This is my first time posting on the forums as far as I can recall, it could have been on better omens I guess, but I guess I'm more of a "no news good news" type.
So, I must say that I woke up whith a severe (and figurative) hangover when I logged in to work today and discovered my new translator score. Now, I'll get into the details later and, while I'm really not happy about it, this here post is not about ranting as much as it is about laying some hopefully constructive remarks that I hope can be backed up by my peers, or even rebuted by my colleagues in which case I would at least have learned something today.
First of all, the elephant in the room: while I have never (ever) seen my translator score dislpayed in red during the 4+ years I've worked with Gengo, I now start up and see a dreadful 6.6 on my scoreboard. That's quite a shock to be honest, I checked the mail we received explaining how all the previous scores are now taken into account, which I can understand, even if it raises a lot of questions I'll get to later (still, quite a shock). I don't know if I'm an isolated case, ending up with the lowest rating I ever had after all my work is taken into account instead of just the last 10. Now, while my score was above 8 during the past weeks, I still found that the job supply was quite weak despite the fact that it was announced that 8s and over would get jobs otherwise innaccessible for lower score holders. Now that I'm where I'm at, I must say I feel quite uneasy at the perspective of even less jobs (or even withdrawal of my qualifications).
Now, one can easily respond to all this: "get better". It's true, and I will, because it won't be said that I'm above getting better at my job. However, and this is my main gripe right here and now: the scoring system is flawed –not its very existence, mind you, just the way it is/was up to now; and I'd like to have the opinion of both my fellow translators and Gengo on what I'm about to develop.
- Fisrt off: as translators might get inconsistent with the quality of their work (guilty as charged, obviously) this is also true for the reviewers and their reviews. I've been more than once appalled by some reviews I got. Rarely because they saw flaws where I (still) didn't – althought it happened in a few rare cases, but mainly by the way it impacted the ratings in the end. I once had the displeasure of being at a variance on wordings with the reviewer (i.e: nothing so objectively penalisable as a typo or a grammatical mistakes), variance I would still debate to this day btw (having asked several colleagues for input on the matter afterwards), all of this resulting on a score of 3 or worse; not gonna lie, tough pills to swallow every time this occurs. Twice I tried to signal Gengo about this, knowing –and accepting and understanding, that there was no appeal on the matter, but I did it hoping that this could find an echo in the future or that I could get further explanations on why I could merely be wrong on the matter. Twice I got cookie cutter answers, "reviews are unalterable, please check the forum/FAQs if you want more details" (paraphrasing here). I reluctantly decided that the least worst course of action then was getting my head down, waiting for other jobs, getting other jobs done good and reviewed accordingly, hoping said reviews occur quickly enough to finally expunge the "dud score(s)" from my last 10 reviewed jobs and go back to a more, shall I say, "representative" scoreboard. As I said earlier, I always managed to maintain a score of at least 7 with all that, which leads me to my next point.
- Next point being: if an average of a translator's "career" is obviously more representative of the quality of their work on paper than just their last 10 jobs, and thus is ultimately a good idea for Gengo, its customers and even its tranlsators imo, it presupposes that the rating and review system is –and more importantely: always was– absolutely bulletproof. And I'll say it: it's not. Not enough to take such a gamble anyways. As it stands, you place the burden of every single quirk or mood from a reviewer (and I say this with all the more confidence, having had the occasion of working on both sides of the fence, and for Gengo to boot) and the burden of every potential fluke on the shoulders of a translator, and permanently so. I remember seeing in Gengo communication something along the lines of "at Gengo, we understand that a translator can have a bad day/phase and offer them a chance to win their momentum back and prove that a string of bad results was only momentary". Well, two remarks on this: firstly, by this logic, you have to take into account that the reviewers cans suffer from the same ordeal (and in my opinion, you don't), secondly, with the new system, this is utterly thrown down the sink.
- I wholeheartedly subscribe to the fact that a translator with a string of 7s is more reliable and sounder from a business standpoint than one with several 10s and a few 3s thrown in the mix, as exemplified by your "how it works" scoring page. But to hammer it on: you then have to make really sure that the 3s really are worth 3s. And by that I'm not necessarely saying "it should be 10 or 3", but rather: "3 obviously implies mistakes, but do those mistakes really account for such a plummet in ratings?". If not, you run the risk of having otherwise pretty decent translators working with a sword of Damocles above their heads every time they submit a translation, this is both unfair and detrimental to the business and the overall quality of the work. It's a lose/lose/lose situation for Gengo, the customers, and the translators. I get that Gengo is a business, I get that running it implies handling both carrot and stick with your contractors, but there's simply too much stick here, or rather, to be more precise: handling of said stick is carried on too haphazardly.
