Post editing machine translation with Google Translator Toolkit and Trados

In March 2010 I published a blog post entitled Post-editing machine translation using Systran and Trados which describes a process we use at GTS for producing high quality translation using MT and human editing. Last week we tried a similar process on a new project we received using Google Translator Toolkit. The result? Keep reading to find out.

Here is a description of the process:

1. Open Google Translator Toolkit and choose the file to translate.

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2. Click Upload for translation and wait until the translation is completed. The original text and the translation are displayed side-by-side in the GTT window.

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3. Click Share–Download and save the file.

4. Open Trados WinAlign and create a translation memory (TM) by aligning the source file with the file you translated using GTT. Save the aligned text as a TMX or TXT file.

5. Open Trados Workbench and import the TM you created in the previous steps into your established TM. Make sure to select the Keep Oldest option so that you do not overwrite any of the TUs in your established TM. This is important, as the TM created with GTT will contain TUs that are machine-translated and are therefore of questionable quality.

6. In Trados, translate the file with the new TM (which has both good TUs and MT TUs). The threshold level can be set to 95%. All TUs will be translated, some with good TUs and some with MT.

7. Send the unclean files to your translators. At this stage your translators will work in their own Trados Workbench. Make sure that they deliver the unclean files when they are done.

8. Clean up the files using Trados to update the TM.

The Result

In practice, this process did not yield us with good results for several reasons.

  • The quality of the MT was very poor. Many words/sentences were not translated and many were translated incoherently. This may be different with other language pairs, but in the German-English pair that we tested the results were very poor and much worse than we get when using Systran.
  • Document upload took a long time and in a few instances got stuck, forcing us to quit the browser and restart the translation process.
  • The GTT did not always display our account and instead displayed a blank screen. Here too we had to quit the browser and restart the process. These actions were time-consuming and we spent a lot of time on getting things to work.

The bottom line: we will stick to our post-editing process with Systran as it yields better results, takes less time to perform and also lends itself to customization and improvement.

And one note:

SDL’s latest version of Trados: Studio 2009 Service Pack 2 (SP2) has built-in support for MT including access to Google Translate. Once we get the upgrade to the new version we will test it and post details to the GTS blog.