Post-editing: bring machine translation closer to human

blank

In recent years post-editing has become routine in translation. Translators nowadays have heard more about it and may have been asked to do it in the past. However, not all translators have acquired the necessary skills for the task. In this article I will share some post-editing issues that can be helpful for you to do your work.

What is post-editing?

Post-editing is the process whereby humans amend machine-generated text to achieve an “acceptable” translation. In other words, post-editing involves editing the output of machine translation to ensure that it meets the level of quality negotiated in advance between the translation agency and their clients. Typically, clients can demand translation agencies to do post-editing on one of two levels:

  • Light Post-editing: implying limited human intervention in machine translation. Aims at making the output easier to understand. Applied in certain cases where quick, cost-saving translation is needed while the final product is acceptable.
  • Full post-editing or Heavy post-editing: implying strong and profound human intervention to create a perfect, stylistically appropriate translation. Applied in cases where high-quality and accurate translation is required.

With recent advances in machine translation, post-editing is becoming an alternative to human translation. In fact, all of the computer-aided translation (CAT) tools available now support post-editing of machine-translated translations.

What does a post-editor do?

As with traditional revision, post-editors perform their revision on machine generated text. This can be done with the help of word processors or translation tools such as Trados or XTM cloud to complete the translation according to specific requirements from the clients.