"... I disagree with Mr. Grunwald about most things. His ideas about translation as a commodity are depressing and I wouldn’t work for him unless something with a bit more dignity—such as “circus freak”—weren’t a viable career option (for whatever reason)."However, Miguel also respected the man's efforts to expose the sleazy scam of a Canadian translation technology company called Ortsbo a few years ago. I also find many of Mr. Grunwald's views troubling, particularly statements that "one translator is easily replaceable with another" based upon a long string of unsupportable suppositions. His company's blog often contains interesting and useful insights into events, actors and issues of interest to translators but his obsession with machine pseudo-translation (MpT) and fanatical devotion to the ideology of commoditization over the years wore me out, and I prefer not to spend my energies contemplating the campaigns of one who seems to be on a personal mission as a mental battering ram directed against individuals who are professional language service providers.
So I was surprised when I found his recent guest post on the TAUS blog, which is too often a semi-coherent organ for the hucksters in the MpT carnival. It's more or less what I've expected to hear for a while and many of his points can be clearly picked out of arguments that Kirti Vashee and others make (and which are often overlooked or contradicted by their sources on other occasions). But Mr. Grunwald's piece strikes me as the clearest, most comprehensive and honest statement of current art that I've heard from the MpT camp so far.
I'm not quite the enemy of automation and machine pseudo-translation that some take me for. I am simply against lies, liars and (un)professional abuse in forms such as the human-assisted machine pseudo-translation (HAMPsTr) processes that so many piratical organizations and their enablers push. There are clear cases where automated translation processes offer value, but damned few of these have anything to do with my fields and level of work, and the attempts of SDL and other organizations to pretend otherwise are dishonest and/or deluded at best.
Read the TAUS post and think about it. You might wonder why an MpT advocate would make such unambiguous admissions. Well, unlike some in that camp, Mr. Grunwald never struck me as dishonest, merely as one who inhabited a stratum of the barrel where translators are perhaps indeed interchangeable. He clearly has a good mind, a sense of ethics which seems sound enough in most respects and perhaps a little taste for shaking things up. But as he points out, the money has gone elsewhere now.
"The VCs have rendered their decision: MT is out, human translation is in. In the last 2-3 year a number of venture capital companies have poured millions into companies that develop human translation automation platforms."And
"Post-edited MT is not as good as from-scratch. Everyone has heard the ‘you get 2 out of 3’ saying. When you deliver post-edited translations, it will be cheap and fast, but will not be (as) good."The whole MT carnival for years has reminded me of The Great Y2K Scam aka The Last Hurrah of Cobol Programmers. Grab the cash as fast as you can as long as the suckers leave it on the table. Things did not change much a few years ago in a technical sense when MpT became all the rage in the bottom tiers. What did change was the perception that there was money to be made, a fix of VC heroin to dream of language automation at least, and those in the pay of special interests began to brand skeptics like Mr. Llorens as "haters and naysayers" and worse.
Now the money has gone away; it's time to wake up and face reality - or the latest deceptions.