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Monday, September 5, 2011

The Continuing Saga & Evolution of Machine Translation

I recently attended the 7th IMTT Conference in Cordoba, Argentina. I especially enjoy the IMTT events because somehow they have found a content formula that works for both translators and LSPs. You get to see the translation supply chain communicate in real-time. The overall culture of their events is also usually very collaborative, and to my mind the place to see the most open and constructive dialogue between translators and agencies. Some may not be aware that Argentina has a particularly strong concentration of skilled humans who understand the mechanics of localization (especially in FIGS BrPt), and many of the agencies, even small ones, are able to work with pretty much every TM and TMS (Translation Management System) system in the market with more than a basic level of competence. Because of historical decisions made by @RenatoBeninatto many years ago and a great university educational system, Argentina has become a place with a comprehensive and sizable professional translation eco-system.
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There were a few presentations that I found especially interesting, including a plenary presentation by Suzanne de Santamarina on the use of quality metrics. You can see some of the twitter trail here and here but basically Suzanne described her very active use of J2450 measurements to improve the dialogue on quality with customers and with her translators. While there clearly is effort and expense involved in implementing this as actively as she has, I think it dramatically improves the conversation regarding translation quality between all the participants, as it is very specific and impersonal and clear about what quality means.  It is also a means to build what she called “customer delight” which of course also includes a major service component.
Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out (of the product/service) and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality…
~ Peter Drucker
j2450
Asia Online makes a software tool available to enable customers to calculate J2450 scores for this very reason.  It helps to move the discussion from inactionable complaints like “I don’t like the quality” or “the quality is not good”,  to practical error identification and resolution action steps like  “Is there a way to reduce frequency of the wrong terminology errors in the system?” Just as proper use of BLEU scores requires care and some expertise so does the use of J2450. Suzanne’s company’s regular and highly structured use of J2450 is such that they can really assess the linguistic quality from project to project with a precision that  few have. Her approach is refreshing in its clarity and precision and quite a contrast form the meandering inconclusive discussions on “quality” that you see in LinkedIn. Tools like BLEU and J2450 depend on the skill level of the user, and require an investment of time and effort and repeated use to develop real user competence before one understands the informational insights that their use can provide.
Human Quality Assessment
I also enjoyed the presentations by master translators like João Roque Dias and Danilo Nogueira  on the craft and art of translation, and enjoyed talking to them about MT and the life of the translator in general. (Yes, MT is sometimes useful even for some of them.) There were several skill focused presentations on Language QA tools, CAT and collaborative tools that were also very interesting. I heard great things about Val Ivonica’s presentation (in Brazilian) on translation productivity tools which I was unable to attend as it coincided with mine. It is interesting that Patricia Bown positioned MemoQ as collaboration software that enables the linear TEP model to evolve, enabling faster turnaround and higher volume. There were many Brazilians present (though some said not enough) and they lived up to their reputation for revelry but unfortunately were thwarted in their (our) attempts to find a karaoke place one evening. Nevertheless they shared their linguistically oriented humor with me and I had no difficulty finding a willing interpreter even though I was often the only person who did not speak the language.

I delivered a presentation on the emerging role of MT as a means to deal with the translation challenges created by the content explosion and new kinds of dynamic product/business related content. The feedback I received was mostly positive and constructive even though there were several very skeptical translators in the crowd. There were some in the audience who have already experienced MT that works and even those who had not worked with customized systems admitted that sometimes MT was useful.  I was also on a panel on “The Future of the Industry” which got mixed reviews as some translators felt it was not relevant and others felt it was a tired topic that nobody had any real clarity on. Many feel change is coming but are not clear what this really means and unfortunately for many the end-result of these changes is that customers expect more work for less money. This does mean that there is a certain amount of apprehension amongst the attendees as the future is not quite predictable.
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A blog entry by Emily Stewart that pondered upon the theme of technology driven change at the conference a few days later, triggered an interesting and on-going discussion in LinkedIn.  Her post which was about the advent of technology in a variety of different markets is thoughtful and worth reading. I also think her conclusion (shown below) is good advice for us all.
Instead of denouncing machine translation as the end of the translation world as we know it, it may be time to take a step back and see what happens.  The discussion shouldn’t stop, but perhaps it could become less polemic and instead convert into a deeper conversation on and reflection of what may or may not lie ahead.
While initially there is a lot of focus on the perceived threat (there are some who think that I, together with other over zealous MT developers, am responsible for some of this fear and FUD), I am hoping that the dialogue moves beyond this point. Some MT systems have indeed been used to push rates down unfairly, but as we all begin to better understand these early mishaps, this can and must change. As George W Bush misspoke when he tried to say "Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me."  (I hope you click on the Bush video, it is toooo funny). If it becomes clearer to everybody what it actually takes to “finish off” MT output to required target quality levels, this kind of abuse cannot continue. We need better quality assessment so that this gap can be more clearly defined.

