Questions & Answers

Questions and answers about personalized machine translation. I collected your questions throughout this series and present the answers here. If I missed something or if you have new questions, please ask.

We made it! This is the sixth and final article in my series sharing my lessons learned about translators’ Productivity, Time, Money and Opportunity. Before I dig into your questions, thank you all for your interest in personalized machine translation!

I knew that making the world’s first machine translation software for professional translators would lead to some criticism and lots of questions… It was inevitable. After all, machine translation experts have told us for decades that machine translation is to complicated for mere mortals! So! Without further ado, let’s dig in to your questions…

Great question! The whole purpose of using personalized machine translation… is to be 100% sure you’re going to increase productivity and give you more time so you can make more money – without adding stress to your work.

Personalized machine translation does this by maximizing the number of machine translation segments that don’t need any post-editing WHATSOEVER… After all… fewer edits means less time editing… and nothing is faster than editing nothing at all!

So, it’s easier than you might think to make more money. You use personalized machine translation to your work environment and then continue working… pretty much as you always have… continue translating and continue selling your services.

Let’s look at a sample project using the numbers shared in these tables… They show the power of personalized machine translation and of maximizing segments that require no post-editing, AKA segments where “edit distance = zero”. All of these tables have actual number from real customers’ experiences in my Study of Machine Translated Segment Pairs.

Project Details

This sample project shows your work for 1 week to translate 15,000 words, or 1070 segments.

hours per day8
days per week5
hours per week40
words per day3,000
words per week15,000
words per segment14
segments per week1,070
Breakdown of Edit Distance Zero Segments

Personalized machine translation averages 30% edit distance = zero segments. Working with this project, you:

  • approve some segments without post-editing,
  • post-edit some that can be fixed, and
  • translate the remainder of segments without using the machine translated suggestions.
with CAT
only
generic
MT
personalized
MT
edit distance = zero (%)0.0%5.0%30.0%
edit distance = zero (segments)054321
post-edit (50% non-zero MT segments)0508375
translate (50% non-zero MT segments)1,070508374
Proofread Edit Distance Zero Segments

For the edit distance = zero segments, your time focuses to proofreading to verify the segment meets your quality expectations.

with CAT
only
Post-edit
MT
personalized
MT
– MT proofread (segments)054321
– seconds per segment151515
Duration (hours)0.00.21.3
Post-edit Segments

With these post-edit segments, you fix errors in the machine translated segments such that they meet your desired quality.

with CAT
only
Post-edit
MT
personalized
MT
– MT post-edit (segments)0508375
– seconds per segment676767
Duration (hours)0.09.57.0
Translate Segments

For the remainder of the machine translated output, it is faster for you to delete the machine translated segments and translate without technology.

with CAT
only
Post-edit
MT
personalized
MT
– translate (segments)1,070508374
– seconds per segment134134134
Duration (hours)40.018.913.9
Duration Totals

Adding the times for all three work categories, it’s clear the personalized machine translation reduces your work time from 5 to only 3 days.

with CAT
only
Post-edit
MT
personalized
MT
– MT proofread duration0.00.21.3
– MT post-edit duration0.09.57.0
– translate duration40.018.913.9
job duration (hours)40.028.622.2
job duration (days)5.03.62.8
Capacity Gain

With 40 work hours in a week, you have an extra 2 days in the week to accept more work.

with CAT
only
Post-edit
MT
personalized
MT
capacity gain (hours)0.011.417.8
capacity gain (days)0.01.42.2
capacity gain (words)04,2906,690
Opportunity

A 15,000-word project working with only a CAT at 3,000 words per day earns you $1,200 in 5 days. With personalized machine translation, you can fill your new work capacity with additional work and earn over $1,700 in the same 5 days. That’s a 40% increase!

with CAT
only
Post-edit
MT
personalized
MT
word opportunity15,00019,29021,690
per-word rate$0.08$0.07$0.08
effective earning potential$1,200$1,350$1,735
percent increase0.0%12.5%41.6%

While working at the same production speed, personalized machine translation helps you do more work without the stress of working faster.

With new projects to fill you new production capacity, tour first week working with Slate™ Desktop will pay for your license. All your work after that is pure profit. Not a bad return on investment!

This Excel spreadsheet is a financial model where you can experiment with numbers to match your productivity and projects.

I find Slate incredibly helpful. For German, I need a very large TM for it to work well. I’ve been freelance for 5 years now, and I’d say I needed 3-4 of those years’ worth of TMs for it to work for me in German – and I mainly do German. It would probably take someone less focused on German longer to build up a usable size of TM, but once you’re there, it’s really great. Keep going, Tom, you’re doing something really helpful! I love that I can use it without breaking NDAs

Laura (London, UK)

Given the history of machine translation, it’s easy to confuse installing an application to use with programming an application.

