Can neural machine translation really replace a translator?
While machine translation deep learning has been a huge step forward, where machine translation really comes into its own is when it is paired with a human contribution
. This leads us to machine translation post editing
, or MTPE.
How does this work? Well, once your content has been translated by machine translation software, your output will be worked on by a translator. They can take the output and polish it, correcting any mistranslations, grammatical errors, or disfluencies that may appear. A human translator can also fix elements that a computer is simply unable to handle: humour, emotions, cultural references, etc. This means that the previously translated content is polished to a higher standard, resulting in a high-quality translation that retains a human touch
, even after it has passed through the machine translation process.
There are major advantages to machine translation post editing for game developers and players. Firstly, the entire process is now much quicker, because machine translation is almost instantaneous. Since much of the translation will be usable – especially if you have a well-trained neural machine translation engine at your disposal – the human translator will be able to polish the final product far more easily, cutting down on the time needed for localization
Secondly, machine translation post editing can drastically reduce costs. Many localization service providers have started to offer MTPE as a service, with their rates being significantly lower for this service than full translation
. This is largely based on the increased speed and throughput of this process, which allows the translator to optimise their time. Furthermore, machine translation post editing rates decrease over time, since the quality of the machine translation output improves with each new iteration. In effect, translators not only polish your content, they also train your tool to perform even better when you next need to call on it.
It’s clear, then, that machine translation post editing is not about replacing a human translator, but rather about combining the best parts of both approaches
. That said, you still need to carefully consider what method is best for your game and your content. Machine translation post editing is a fantastic service, but it’s important to know exactly when to use it. But don’t worry – more on that below!