All MT systems are not equal and to have a global post-editing pricing policy is guaranteed to create disenchantment. We all need to better understand where to use MT and where to avoid it. MT cannot easily if ever replace humans, on the same projects that were previously done through a careful human TEP process. If the quality expectations are high, it has to be MT and human.  MT makes most sense where there is ongoing volume and information volatility. We also need to better understand how to quickly assess the output quality of different MT systems so that post-editors are compensated fairly. The best MT systems are yet to come and they will be better because they are the product of informed linguistic steering in addition to standard data and MT techniques. We have yet to see useful compensation systems develop for these linguists and this will probably be needed before some of the uneasiness dissipates, but the forces driving this expanding need are strong and hopefully we should realize and recognize the value of these key individuals at some point in the future. This is already true at Asia Online so I imagine it can be done elsewhere.

In terms of disintermediation, I think MT will be only part of the whole picture, as we see more people learn to use motivated communities to get work done. Adobe and others have learnt to use “the crowd” to get traditional localization work done using translation platforms like Lingotek and newcomer Smartling (which might also have obtained the biggest startup investment made by a VC in the translation industry.) Much of the coming change will also come from collaboration software platforms like Lingotek, Smartling and others yet to come, that change how translation projects get done in terms of process flow, and that have a different modus operandi from traditional localization tools born in the TEP world. Translators are required to spend too much time working with data in different formats and too little time on the actual act of translation. New collaboration platforms and real data interchange standards will hopefully enable translators to focus mostly on real linguistic problem solving, and not on managing archaic and arcane format interchange issues. 

From my vantage point, I see that -
1) Translation is increasingly done outside of the sphere of the localization world and community based translation initiatives around the world are gathering momentum both in the non-profit and corporate world
2) The volume of translation that can help drive international business initiatives forward is increasing at a substantial rate (5X to perhaps as much as 100X) Interestingly, there are still some who think that this content explosion is a myth.
3) Social network conversations matter and are often more important to translate than having user documentation that is "perfect" and “error-free”. The company to customer communications have also become much more interactive, real-time and urgent and go way beyond the scope of most user documentation. 

Thus to approach every translation task with the TEP mindset that made great sense in the 1X or 2X volume days is not useful today. New approaches are needed and new models of automation/collaboration are necessary - and are perhaps the only way that all the changing momentum can be handled effectively. MT is simply one part of the equation and is far from being the whole solution. The need to solve this overall translation challenge is linked to the customers business survival so it gains a kind of momentum of inevitability. Businesses need to translate way more content to remain competitive in global marketplaces that move at internet speeds, thus automation and better collaboration are essential and critical to success and even survival.
 
