By GeaSpeak Team | 2022-10-21

With the rapid increase in the use of Machine Translation (MT), MT Post-editing has emerged as a growing need in the language industry. Since translation software is constantly being developed and improved, more and more companies are choosing to use MT for their projects.

What is Machine Translation?

Machine Translation

MT is a process performed by a software piece whereby a written text in one language is rendered into another language without human intervention. There are three main approaches to MT (you can check our article “The Importance of Machine Translation in Today’s World,” where we explain each of them in detail):

  • Rule-based MT
  • Statistical MT
  • Neural MT

The fact that translations rendered by MT are becoming increasingly accurate doesn’t mean that translators’ jobs are at risk. Indeed, MT Post-editing is still required to deliver quality translations.

What is MT Post-Editing?

Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) is the process of reviewing, editing and correcting a translation rendered by a piece of software to achieve the required quality for translation. There are two main types of MTPE:

  • Light Post-Editing: it consists of the process whereby a human post-editor makes the minimal necessary changes in order to make the machine translated text understandable. In most cases, they are corrections of grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Full Post-Editing: it consists of a more detail-oriented process. FPE involves a human post-editor making corrections required not only for basic issues as in Light Post-Editing, but also related to readability and style. The resulting quality is equivalent to a fully human translated text.

What are the benefits of MT Post-Editing?

  • It saves time: since the process of post-editing is quicker than translating from scratch, translators can speed up turn-around times. Whereas, on average, professionals translate from 2000 to 2500 words per day, the number of words a translator can post-edit is 5000.
  • It increases the volume of texts that can be translated: MT can produce draft translations instantaneously, so translators can work with a higher quantity of texts.
  • It reduces costs: companies can reduce their budget by hiring MT Post-editing services, which have cheaper rates.

What are the downsides of MT Post-Editing?

Despite the advantages mentioned above, MT Post-editing can also present some difficulties. For instance, depending on the client’s demands, a second round of revision (post-editing + editing) carried out by another translator might be required. Moreover, junior translators may not have enough experience to efficiently conduct a post-editing process and, consequently, the use of a more experienced translator may be needed.

How are Post-Editing rates calculated?

Generally, post-editing rates represent 60% to 75% of the full per-word translation rate. However, post-editors’ work can vary (as mentioned before, they can make either minimal or more detailed corrections, depending on the scope of the task), and applying a uniform rate for all post-editing work doesn’t reflect this difference.

A way to solve this issue is by resorting to dynamic MT Post-Editing pricing, which measures the amount of editing (percentage) required by each MT segment in order to achieve the desired level of quality. The following picture shows this measurement:

Post-editing grid

Three key suggestions for MT Post-Editors:

  • MT Post-editing should be fast. If it demands more time than translating from scratch, it is better to re-translate the segment.
  • Always compare the MT rendition against the source. Sometimes translations might seem correct, but there may be some elements omitted or mistranslated.
  • Never forget to check the glossary and/or style guide of the client.