- Finally, I find it inconsistent –if not incoherent, that Gengo should within two days announce a revamping of its reviewing system on one hand, which could imply a change of scoring scale (be it minute or of significance, I can't say as I didn't experience the new system first hand yet), and on the other hand announce (and enforce) on the morrow the taking into account of the whole results of the older system, effective immediately. Consider this solely for the sake of argument–as I obviously lack any data on the matter: if the new system proves to be more forgiving than the previous one, then the translators present up until this point are at a huge disadvantage compared to anyone who integrates the Gengo ecosystem afterwards, and are so on criteria that are not relevant with their inherent qualities (or lack thereof) as translators. The opposite could be quite true as well, if the new system is harsher then newcomers could be at a disadvantage independently of their talent. This creates unfairness on one hand, and could fail on a systemic level at doing what it's purposed to do on the other: evaluate the qualities of every single translator, compare them to those of their peers (which works insofar as their respective evaluations are on the same scale, if you catch my drift) and then decide who to dish what jobs to. To reiterate: if that fails, then everybody accross-the-board suffers from it.
On a unrelated note: I suggest that you get rid of any MT stuff like those I've seen appear lately. Don't get me wrong: I really commend Gengo for not going the usual route of "here's a translation that has been MT'd beforehand, you thus have less work to do, we thus pay you less". Nothing's further from the truth, and that's why I am grateful. But please allow me to explain how it's "so far from the truth":
EDIT: Sadly, you can scratch that "grateful" part. Because after examination with other translators, it appears that Gengo indeed uses the excuse of a job that has been machine translated beforehand to scratch 25% off of a translator's fee on Pro level works. Standard jobs fees, on the other hand, remain untouched. Now, before this addendum I was about to explain why this was preposterous, so:
You have two courses of action with a machine translation that you're supposed to "smooth around the edges" (wich is often an understatement, might I had): you either try to effectively "smoothen" the existing text, which often implies mental gymnastics of epic proportions which in turn a) ends up taking more time to complete than a translation from the ground up and b) considerably increases the risks of incoherences due to careless mistakes. Or, you just delete all the text and translate everything from the ground up which, as explained in "a)" above, takes less time anyway.
Both options effectively render Machine Translation moot as a tool. Don't get me wrong, MT has its uses, especially when no translator is around, but considering the business Gengo and its contractors are in, it's moot.
Now this is going to sound like an outlandish exaggeration, but I'll stand by it for argument's sake because that remains true in absolute terms: either Gengo is developping a "learning" MT tool that will eventually be capable of effectively (and efficiently) replacing translators (I'm not judging: if it ends up working properly it's fair game), in which case: forget I said anything and please do carry on. Or Gengo is not, and it is just a tool whose sole purpose is and will be to aid translators in their work, in which case I'll refer you to the two previous paragraphs and let you draw your own conclusions.
I think I've said everything I needed now. Thank you for bearing through this and as I said you're welcome to chime in or answer anything that transpired in this post, I would just humbly ask that yout do so by setting out arguments regardless of the level of agreement or disagreement that you would experience.
Everybody have a nice one.
Your post is very interesting indeed, but lacks the visibility it deserves.
I really think you should copy its content and paste it here: https://support.gengo.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360017912794--Consistency-Score-
Thank you for your post. It is really brilliant.
I agree with you: Machine Translator system is just unacceptable. They simply copy and paste the translation in Google Translate and keep a 25% of the money we should earn. How can Gengo think that Google Translate can help us any way? As Antoine says, there are 2 options: deleting the usually useless machine translator from Google Translate (I just checked it is from GT by myself) and start from scratch or trying to keep some words or structures from the very poor Machine Translator and thus delivering a low quality translation which oftens doesn't sound natural.
To sum up: in Machine Translation jobs we are working the same time and making the same effort as in the rest of translation to deliver the same final product BUT we are just earning 75% of what we should earn.
Don't you agree with me?
I certainly agree with you! There seems to be something wrong with Gengo recently. I hope it's temporary!