We have seen in the last 5 years that many of the largest global organizations have launched MT initiatives on their own, because their LSP vendors were/are stuck in the TEP mindset, and did not realize that their customers had to learn to do dramatically more translation with not very much more money. This is perhaps a clue that in certain volume and time constraint scenarios, MT is necessary. We have seen that global enterprises need to solve this problem with or without vendors who historically managed the bulk of their localization translation. My sense is that this trend is likely to build momentum if LSPs do not learn to offer real MT competence. Real MT competence comes from building custom systems and seeing what works and what does not. Global enterprises will increasingly take this task upon themselves if they cannot find LSPs who can help them solve this problem e.g. TAUS is mostly a buyer driven organization with the key focus of sharing TM and facilitating large scale MT initiatives. The greatest successes presented at TAUS are all in-house initiatives with little LSP involvement. Surely this is because there is a real need, and we see that competitors are willing to share linguistic data and resources to handle this problem. I suspect that the buyer’s motivation is less about saving cents per word on translation costs, and much more about keeping and building customer loyalty and satisfaction in a world with growing global online commerce and information access needs.

My guess is that some of the anxiety on the coming change comes not so much from raw technology like MT, but perhaps it's real origin is the growing awareness that some of the work they are involved with grows less valuable to the customer’s real mission: which is to build and develop international markets. Perhaps the anxiety is really rooted in the fact that they sense that they are not involved in high value work. The real threat is not MT per se, but it is the growing awareness amongst international marketing executives (in global enterprises) that they need to focus on what their customers really care about - more and more often this is something other than getting a really great user manual out. Have you noticed that many leading edge companies like Apple, Sony have dramatically reduced their investment in user manuals? The iPhone simply does not have one (in the box but they do on the web). I am not suggesting that manuals are going away, but it is already clear that their relative value is diminishing. The content that drives global customer adoption and loyalty is changing and thus the relative value of traditional localization (software and documentation) work also changes.

I expect that new translation production models to build success in international markets will involve MT (and other translation automation), crowdsourcing as well as professional oversight and management. It is very likely that old production models like TEP will be increasingly less important, or just one of several approaches to translation projects as new collaboration models gain momentum.I think that the most successful approaches to solving these "new" translation problems  will involve a close and constructive collaboration between traditional localization professionals, linguists, MT developers, end-customers and probably others in global enterprise organizations who have never worked in "localization" but are more directly concerned about the quality of the relationship with the final customer across the world. At the end of the day our value as an industry is determined by how useful our input is to the process of building international markets and the requirements for success are changing as we speak.

The conversations at IMTT and the ensuing discussions suggest that while progress is being made in the understanding of translation technology, there is still a long way to go. I hope that at future IMTT conferences we see more discussion of approaches to translation projects where TEP may not make sense and automation and collaboration approaches can help solve different kinds of problems that also further international business initiatives. I expect that IMTT will be a leader in changing the current polemic and also expand the conversation to new stakeholders. This conversation is likely to require much more direct content with product management, international sales and support teams and the final end customer. Hopefully some of us in the industry get to lead or participate in  the driving this change through these new conversations.

While change can be difficult it can also be a time of opportunity and a time when leadership changes. Very few try to understand the forces of change better. People often go through a sequential emotional cycle before they learn to cope, and eventually even thrive when facing disruptive change. Those who get stuck at fear and despair, often end up as victims.

This little video shows that effective and heartfelt communication across cultures need not be heavily planned, ponderous or calculated. Sometimes simple and real is enough to create the change and build a connection to your customers.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.


15 comments:

  1. Nice balanced post on MT.

    It's a myth though about the iPhone manual, though:

    See http://manuals.info.apple.com/de_DE/iphone_benutzerhandbuch.pdf and the launch pad for these: http://www.apple.com/support/country/?dest=manuals

    I take your point though. Moving from manuals to community-based support (such as the brilliant Adobe Community Help) is a change management issue that many organizations are now addressing. Because they have to.

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  2. Mr. Vashee,
    When you say "I especially enjoy the IMTT events because somehow they have found a content formula that works for both translators and LSPs" are you aware that most Argentine translators cannot work as translators (if they want to do business ethically) because there is no work for them? What is "working" for translators? We are in the middle of a huge crisis, and the translators working for exploitative rates/salaries are violating our Codes of Ethics, so the "income vs. rates excuse" is out of place here. Are you aware of this crisis I mention? Unless you are reading a taylor made newspaper that somebody with interests other than translators' interests has written for you, let me tell you that this is our reality: either accept to be exploited or work as something else not to hurt the profession. The group of translators being able to make money as we deserve and ethically is getting smaller and smaller. From a translator's perspective, nothing to celebrate re the mentioned congress. On the contrary. Regards,

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  3. Ms. Humarán

    Thank you for your comment.

