In this text we will see what is meant by post-editing (PE), when it is advantageous in the translation process and how the two main types of work – light post-editing and full post-editing – differ.
Let’s start from the beginning. The first concept on which it is necessary to dwell for an in-depth analysis is precisely post-editing.
This technique has increasingly established itself as a modus operandi within our industry, becoming an essential service within the offer of language service providers all around the world.
Wishing to give a definition, post-editing is the process of elaboration carried out by the linguist (post-editor) on a text previously translated by machine translation tools.
A kind of textual revision similar to that carried out by the reviewer on a text translated by the human translator.
Moreover, the similarities are not limited to the working method adopted by the linguist. Quoting a European Commission document: “the difference between the two groups [translation with or without the aid of machine translation] is not statistically significant. Quality is comparable if we evaluate quality only in terms of translation errors. Post-editing is a bit faster than human translation, with productivity increasing by 6-15%. ”
Instead, the experts tend to discourage the use of post-editing for more creative texts, such as literary and advertising ones.
Light and Full Post-editing
Let’s get to the heart of our topic: the differences between light and full post-editing.
The main distinction between the two modes of PE lies in the commitment required from the post-editor. A slight elaboration, characteristic of light post-editing, will engage the linguist for a shorter time, considering that he will focus exclusively on the detection of significant errors.
Specifically, the expert must:
- Correct mistakes that negatively affect the comprehension of the text;
- Rewrite phrases resulting without meaning;
- Delete any extra text;
- Ensure that the document is translated in full.
Light post-editing is particularly suitable for texts used for internal corporate communication, as well as for all texts whose purpose is purely informative.
Full post-editing, on the other hand, will engage the professional more. In this case, the post editor will have to evaluate all the textual aspects, including the specific terminology, syntax, and style.
The goal of complete post-editing is to achieve an ideal translation, within which the intervention of machine translation is not recognizable in any way.
The quality of the document must therefore be maximum.
In this case, the post-editor must:
- Correct all errors in the text;
- Verify the correct use of the specific terminology;
- Check the intra- and extra-textual consistency;
- Keep the textual characteristics mentioned above unchanged;
- Check the formatting of the document.
In light of what has been said so far, it is clear how the real needs of the customer determine which post-editing mode is best to use, in order to optimize the process and obtain the desired results.
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