What’s MT post-editing?

MT post-editing service means that a human translator edits or revises a text translated by machine translation software (Google Translate, DeepL…). These translations may contain many mistakes: lexical, grammatical, orthotypographical or cultural mismatches between languages.

 

While it is true that machine translations have evolved in terms of quality, they still have limitations. Machine translation can’t capture the original meaning nor convey that feeling or message essentially in a new body of work a human translator can. The person who detects those errors affecting text comprehension are known «post-editors».

 

Should I request a MT post-editing service?

MT post-editing service has recently emerged as an alternative to «human translation». It is applicable when a MT isn’t good enough and the accuracy of a HT is not required.

Machine translation hits that sweet spot of cost and speed, offering a really quick way to translate documents at scale without much overhead. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always applicable, especially with legal, science or technical texts. This means the client should consider what are their needs before contracting an MT post-editing service or «human translation service».

MT post-editing vs. manual translation

When you aren’t employing humans to unearth the elements of the more creative messaging you are putting together, your costs and delivery time stay down. However, if quality content is your biggest priority you may want to implement «human translation». The following chart illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of MT and HT:

MT POST-EDITINGHUMAN TRANSLATION
Literal translation (post-editors do not write, rewrite or reorganise ideas in the text)Native translation (human translators have localization and context in mind when writing the target text)
Low rates (post-editors only focus on the words entered in the text box)High rates (human translators use creativity to write the target text)
Fast delivery (workload is reduced to revise a text translated by a machine)Slow delivery (target text is written totally from scratch by a human translator who, in addition, proofreads the text on their own)

Language pairs for this service:

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