    It appears that you may have issues with the conference that I am not privy to, and thus I cannot really comment on that.

    From your comment on rates, I gather that you fundamentally object to the rates that are being offered to translators in Argentina and condemn those who accept these rates. Unfortunately, rates today cannot be set in any one country, especially for a language like Spanish where it is possible to find translators all over Latin America and the US too. What determines the market rate for Spanish translation is the competition and services from translators in 21 Spanish speaking countries, including the United States. Customers will simply go to Paraguay, Costa Rica or Colombia or elsewhere if they cannot find acceptable costs in Argentina, thus I am not sure what is to be gained by holding to a price that nobody will pay. I assure you there was nobody at the event that desires lower prices.

    And as presentations made by several translators at the event indicated, it is possible for those who have deep expertise in specific areas to maintain higher than market average rates since this is linked to higher value.

    Based on the quality of the dialogue I saw at the conference, (which was clearly not one-sided), I believe that IMTT provides a forum and tools for those translators that want to learn and adapt and survive in the new reality, where markets are global and cannot be regulated. People were sharing many ideas on how to improve productivity and efficiency to be able to better respond to market forces and demands.

    As Emily pointed out in her blog, translation is not the only profession that is being affected by globalization and technology. Every profession progresses and people need to adapt to both survive and thrive.

    I am sure that your contributions to the overall dialogue would be welcomed, since we all get a better picture of what is going on if many differing views are aired openly and constructively. I hope to see you at future IMTT events and get a more complete sense of your perspective.

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  4. Hey Its really good job buddy you are giving the clear cut ideas on Social Network Analysis which has become the backbone of our society .
    Its also giving the opportunity to create communities and through this people are increasing the memberlist of their community

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  5. Hello, Mr. Vashee.

    «From your comment on rates, I gather that you fundamentally object to the rates that are being offered to translators in Argentina and condemn those who accept these rates.»

    Yes, me… and the Codes of Ethics of many translators’ associations. My statement is not a subjective opinion as “I like Al Pacino" or "I love Jackie Smith purses” (where another person can prefer Brian Pitt or Michael Kors’ purses). My statement is based on a fact: there is something called translators’ associations that even within a “free market” suggest professional translators what the ethical fees are. Some do so very clearly (suggesting numbers), others do so more vaguely, but all associations were born to defend US (translators and interpreters), so we would be really surprised if they said: “oh, hello, Mr. Very Visible Hand, come on in, here you have our profession/future, take them home with you. Bye! Nice meeting you! Come back any time!” They were not born for that. I understand LSPs’s associations will have a different point of view, but you are talking with a translator.

    I have a question for you. I am an associate member of ATA, wouldn’t you agree with me that if I started charging 0.001 USD per word to USA agencies, ATA’s Ethics Committee will give me a call? Or you just don’t believe in professional associations?

    «Unfortunately, rates today cannot be set in any one country, especially for a language like Spanish where it is possible to find translators all over Latin America and the US too.»

    You clearly disbelieve in translators’ associations, right? (May be for you they are just ok to organize fancy congresses). You are saying that they cannot do what… they are doing! So if all of a sudden 100% of the Argentine translators decided to start abiding by their Codes of Ethics (rejecting lousy rates), the “Market” would look for Peruvian, or Chilean colleagues? Is that so? Are you talking about a profession or a TEG game? And, more important, are you happy with that? I am not.

    «Customers will simply go to Paraguay, Costa Rica or Colombia or elsewhere if they cannot find acceptable costs in Argentina, thus I am not sure what is to be gained by holding to a price that nobody will pay.»

