Post-edited machine translation (PEMT) and the evolving role of translators

Predicted to hit $1.5 billion by 2024, the machine translation market has shown steady growth over recent years as more and more businesses aim to go global. The rising demand for location-based content across industries such as e-commerce, electronics, travel and hospitality drives translation agencies and language service providers to use faster and more cost-effective translation methods. Post-edited machine translation (PEMT) is a feasible solution that bridges the gap between the speed of machine translation and the quality of human translation.

What is PEMT?

Post-edited machine translation (PEMT) is a type of translation that requires the reviewing, editing and correction of machine translations by a human to achieve a better output. When utilizing machine translations (MT), post-editing is necessary. Translators need to compare the MT to the source text and check for accuracy and clarity before deciding to improve or even retranslate the text. PEMT is thus ideal for high-volume, cost-efficient projects that have tighter deadlines yet require a higher level of accuracy than the output of raw MT.

Machines help translators work better, can aid accuracy and offer much quicker turnaround times. They can predict outcomes based on stored information and can definitely boost work efficiency. However, despite recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), machine translations still need to be overseen by human translators to ensure several parameters of translation quality are achieved: fidelity or accuracy, intelligibility or clarity, and style. Automation may be the future, but there’s still a long way to go before we can create an infallible technology.

The evolving role of language professionals

The role of linguists will change as new technologies like post-edited machine translation arise. As experts continue to work on fine-tuning the algorithms to make machine translation more accurate, the skills and capabilities of professionals who possess creativity and a greater understanding of the nuances of the language will still be more reliable for businesses looking to grow globally. An English language and literature professor from Korea added, “It is likely that the human translators and interpreters will become editors who supervise post-edited translations that AI programs created.” In addition, more translators are encouraged to learn and master editing and proofreading post-translated content to improve its quality, style and readability.

Because of new trends and technologies, there will also be a major shift from the need for traditional human translation services to the need for content writers, transcreators, content moderators and analysts, marketing researchers, and more.

More translation technologies, more opportunities

Many may think that translation apps and sites threaten the jobs of professional translators but, in fact, these companies and language service providers create more opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 17% employment growth for interpreters and translators by 2026. The translation profession will continue to prosper as long as translators adapt to new technologies and are willing to learn new skills to remain marketable.

At Gengo, we have predicted and foreseen these trends and developments. This year, we are transitioning into a multi-service platform to remain competitive and provide more opportunities beyond translation. In line with this, we have started PEMT trials in a few language pairs. With PEMT, we aim to make translation more efficient so we’ll be able to meet the increasing needs and demands of our customers. More companies are requiring machine learning training data tasks such as sentiment analysis, content creation, moderation, and analysis, among others. Gengo has recently invested in providing high-quality AI training data to give translators more income opportunities while helping more businesses grow and expand.

As the translation industry evolves with technological advances, it’s important for translators and language professionals to prepare for inevitable changes by upgrading their skills and getting ready to use technology to their advantage.

Visit to learn more about our large-scale AI training data and crowdsourcing services.

Jenie Gabriel

The author

Jenie Gabriel

Jenie creates and coordinates content for Gengo's marketing team. Originally from the Philippines, she was an advertising creative in Singapore before moving to Tokyo. In her spare time, you’ll find her wandering around the city or planning her next escapade.

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