Becoming a Machine Translation Post-Editor
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Don’t get caught off guard. If it hasn’t already happened to you, one day there will be that client for which you dreamed to work for who offers you a job as a post-editor of… machine-translated text. It’s a matter of time.
What is Machine Translation?
You surely know what Machine Translation (MT) is – it is exactly what it says: a translation done by a machine. But please, don’t think about Google Translate! Yes, Google Translate is just one of the “machines” that “can” translate. I want you to think of a system that learns, or even better, that is trained. A system that has learned all the terminology of a specific field and that has read hundreds or thousands of documents related to that very same specific field (and it regularly reads many others to keep itself up-to-date). The output of this kind of MT system is of (very) good quality, but not perfect… this is why there’s a need of a professional translator who post edits.
The concept of a machine that learns might sound a bit scary, but hey, did you really think that the translation industry would never be invaded by intelligent machines? The invasion has already started. Many translators fear that they will lose their job because of Machine Translation. Fear not. Machine Translation is your allied, not your enemy. Sorry if I make it sound like a war, but it is – it’s a war against prejudice (for me at least).
Ready when the time comes
I want you to be ready when the time comes. I want you to get to know your allied. One easy way to do that is by taking the Machine Translation Post-Editing Course offered by SDL – it’s free, and it’s online. The course will teach you the best practices for post-editing a machine-translated text and what questions to ask when a client contacts with a MT job offer, for example. Take a look at the Course Details here or click on the image for a preview of the slides.
I took the online course 2 years ago and after receiving the certification I started offering MT Post-Editing as a service. Guess what? I only have been contacted once for this kind of service. See? There's no need to be afraid :) Although, I believe that requests for this kind of service are on the rise.
When I read translation-related blog posts/articles I often bump into the keyword “diversification”, then why not offering Machine Translation Post-Editing as a service and get certified? To become a MT Post-Editor is pretty easy and there is not much to learn, really. What are you waiting for? Do it before it becomes a paid course!
Are you with or against MT? Are you already a MT Post-Editor? If not/yes, why? Let me know in the comment section below.