Machine translation for subtitling
Autor de la hebra: Marion Betard

Marion Betard
Francia
Local time: 23:28
inglés a francés
+ ...
Aug 11, 2020

Hello everyone,

My name is Marion and I am a student in Audiovisual Translation. I am working on my thesis about Post-Editing for subtitling. As you may know, Machine Translation is used a lot by agencies and I have noticed (as I am working as a Project Manager in a Translation agency) that post-editor is now another service offered by linguists (just like translation or proofreading). I think this is very interesting and I also wondered what is going to happen to the translators?
... See more
Hello everyone,

My name is Marion and I am a student in Audiovisual Translation. I am working on my thesis about Post-Editing for subtitling. As you may know, Machine Translation is used a lot by agencies and I have noticed (as I am working as a Project Manager in a Translation agency) that post-editor is now another service offered by linguists (just like translation or proofreading). I think this is very interesting and I also wondered what is going to happen to the translators?

As I was reading articles about Machine Translation for written documents and subtitling, I noticed feedback from the linguists was mostly positive: gain in productivity, more consistency, vocabulary was more accurate...

I would like to gather more feedback from post-editors who worked with subtitles translated by an engine if that is possible.

• I would like to know if you find it easier, faster, better, to work on pre-translated subtitles than making them from scratch?
• Could you tell me about your experience with machine-translated subtitles (line-breaks, segmentation, puns, and idiomatic sentences...)?
• If you faced negative experiences, what do you think should be improved?
• Would you, in the future, work as a post-editor only (i.e. never translate documents from scratch again). If not, why?

Please feel free to discuss this topic I am very interested in Machine Translation (in my studies, post-editing has been part of my training just like translation and proofreading which is even more interesting, what do you think?).

Thanks a lot!

And please let me know if anything is unclear

Marion.
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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
México
Local time: 16:28
francés a español
+ ...
Done it once... Aug 11, 2020

...just for testing, about 6 months ago.
English spotting list (also called template) translated into Spanish. Well, kind of awkward... always have to check "you": "tú", "usted", "ustedes". Idioms, cultural references, jokes, playing with words... not ok at all. Almost same time checking than doing it from scratch + headache. I prefer to do it from scratch... If I have a spotting list (great!), I just overwrite... very simple and it's MY translation.
Machine translation IS NOT ready
... See more
...just for testing, about 6 months ago.
English spotting list (also called template) translated into Spanish. Well, kind of awkward... always have to check "you": "tú", "usted", "ustedes". Idioms, cultural references, jokes, playing with words... not ok at all. Almost same time checking than doing it from scratch + headache. I prefer to do it from scratch... If I have a spotting list (great!), I just overwrite... very simple and it's MY translation.
Machine translation IS NOT ready for subtitling... too much cultural issues involved. We've seen HORRORS, right? Very cheap HORRORS. Almost mandatory to be "native" in both languages, should I say, too.
For repetitive texts (legal, contracts, medical, technical, etc.) no doubt it works... and those softwares are doing a lot of money with it... pulling down translator's fees...
Pour le moment, oublie les traducteurs automatiques pour le sous-titrage.
(By now, forget about machine translation for subtitling).
Good luck.


[Editado a las 2020-08-11 19:59 GMT]
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Marion Betard
Francia
Local time: 23:28
inglés a francés
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
Thank you! Aug 12, 2020

Thank you for your feedback Juan, I'll make sure to include it in my thesis for Uni.

 

Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
México
Local time: 16:28
francés a español
+ ...
There Aug 12, 2020

is a forum here in Proz called "Ask me everything about subtitling".
You'll have more information over there, hopefully.


 

Aimee Chen
Australia
Machine translation Aug 14, 2020

Human translation may provide the elements of emotion and cultural proficiency are better than machine translation, and may ensure that the translation conveys the same intent as naturally as possible. Sometimes, machine translation simply does not sound to native speakers of the target language, which can be inaccurate and can strike the reader as mechanical, with a lower overall quality and a diminished the impact in the target language. However, machine translation output might be edited by s... See more
Human translation may provide the elements of emotion and cultural proficiency are better than machine translation, and may ensure that the translation conveys the same intent as naturally as possible. Sometimes, machine translation simply does not sound to native speakers of the target language, which can be inaccurate and can strike the reader as mechanical, with a lower overall quality and a diminished the impact in the target language. However, machine translation output might be edited by skilled human translators to deal with these facets of translation.Collapse


Juan Jacob
 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 23:28
inglés a francés
In subtitling Aug 14, 2020

From my experience, machine translation is highly inadapted to subtitling. Subtitling is my main line of work and one client uses an online tool that proposes automatic translations in the subtitle boxes. The results are so bad that I have started a file where I save the most hilarious fail I encounter.

I don't use the automatic translation because it would actually hinder my work a lot. Apart from the inaccurate translations, there are a lot of things machine translation can't do i
... See more
From my experience, machine translation is highly inadapted to subtitling. Subtitling is my main line of work and one client uses an online tool that proposes automatic translations in the subtitle boxes. The results are so bad that I have started a file where I save the most hilarious fail I encounter.

I don't use the automatic translation because it would actually hinder my work a lot. Apart from the inaccurate translations, there are a lot of things machine translation can't do in subtitling, like managing spacing, the time it takes onscreen, line breaks (they're wildly random), context form the video, idioms, puns, punctuation rules...

Onscreen time is a big factor, here. A lot of subtitles require short sentences to match the speaker's speed. You have fiddle with sentences in order to make them short but still faithful. Sometimes, you even have to forget some details, and choosing which one isn't always obvious. This is something machine translation cannot do. On top of that, every subtitle agency have their own set of rules. How to treat songs for example, machine translation can't recognise songs from speech.

Machine translation can be quite good in technical translations, like automotive or medical, and even then you have to have it corrected by a human or the result won't be glorious. But in subtitling, at least in my experience, the results are catastrophic. Subtitling requires too much creativity and a comprehension machine translation doesn't have.
Not to mention cultural differences as well. Let's say, some characters says something like, "How much? Who do you think I am, Fingler?". Native viewers will know that Fingler (fictive name here) is a famously rich person in their country, but what about viewers in another country? So you have to change Fingler for Bill Gates or whatever famously rich person in the target country.

So yeah, when it comes to subtitling, machine translation does not work at all. I get the how it can help agencies, it could make work way faster (and they could pay translator even less, as price pressure on translators is enormous), but I don't think it'll be worth anything anytime soon.

As for the question about doing post-edition only: never. I love translating, it's like a mini puzzle-game that's different each time, and solving it is what makes it fun.
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Juan Jacob
 

Marion Betard
Francia
Local time: 23:28
inglés a francés
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
Thanks!! Aug 24, 2020

Hello guys

Thank you all very much for your answers, they are super detailed I love it! This helps a lot!


 


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Machine translation for subtitling

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