skip to Main Content

Machine translation with a human touch

Tom Shaw, Account Director and Machine Translation sales specialist, explores the concept of customised post-editing levels. Combined with automatic translation tools, these can result in a win-win situation for clients and translators.

machine translation

Machine Translation is the new hot topic within the localisation industry, whilst talking about post-editing services seems to have taken a bit of a back seat. Post-editing can be defined as:   

Examination and correction of text resulting from an automatic or semi-automatic machine system (machine translation, translation memory) to ensure it complies with the natural laws of grammar, punctuation, spelling and meaning, etc. [Draft of European Standard for Translation Services (Brussels, 2004).]

Lingo24 has an experienced Machine Translation team, led by Professor Andy Way, one of the world’s leading experts in the field.   Their focus is automation within the Localisation workflow, and how to best use our state-of-the-art Machine Translation technology to reduce turnaround times. This cuts costs for clients, and enables them to translate more content that wouldn’t have previously been possible due to time or budget constraints.

Building the best MT systems within the industry is obviously a key objective to Lingo24. But this doesn’t mean that we lose focus on another very important piece in the puzzle – the relationship with our translators/post-editors.  Our team is confident of the high quality output of our MT engines, which is often usable “as is”. But we understand that quite often the raw MT output needs to be tidied up by a human editor to make sure it meets the correct level of quality as specified by our clients.

Having the best technology in the industry is one thing, but without our trusted, experienced post-editors we wouldn’t be able to continue offering top-level publication-quality content to our clients.  Our Linguist Management department is dedicated to ensuring a strong relationship with all of our post-editors, offering training and advice – in general, trying to make this new way of working a win-win situation for everybody involved.

Post-editing machine translation can be seen as a new way of working, but the goal remains the same: produce a translation that meets a quality level as agreed with the client.  Whether it’s translating from scratch, using Translation Memories, MT, or a combination of both, the most important question is “what level of quality is expected for this job?” After discussing and understanding quality expectations and requirements with our clients, a customised post-editing service can be assigned, and tailored to meet our client’s needs.

Many language service providers have split the levels of post-editing down to two options: ‘Light Post Editing’ to produce an accurate translation but not considering style, and ‘Heavy/Full Post Editing’ which would include all revision practices to make the translation stylistically appropriate and comparable to human translation quality.  This is a good start, but at Lingo24 we feel that having just two defined service levels for post-editing is restricting what we really want to achieve and offer to our clients.  We see post-editing as being more customisable than this. It can be broken down into various post-editing and quality assurance tasks, which can be defined before a project begins.

As I previous mentioned, offering the most suitable translation service comes down to understanding the clients’ requirements and setting their expectations for quality and turnaround time. If we didn’t have to think about client’s budget and time constraints, then we could stick to a standard translation service for everything, but as you know, this is not the case.

Lingo24 are developing an advanced translation platform called Coach, which combines our state-of- the-art MT technology with an editing platform designed around the idea of offering more customisable service levels to clients, based on their needs. For the majority of localisation projects today, the process is shifting away from what was traditional translation – as in ‘from scratch’ – to more of an editing/proof-reading assignment. Coach intends to assist our translators as much as possible with this new way of working, offering advanced quality checks,[1] automation, and a user- friendly platform in which they can work as effectively as possible. Multiple translators, editors, reviewers, terminology experts etc, can simultaneously work on the same project, allowing them to focus on certain areas, producing a more quality-focussed translation in a fraction of the time it takes to perform standard human translation.

With translation automation on the increase and the introduction of post-editing services as opposed to standard translation, translation providers need to move with the times and adapt their way of working.  Lingo24 puts the focus on understanding client’s requirements, setting expectations, and offering the best level of customised service to meet client needs, along with getting the most out of their translation budgets.  Translators/linguists should not be forgotten. Coach will hold everything together for Lingo24, producing a working environment that is a win-win for all involved, from our end clients to our trusted translators.

Want to know more? Get in touch with our experienced Machine Translation experts or find out more about our translation services.


Lingo24 is a global translation company, with interests in marketing, e-commerce, product management and many other areas that are of relevance to our clients. We share news on our company performance, innovative technology solutions, exciting new hires and guest posts from some of our translators.

Back To Top
×Close search