    May be you are not aware but there are many (hundreds) of associations. You mentioned Colombia. See what one of the associations in Colombia says (Code of Ethics) about this. It’s in Spanish, but I am sure you like MT so you will have no problem to understand. Asociación Colombiana de Traductores e Intérpretes: “Conservar la dignidad y el decoro de la profesión: no pedir ni aceptar trabajo en condiciones denigrantes para el traductor en términos de tiempo, ambiente laboral y dinero.”

    (Also, let me tell you that, fortunately, there are still many clients and ethical agencies that do pay the rates we deserve. Are you happy about my news? I don't think so, as you do not share my interests).

    Let me understand this, would you encourage all professional translators who are members of all these associations in the link below not to abide by their Code of Ethics and just give their blood to the “Market”? Say that in an LSP’s congress, but not in a translator’s congress (and not to a translator like myself), please.


    «I assure you there was nobody at the event that desires lower prices.»

    I assure you there were some agency owners in that event that pay LOUSY rates (they are rated as lousy payers in many places), unless by “desires lower prices” you mean the money they get (I am sure they do not desire lower prices for themselves).

    «As Emily pointed out in her blog, translation is not the only profession that is being affected by globalization and technology. Every profession progresses and people need to adapt to both survive and thrive.»

    We all know that we are not the only profession affected by globalization and technology. Does that justify our dumping the market and charging/paying unethical fees? (Probably a rethorical question).


    Best,
    Aurora Humarán

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  6. Maria Cecilia MaldonadoSeptember 11, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Hola Kirti,

    What IMTT does with training events (same as many other translation companies in Argentina such as Texo, Rosario Traducciones and Ocean Translations) is what professional associations should be doing: inform about the different work realities, train professionals taking into account the technology available to them and help them deal with the change. The 7th Language & Technology conference covered ALL topics that interest not only the professional translator but also the company which can be simply verified by looking at the program and the speakers (and their backgrounds) on the conference website. What should be celebrated is that this conference is the only place where all points of views and opinions are expressed with total respect and no one is ill-treated for thinking different.

    Putting together a conference of such level, with 24 speakers on stage, is a HUGE responsibility. IMTT attempted several times to have the collaboration and active participation of local associations, but unfortunately they have preferred to remain in their own bubble, their comfort zone.

    A code of ethics is necessary in every professional association, a guideline to know what’s right and what’s wrong but in the case of our “colegios” the rates established have the purpose of guiding professionals ONLY in those situations where they have to deal with a direct client and they fail to guide them in the new reality, inexistent a few years ago.

    In business, there’s something called fair value, a transaction between willing parties, and therefore what translation companies do on a daily basis does not constitute exploitation.

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  7. Are you applying the concept of "fair value" to the translation business or to translators? As far as I know, this concept is associated to "futures" in the market. "If futures trade over their fair value to the index price (translations fees), a trader (translation agencies) would agree to sell the contract (to its client) at a future date, believing its price will fall". As such, MT will always work to the detriment of translators.

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  8. Hi everyone:

    Maria Cecilia Maldonado says: "A code of ethics is necessary in every professional association, a guideline to know what’s right and what’s wrong but in the case of our “colegios” the rates established have the purpose of guiding professionals ONLY in those situations where they have to deal with a direct client and they fail to guide them in the new reality, inexistent a few years ago".

    This is a remark which should be acknowledged by our associations, and which IMHO is quite serious. I have a question though, don’t rates suggested by our colegios apply to any professional whether an individual or an agency?

    Maria Cecilia Maldonado says: "In business, there’s something called fair value, a transaction between willing parties, and therefore what translation companies do on a daily basis does not constitute exploitation."

    I'm not keen on Finance and Business, so I googled the term "fair value" and found many hits, now I know there is fair value and market value, and there is also what in Spanish we call "precio vil" (extremely low prices) and dumping prices. There is a huge gap in between.

    This is what I found in Wikipedia: "So as the term is generally used, Fair Value can be clearly distinguished from Market Value. It requires the assessment of the price that is fair between two specific parties taking into account the respective advantages or disadvantages that each will gain from the transaction... Fair Value is frequently used when undertaking due diligence in corporate transactions, where particular synergies between the two parties may mean that the price that is fair between them is higher than the price that might be obtainable in the wider market."
    Therefore...fair value means that a value is usually higher than the average...doesn't it? Is this what translation companies are offering to their professional vendors (translators)?

