Japanese Translation Services

Japanese Translation Services – Is PEMT the Sow’s ear of the translation industry?

What is PEMT? Post Editing Machine Translation

The name of this translation methodology is sufficiently self explanatory as to how it works. With Post Editing Translation, a human translator edits and corrects machine translated (MT) text. The goal of this type of hybrid translation methodology is an attempt to combine the best of both worlds; the speed and low cost of the machine combined with the Japanese translation quality that only human translators are capable of.

The devil is in the details, though. I’m going to jump the gun here and take you straight to the opinion of one professional:

“The above PEMT scenario assumes that this is a full edit, i.e. editors are supposed to remove all mistakes and produce a text that sounds as if it was translated by a human rather than a machine. In other words, they have to try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

Essentially, this professional translator is saying it’s impossible to remove all the errors in edit short of re-translating everything!

Clearly, Post Editing Machine Translation (PEMT) may not be all it’s cracked out to be. And, the reason is simply that the carbon based component of the methodology -professional human translators- tend to shy away from this kind of translation work. Indeed, if you think about, why would any Japanese translator worth their salt undercut their earnings potential with PEMT? The answer is simply that they won’t!

This, therefore, raises another question if quality is important to your English Japanese translation project. That is:

If professional translators eschew this kind of translation work, then who do these translation companies use for the post machine translation editing?

The short answer to that question is unqualified non-native speaking translators, bi-linguals and wannabes. At its core this is a formula for compounding the poor quality that is the hallmark of machine translation with the contribution of unqualified non-professional translators.

The number of translation methodologies and tools have exploded over the last decade. And, according to their proponents -i.e. manufacturers & vendors- each one is the silver bullet we’ve all been waiting for. Fact is, there is only one methodology, call it old school, traditional, outdated or what ever you will, that produces the highest quality possible in translation – professional Japanese translation services

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