Did I miss something? Can we now use machine translation tools within the workbench or something?
Worse than that. Now in many workbench translations the target language box is pre-filled with Google Translate terrible translations and Gengo keeps a 25 % of the rewards we should earn just because of that. Does that seem to you professional? Not to me
Holy moly, that's interesting. Haven't seen that in my language pairs yet. I guess it makes sense with Gengo going the AI-route. But what happens if you miss a mistake that Google Translate makes? You get a warning for violating Gengo's terms? That used to be the case for translators using MT, but now they're forcing us to use it?
Also, what if the MT suggestion is so bad that you have to write the whole text from scratch, does Gengo still keep 25%? That would be quite the unethical money-grab I'd say.
I agree with you guys! I spend more time correcting the bad target language that comes from the MT than I would if I were translating it myself, and I earn less. On top of that, I find it easier to miss mistakes, since sometimes it "sounds" ok to me, though it's not 100% natural, and I got marked down for it... Now I just stay away from those jobs as much as possible, but it is becoming harder and harder to earn any money from Gengo.
Well, I guess I'm not the only one, then. I was looking at one of those MT jobs (deciding whether I wanted to accept the job or not). What I saw offered in the pre-filled-out translation boxes was a confused, hideous disaster. After reading it for a couple of moments, I decided it wasn't worth it to try to straighten that ridiculous mess out, so I didn't accept the job.
Well I'm sorry to read that Machine Translated jobs provoke a slice in the payments of certain translators, it does not appear to be the case for me (maybe a matter of language pairing), but it goes without saying that cutting a translator's pay on the grounds that their job was "facilitated" beforehand by a machine translation is nothing short of a scam, for reasons explained in the original post.
This is very serious. Pretending that you make people work less than they actually do in order to save on their pay is wrong – and this is a milder word for putting it. I don't exactly mind having to wipe out a machine translation before doing a proprer one when the salary's the same per se, it's just a silly minute waste of time both for me and my customers. However if that should justify slicing the pay for a perfectly non-existent gain of time (or a negative one, even), yeah that doesn't fly by one bit.
I think it would be nice to have a bit of feedback from Gengo on this (and on the new "consistency score" stuff btw).
About what you are saying, it is true they provoke a slice in the payments: look at the Collection I am working on
(Screenshots have been removed as they were in violation of the Gengo Translator Agreement section 1: "You must treat all Client Materials and Customer information as confidential information." Poster has been notified privately via email. - Lara)
You can see the number of words and also it is a PRO Collection, but the rewards are 25% less than usual. Then in the Machine translation given you can copy the source language and paste it into GOOGLE TRANSLATE and you'll see it is what we are given!!!
To sum up: they keep 25% just to provide us with Google Translate translations. Is this acceptable?
Wow. That is sneaky.
Well I went and checked since I see a lot of jobs with "MT assistance" pass through, but they are "Standard" level, however. No slice on my side, when I calulate the words and pay ratio, I get the amount per word displayed. I'll be on the lookout for a MT'd Pro job in my language pair to see if it's reserved for Pro level stuff.
Man, you make people go through some proverbial hoops to get a "Pro" qualification and then you pull the rug from under their feet with machine translation stuff like that, which, as of today, is anthitetical with the idea of a "professional" practice of the art of translation in my opinion. I find it borderline insulting.
I will insist: there is absolutely no time saving or job facilitation for any self-respecting translator –let alone a professionnal one, when machine translation is thrown into the mix. It absolutely does not justify any deduction on a job's pay, not a tenth of a penny. This even goes against the final quality of a job –not sometimes, always, 100% of the cases. I see Gengo gunning for reliable and zealous translators with their latest scoring change; you cannot, in all decency, expect careful and craftsmanlike– devoted even, performances from people while going with such coarse methods which definitely tilt the scale in favour a run of the mill final product.
The Machine Translation in gamesofhand example is nothing short of snake oil business, I'm quite shocked.
EDIT: So, yeah, I was "lucky" enough to stumble upon a Pro job with "Machine Translation Assistance" in my language pair. And when I calculated the money/unit ratio and applied it to the number of units announced, I indeed found out that the amount I was paid for was indeed below the proper one. Emphasis on "when", because nonsensical as a machine translation is for a translator –as already discussed at length here, going ahead and actually not unequivocally state that there's a slice in the reward by letting the "proper" rate still displayed is really, really cheeky.
