Sunday, January 8, 2017

Say NO to Machine Translations

When you choose to do something, there are always pros and cons about it. To provide some perspective, here's the pros and cons for a normal translation.

Improve your English by typing it a lot, thinking about the phrasing and correcting mistakes.
Improve your Japanese (for me, it would be Chinese) by rephrasing it into English.
Share interesting stories with other people, and make friends.
Learn to work with editors/translators, and sort out differences.
Prepare yourself for working life by numbing yourself with the workload of translating entire books.
Making schedules and keeping them.
Sense of accomplishment in completing a quality project.
There might be donations for pizzas every few months.

Dealing with people (team mates).
Dealing with people (readers).
Dealing with deadline.
Take a lot of your time.
Typing out an entire book.

The main take away will be improving language skills and learning not to be an ass when working with others.

On the other hand, Machine Translation offers something different.

Improve English by retyping gibblish into something that make sense to you.
Share interesting stories you make up with other people, and make friends.
Prepare yourself for working life by pumping out sub standard work.

No way to check accuracy.

Not a machine translator, so the list is really short, do suggest more in the comment.


The thing about machine translation is that you don't get better at it.
You guessed something right? Machine Translation is awesome!
You guessed something wrong? Good thing someone else caught that, but look at the part that I guessed right!
It is a guess every single time, and getting it right by luck will only build unjustified confidence in the Machine Translator.
And most of the time, the Machine Translator will just leave the gibberish as it is because of laziness or lack of confidence into phrasing it in a way that made sense. Especially for puns and metaphors in the original text.

Some Machine Translators think they are helping, and even offered to help me by giving me google translated works. What, you think I am a retard who can't use google translate? And no, ask any translator out there, they will tell you that machine translating is not helping, and they will be better off re-translating again. By the way, I realized my paragraphing looks weird, Japanese literature often uses a new line for each sentence for some reasons.

Using Computers to help with Translations

There are people who believe in using a physical printed dictionary to look up words in Japanese. But why not use a computer dictionary? What about editing with MS Words? Machine Translator or not, why not run your translation through a spell/grammar check before releasing it?

Technology should be harnessed in the right way, right tools for the right job. Just don't machine translate the entire thing

As for the readers

Well, even if the translation is inaccurate, the made up story might still be enjoyable. Things are always lost in translation, just a lot more for Machine Translations. I'm not fine with losing so much, but others might be okay with it. If they are labeled as Machine Translations on the aggregate site, and the place the machine translation is posted, that would be great.

An example of this is the speedrunning community. Speed run by computers are labelled prominently, and placed in a different category from normal speed runs.

Do something constructive, like not machine translating. All pics not related.

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