Machine Translation

Best Practices for Machine Translation and Post-Editing

Machine Translation

Best Practices for Machine Translation and Post-Editing

As machine translation continues to become more sophisticated, the market for it is soaring. From an individual wanting to do simple translating from their smartphone to companies that are expanding internationally, the need for machine translation is clear. 

However, no matter how advanced machine translators become, they continue to lack the ability to mimic the human aspects that make languages unique. That is where machine translation post-editing comes in. By combining the speed of machines with the work of humans, the result is an outstanding translated product.

To ensure that machine translation and post-editing yield top-notch results, follow these best practices:


The Process Begins with an Error-Free Source Text 

Although machine translators can justifiably get blamed when a translation has mistakes, oftentimes the errors begin in the source text. If the original content is grammatically incorrect, it simply will not translate well. As such, the first step in ensuring that the final product is accurate is to review and edit the original content before the translation process begins. 

For instance, if you have an academic paper that you want to be translated, have both a subject matter expert and an editor carefully read through the content, then revise it as necessary. It might be easy to assume that the content is suitable, but possibly mistakes were previously overlooked, or the text needs to be updated. Whether a comma is out of place or new strides have been made in the research, it is worth it to address any issues first. 

Additionally, consider how the content will be viewed in the target language. If there is something that seems like it will be culturally insensitive, address it while revisions are being made to the source content. Of course, the MTPE service that you hire will discover these issues when they work on your project, but it would save time and resources to resolve them ahead of time. 

Also, when reviewing the source text, pay attention to terminology and formatting to ensure they are consistent throughout the document and remember that wordy or complex sentences will not translate well.


Terminology Management Ensures Accuracy

Abbreviations and acronyms are challenging to translate, particularly for machines. Even human translators struggle with the terms if they do not have a clear understanding of or context around their meanings. In addition, your company or product name will likely be difficult to translate, especially if they are case-sensitive. With the assistance of terminology management, you can organize unique terms and set parameters around their usage.

By implementing this tool, you can be certain that the correct words will be used in the translated product. The terminology management tool also informs translators that certain words will not be translated but instead will remain in the source language.


Use a Translation Management System for Large Projects

When working on a large translation project, make certain that you have access to a translation management system (TMS). By eliminating redundant tasks and lessening the number of manual steps, the TMS will make complex translations more manageable. 

In addition, the TMS can help with project management by keeping all team members aware of the steps that are being completed, as well as who is responsible for various aspects of the work. The automatic translation service that you select should have a translation management system to assist with the project.


A Translation Memory System Ensures Quality

Another excellent tool for ensuring machine translation accuracy is a translation memory system, which is a database of previously translated phrases and fragments. This system is especially useful when translating medical or technical documentation since they involve highly specialized terminology.

The translation memory system will generate specific requirements for terminology, capitalization, spacing, and other aspects, which will lessen the number of edits that have to be made and streamline the overall translation process. Because the translation memory system captures your translation preferences, the output will be consistent, making it better prepared for the later step of post-editing.

The tool automatically keeps track of each word that is translated throughout the process. As such, translators will be able to rely on the translation memories when they collaborate with you on future projects.


Carefully Define Your Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the metrics that you can use to measure the quality of your artificial intelligence (AI) machine translations. When deciding on your KPIs, you will define a set of standards that you will use as a basis for determining the accuracy of the translation projects.

Depending on the type of document you are translating, you might need a more stringent set of KPIs. As an example, a legal document translation requires absolute precision, particularly because of the technical wording that is used in them. Because of this, your performance goals must be achieved, especially when relying on AI automatic translation to conduct a large part of the work.


Determine and Establish Your Editorial Guidelines

Since a team of people will be overseeing your project, you should establish clear guidelines for your content. This will avoid confusion during the post-machine translation editing phase. For instance, if you have a tone that you want to portray or a level of formality you want to achieve, you should state that in your guidelines. By eliminating any possibility of ambiguity, the translation process will be more efficient and effective.


Partner with the Right Machine Translation Service

When the machine is done with its part of the translation, a human translator will take over and best determine how to revise the content to reflect grammatical and cultural aspects of the target language. To make certain that the translator can precisely post-edit the content, you need to partner with a machine translation site that works with linguists who are native speakers of the target language. By doing so, you can be confident that the translator thoroughly understands the language, including what will make sense and what needs to be revised to resonate with the audience. 

In addition, the machine translation service should be able to partner you with a translator who is a subject matter expert in your specific field. Translating an e-learning course in finance is quite different from translating clinical trials research. Therefore, the translator must understand the concepts and terminology that are associated with the subject.


Make Certain You Select Post Editing

No matter how advanced a machine translator might be, it will make mistakes. As a result, make sure you choose post-editing as part of the translation work. Whether you select a light or heavy post-editing option, you can feel confident that errors will be discovered before your document gets published. 

As you plan to have your products and documents translated, think about the countless hours you have spent working on them to make sure they are just right. Now, you must do everything you can to make certain that the translation is top-notch. To accomplish this, select a machine translation service that offers excellent translation tools, along with post-editing options.



Machine translation and post-editing are vital processes to make sure that you can share your products and services across the globe. As such, the work that goes into translation should not be taken lightly. Follow these best practices to make certain that your final translated product is exactly what you want it to be. 

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