Custom Machine Translation Made Simple

Technology is changing everything we thought we knew about quality, productivity, competitive edge and customer confidentiality in the translation business. People respond to changes in their own ways. If you’re looking for something new, I invite you to learn more about Slate™ Desktop and why many translators, teams, agencies and small language service providers have found it helpful.

What is Slate™ Desktop?

Slate™ Desktop is an application suite that adds a machine translation service provider to your personal computer. The provider runs in the background for computer-assisted translation tools that also run on your PC like memoQ, Trados Studio and others.

There’s nothing new about using machine translation providers in your computer-assisted translation tool. Online services like Google, Microsoft, KantanMT and DeepL are easy, instant and automatic. They’ve been around for years. Before we can answer why use Slate™ Desktop instead of the online services, let’s look at how they are similar and different. Then we’ll come back to why.

How is Slate™ Desktop like the online services?

Slate™ Desktop is easy. You configure your computer-assisted translation tool to use Slate™ Desktop just like you configure it to use those online services.

Slate™ Desktop automatically generates machine translated segments for your computer-assisted translation tool much like the online services.

Slate™ Desktop has exactly the same mature machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies used by online services for over a decade.

Slate™ Desktop delivers a “brand” of quality. Some translators prefer the “Google brand.” Others prefer the “DeepL brand.” Some prefer the “Slate™ Desktop brand.” You get the idea.

How is Slate™ Desktop different from the online services?

Slate™ Desktop runs on your PC, not the Internet. It works in the background and delivers machine-translated segments without sending your customer’s information to the Internet.

Slate™ Desktop configures machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies for one translator. The online services configure their technologies for millions of users.

Slate™ Desktop does not instantly translate after you install it. You must first build a machine translation model to “teach” it how you want your translations.

Wait a minute! I said your colleagues report that Slate™ Desktop helps realize their goals, and one goal is productivity. Building a model requires more work and time. How is that helpful? Let’s look deeper.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are the heart and soul of all modern machine translation, including Slate™ Desktop. For decades they’ve been limited to a trade-off: serve millions of users with mediocre generic translations or serve specialized translators with quality custom translations. These limits persist today.

Specialized experts devise complex, expensive add-on technologies to overcome these limits. That’s made custom machine translation cost-effective only for very large volume projects. But I thought, “what if we work within the known technical limits?”

That’s when I envisioned an easy and inexpensive software application that didn’t require specialized skills? But, such an application would require a significant breakthrough. So, I started my work to transform custom machine translation.

Slate™ Desktop is that breakthrough in cost and complexity. It opens opportunities for all translation projects to benefit from simple and inexpensive custom machine translation. Projects of any size and in any price range have access to better quality from custom machine translation.

Custom machine translation delivers better quality because translation memories in a specialty become the custom machine translation model. So, let’s look at some alternate strategies that don’t require you build your own models.

  • Slate™ Desktop could forget about high quality custom models and package generic models instead. The price would go up and quality would suffer just like it does with the online services.
  • Slate Rocks could offer expert services to build your models. You’d upload your translation memories. We’d charge you for the service. Your customer’s confidentiality agreements might be at risk.

Do these breakthroughs really create opportunities? After all, online services are “instant” and Slate™ Desktop requires extra work before it can translate. In short, yes. The opportunities are real and here today. Check out some of the Spotlight experiences in the sidebar on the right.

I know that requiring you to build a custom translation model seems like a big inconvenience, but this Slate™ Desktop feature gives you a unique competitive advantage. That’s our segue to the third question.

Why use Slate™ Desktop instead of the online services?

I’ve made Slate™ Desktop really easy to use. That’s why machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies run seamlessly on MS Windows as a point-n-click application. That’s why Slate™ Desktop is “custom machine translation made simple.” So…

The first answer to “why” is because it’s easy to build custom translation models with Slate™ Desktop.

When Slate™ Desktop studies translation memories with translation units that you translated, it learns your bilingual knowledge, your vocabulary and your translating style. This step “teaches” Slate™ Desktop to translate like you translate, to deliver quality that meets your quality demands, to generate the best custom translations for you.

The 2nd answer to “why” is because your custom translation model delivers excellent translations with quality your way.

After a closer look, these answers are incomplete. So, let’s step back. About 90% of all customers report Slate™ Desktop helps them realize their goals. You don’t know until you try. I guarantee you’ll experience the best customer support. I guarantee you’ll get your money back within 60 days of your purchase, just ask and uninstall!

The 3rd answer to “why” is because “maybe you shouldn’t.” There’s a chance you won’t experience the quality you want, BUT you’ll never now until you to try. You have an unconditional 60-day refund period to try Slate™ Desktop.

