Nov 26, 2015

Fuzzy match of the month - WTF?!

Experienced translators using translation environment tool technology are quite familiar with the ludicrous results often obtained by so-called "fuzzy" matches in translation. For some 20 years now, the lie has been propagated that such matches usually help translators to work faster and that such "matches" therefore obligate one to offer discounts.

I will not rehash the familiar arguments and evidence that even truly close matches with the difference of a little word or two can cost more time that translation from scratch with no reference text or the fact that modern translation tools are useful primarily as a guide to facilitate consistency and not necessarily speed of work, especially if the translator is a real one with strong language and subject matter skills. Of course there are monkey-level jobs where a fuzzy match can usually be expected to save time, but once one ventures into fields such as legal or financial translation this is not the case as often as the linguistic sausage providers (aka LSPs) might claim.

I just wanted to share this little screenshot from my "daily bread", because it truly is worthy of sewer disposal.

All fuzzy matches are not created equal; every tool on the market will spew nonsense, and these nonsensical "values" are not even close to consistent between tools. It's time to cut the crap with fuzzies as a real means of evaluating work effort. Or at least share some of what the believers are smoking to reach such conclusions.

1 comment:

  1. As a translator - and an agency - I ask our team of linguists for fuzzies discounts> But wait! We only ask for small s discounts on 101% to 85% matches.
    Rationale is, our TM is well curated, we only use a small team of linguists who are happy to work from the same TM (one TM per client/tam of linguists).

    We pay the full rate for anything under 84% as, as you quite rightly point out, these matches are often useless rubish.

    And we pay up to 90% of the full rate for high matches -and we check that TM fuzzies put forward by the SaaS are on tagrget and reusable.

    The only reason we do ask for some discounts is that client can easilly identify 100 or 101% "in context" matches from previous jobs, and we have to incentivise them by offering at least some level of discount for what they see as obvious repeats.

    What we have a really tough time with is MTPE. Most of the time, the productivity boost is very small, a fact clients do not seem to understand.


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