Custom Machine Translation Made Simple

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Today’s translation professionals struggle with technology-driven business trends from translation quality to competitive edge, from work productivity to customer confidentiality. But these are not challenges for everyone. So…

  • If you don’t want to deliver quality translations that make you proud,
  • If you don’t want to complete 5 days of work in 3 or 4 days,
  • If you don’t want to strengthen your competitive edge,
  • If you don’t need to protect customers’ confidentiality…

Well if these describe you, I’ll save you some time. Just stop here. There’s no reason to go any further because everything that follows relates to one of these goals.

Great! You’re still here. Let’s dig deeper into Slate™ Desktop. It’s my product that many translators, teams, agencies and small LSPs have found helpful in realizing these goals.

Introducing Slate™ Desktop

Slate™ Desktop is software that adds a machine translation service to your personal computer. The service runs in the background as a machine translation provider for computer-assisted translation tools, applications like memoQ, Trados Studio, CafeTran, etc. that also run on your PC.

There’s nothing new about using machine translation providers in your computer-assisted translation tool. Online services like Google, Microsoft, KantanMT, DeepL and others have been providers for years.

You sign-up, enter your credit card number and add a provider to your translation project. The provider sends your client’s information to their Internet service. The service returns machine-translated segments. You send post-edited work to customers and pay the service fee on next month’s bill.

Online services are easy, instant and automatic. So maybe these questions crossed your mind: How is Slate™ Desktop like the online services? How is Slate™ Desktop different from the online services? Why use Slate™ Desktop instead of the online services? Get ready because the answers might surprise you.

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 is automatic. It generates machine translated segments for your computer-assisted translation tool much like online services work automatically.

Slate™ Desktop has mature technologies. It has exactly the same 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‘s machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies are configured for one or a few translators. Online services configure their technologies for millions of users.

Out of the box, Slate™ Desktop does not instantly translate. Unlike online services, you must first build a machine translation model to “teach” Slate™ Desktop how you want it to translate.

Hold on. I said your colleagues found Slate™ Desktop helps them realize their goals, and one goal is productivity. This third difference adds work. It sounds like a nightmare. No one wants to do more work! Let’s look deeper.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning technology is the heart of modern machine translation services. It “studies” translation memories for hours, days or weeks depending on the size of the translation memories. And it learns the vocabulary, grammar, syntax, glossaries, and how to translate. Finally, it saves that knowledge in translation models.

Most online services “teach” their models with “generic” knowledge from many translation memories covering a broad range of topics. As a result, these services are configured to sacrifice translation quality in favor of serving millions of users across a broad range of topics.

Some online services “teach” their models with specialized knowledge from translation memories about that specialty. As a result, these “customized” services are configured to deliver better quality translations than generic systems, for translation work about the specialty, but quality degrades significantly outside the specialty.

If machine learning is the heart of modern machine translation services, artificial intelligence technology is the soul. It uses the knowledge in a model to generate translation for source language segments. When knowledge is missing from the model, the artificial intelligence generates a senseless and unusable translation.

Machine translation can be configured with generic knowledge across a broad range of topics or with specific knowledge about a specialty. Generic is lower quality but historically it’s been easier and less expensive. Custom delivers higher quality but it’s been complex and so expensive it was cost-effective only for very large volume projects. Years ago, I started looking for a way to make specialty systems easy and inexpensive.

Breakthroughs In Complexity and Cost

Slate™ Desktop is a breakthrough in complexity. It’s a simple, easy-to-use point-n-click application. Translators without specialized technical skills build custom models using the Windows PCs that runs computer-assisted translation tools. They build custom models using their translation memories created in the specialty with their computer-assisted translation tools.

Slate™ Desktop is a breakthrough in cost. You buy a one-time fixed fee license. There are no subscriptions, no usage fees. Translators, teams and small agencies can build and use custom models for a fraction of the cost to hire experts with specialized skills or use online services.

These breakthroughs open opportunities for all translation projects to benefit from simple and inexpensive custom models. Projects of any size and in any price range have access to better quality from custom models.

Do these breakthroughs really create opportunities? After all, the last “difference” between Slate™ Desktop and online services requires extra work because out of the box, Slate™ Desktop does not instantly translate. Yes. The opportunities are real and here’s why.

