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  • Writer's pictureHernán J. Droguett

What Is MTPE?

Machine translation post-editing (MTPE) is the process where a text that was previously pre-translated by a machine translation engine reaches its final form after being edited by a human translator. It is increasingly popular among translators and language service providers because it can strike the perfect balance between the speed of machine translation and the linguistic and material knowledge of a human translator. There are several advantages to this method compared to human translation.

Understanding Machine Translation

Machine translation (MT) is the automated process of translating text or speech from one language to another using computer algorithms. It is powered by neural networks and deep learning, which have significantly improved its accuracy and fluency over the years. Popular MT systems like Google Translate, DeepL, and Microsoft Translator have made communication across languages more accessible and convenient.

The Imperfection of Machine Translation

While machine translation has made tremendous progress, it is not without its limitations. MT systems often struggle with context, idiomatic expressions, and cultural nuances. They may produce grammatically incorrect sentences or translations that lack fluency, coherence, or accuracy. These limitations become especially evident when translating complex or specialized content such as legal documents, medical texts, or literary works.

The Role of Post-Editing

Post-editing is the process of reviewing and improving machine-generated translations to ensure they meet the desired quality and accuracy standards. It involves human intervention, where skilled linguists, known as post-editors, review and refine the machine-generated output. Post-editing aims to enhance the fluency, coherence, and overall quality of the translation.

Importance of Post-Editing

  1. Quality Assurance: Post-editing ensures that the final translation is of high quality and aligns with the intended message. It helps eliminate errors, awkward phrasing, and inaccuracies that MT systems may introduce.

  2. Adaptation to Specific Needs: Post-editing allows customization of translations to meet specific requirements. For instance, it can adapt content for marketing, legal, technical, or medical purposes, tailoring the language to the target audience.

  3. Consistency: Post-editing helps maintain consistency in terminology and style, which is crucial for documents such as user manuals, legal contracts, and technical guides.

  4. Cost Efficiency: Post-editing is often more cost-effective than manual translation from scratch, making it a viable option for organizations with budget constraints.

The Future of Post-Editing

As machine translation technology continues to advance, the role of post-editing is evolving. Some trends in the future of post-editing include:

  1. Improved MT Systems: Ongoing advancements in machine translation will reduce the need for extensive post-editing, as MT systems become more capable of producing high-quality translations.

  2. Post-Editing Guidelines: Standardized guidelines and best practices for post-editing will be crucial to ensure consistency and quality in the post-editing process.

  3. Post-Editing Automation: AI-driven tools that assist post-editors by suggesting corrections and improvements will become more common, streamlining the post-editing workflow.

Interested in learning how MTPE can save your business time and money on your next translation project? Shoot us an email!

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