Alert! Машинный перевод, плагиат и др.
  • Alert for Russian Reviewers!!!

    About a week ago I received a request from a girl to "confirm" her translation.
    "Subject: подтверждение перевода

    Здравствуйте, Лариса!

    Прошу Вас рассмотреть и подтвердить сделанный мной перевод этого доклада"

    I was surprised, but I took her translation and reviewed it. It was well done and I didn't have any problems with the girl.

    Today I received another letter:
    "Subject: Confirm translation from English to Russian

    Hello Larisa Larionova. I need help for my confirm translation from English to Russian at this place:
    My translation:
    Best wishes by Timoshenko Eugeniy "

    The same again. I answered to him and asked clarifications. He answered:
    "Hello Larisa Larionova. It need for my home work in my University - Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in Ukraine. I need take two good translation from English to Russian. It is my first translation and I need take it to 27.12.2011. It is my dead line."

    I was shocked, I knew that the girl was also from the same university and I realized that it was also her home work assignment. I immediately took his translation for review. This time the case is much worse, it's a machine translation, which anyone can easily see. I let him know that it's not the way we work on TED, for which he replied to me in absolutely crazy letters, asking to leave his translation, that he has a friend who will register on TED and will review it instead of me and so on.

    "Мой друг думаю захочет помочь мне в переводе, но он еще не зарегистрирован. Как можно ему позволить проверить мой перевод сразу после регистрации?

    Мне в среду уже сдавать надо. Для меня это уже поздно. Я вынужден прервать с вами соглашение.

    Я против вашего подтверждения. Прошу вас оставить мое подтверждение. Если вам не нравиться просто прошу уйти и оставить меня в покое.

    У меня текст учебный и перевод тоже учебный и педагог большего от меня не требует."

    It seems like those students use our time to review their translations and then just submit them as their own, which is plagiarism and incompatible with the TED philosophy.
    So, for all Russian reviewers, if you receive similar requests, please let me know.
  • 12 Comments sorted by
  • There is another problem with non-voluntary translations. Namely, they are non-voluntary :) That is, there is a greater chance that they are made by somebody who does not care.

    I don't think it is relevant to filter the volunteers, if they provide translations of good quality.

    Two outcomes out of this case:

    1) I would try finding the teacher of this students and alert about plagiarism and abuse of volunteers. But it might be the case the teacher does not care either.
    2) More importantly, something should be done to prevent blind approval of translations.
  • Point 2 is well-known in other languages too. I hope that Universal Subtitles will bring more transparency and improved quality in this respect.
  • OMG. This is outrageous.
    Students are exploiting a "weakness" in the "business logic" of TED OTP.

    You must warn university staff to not accept "TED validated translations".
  • @klaszlo13

    I don't think I will contact the university staff. Unfortunately, in most countries of the former USSR plagiarism is understood in very narrow sense. You know, at Harvard, where I'm a student now, plagiarism is one of the worst possible crimes a student can commit and punishment is very severe. Here, I realized how many times we plagiarized in my university in Russia. Everybody dose that, students and professors as well, nobody cares and it is considered to be a norm. It is sad, but it is a reality.
  • >It is sad, but it is a reality.
    Which can be changed through persistent action, and this is the change to do it.
  • I'm actually more concerned with this new case of machine translation. Several weeks ago we discovered a translator who used it on a regular basis. 3 of his translations were already published. One was blindly approved and had to be returned back. Another 2 were well done, how was it possible? I wrote to the reviewers of those 2 good translations, and their answers were the same:
    The initial translation was terrible but they just remade it without asking any questions and without complaining to the TED OTP staff.

    That's is the problem, I believe. The translators should not do that! They should alert others about the problem. Instead they wasted a lot of time on improving unreadable texts, while they could review several good translation for the same time. More than that, this person continued to make those terrible translations wasting reviewer's time again and again.
  • But the actual solution is the same in both cases: telling others, that is, transparency.

    In the first case others include the teacher and, if possible, group mates.
    In the second - TED staff and community.
  • @autayeu
    I only know the name of the university, and I don't have enough information to prove my point. So, I'm not going to do anything about it. If you wish, you're welcome, I can send you all their emails.
  • Please, do. I can try, at least for curiosity :)
  • Is it possible in such cases for reviewer to mark a translation as "unfinished" in order to return it to a translator for further work or return the talk into "available for translation" list?
    ...or can such feature be implemented on dot.Sub in the future?
  • @tedruslan, there is no automatic way to do that. I'm not sure it should be implemented though. We assume that all TED translators have good intentions, but as we see, it's not always so. May such option create some new problems as well? Probably.
  • So reviewer simply should report to in such case. Right? It's not automatic but might save reviewer's time and help the talk to get to true volunteer.