Monday, September 11, 2017

GT4T - A tool for translators, instead of a tool to replace translators

Guest post by Dallas Cao, developer of GT4T

Many translators believe that machine translation (MT) is a horror story, and that using machine translation (MT) in our work only results in bad quality. Indeed, after I started advertising GT4T (Google Translate for Translators) on Facebook, the reactions I got from many translators were negative.

They are right to think that the overall quality of machine translation is bad, and that any translator who mindlessly uses machine translation puts his or her career at risk; but the quality of machine translation is improving: Google’s neural translation engine, for example, has surprised many, to the point that some agencies have started using it to replace human translators, relying afterwards on translators as post-editors--a situation that creates even greater hostility against MT among translators, who are rightfully afraid that post-editing means for them toiling at mind-numbing grunt work.

Most of us use on-line reference tools in our work; when an online reference tool gets better, it helps us more. In my opinion, MT is the most advanced technology in translation, and, therefore, it should benefit professional translators first. If we consider MT as a reference tool rather than a threat, shouldn’t we be glad when our tool gets better?

I never liked the idea of letting MT translate and translators confined to an unrewarding task of post-editing; however, we can use MT to “translate” a word, a term, a phrase, or a part of a sentence that we judge it will translate well. Sometimes MT returns nonsense, true, but most of time, when used carefully it provides a surprisingly useful translation.

I developed GT4T because I wanted a tool that could help translators (and not translation companies) make the most of Google Translate, without becoming ourselves post-editors. Copying and pasting between Google Translate and your work is not a good solution, as it takes too much time. Some TM tools already include MT, but they all submit the whole sentence to MT: you cannot choose to have MT translate only part of a sentence.

GT4T is a tool that lets you submit any portion of a sentence of your choice to MT with ease. It’s very simple: you select some text anywhere (including from inside a CAT tool), press a keyboard shortcut, and the selection is replaced by translation from MT. Simple as it is, I believe it is the correct way of using MT. As we use keyboards most of time, GT4T painlessly incorporates MT into our workflow.

A usual problem with MT is inconsistency--the MT engine translates the same term differently in different sentences. GT4T has a simple glossary feature to solve this issue. You press a keyboard shortcut to add a term to GT4T’s glossary, and that term will be pre-translated before submission to MT; thus the results suggested by MT will be consistent.

GT4T - Glossary Setup

GT4T also offers the option to use both Google Translate and Microsoft Translator at the same time. The results from both engines appear in a popup, and you can then press 1 or 2 to paste the corresponding translation.

GT4T - Alternative Translations

I expect there are still many years ahead before MT can effectively replace us. Before that happens, MT can be a great aid--a tool that can increase both the speed and the quality of our translations, if used properly. A tool for translators, instead of a tool to replace translators.


You can find GT4T at:

1 comment:

  1. Does the CAT tool also support images when translating official documents?

    Dialexy says that it is possible for the CAT tool to support images


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