Machine Translation (MT) and MTPE

With the boom of content creation also comes the increasing need for translation and localization. How does the localization industry keep up with this demand? Find out what roles MT and MTPE play in the localization process.

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With the boom of content creation also comes the increasing need for translation and localization. How does the localization industry keep up with this demand? Find out what roles MT and MTPE play in the localization process.


What do MT and MTPE mean? And how do they help translators around the world?

MT stands for machine translation, which means translations done by machines. But, a long time before you were even born, they were a bunch of files moving around the world and they were translated by beautiful translators manually because this is what they do. And, they would create the translated files in pretty much any language that you imagine.

The thing is that as the Internet became more and more accessible, the speed has increased and we got our beautiful social media, the amount of the content that is created and that we actually want to understand has simply grown exponentially. And, our poor translators simply cannot deal with it. This is when the machines actually come into play. And, the funny thing is that the machines are actually learning from the translations created by the humans. And, they can sort of create now the translations on their own in a very, very fast way, because computers are very, very fast.

Now, when is this actually useful is if we have content that doesn’t require super good quality because the machines still cannot provide such a good quality level as the translators can. But for example, if you were using social media, and you see a lot of the comments in different languages, millions, maybe billions of comments posted every day, we cannot wait for the translators to manually translate this for you. So, let’s when we are using machine translation because we don’t care about quality that much. We just want to have some sort of understanding of what the person is saying.

Now, machine translation can be still useful even for the content where the quality matters. And, this is where the beautiful marriage between the translators and the machine actually happens. And, this process is referred to as MTPE. So, Machine Translation and PE stand for post-editing. So, our first task, translation, is done by the machine. And then, we throw the translators at this. So in case you want to achieve really, really good quality, you always want to combine machine translation with the human. Maybe one day there will be a time where we actually don’t need translators because the machine translation will be that perfect, but who knows?

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