This is infuriating. This needs to be addressed. And not the "clearly stating the new rating part", this, aggravating as it is, is a secondary gripe, addressing this would be like putting a bandage on a wooden leg, as we say in these parts. The machine translation slice is akin to ordering a sculpture from a craftsman, and deciding that you're going to pay him less on the basis that you provided a jackhammer for him to complete his statue faster. Nonsense.
Best case scenario, this is a clumsy move on behalf of an entity that prides itself on being a professional tranlation solution. I can understand having to explain to a customer with no experience whatsoever in the translation area that a machine translation is objectively not a viable method for cutting costs. A company like Gengo? Not by a long shot.
Worst case scenario, well I'd rather not go there...
Thanks for this discussion.
The implementation of the PEMT feature with a discounted reward rate was announced officially via email on October 26th to active translators in the applicable language pairs, namely EN<>ES, EN<>FR and EN<>IT.
The subject of said email was "Our PEMT feature is growing!" and the sender was Gengo Translator Team. Depending on your email settings, it's possible that it ended up in your Spam folder or that, if you have unsubscribed from email communications from Gengo (such as our newsletter), it couldn't be delivered. For the record, I'm pasting the content of the email below.
Our PEMT feature is growing!
We’re thrilled to be reaching out today to let you know that big changes are coming to your language pair.
Our efforts to create more job opportunities are paying off, and as you have already read in other announcements and newsletters, in the past few months we’ve began to pave the way towards our long term goal of diversifying our offerings beyond translation, including AI-related projects, and other language related services, such as our Transcription and Edit services.
Among these services, PEMT is one of the features that we implemented last January as a way to leverage technology to make the translation process more efficient while increasing consistency and quality. For a while now you may have been seeing and possibly have worked on PEMT (post-editing machine translation) collections in your language pair. These are jobs where the target section is pre-filled with a machine suggestion, which we expect you to use as a reference to make appropriate edits when necessary. If you have never worked on a PEMT job yet, or are not familiar with these types of jobs, please take a look at this guide to PEMT that we’ve put together with the help of our LSs.
As demand for PEMT continues to grow, not only at Gengo but within the translation industry as a whole, we’re aiming to be able to bring on more new clients by extending the PEMT feature to a greater number of jobs ordered in your language pair. We expect that extending the PEMT feature to more collections will continue to help you make better use of your time, enabling you to access and pick up more work. Accordingly, we’re adjusting rewards for these jobs, which will now be paid at 75% of the rate per unit for non-PEMT jobs.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Support with any questions or quality concerns. We are working on creating a feature that will make the process of flagging poor suggestions smoother. However, for the time being, we’d appreciate your help in letting us know if you experience any MT, PEMT or Edit-related issues.
We continue to be hard at work to bring in more content and new customers – and now you can help too! A great way to do this is to follow us on our SNS: Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, and to share our content with your family and friends, along with your brand new Translator Profile!
—Gengo Translator Team
I am pretty sure that all the translators received the e-mail about your new "PEMT feature". That's not the problem. The problem is that you haven't designed a branded new tool helping translators, but you just copy and paste the translation in GOOGLE TRANSLATE and the GOOGLE TRANSLATE TRANSLATION is pasted in the target box and given to the translator. Just because of this, YOU DEDUCT 25% FROM THE ORIGINAL REWARD, just for giving us GOOGLE TRANSLATE. That's not serious. That's the point.
Should we accept to receive 25% off just for being presented with GOOGLE TRANSLATE translations?
Thanks for the heads up Lara. Could you answer my previous concern? In the past a translation deemed to be a "post-edited machine translation" would trigger a warning for violating Gengo's terms, and another such error would mean your account would be terminated. Has anything changed here, given that Gengo is now pushing PEMT on its translators?
@Bobby Knuckles - As the email states, we are increasingly receiving demand for PEMT from customers, and this is not only Gengo but a common trend in the translation industry. Technically, you could say that yes, things have changed as the translation industry as a whole continues to evolve, and as Gengo needs to stay competitive to continue to be able to provide work for our translators. We originally implemented PEMT in a few selected language pairs (without a discounted reward) back in January (if your LP was affected, you should have received the relevant email) and upon analyzing the results of said implementation, proceeded to expand the feature as per our email of October 26th.
