I just received the following email from a large, well-known global translation agency:
We are currently looking for resources for a project to improve/validate Machine Translation (MT) output for a big online seller in the market. The work involves:
- Reading the source text of an ad, in German;
- Reading the Spanish translation provided (the translation is automatically generated via a Machine Translation engine);
- Checking that the Spanish Machine Translation provided conveys the correct meaning as per the original German source;
- If needed, correct the translation to convey the same meaning as the source.
High linguistic quality is not expected. Typos, punctuation, small grammar mistakes and other issues that do not affect purely the meaning of the translation are not to be corrected. Therefore, the expected productivity for this work is very high (at least 5,000 words/day).
To apply for this work, you need to:
- Have a good ability to read and understand written German
- Be fluent in Spanish (…)
We are considering paying this work by word or by ad. If by word, the rate offered would be around EUR 0.02/word. The rate takes into account the increased productivity due to MT and the lower quality expectations. At the current estimations, we are confident that you can expect a daily income of at least EUR 100, and likely more if the productivity achieved is higher (…)
If you are not interested, but know of other people (family, friends, etc.) who meet the requirements and may want to participate, feel free to send them the link so they can apply. Note that we don’t require previous translation experience for this type of lower quality work.” [End of email. Emphasis is mine].
THIS IS WHERE WE’RE GOING, FELLOW TRANSLATORS. MT translation followed by a quick check by people who don’t need to have any previous translation experience. This will produce low quality translations with some “typos, punctuation, small grammar mistakes and other issues”, which don’t matter because they do not affect the meaning of the translation! You don’t even to be native Spanish, but just “fluent”.
And rejoice, if you spend all day doing this mind-boggling job, you will make as much as EUR 100. After a few months you may even be able to buy a new brain with that. Not to mention the poor web users who’ll be trying to decipher all this garbage.
Of course, this is better than ads with straightforward machine translations (no human editing). I was actually shopping online for a violin last evening and I was puzzled by the model “Estudiante más 3/4 violín, antiguo se desvanecen”. When I changed the language to English, I discovered with relief that it was a “Student Plus 3/4 Violin, Antique Fade”.
We’re nearly there. I can see Charlie Chaplin as he’s sitting in front of the eating machine on “Modern Times”, being replaced by a machine – not just for work but also at his mealtimes to increase productivity. Let’s just hope we won’t be fed too much junk.