I have recently installed a new plugin called Transposh. Curious about the translation quality provided by the plugin, today I checked it with an old trick – back translation. Our instructors in Voennyj Institut Inostrannykh Yazykov (ВИИЯ) often used it to teach us being precise and brief in our translations.
I opened my recent angry post about American Healthcare System and translated it into French using Transposh. I selected French because I consider it my third language, after Russian and English, and I have at least the basic knowledge of it.
Then I pasted the obtained text into a Google translate window and translated it back into English. Google_FR-EN
I was shocked when I realized that the translation was nearly identical to the original English text. Some parts looked even better than the original. When I am expressing myself in English, I often make typical mistakes for a Russian. I mix up, or omit articles, use incorrect tenses, neglect English idioms and so on.
So my conclusion was: the French translation by Transposh (based on google translate API in my settings) was very good. The high quality of the back translation only proved it.
Then I did the same with Russian. And I guess I have good news for Russian translators. Both the translation and back translation revealed the same old problems.
Machine translation into a non-Latin alphabet language with cases, genders, case and verb endings and other ‘fine-tuning’ stuff is still not an option. It looks horrible. And that means, hopefully, that Russian translators will have their slice of cake for years to come. At least when it comes to certified translations. All those birth certificates, marriage certificates, school diplomas and transcripts, police certificates, I love you all. Those documents required by immigration authorities, medical schools and BOARD OF REGISTERED NURSING (my favorite) they will always require a human certified translator. In some cases not only certified but approved and/or accredited as well.
Here comes a puzzle: #2 from below looks bad stylistically, grammatically and esthetically, but apparently it retained the meaning of the original pretty well. #3 is excellent English version of the original, where only one thing is missing. I said «there are way too many people involved», but google translate omitted «way».
#1. This is the original English version
But because nearly every step of my treatment needs to be approved and agreed on due to restrictions of my insurance plan, there are way too many people involved.
#2. This is a Russian translation processed by Transposh.
Но так как почти каждый шаг моей лечение должно быть одобрено и согласовали из-за ограничений моей страховой план, Есть слишком много людей, вовлеченных.
#3. This is a back translation by Google Translate (google.translate.com)
But since almost every step of my treatment should be approved and agreed upon due to the limitations of my insurance plan, there are too many people involved.