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  9. I absolutely agree...and reponsible for deprecating the market in the first place, where MT products would perfectly fit in. Again, to the detriment of us, translators.

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  10. Ms. Humarán,

    I don't think we have had the pleasure to meet, but I would like to point a couple of flaws in your comments.

    First, the example that you give of the ATA is a bad one. Because of an antitrust investigation by the FTC in the 80s, ATA members are precluded from discussing pricing. So if someone decides to charge $0.0001 per word, the ATA cannot do anything.

    Second, you brandish the Code of Ethics as some religious people brandish the Bible, the Torah, or the Koran. A Code of Ethics is a fantastic tool to deal with the performance of ones work; but not with the commercial relationships between interested parties. Codes of Ethics have time and again failed to revoke the law of supply and demand, which is the only thing that regulates prices and rates in any free market (unless you are proposing that we change the economic systems of our countries).

    Third, you fail to recognize that it is not the Association of Professional Translators of Outer Tierra del Fuego that is going to determine rates in a global market, like the language industry. Your competition - and prices - are dictated by market conditions in 21 countries that speak Spanish. Would you say that a young freelance translator living with her parents in Santa Cruz de la Sierra should charge the same thing than a professional with 20 years' experience living in Buenos Aires? Of course not.

    What amazes me when I speak with fellow translators around the world, is how protectionist and disconnected from economic realities some tend to be. I am sure that when you see a sub-par legal translation by a recently graduated professional, you are among those who shouts and complains about the lack of professionalism in our industry. Yet, you are the same person who wants that young individual to charge the same prices as you do.

    I have seen some of the recommendations that you have posted in your Facebook group to young translators in search for advice. To me, they seem disingenuous and bordering on criminal, especially when you discourage them from taking internships and working for translation companies because of rates they pay.

    I would suggest that you stick to your competence as an outstanding professional translator and avoid trying to control things that you cannot control (like Supply and Demand).

    Finally, instead of attacking a very good event like the one organized by IMTT, where all voices can be heard, I strongly recommend that you accept the invitation of the organizers and come there to debate your points with the other players in the industry. Maybe they will learn something from you, and you will learn from them.

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  11. Ms. Humarán

    To the best of my knowledge there are not many (probably not any)professional associations that focus on fixing prices for professional services. Even doctors and lawyers, (where membership requires much more stringent competence assessment), are free to provide pro-bono (i.e. zero compensation) services for as long as they wish to, if they can economically sustain this. MSF and other similar organizations are built with people who work for free or low wages. Thus, your judgement on the ethics of people who will work for market rates because they need to is somewhat misplaced. Remember that it is always up to each individual translator to determine if the wages they are being paid is worth their effort or not. They can decline the work if they feel that the compensation is not adequate as you have chosen to, and target only customers who understand the higher value and competence that they may offer. For many this is a luxury that is not affordable.

    Trade Unions sometimes offer collective bargaining services to members, and if the translator associations have the same level of unity, skill assessment and certification guarantees, perhaps they could do something similar and establish rates collectively with specific buyers. However, even with trade unions there are some workers who choose not to join and comply.

    It is estimated that there are perhaps as many as 600,000 "professional translators" in the world. Only a fraction of these people choose to join professional associations. Why is this? Perhaps because they feel that the fees they pay produce very little value and very minimal benefit in terms of professional leverage?

    Perhaps more attention could be spent on developing a professional association that provides more value to a broader group of translators, who may have differing skill levels, and focuses on building consensus and broad value. Common sense also suggests that building partnerships with key employers (LSPs and Enterprises)where "better" practices are modeled, would be more effective than vilifying and condemning potential or actual members for working within market realities.