There’s a huge elephant in the room. To build your models, you must have translation memories. You can’t use Slate™ Desktop without them. More translation units are better – if they’re all in the specialty.

The 4th answer to “why” is because “maybe you can’t.” If you don’t have translation memories, you can’t use Slate™ Desktop.

Finally, I know that Slate™ Desktop isn’t the only game in town. Some generic online services are pretty darn good for some language pairs and some generic subjects. So…

The 5th reason to “why instead of?” Well, the question itself is flawed. You’re free to use Slate™ Desktop “in cooperation with” other services. Slate™ Desktop is an expression of your freedom to choose and a pursuit of quality and productivity.

Managing Change

I started with a simple question. Given today’s technology-driven changes, are you looking for something new? Let’s see how Slate™ Desktop compares to the online services in light of its breakthroughs in complexity and cost.

Translation Quality: Slate™ Desktop exactly matched translators’ quality seven (7) times more often than a popular online service and reduced the remaining post-editing work 50%. Here’s a link to the detailed reports: https://www.slate.rocks/portfolio/translators-experiences/

Productivity: More exact matches and fewer post-edits resulted in a 25% to 30% increase in productivity compared to the online service. In practical terms, 5-day jobs were finished in 4 days and sometimes 3 days. Here’s a link to the study: https://www.slate.rocks/downloads/study-of-machine-translated-segment-pairs/

Competitive Edge: Slate™ Desktop highlights your unique skills to your customers. No other translator in the world will use your custom machine translation. Your consistent translation quality and on-time deliveries despite tight deadlines distinguish you. They are your competitive edge.

Customer Confidentiality: Slate™ Desktop runs on your PC. Whether you’re building a custom translation model or working in your computer-assisted translation tool, Slate™ Desktop never sends your customers’ information to the Internet.

Return On Investment

Let’s imagine two scenarios. In one with a computer-assisted translation tool and translation memories, you work for five days to finish 12,500 words. In the second, you add an online machine translation service and finish 15,000 words in the same 5 days.

Imagine in each of these scenarios, Slate™ Desktop boosts your productivity 20%. You finish both scenarios in four days. That gives you another extra free day in your week, week after week, month after month without any additional expenses. That’s your return on a one-time investment.

Now imagine Slate™ Desktop boosts your productivity a meager 5%. That is, it equals the online services. At parity, you still finish your work in 5 days and you can stop using the online service. You save the recurring subscription expense. That’s a pretty good worst-case scenario.

Something For Everyone

Slate™ Desktop sets itself apart from the online services. Its breakthroughs in complexity and cost create opportunities to achieve your goals. Whether you’re an individual translator, an agency or small language service provider, whether you work with one language pair or dozens, one of these links takes you to a product that’s right for you.

Slate™ Desktop is for freelancers and teams working with one language pair. It makes custom translation models to and from either language. It’s easy to work with machine translation that delivers quality your way! Share your custom models with teams members and colleagues who use Slate™ Connect.

Slate™ Desktop Pro takes custom machine translation the next level for translators, teams, agencies and small LSPs. Make custom models for all supported language pairs, activate on two PCs, automate with scripting and more. Share your custom models with teams members and colleagues who use Slate™ Connect.

Slate™ Connect has everything you need to run custom models on additional PCs. Slate™ Desktop activates on one PC. Pro on two. Run your custom models on more PCs without buying more Slate™ Desktop licenses. If you work with other translators in teams or agencies, learn more about sharing models with Slate™ Connect.

Slate™ Corpus is a specialized product for those who need to clean translation memories and convert them into a training corpus without the need to create the custom machine translation models. If you don’t know what any of this means, then you can skip this product.

If you’re looking for a ready-made open source package to build machine translation solutions, you found it. Slate™ Toolkit adds phrase-based SMT model support to our commercial Windows and Linux products. To our knowledge, this package is the world’s only complete collection of 64-bit Windows-compatible phrase-based SMT utilities.

COMING SOON: An online professional development course titled Machine Translation Fundamentals for Translators. It includes quizzes, practical exercises and a 60-day license for Slate™ Desktop Student. To reinforce learning, an instructor reviews your progress and coaches you through the learning. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive course status updates.

We can create specialized custom engines, automate Slate™ Desktop or create custom applications to your requirements. Send us a request for a quote. We’ll work through a the details with you and agree on a fee-for-services or fixed-fee project.

Social Sharing Discounts

A win! win! win! You get 10% off at checkout. Your colleagues learn about Slate. We have lower advertising expenses. Thank you!