Although it does not affect my language pair (yet?), is this PEMT feature something that Gengo is proud of?
I read the "guide to PEMT" and it becomes obvious that a translator will spend more time in editing and flagging a job that if a translation was made from scratch.
This feature and the new scorecard consistency system are certainly "bright" ideas of a top executive who will get a big bonus at the end of the year for these "revolutionary developments", leaving support staff with the task of trying to justify them to the translators.
I have watched this movie many times during my long banking career.
Thanks for the quick reply. My pairs haven't been affected yet so I did not see the email. I am just wondering rather what has changed with regard to translators using PEMT and Gengo's terms of service. I suppose your account does not get terminated when you miss a mistake on a pre-filled PEMT translation job, that would be nuts. What about using it (on our own volition) on other jobs? Or other pairs that don't have this feature yet? Is it permissable now?
It's funny that the reasoning you mentioned is 'to provide work for our translators'. Gengo charges 0.06 cents/word for standard quality translation, of which the translator used to get 0.03 cents/word. Now with the new system, translators get 0.0225 cents/word for translations with PEMT, right? Does Gengo still charge the same amount to customers for PEMT translation? If so, and given that pre-filled translations are mostly unhelpful or even a nuisance to translators, this does seem unfair to the translators. But then again, we're not employees officially, so Gengo can do whatever it wants I guess.
I would also like to add that I have come across a recurring bug when you have to "confirm" each entry of a MT where whatever the number of times you click on Confirm, it doesn't do anything but skip to the next Confirm button...
So, not only do you waste precious time in deleting the unhelpful MT, flagging the job (no dedicated box for unhelpful MT, so you either write a comment in the comment field or skip this step entirely), ...but then you're clicking for ever until the confirm button decides to randomly switch to "Unconfirm".
And of course then receiving only 75% of the "reward".
Have other translators experienced this bug? I have had it on various devices and computers.
I have experienced that bug too. When you click Confirm, you can read "Saving..." next to Submit and it takes several seconds until "Saved" appears and you can continue to work on the translation or confirm another string again. It is absolutely frustrating.
I experienced that bug too in a huge collection with hundreds of jobs (and reported it to support), and it was really annoying. Try working without an Internet connection, in my experience that removed the seconds it needed to change from one job to another while "saving". Once in a while, reconnect and switch to another job inside the collection, and all the changes will be saved.
I know that having no Internet connection is not the best thing while translating, but maybe this can help...
Dear Lara and fellow translators,
Google Translator and similar tech are still light years away from being able to mirror the huge complexity of certain target languages, like Portuguese.
From my experience, 99% of the suggestions sound like a silly tourist saying silly things that make everybody laugh... so... 99% of the suggestions only serve the purpose of forcing me to waste precious time deleting everything before starting from scratch! Trying to work around an find anything useful would take about twice as long.
It is already bad enough that I have to type 20 words in Portuguese per 10 words in English (yep... that's a disadvantage for everybody translating into romance languages, etc.)
It's already bad enough that things are now a lot more expensive in Portugal than they were in 2014 when I started here... but Gengo's rate per word is still the same.
It's already bad enough that the USD/EUR rate has never recovered since 2015.
It's already bad enough that, nowadays, every good translator has to be worried about the Damocles sword hanging over his/her head due to a blatantly inefficient rating system that lowers the scores for translators who have been helping Gengo increase its portfolio and results for a long time... but still fails to do something about people who translate "Republic of Palau" as "Paul's Republic" (this is a real case!)... seems like Google Translator is a good teacher for some.
I already work pro bono with several non-profit organizations where, at least, I get to experience the smile of a grateful child who previously had nothing to eat. As this is not the case... I only have one question:
Would you be so kind as to tell me where do I opt-out to prevent my dashboard to show me MT-based jobs?
Hi @Bobby, I can answer to that question: "I suppose your account does not get terminated when you miss a mistake on a pre-filled PEMT translation job, that would be nuts."
You can totally lose your credentials if you miss a mistake on tose PEMT jobs. That's what happened to me. Gengo considers that what you submit is what you wrote/edited, if there are mistakes, you are responsible for them. Needless to say that I stay clear from those jobs now...