We know that to build a custom model with better quality requires translation memories. So, let’s look at some alternate design strategies.

  • Slate™ Desktop could package generic models. It would be more expensive to cover extra costs and quality would suffer just like it does with the online services.
  • Slate™ Desktop could offer an expert service to build your models, just upload your translation memories. It would be expensive and your customer’s confidentiality agreements would be at risk.

I know that requiring you to build a custom translation model seems like a big inconvenience. In fact, however, it is one of Slate™ Desktop‘s biggest advantages. So, let’s segue to the third question.

Why use Slate™ Desktop instead of the online services?

I’ve done everything I can to make Slate™ Desktop easy to use. That’s why machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies run seamlessly on MS Windows. 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 generated the best possible custom translations for you.

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

But after a closer look, these answers are incomplete. So, let’s step back. The results below describe about 90% of all customer experiences. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee you’ll experience these results because about 10% of customers don’t.

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Even though I can’t guarantee your results, I can and do guarantee my commitment to serve you and to help you get your best results. My 60-day money-back guarantee embodies that commitment.

The 3rd answer to “why” might be “because maybe you shouldn’t.” You have a 10% chance that Slate™ Desktop will not work to your quality demands, BUT you will never now until you to try Slate™ Desktop. You’re welcome to exercise our 60-day refund policy.

There’s a huge elephant in the room sitting next to the requirement to build your models. If you don’t have translation memories, you simply can not use Slate™ Desktop. That is, you must have a supply of translation memories. In general, more translation units are better – if they’re in the specialty.

The 4th answer to “why” might be “because maybe you can’t.” You need translation memories and maybe you don’t have any. I can’t predict exactly how many translation units will work for you, but if you start with fewer than 80,000, Slate™ Desktop will probably not work for you.

Finally, I know that Slate™ Desktop is not 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 “why” is “because instead of” is inaccurate. You don’t have to use one to the exclusive of another. You’re free to use Slate™ Desktop “in cooperation with” other services. Slate™ Desktop is as much an expression of your freedom to choose as it is a pursuit of quality and productivity. With no per-word fees, no subscriptions and extra costs, it’s a pretty good deal.

The Four Original Goals

I opened this conversation with a simple question. Are you looking to achieve any one or more of four goals in your efforts adapt to today’s technology-driven business trends? In light of breakthroughs in technology, complexity and cost, let’s continue our conversation by exploring how Slate™ Desktop addresses those four goals.

Translation Quality: Slate™ Desktop exactly and independently matched translators’ quality 7 times more often than a popular online service. This is average in a study with 31 customers that analyzes 73,150 parallel segment translated by the customer, his/her custom model and a popular online service. The translations covered 16 language pairs with 5 source languages and 13 target languages across 13 different specialties. Here’s a link to detailed reports.

Productivity: Overall, more exact matches and fewer edit resulted in a 25% to 30% increase in productivity. In practical terms, our customers finish 5-day jobs in 3 or 4 days. The study shows each translator experienced a 50% reduction in edits compared to the online counterparts because there was less to fix. Here’s a link to the comparisons.

Competitive Edge: Slate™ Desktop highlights your unique skills to your customers. Countless translators around the world post-edit every day. They start with the same online services. They do the same work. Nothing distinguishes one from the other. No other translator in the world will use your custom translation model. Your productivity and translation quality distinguish you and give you a 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.

A Right Choice for Everyone

You know your goals. You see how breakthroughs in technology, complexity and cost open new opportunities to achieve them. You have a good idea of how Slate™ Desktop sets itself apart from online services. It’s a good foundation.

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 Starter is for freelancers and teams working with one language pair. Make custom translation models to and from either language. It’s easy to work with machine translation that delivers quality your way! It’s also a great starting-point for tight-knit teams to share translation models with other resources.

Slate™ Desktop Pro takes customized 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.

Do you want to work on another PC? Slate™ Connect has everything you need to work with custom models on other PCs when you reach the activation limit, without buying another Slate™ Desktop license. Do you want to share custom models with your translation team? Learn how 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.

Are you looking for a ready-made open source package to build machine translation applications? You found it. Slate™ Toolkit adds support for phrase-based SMT models 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.

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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.