people like machines, machines like people; Are machines like people?

These and other questions were discussed during our interactive workshop at TH Köln. We had the chance to work together with a lively and curious group of master students, graduating in “Specialized Translation” or “Terminology and Language Technology”.

Dominique Puls, our CCO, and Madelein, Language Technology Expert at tsd and in charge of our MT solutions, started the workshop with insights about real life Machine Translation solutions in a productive LSP environment. What are the stories behind the “Machines”, how do people interact with each other when new technology is introduced into a workflow?

After debating at length why “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine” (- REM), we dug deeper into the topic and had the group discuss various questions orbiting around two key scenarios.

In scenario one, we stated that not every Post-Editing job is created equal. Questions deriving from that were focused on the return on investment of Post Editing in general, but also more practical issues, like finding the correct price structure for this service, as well as quality evaluations. The QE topic spiked an interesting discussion creating the following hypothesis: “If a machine is so intelligent, that it can evaluate the quality of an MT output, why is it not used for creating the MT itself?”.

The other perspective we offered our attendants was the topic of Raw-MT. We asked: in which world could a machine be the “boss”? Is Raw-MT a trap? And how can on solve legal implications? The students were quite keen in pointing out, that Raw-MT in the “wrong hands” can make catastrophic mistakes almost impossible to spot. Also they all agreed that they cannot envision a scenario where a machine would be the measure of all things.

Overall it way a lively and invigorating conversation! Various ideas were discussed, which created a momentum in which we felt that it would be a great idea to continue communicating.

In order to keep the dialogue alive we are inviting both students and professionals to share their insights in our newly formed special interest group called “translation is not the essence of understanding” on facebook:

We are eager to share and to find out more about visions and ideas concerning the future of our industry and the jobs therein. We will be posting chosen questions each week for the group to discuss. Join, share, learn, network!