Unfortunately Lara, you are right to say that PEMT is becoming more and more commun in the translation word. That doesn't mean that translators have to agree with it or worse, help that change go smoothly. It is used by companies as a way to pay us less, but like many people already stated, the quality of those PEMT is still pretty bad, especially in some language pairs. So editing can take us more time than writing from scratch, we are more likely to miss mistakes, and we get paid less... Wonder why people are unhappy :(
A couple of thoughts regarding machine translation:
It won't be terribly long until machine translation for certain kinds of jobs will reach a level that will require very little human intervention.
Some of the jobs submitted to Gengo today will go away one way or another.
It does make sense for Gengo to try to keep those jobs and tap into that market as early as possible, but for translators it will be generally detrimental, especially in the long run (but again: one way or another).
During this transition you can decide if you want to make money off of these kind of jobs by teaching "the machine" or not. Now that's nothing new, basically pretty much any translation you do on an online platform will eventually be used to feed translation memories and AI, but e. g. translating close to a MT suggestion will speed up that process.
Questions I would ask are if these MTs are supplied by the customer (that might indeed be additional jobs) and if e. g. the Google Translate API feeds directly back into Google Translate.
At the end of the day translators are offering a service, but you can't be forced to take certain jobs.
I would agree that MT translations currently need too much work to warrant any reward reduction in most cases and there are jobs that simply aren't suited for them (and won't be in the foreseeable future).
And I would also appreciate if reduced rewards would be clearly indicated with numbers for each collection. I realize this might require changes for the current platform while a new interface might be in the works, but e. g. there are those red "+ x%" bonus indicators which maybe can be repurposed to show deductions as well (though I can understand why one would want to avoid that).
On the other hand I don't blame anyone for editing MTs either. I'd simply give it a try and see if it's worth my time and decide if that's really what I want to be doing.
While I agree on principle with the lower reward policy for MT-jobs when they're based on actual translation memories (comprised of segments that were previously translated by humans), I don't think it's appropriate for jobs that were translated by Google Translate. It doesn't help translators: it takes more time to edit the wrong machine translation than translating it directly, which means a longer delivery time for customers.
Here is an example of a collection that was 100% prepopulated with Google Translate content (I checked every segment) which I had to edit out since it wasn't usable. While it shows $0.09 per unit, the actual reward is $0.0675.
@Bobby Knuckles - Your account will not be terminated on the basis that you used MT, as long as you consistently deliver good quality. That is to say, when a job that you have translated by editing machine translation is picked up for GoCheck review, it will be subject to the same quality standards as any other job.
@AlexF @juan.garcia.heredero @gamesofhands - Thanks for bringing that bug to my attention. I hadn't heard of it, so I will follow-up internally to ensure that our Engineering team is aware of it and can work on a fix.
@draper - Thank you for bringing up the discrepancy between rewards/unit vs. total rewards in TM jobs. I agree that, for TM jobs, the reward/unit should be clearly displayed with the applied discount. I wasn't aware before today that this was happening on the dashboard, so I will bring this up internally as well.
@Nelson Bras - At the moment there is no opt-out option to block out certain jobs from showing on your dashboard. This is an interesting request, though, and I will make sure to take note of it and share with the team.
Thank you for your input. But as I stated earlier, clearly displaying the drop of income from an MT'd job, or adding an opt-out option for MT'd jobs –while valuable actions on their own right, is only addressing symptoms.
I'd like to know Gengo's official –and genuine, opinion on wether or not Machine Translation effectively eases a translator's job and can thus be considered grounds for a lower pay. I know where I stand on this, and it seems like other translators around the world and with many different language pairs are on the same side. But in any case, if there's a decent rationale behind this I'd like to hear it. A professionnal rationale I mean.
Because, telling us that this corresponds to an increase in demand on behalf of customers doesn't cut it. As I said in a previous post, I can understand someone external to the translation business, someone who never had to actually translate something with high standards in mind, thinking that a text machine translated beforehand will only be akin to a reviewing job for a translator and only cost them a fraction of their time, hence a lower fee. I can understand, but when I'm confronted with this, it's my job as a professional to try and explain how this is simply not the case. I must do this in order to not sell myself short and to protect my business and my colleagues' on my scale, by having people get over misconceptions about our line of work that can get them to lower its true worth.
I would expect a structure like Gengo to go the same route with the customers, especially when you're a structure that, by definition, gets a larger soundbox on this, and is thus able to reach more potential clients in explaining them that this cannot be a sound way of doing business. Instead it seems to me that Gengo is buying in this wishful thinking "Machine Translation, less work for less money!" nonsense and is also throwing us translators out to the sharks in the process.
