How to Determine Machine Translation and Post-Editing Rates

post editing machine translation rates

How to Determine Machine Translation and Post-Editing Rates

There are several ways to determine Machine Translation and Post-Editing Rates, but first, let’s discuss the concepts of Machine Translation and Post-Editing of Machine Translation:


What Is Machine Translation?

Machine Translation, or MT for short, is a part of computational linguistics that utilizes software to translate texts from one language to another.

In its initial years, MT simply substituted every single word of the passage with its most commonly used equivalency in the other language – a system called rules-based machine translation. Unsurprisingly, this created many inaccuracies in the translated document. Often, the machine-translated documents were complete gibberish and did not make any sense at all.

However, in recent years, there has been rapid advancement in machine translation. With access to more advanced hardware and computing power, machine translation has been able to produce far better results. Using advanced algorithms called neural networks in addition to artificial intelligence, machine translation software is able to quickly and easily produce translations for a huge number of users. 

While the translations have gotten infinitely better since the days of rules-based machine translation, machine translation is still no match for a human-generated translation. For instance, when translating from a language that follows the SOV (subject-object-verb) structure, such as Hindi, to a language that follows the SVO (subject-verb-object) structure, such as English, simple substitutions can create a nonsensical translation. The translated document does not sound natural at all, and in the worst-case scenario, it does not make any sense. To make the translated document sound natural, you have to use post-editing.


What Is Post Editing of Machine Translation?

Post Editing of Machine Translation (PEMT) refers to the act of manually editing a machine translation to make it sound more natural and correct common errors that arise from MT. A translator specifically trained in machine translation programming and post-editing, called a post-editor, reviews and corrects the translation according to the client’s specifications.

Sometimes, machine translations contain mistakes when substituting one word for another, especially in the case of words that have multiple meanings but are spelled the same way (homonyms). For instance, you might use MT to translate a document from English to any other language, and your document might have the word “right” in it. And though you used the word to indicate a direction, the MT software may mistakenly substitute it for a word that means “correct” in the other language.

While these mistakes are increasingly rare, especially since the adoption of advanced technology like neural networks and machine learning, they still do show up in machine-translated documents. During the process of post-editing, a post-editor can pick up on these mistakes and correct them, ensuring the accuracy of the translation.

You can ask the post-editor to make the translated document sound any way you want it to. During post-editing, the post-editor can easily make the document sound more formal, informal, technical, or any other way you desire. By making changes to the tone, style, and sentence structure of the translated document, the post-editor can generate a document tailored to your exact specifications.


How to Determine Machine Translation and Post-Editing Rates

Every translation job is different and requires different amounts of time and effort from the machine translation software and subsequent post-editor. Thus, most translation agencies don’t fixed rates for machine translation post-editing. There are several reasons for this:


Word Count

As the word count in your document goes up, so does the cost of any translation. However, the translation rate per word usually decreases as the number of words increases. Some translation agencies offer generous discounts when you have documents with a very high word count.


Language Pairs

The cost of translation also depends on the language pair you choose. Translating (and post-editing) between certain language pairs requires more effort from the translator or may be more difficult to source, consequently increasing the price for the translation. Depending on your source and target languages, the cost of translation can vary greatly.

Also, a particular MT software might be able to produce a near-flawless translation for two specific languages but fail to deliver accurate translations when working with other languages. Thus, if your choice of language pair produces a very accurate machine translation, the rates for post-editing will be cheaper.


Machine Translation Software

Your choice of software for machine translation can also affect the cost of post-editing. Some MT software is better than others, which means they generate documents that do not require as much post-editing from a human. If you use reliable MT software to produce good-quality translations, the post-editor can do their work much quicker and for less money.


The Industry Your Document Pertains To

When you’re working in certain industries, you require specialized translations. For example, if you have documents for a lawsuit, your translation must contain specific legal terms and follow the same layout and legal concepts as the original. Alternatively, if you are translating medical reports, you will also need the same level of attention to detail for the translated document. 

As you can imagine, highly specialized translations with uncommon terminology are not as easy for machine translation software. In general, it is never recommended to do PEMT for the legal and medical fields because of the higher stakes. In some parts of the US, it is actually illegal to do so. But, for industries such as technology, manufacturing, retail, and services, PEMT is a great service because it translates so quickly and for such a low price.


Choose Acutrans for the Best Machine Translation and Post-Editing Rates

If you are looking for a reliable translation agency for machine translation and post-editing, look no further than Acutrans. Acutrans has been in the business of providing quality language solutions to a diverse clientele for over 20 years.

As a leading provider of language solutions, Acutrans offers post-editing of machine translation (PEMT) for over 100 different languages spoken around the world. We offer certified translations in a wide variety of fields, ranging from medical, legal, education, health care, entertainment, finance, and technology, to manufacturing and marketing.


If the accuracy of your translation is important to you, choose Acutrans. Get a Free Quote for PEMT from Acutrans.