    All these things can evolve more naturally if there is a genuine dialogue. Attempts are being made e.g. http://kv-emptypages.blogspot.com/2010/11/machine-translation-community-building.html and perhaps they will build momentum and perhaps they will not, but there is enough goodwill to start.

    I hope that we can agree that a starting point of openness and goodwill is more likely to produce better results than judgement and condemnation. I hope that you will join the dialogue at IMTT events and elsewhere, so that others can hear your perspective and make their own determinations after hearing many varied views.

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  12. Dear all,

    I attended the IMTT Conference and I can clearly conclude that this conference was targeted to suit the interests of translation agencies and companies, and not the interests and rights of translators to do their job at the right price and not the pennies many of these agencies will offer to their translators. In particular, there are two things mentioned here that draw my attention:

    Mr. Vashee said: "I also enjoyed the presentations by master translators like João Roque Dias and Danilo Nogueira on the craft and art of translation, and enjoyed talking to them about MT and the life of the translator in general. (Yes, MT is sometimes useful even for some of them.)". Curiously enough, it's not mentioned here the bold positions of Mr. Roque Dias and Nogueira had regarding rates, actually, that's how the conversation started, even though Mr. Beninatto tried to soften the debate and guide it to other general issues arguing that we were not there to talk about those issues, to which Mr. Nogueira replied that we "have" to talk about those "issues". What's more, it's not mentioned either that Mr. Roque Dias is completely against MT.

    The second thing that draw my attention is what Mrs. Cecilia Maldona said: "What should be celebrated is that this conference is the only place where all points of views and opinions are expressed with total respect and no one is ill-treated for thinking different.". I think it is clear that the IMTT Conference is not the "only" place where all opinions are expressed. I don't even think it is the "place". All the opinions that were expressed are those that represent and defend the interests of the translation business, not the reality of hundreds of translators working for less than what the Translation Associations suggest should be paid because the translation agencies will not offer more and will clearly exploit these translations, especially translators who are just starting off their careers and are not totally aware of this reality and will buy what those agencies sell to them. In fact, there were no diverse opinions in the IMMT Conference, and the only really interesting different opinions or other points of view which could have been expressed and could have generated a rich and enlihting debate for many of the, especially new, freelance translators there was "strategically" interrupted. I'm talking about the debate that could have been generated by Mr. Roque Dias and Nogueira.

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  13. Ms Pereyra

    I attended Mr Roque Dias's presentation and am aware that he is openly and unequivocally opposed to MT, yet, we had interesting conversations about the life of translators in general, especially the behavior of some translators at conferences. There were also translators who were more open to MT and several who felt the same way as Mr. Dias - I summarized this as (Yes, MT is sometimes useful even for some of them (translators). ) This lack of detail was an editorial choice not calculated deception as most of my readers are aware that many translators are opposed in general to MT.

    What many overlook is that MT is often used as a means to unfairly reduce rates - for the same work - and thus the technology is often unfairly vilified. I am aware that some people use MT as a device to scare some translators into accepting lower rates. To make the leap to completely dismissing MT because of this is to my mind not the best strategy.

    Translators are not likely to be able to control prices, and neither can LSP agencies so I am not sure what you mean by saying the debate was interrupted. None of us control the prices and "debating" on this subject is often more like a complaining session blaming those who do not control it either. Here is an example of this kind of discussion: http://lnkd.in/7hsTTy - while it provides people an opportunity to rant, it does not provide any constructive or pragmatic guidance on what can be done to change prices. This is mostly because it is very hard for any one player in the supply chain or even the buyer organization to change this. As ugly as we might think this is, it is economic reality.

    Higher prices would be beneficial for everybody in the supply chain, including MT providers, but many projects being done today would simply not be done if the prices were higher.

    We are all subject to market forces that do not respond to complaints and for many the choice to refuse work is not viable. Some translators can refuse and this can work for them as they will still get work through established credibility. This is perhaps a strategy for some - establish credibility as a high value player and raise your rates.

    I and perhaps others would be interested in hearing you expand upon the theme that Mr. Roque Dias and Nogueira started.

    Thank you for your comments.

    Kirti

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