Six Steps To Productivity

Thank you, everyone, for your support through likes, sharing and personal messages. We’ve come a long way together since my first article, Productivity, Time, Money and Opportunity. I introduced personalized machine translation and shared how it transforms careers. You shared and I learned your dreams… what you’re looking for. I unveiled the dirty little secret… that agencies are teaching you to make buggy whips while… in the background… working towards the obsolescence of carriages. If you missed any of these, you’ll find links at the end.


In this… Part 5… it’s finally time! Let’s get right at it. Here, I share those six steps to productivity with personalized machine translation that I promised.

Remember, you can do all these steps with any machine translation platform… IF the platform opens their system to enable users with this level of control. My examples here use Slate Desktop but other platforms, like KantanMT, also give users this level of control.

STEP 1 – Organize Your Translation Memories

Your translation memories are the heart and soul of your success with personalized machine translation. Organizing them is like a librarian organizing books in the library’s collection. It creates a structure to retrieve what you know, and a place to save the new knowledge and style from your new work.

For the complete STEP 1 – Organizing Your Translation Memories, click here.

STEP 2 – Build Your Engine

You know how to point-and-click. With organized translation memories, you’re just a few mouse clicks away from the best machine translation for you… the technology does the rest… in the background while you do your other work… or while you sleep… In a matter of hours… it’s done.

For the complete STEP 2 – Build Your engine, click here.

STEP 3 – Evaluate Your Engine

Evaluating results from your personalized machine translation should be easy peasy… It sounds simple enough… after all… just use it. Then… if you like it, it’s good… if not, then it’s rubbish. It should be that simple enough… BUT

Sounds simple enough

If there’s one element of machine translation that every translatorevery expertevery agency out there is doing wrong… it’s the engine evaluation. If you do it wrong and wrong is the norm… when you incorrectly evaluate the engine… aggravation sets in… frustration takes over… disappointment slows you down… and machine translation post-editing becomes a chore. If you “get it”… really get it right… everything becomes easy.

To get it right, you need to know the second biggest mistake people make when working with machine translation… Remember the biggest mistake? It’s believing the hype… The second biggest mistake is believing you can automatically measure the quality of a translated segment… any translated segment whether created by human or machine.

The fact is, no computer… no software… no algorithm… nothing can automatically and accurately measure the quality of a translated segment.

But this step… Step 3… is not about the quality of translated segments… it’s about evaluating the quality of the engine (that creates the machine translated segments) with regards to your productivity.

Isabella Massardo Slate Desktop Engine Summary

Therefore, the engine evaluation process predicts the productivity improvements you can expect while working with your personalized machine translation. More specifically, it estimates the percent of correct segments your engine is capable of creating… and by extension… that indicates the productivity gain you can expect.

So, Slate Desktop and possibly other machine translation platforms, give you everything you need to evaluate your personalized machine translation.

It all starts by reviewing a summary report of about 2,400 segment pairs…

  1. verify the report’s source segments are examples of your work
  2. verify the target segments represent the quality you want
  3. study the perfect segments to know what your system does well.

These segments did not go into the engine… So from the perspective of personalized machine translation… these 2,400 segments are just like a new translation project… with the human translations filled-in. And… the human translations are from your personal translation memories… So, we know that these human translations represent the quality that you want from your personalized machine translation because they are the quality that you created and approved.

Miroslav Pošta Slate Desktop Engine Summary

And all that information is right there… in the summary report… waiting for you to review… waiting for you to study… to pick it apart and learn how your engine performs. Because the principles behind why personalized machine translation works so well… apply to your business!

So, evaluating personalized machine translation is not about slick marketing hype, genius experts or big translation memories… It’s about your translation memories that you organize into the library… And it’s about what you expect when you evaluate the results.

When you finally realize that evaluation is about your translation memories… and your expectations… you change the way you work… you start working smarter… you put the technology on autopilot… you become more productive… you start turning your extra time into money… and you realize your dream.

Remember Catalina?

In Part 2, I promised to share more of Catalina’s experience… Remember… it took almost a day to build her first engine. When it was ready, she hastily reviewed the 2,400 evaluation segments in the summary report… The poor translations stuck out like a sore thumb… In her haste, the results mirrored her expectation and she jumped to the conclusion that all of the machine translation results were bad. After all… those were her experiences with online run-of-the-mill machine translation services.

Now don’t get me wrong… the majority… over 60%… of segments from Catalina’s first engine needed post-editing… some of those required only a small changes… others needed serious post-editing… still others needed the recycle bin with a total rework.

But Catalina didn’t stop there… Catalina contacted me and we worked together to understand what was really present in the results…

A more disciplined review revealed… hidden among all of the bad segments… that over 30% of the results were perfect… How could that happen? Over 30% of the personalized machine translation exactly matched Catalina’s own work… BUT SHE DIDN’T SEE THEM!

Simply put, Catalina’s hasty review failed her. During her disciplined review, she realized the 60% in need of edits had overwhelmed her. There it was… clear evidence. Her previous bad experiences had biased her expectationsclouded her judgment… These experiences jaded her view… so much… that she hadn’t even noticed the perfect 35%.

But… how do we know that 35% were perfect? Well, when Catalina built her engine, Slate Desktop compared its results to Catalina’s 2,400 segment pairs that it reserved from her translation memories BEFORE building the engine.

In the end, 35% of the results from Catalina’s first personalized engine EXACTLY matched her own translations before ever buying Slate Desktop. That’s why we call them perfect.

STEP 4 – Deploy Your Engine

Do you want to set your business apart from the crowd? To you want to build a solid reputation among your customers for:

  • world class translations… and
  • on-time delivery?

