Mediterranean Editors and Translators, 2019 Workshops, Nantes, France

Is full post-editing of machine translation output a pipe dream?

26 April 2019

Comparison shows that certain turns of phrase, expressions and choices of words occur with greater frequency in post-edited machine translation output than they do in human translation. This implies that post-edited texts, on average, lack the variety and inventiveness of human translation, and any attempt to eliminate what are effectively machine translation markers would require additional post-editing effort and nullify most, if not all, of the time and cost-saving advantages. Of course variety and inventiveness are not always desirable features. Nevertheless, there are various kinds of text where homogenization and uniformity would make the translation less interesting to read and less intellectually stimulating. In such cases, failure to eradicate these markers may eventually lead to lexical impoverishment of the target language.

This talk will illustrate the risks involved in using post-edited machine translation output indiscriminately and put the translator in a position to explain when its use might be detrimental.

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.

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