Believe it or not… before the early days of personal computers (PCs), every computer was programmed for a special purpose… word processing, accounting… printing… etc. Today, that sounds ridiculous… Can you imagine a different computer custom designed for each application you use today?

Microsoft’s breakthrough innovation was separating the operating system (Windows) from the application. With Windows PCs, writers, accountants, executives, secretaries… everyone you could install pre-packaged applications for word processing (MS Word), accounting (MS Excel), etc. Even better… they could use these applications without learning any programming skills.

I offer this history lesson because somehow, this simple concept skipped the machine translation community. So, I just followed Microsoft’s lead from 35 years ago. I made a pre-packaged application for machine translation.

This is one of our breakthrough innovations that gives you the power, control and freedom to install Slate™ Desktop on your computer. No machine translation experience required.

Just run the installer, follow the wizard and in minutes you’re ready to start using your personalized machine translation. Then, the technology takes care of the rest without you needing any special skills or experience.

There are a couple of likely problems behind your disappointing experiences.

Problem #1: You built your own machine translation system and something ended up broken…

  • You were using open source software and made a programming mistake.
  • You used publicly available corpora or translation memories.
  • You used big-mama translation memories.
  • Your corpus had corrupted character encoding.
  • and the list goes on…

Solution #1: Easy… just stop doing the things that break the system!

  • Give up the open source software and buy a professional application. Do you need programming skills to use your own word processor? Likely not… More than likely, you license a professional product.
  • Use your own translation memories. Public and shared translation memories are the single biggest source of technical problems for all machine translation systems. “But mine aren’t very good…” you might reply. Don’t sell yourself short! If you have respected yourself and your work… I guarantee that your translations are in better condition than anything in those public translation memories.

Problem #2: you were lured into machine translation post-editing by amateur tactics.

  • you post-edit machine translated segments from online machine translation systems…
  • agencies send you machine translated segments made from broken systems…
  • and the list goes on.

Solution #2: Those shitty tactics from amateurs and so-called machine translation experts aren’t an easy fix.

  • The biggest mistake people make when working with machine translation is believing the hype. If something sounds too good to be true… it probably is… Just stop listening.
  • Learn what the technology is capable of doing… Make some mistakes… It’s all okay! Relax and enjoy the ride. Learning doesn’t take long, but it requires effort.
  • Recognize when the technology reaches its potential… This is the flip-side of learning its capabilities. Once you know what the technology can do, don’t try to force it to do more.
  • Trust your expertise. By the time you build your first engine or two, you will have more real-world experience building machine translation systems than many of the self-proclaimed experts. Yes… that’s a shocker… some of the people who generate the hype don’t really have any experience at all!

All personalized machine translation systems give you access to learn the technology, recognize it’s potential and grow in your expertise. In fact, that’s how you know it’s a personalized system. Without those features, it’s just plane-old, every-day, run-of-the-mill machine translation… And, Slate™ Desktop nailed it! It is the best user-friendly, machine translation desktop application. Its advanced, mature artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are your competitive edge, and never your competitor’s.

Let me clear up one thing. I’ve never studied computer science, programming, computational linguistics or anything like that… I started as a political science graduate with a career in project management.

And I thought machine translation software required crazy-tech expert skills to use… but I was blown away to learn how easy it is to create machine translation engines and use them in CAT tools…

And, today, the really cool part is machine translation is 10-times easier than it was before!!! And it’s the personalized machine translation makes the difference…

You see, when you buy Slate™ Desktop, you won’t find a single tutorial about programming, machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data, or anything like that… and it’s even better if you don’t know what those are!

Why? Because you don’t need those things to use personalized machine translation and then… make more money with your improved productivity and efficiency!

Take if from some customers:

Slate™ Desktop totally simplified the mystery of creating and using my own custom machine translation engine. It took the IT stuff out of it and made it as easy as point-and-click. Great for the non-tech’s like me!

Britney (Sydney, Australia)

You see, stories like these show how really easy personalized machine translation is to setup and use, and there are dozens more stories where these came from.

I love the EASY way you taught me how to make my own custom machine translation engine and use it in my CAT immediately! I even made a custom machine translation engine for small translation team and we finished our work unbelievably fast! Thank you!

Karen (NY, USA)

Listen, what I really want to say is you’re ready… even if you don’t feel like you are. I can tell you for a fact that you are more qualified now than I was when I started in 2009…

So whether you decide to join us using personalized machine translation or not… my only request is that you just start. Get moving. Start improving your productivity and get your business growing.

And if you think that working with me could help you even more… I would love to be a part of that journey with you.