You ask, “how?” After all, you’ve only experienced run-of-the-mill machine translation… Well, remember our formula? It’s pretty simple. When the crowd goes in one direction… it’s the best time to turn around and go the other way. So, let’s first look at the crowd’s direction.

Today’s popular machine translation systems are deployed as services in the cloud… At any given moment in time, hundreds… if not thousands… of translators are doing the same thing… connecting to machine translation deployed in the cloud. After all… it’s fast… it’s easy… it’s cheap… it’s everywhere…

These services are a compromise that favors convenience over quality. They’re just like cameras in smart phones… They’re ubiquitous, easy-to-use and like the cameras, their best quality is less than that of a professional’s dedicated system, like a personalized system.

Slate Desktop Export Engine

Just as importantly… by using machine translation deployed in the cloud, you become just like your competitor… you get the same results. You do the same work to fix the errors.

So consider this… with machine translation deployed in the cloud, you start with low quality machine translated segments and begin post-editing. Those segments are the same low quality your competitors post-edit. Unless you do a very high volume of post-editing work, you’re customers can’t distinguish you from your competitors.

How do you set your translation business apart from the crowd? That’s where we come back to our simple formula… When the crowd turns to the cloud, you’ll find your competitive edge in your own PC.

Your personalized machine translation is automatically deployed on your PC when you build the engine… It’s ready to use… before you review the evaluation summary report. It’s waiting in your CAT tool. Later, you can even deploy engines to a notebook PC to work on-the-go.

You organized translation memories on your PC… You build the engines on your PC… Your personalized machine translationon your PC… becomes your competitive edge.

STEP 5 – Translate and Automate

competitive edge

With your unique competitive edge deployed on your PC… when it’s not shared in the cloud… you distinguish yourself to your customers because no other translator in the world has your personalized machine translation.

  • No other translator has your translation memories…
  • No other translation memories are organized to your preference…
  • No other translator in the world can access your personalized machine translation
  • All because it’s deployed to your PC and only your PC.

Your personalized machine translation elevates your work from post-editing quality to translation quality. It’s the difference between a rank amateur photographer using a smart phone and a professional using a Hasselblad.

SDL Trados Project Setup with Slate Desktop

Your customers will never see your back office… they’ll never see your tools… they’ll never know you’re using personalized machine translation… unless you tell them! And… why would you do that? They hire you to deliver translations not to micromanage your work.

Best of all, your professionalism shines through… captured in the quality translations you deliver on time. When you use a personalized machine translation to deliver great translations… your customers will love you. They’ll come back to buy more of your great translations time and again.

Slate Desktop CAT Tool Cafetran Espresso by Cafetran

Now, I know there are tons of productivity tools out there… Things like..

  • sub-segment assembly in your CAT
  • bilingual concordances
  • project management software
  • automated accounting and invoicing software
  • translator best-practices webinars

All of these are important… all contribute to your productivity… But I think Slate Desktop has pretty much nailed it on the head when it comes to personalized machine translation… especially since your colleagues are using it to increase their productivity and generating phenomenal sales growth.

Slate Desktop CAT Tool memoQ Admin

You translate with your preferred desktop CAT tool… memoQ… Trados Studio… CafeTran… OmegaT… So… you’re not wasting time learning yet another CAT.

Your CAT connects to your personalized machine translation with a plugin, just like a plugin connects to online machine translation services. Once you start working, you spend less time fixing mistakes and finish more work. In short, you’re more productive with more time to realize your dream.

STEP 6 – Learn and Adapt

Personalized machine translation includes the tools you need to

  • organize your translation memories…
  • build engines…
  • evaluate your engines…
  • deploy your engines to different PCs…
  • translate with increase productivity.

Your personalized machine translation on your PC separates you from thousands of your competitors… and gives you a unique competitive edge that catapults you over the crowd.

As if your competitive edge weren’t enough, personalized machine translation uses mature artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies Personalized machine translation adapts to new knowledge and style.

  • Your translation memories grow as you work.
  • Add new translation memories to your organized library.
  • Rebuild your engine.
  • Boosts your productivity further.
  • Live your dream.

So, just stick to the simple formula… watch the crowd and go the other way. You’ll deliver world class translations that bring customers back you again and again.


So, I know this was a lot to take in. There’s many alternate steps I can add to personalized machine translation, but there’s just so much you can absorb in one sitting.

And… here in these 6 steps… I’ve literally giving away the blueprint behind personalized machine translation

You can use this blueprint with any machine translation service that opens control to its subscribers, and with Slate Desktop. You can practically copy/paste (or as close to it as possible) all of the knowledge in this blueprint to use with those services and integrate personalized machine translation into your own business with another company’s product.

It’s puzzling, right? Why am I giving away these six steps to productivity with personalized machine translation? Steps that you can use on any machine translation service. Why give away steps that help you use our competitors’ services when… really… I prefer selling my product?

The reason is simple… Value… I’m confident. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt… as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow… I know that our products… Slate Desktop and Slate Starter… give translators the best value. PERIOD! I have the data to prove it and I want my customers experience the best value ever.

Coming up…

So, if you want to know how to replicate this kind of success for your own translation businesses.. if you, too, suffer from tight turnarounds… if you, too, work weekends to keep up… Follow my Part-6 series as we explore six steps to productivity with personalized machine translation.


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If you missed any of the other 4 Parts Here are the links:

  1. Productivity, Time, Money and Opportunity (published December 27, 2018)
  2. Transforming Your Career (published January 7, 2019)
  3. Time Is Money – or… (published January 14, 2019)
  4. The Dirty Little Secret (published January 21, 2019)
  5. Six Steps To Productivity (this article)
  6. Questions & Answers (coming soon…)

In Part 6, I’ll answer some questions from your colleagues.

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