METM22 presentation

Translation or editing? Making MT your own

Simon Berrill, Badalona, Spain

This talk will examine the rarely discussed topic of the actual translation process and link it to another subject that is almost taboo in many circles: the use of machine translation (MT). It will examine whether translation and editing might actually be converging and will end with a short interactive exercise.

The presentation is aimed at all translators, whether or not they use MT. Translators are now divided into opposing camps on this issue, with some vehemently against it, as I was until recently, and others afraid to admit that they have begun to use it. One aim of this talk is to begin a proper debate on the subject, to discuss what MT is good for and what it is not, and what to look out for when using it.

Editors are not excluded, as they may be interested to see how their skills are becoming increasingly important for translators. They can also take part in the hands-on exercise.

I will begin by briefly explaining my translation process and how I became convinced that MT could improve it. I will explain how I now use MT and provide examples to illustrate its benefits and drawbacks, some of which are surprising. I will also give some practical tips for using MT.

I will then discuss the question of whether what I do is translation or editing, whether this distinction might soon cease to be meaningful, and where post-editing fits in.

Finally there will be an interactive exercise in which some members of the audience will be given a short text to translate from Spanish and the others will be given a machine translation of the same text to edit. They will then compare results and there will be a short discussion followed by more general questions.
[Read a member’s review of the presentation.]

About the presenter

Simon Berrill is a British translator working from Spanish, Catalan and French into English and specialising in cultural tourism. He has presented at previous METMs and other translation events and writes a regular blog. Simon is a former journalist and lives near Barcelona with his son.