produced quicker. There is a significant acceleration in the translation process which the customer appreciates, especially when it is accompanied by enhanced quality and . Translation Memory enables the translation process to be measured and provides accountability and traceability. Translation units can be stamped automatically with details of translator, translation date, reviser, revision date, date last used, domain, customer and total number of times used. This is particularly useful for example in a translation company where translation and revision will for quality reasons be carried out by two separate translators whose separate contributions remain identifiable.
Is it possible to compare MT with TM?
First we must ask what MT has achieved. The proceedings of the ASLIB Translating and the Computer conference over a period of 30 years will provide the evidence. Perhaps in this context a crude generalisation may be forgiven: suffice it to say that MT can produce quick results for post editing, or just a raw draft for an intelligent and imaginative reader who has no thoughts of litigation. Some of the basic differences between MT and TM may be summarised as follows:
Translation Memory scores
The major advantages of Translation Memory over Machine Translation are firstly that all output is human output and secondly that the quality of previous final translations is retained or improved with every translation. To date Machine Translation is inherently suspect, littering a text with land mines for discovering (if possible) during post editing, whereas Translation Memory is inherently safer, with the result that very few, if any, changes are required at a later stage.
Farsi & Armenian Translator & Interpreter
“I have been working as a translator since 1988. I have worked with different language combinations such as Armenian/Farsi, English/Armenian and Farsi/Armenian. I have been working as an interpreter since 2000. I have the DPSI in Law and Health and I also have a BA in French and Italian.”
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