This business practice is based on false beliefs, I don't know how to put it any other way. It's not time effective, not by a long shot, for anyone. Cost effective? Certainly not for us, maybe for the customer (and maybe Gengo?), but that's counting on the fact that translators will still give their best when you pay them less for the same amount of work, and thus counting on the fact that you will receive the same quality as before while paying less. That's a long shot as well imo.
It is my opinion that Gengo's job there would have been to protect its "wordsmiths" and the value of their work when customers came to inquire about this, and to protect the "prestige" – if you allow me this word, of your line of business as well. Seems to me that it was not done.
EDIT : I see Lara's comments downvoted a bit, I'd like to humbly call that they are not. She's a community manager, she's here to inteface with us and Gengo, and as far as I'm concerned she has remained thoroughly correct while doing so. I obviously disagree with some of the things she had to put forth so far, but that doesn't mean we have to lose sight of who we are talking to or why. I don't like to see translators unfairly discouraged in doing a job they do well until proven otherwise, that extends to CMs or any other worker really.
@Antoine "I'd like to know Gengo's official –and genuine, opinion on wether or not Machine Translation effectively eases a translator's job and can thus be considered grounds for a lower pay [...] It is my opinion that Gengo's job there would have been to protect its "wordsmiths" and the value of their work when customers came to inquire about this, and to protect the "prestige" – if you allow me this word, of your line of business as well. Seems to me that it was not done."
Call me cynical, but I think that Gengo couldn't care less about the future of translation, or the well-being of their translators. They are a company created and run by IT people, who have proven with their recent decisions that they don't know much about our translators operate. And I am guessing, based on all those recent changes, that the company is not doing well and that they are trying to get more clients. That would explain the new services (transcription), the use of PEMT (reducing costs for them), and the GoChecks being more severe (trying to improve quality and get rid of under performing translators). The problem is, a lot of those changes are not really going to change anything, as we discussed it before, and they are upsetting the translators.
Despite the fact that we are the ones earning the money for Gengo, I'm pretty sure they consider us as totally expendable. There are thousands of us all around the world, freelancers, without a union or any way to organize ourselves. When one of us is tired of the lack of recognition, they just stop working here and get replaced by new inexperienced translators (wonder why the quality is not improving...). In my 3 years at Gengo it is the first time I see so much turmoil on the forum though, so I really hope that this time the executives will listen to our feedback and reconsider their recent decisions.
"I see Lara's comments downvoted a bit, I'd like to humbly call that they are not. She's a community manager, she's here to inteface with us and Gengo, and as far as I'm concerned she has remained thoroughly correct while doing so."
Couldn't agree more, Lara is doing a great job, and I'm sure most of us appreciate her answers. I personnally see the downvotes as a way of saying "I am not happy with Gengo's official answer", not a critic of her personnally :)
We have other ways to be heard though, if many people start giving reviews to Gengo on Facebook, Glass Door, etc. they might have a harder time getting new translators and clients, and will finally hear us.
Thank you for your kind words, I truly appreciate them.
There's a reason why the PEMT feature with a reward discount has been implemented only in 6 language pairs so far. This is because we are only willing to implement it in those cases in which we have actually obtained results that prove an increased efficiency. This is not to say that MT is always perfect, and that a translator will never encounter a poorly translated MT target text. Translators coming across bad MT are encouraged to actually flag and report it, so that we can investigate and improve.
Of course, we are aware that MT is not always 100% perfect (and hence it needs human editing), and we are also aware that it does better with some language pairs than with others.
We actually first implemented PEMT without a discount back in January. For months now, we've been analyzing, experimenting, studying, and measuring the results for the PEMT jobs that go through our system. What we found was that, for the language pairs where we've recently implemented a reward discount, there was a significant decrease in turn around time and no negative impact on quality scores, proving that PEMT was actually contributing to the efficiency of the translators working on those jobs. It is based on these findings that the decision to implement the discount was made.
I hope that this explanation better answers your questions, and clarifies the process that led to the implementation of the new reward rates for these jobs.
Last but not least, it's important to remember that PEMT is not applied to all jobs, and only to some of them. And, as always, that no translator is forced to work on a job that they're not interested in.
