Translators are surrounded by nonsensical and complicated propagandistic notions defined using specialized terminology that has been generated by “the translation industry” in the last two decades or so to emphasize the indispensability of this particular industry for … the very survival of humankind, I suppose.
The industry no longer refers to translation agencies as translation agencies. They renamed themselves about a decade ago and henceforth are to be known solely by the acronym LSP which nobody outside of “the translation industry” understands. As far as I can tell, there is only one possibility: the great minds of so-called translation industry created this acronym, which stands for Language Services Provider, to hide the fact that they are in fact mere brokers of language services and not the actual providers of language services, who are the translators that work for these agencies.
The interesting thing is how quickly some translators have adopted this nonsensical acronym and seemingly delight in throwing it around in online discussions without giving a second thought to its meaning. When you use the right acronyms, you belong to the right club.
A lot of terminology that is used by translation agencies, and then willingly and eagerly adopted by translators, makes no sense to Mad Patent Translator. (Could it be that the madness clouding my mind is ordinary insanity rather than divine madness? Perish the thought).
The notion and the phrase “editing of machine translations”, for example, seems more than inaccurate to me. Completely insane would be a much better way to put it.
How can you abuse language by calling retranslation “editing”? Here is a sample of a machine translation of a Japanese patent dealing with mechanical engineering techniques that I am translating this morning:“In the cylinder 1 is cylindrical, in portrait cylinder for generating ice to the inner wall. Depending also Ri the inner wall goodness in and the child to cool the peripheral portion of the out outer, upper and lower tubular outlet and face it fixed the junction marks La Nji the upper Hawa managing 2 and the lower housing.”
Even this particular machine-translated gibberish is very useful for my purposes because a quick look at the machine translation answers a number of questions a translator might have. But clearly, no amount of editing would create a real translation from these words. Human brains were not designed to “post-edit” nonsense that can be produced only by machines. How can you abuse humans by asking them to engage daily in such a futile effort as “editing” of the detritus that is left by machines when they are done with mechanical processing of human language? There ought to be a law against this kind of abuse of humans by other humans who use machines to inflict torture in this manner.
I edit human translations all the time. But when I edit translations by human translators, I simply look for typos, omissions and inconsistencies, because those are real translations produced by really good translators, not artificial, nonsensical constructs generated by a computer with an algorithm. The mental process taking place in my head during the editing process is very different from what goes on in my head when I look at machine translation. As Rudyard Kipling might have put it, had he been exposed to machine translation, “Machine is machine, and human is human, and never the twain shall meet”.
Just about everything in the so-called translation industry is so transparently fake now that the entire industry resembles politics at the highest level of government.
Here is a title of a translation seminar I saw somewhere today: “Quality metrics for measurement of translation quality with crowd-sourcing”. When you throw a huge number of words at an anonymous crowd to save money by circumventing real translators and then ask the crowd to please translate the words, either for free or for next to nothing, what kind of quality can you possibly expect? To use the word “quality” in this context is really a bad joke. Even if we were to measure “the quality of translation” of experienced and well-paid translators, and even if it were possible to design “verifiable metrics” for this purpose, how can we ignore the fact that the only true measure of quality is the satisfaction of clients who pay for the translations? By definition, it’s a highly subjective criterion.
Application of universal quality metrics to quality of translations makes as much sense as applying universal quality metrics to other intellectual processes and activities, such as writing of detective novels, or even better, romance novels. It is generally easy to tell a really bad novel: the readers will get tired of it after a few pages, never finish the book and then in won’t sell.
Similarly, it is very easy to tell a really poor translation. But universally applicable, measureable and verifiable quality metrics for identification of really good translations? There is no such thing. Despite the fact that there are no “objective metrics”, pointy heads in the “translation industry” insist that they’ve found a universal quality standard and that there really are universal quality metrics that should and must be used to measure translation quality.
And by chance it so happens that the same pointy-headed experts are selling a webinar series, and it must be our lucky day because we can buy the entire course from them right now and participate in their webinar for only a few hundred dollars.
When the old leader of North Korea died, whatever the name of the father of the current North Korean leader was (I call the son the Chubby Leader), immense, overwhelming, incessant and extremely realistic grief of a half a nation divided by a demilitarized zone and a common language was on display for TV cameras for all the world to see how much the North Koreans love their leaders.
If you as a citizen of North Korea should somehow not be completely despondent for days, weeks, or perhaps months while mourning the passing of one dear leader of a new Korean dynasty, at the very least you would be sent to a reeducation camp. On the other hand, some or perhaps most of the sadness and despondence in the faces of the people exposed to the most pernicious propaganda on this planet seemed very genuine.
When people are exposed to propaganda for a long time and nobody offers an alternative to that propaganda, they will ultimately start believing what the propaganda claims, no matter how nonsensical those claims may be.
The leaders of the so-called translation industry understand that the task facing them is to control the thought process happening in our heads, and I have to say that so far, they have been doing a very good job of it.