Do translators use machine translation and if so, how? Results of a survey held among professional translators.


The author conducted an anonymous online survey between 23 July and 21 October 2022 to gain insight into the proportion of translators that use machine translation (MT) in their translation workflow and the various ways they do. The results show that translators with more experience are less likely to accept MT post-editing (MTPE) assignments than their less experienced colleagues but are equally likely to use MT themselves in their translation work. Translators who deal with lower-resource languages are also less likely to accept MTPE jobs, but there is no such relationship regarding the use of MT in their own workflow. When left to their own devices, only 18.57% of the 69.54% of respondents that declared that they use MT while translating always or usually use it in the way the pioneers of MT envisaged, i.e., MTPE. Most either usually or always prefer to use MT in a whole range of other ways, including enabling MT functions in CAT tools and doing hybrid post-editing; using MT engines as if they were dictionaries; and using MT for inspiration. The vast majority of MT-users see MT as just another tool that their clients do not necessarily need to be informed about.

Published in

Translating and the Computer 44: proceedings. Asling: International Society for Advancement in Language Technology, 24-25 November 2022; pp. 49‑60 (ISBN 978-2-9701733-0-4).


Download full paper.

Michael Farrell is primarily a freelance translator and transcreator. Over the years he has acquired experience in the cultural tourism field and in transcreating advertising copy and press releases, chiefly for the promotion of technology products. Besides this, he is also an untenured lecturer in post-editing, machine translation and computer tools for translators at the International University of Languages and Media (IULM), Milan, Italy, the developer of the terminology search tool IntelliWebSearch, a qualified member of the Italian Association of Translators and Interpreters (AITI) and a member of Mediterranean Editors and Translators.