Machine Translation Post Editing: Best Practices and Guidelines

With all the advancements happening in the translation sector, machines are getting smarter and more efficient. More companies are adopting MT tools to fulfil their everyday translation needs. Incorporating machine tools for translation purposes help translators complete their translation tasks faster and more efficiently.

However, total reliance on machine tools is not recommended. Machine translation tools work best if you use them carefully under proper human surveillance.

For translation purposes, the machine translation post-editing (MTPE) method is gaining popularity for its ability to deliver a high-quality translation in the fastest turnaround time. In this article, we’ll have a look at some practical guidelines to effectively use the MTPE method.

What is Machine Translation Post Editing?

MTPE is a process of translation generation and quality assurance, where you combine both machine tools and human expertise. In this method, your source text is translated by a machine translation tool and proofread by a translator afterwards.

It follows all the editorial guidelines and the client’s requirements. Using this method, you can effectively manage high translation workloads, and the quality of outcomes also remains uncompromised.

Best Machine Translation Post-Editing Practices 

Choose A Reliable Machine Translation Engine

It starts with choosing a reliable and professional machine translation engine. If your machine-generated translation isn’t good enough, no matter how much you edit, you can’t improve the quality.

So, you save the time and effort of your linguists, you better get your hands on a quality machine translation tool only. Make sure your chosen tool is an expert in your target language pairs and has a good understanding of your business domain. So, the translations generated are accurate and relevant.

This way, you have to spend the least time on editing.

Prepare Your Translation Documents

Before uploading your document for translation, you must keep the text clean and understandable. So, if you want to create high-quality translations, your text has to be well organized. Proofread your source text for any grammatical or punctuation errors because it can lead to mistakes in translation.  

This is an important step, especially if you are dealing in the financial, legal, or medical fields. Once your documents are prepared, you can upload them on the MT engine and get the translated documents.

Hire A Professional Linguist

Now as you have translated your documents using a machine translation engine, It’s time for editing. For this, you have to appoint a dedicated linguist as a machine translation editor. The linguists should identify and correct the gaps between the provided translations and achieve the expected level of quality. You can also partner with an LSP platform to manage translation post-editing. 

Make sure you have clearly delivered your translation requirement to translators. So, they will be able to provide more relevant and contextual outcomes.

Define Your Editorial Guidelines

Before starting the editing process, it is important for you to set clear editorial guidelines and rules that professional linguists must follow while editing your translations. All your editing guides and other resources must be kept in one place, where it is easily accessible to all editors and translators.

It will make your editing process more seamless and less time-consuming. From preferred translation tone, style, and formatting to linguistic nuances and complex terminology definitions, everything should be made clear to the translators.

Work Through Cloud-Based Localization Management Platform 

From translation generation, to file processes and final editing, it will all be easier to manage if you work on a cloud-based localization management platform. Such a platform comes with automated processes and advanced features that make it much more convenient for translators to manage their translation tasks.

There will be no need to switch between different platforms for translation generating, editing, QA testing, formatting, etc.

Keep A Check on Project Performance

Even after you do manual editing by professional translators, you must continuously evaluate the translation performance and engagement with your overseas customers. Project managers must also evaluate the performance and productivity of their editing teams.

For instance, how much time they take to complete one task, the quality score of edited translation tasks done by each translator, and the areas having gaps and issues to be fixed? So, quality assurance is a continuous process that leads to improvement in translation and helps you achieve desired results.


If you’re an LSP platform that struggles to achieve good quality translations, especially when workloads are high, MTPE is the best method you can use to generate translations. However, you must follow the guidelines and best practices to do your MTPE the right way. MTPE does not just save you time; it is a cost-effective way to get away with high volumes of translation without skipping the client’s deadlines. This way, you can fulfil your client’s translation demands without going over your budget.

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