"We actually first implemented PEMT without a discount back in January. For months now, we've been analyzing, experimenting, studying, and measuring the results for the PEMT jobs that go through our system. What we found was that, for the language pairs where we've recently implemented a reward discount, there was a significant decrease in turn around time and no negative impact on quality scores, proving that PEMT was actually contributing to the efficiency of the translators working on those jobs. It is based on these findings that the decision to implement the discount was made."
Thank you for this response, I must say that I don't see how this can happen, although I won't go as far as denying your findings. I can only take my own case here while realising the limits of this on a scientific level, and try to extrapolate.
The only way I can see a MT job getting done both quicker and with no drop on quality is on very short works, with few words and an easy to process (due to shortness of work) "Original text to revising (or not) Machine Translation to final translation". If the machine translation is, let's say, 70 to 80% acceptable in the first place, on a 200 units or less job for instance, then yeah, I can see it getting done quicker than a translation from the ground up. But you gotta be careful with the figures then. Because, as I said, I see it happening on short jobs. So you're going to get the job returned in, what? Three minutes instead of five? You can read this as a 40% gain in efficiency by sticking to the numbers. I can only imagine the Christmas party in any bigwig's head while reading these.
Then you take into account the fact that (unfortunately if I'm being honest) most of the jobs I see going through Gengo are quite short, I can only wonder if the samples you based your conclusions on could have been biased by this aspect.
Because let's get back to my previous example: 70 to 80% acceptable MT, but on a larger scale job, let's say 500 to 1000 units. That's another story. That's where the translator cannot get a grasp of all they're going to let slide or edit on a mere glimpse, as opposed to the previously discussed case – and this will be made even worse by the fact that there will be callbacks between certain words at several points in the job, something that you need to maintain in a cohesive way, something that the MT may or may not have missed, which makes no difference in the end because you're gonna have to spend quite an amount of time and energy to spot them either way, both in the orginal text and in the MT. That's when the eyes and brain have to constantly juggle between source text and MT – provided you did not decide to delete the Machine Translation altogether to start doing your job properly, this is where you have to simultaneously make sense of the original text AND the destination text in relation to that. That's when, and I'm going to get overly synthethic for the sake of demonstration: you'd have to read the 100 unit Machine Translation and get on the hunt for the probable 20 to 30 units that will statistically be out of place. And then you have to take into account the grammar and syntax that could very well have been messed up by the robot or that you have to mess up yourself anyways in order to render the destination text properly readable in the destination language. If you decided as a translator that "80% of acceptable text" was enough for it to be kept and then worked around instead of being rewritten from scratch, you're in for a long and excruciating session. "Long" meaning that there will be no time benefit, "excruciating" meaning that the translator's focus will drop at an even faster rate than with a proper translation, and that there will be a quality drop.
I'll go back to my sculptor analogy of earlier: If you give him a jackhammer and expect to be delivered square blocks, then yeah, I guess you're legit in providing a jackhammer and cutting the sculptor's fee as a result. If you need him to make something fancier with the stone, however...
And ok, I'll get that Gengo's customer will sometimes ask for a cinder block and not a Renaissance work of art, so I can see where you stand with the MT on this. But there's a large spectrum between those two examples, a large spectrum where the need for finesse in a job starts earlier than you probably think.
We deal with brands, we deal with sellers, we deal with people and texts that will heavily use catchy slogans, made up words, latest specialist terminology that may or may not have transpired in a destination language (and if so, is there a consensus on how to translate them, or is keeping it as is the consensus?). This is the kind of stuff that's heavily featured in our day-to-day work with Gengo, this is the kind of stuff that we find everywhere even in the most matter-of-fact of contexts, like a user's notice or a product sheet on an online store, this is the kind of stuff that MT will invariably mess up and let us with the task of patching things up... for a fraction of our former fee.
I get the numbered results you invoked in a certain extent, I must however point out that the metrics used by Gengo to evaluate translators' works are currently being heavily discussed in the community –and that's putting it mildly– which only encourages me to further cast doubt on these results validating the viability of Machine Translation from a quality standpoint. Careful: I'm not denying them (how could I? I don't even have the metrics at hand), but being skeptical? You bet.
I would like to notify Gengo and other fellow translators working on the Amazon project of another annoying situation (bug?) : do the maths, all jobs are at a different reward per word, whereas they all have the heading 0.035$/word…