Machine Translation (MT)

Machine Translation & MT Profiles

This article is for Account Owners on the New Experience.

Machine Translation (MT) is a cost-effective way of translating content at a rapid speed. Traditionally, MT has been a mechanical, rule-based substitution of words in a source language to a target, but advances in deep learning and machine learning have yielded more advanced, high-quality translation performance. 

Smartling integrates with the following Machine Translation engines:

(* includes support for custom trained engines)

To connect your Smartling account to an MT engine, you will first need to activate an account with one of the above providers. Please contact your CSM for more details.

MT Profiles

MT Profiles are a method of storing MT credentials in Smartling. Instead of copy-pasting the same keys into numerous workflows, you can create a single MT Profile to store a key, then assign that profile to different workflows. You can also use your MT credentials in the CAT Tool by designating an MT Profile.

Creating an MT Profile

  1. In the Account Settings dropdown, click on Integrations
    • Alternatively, you can access the MT Profiles page from the Project Settings > Workflow Configuration > Translation step > Manage Step > Create MT Profile
  2. Click on the MT Profiles tab
  3. Click on Create MT Profile
  4. Define a name and select a provider
    • Alternatively, choose Copy Source to Target to create this translation method as a translation provider option in your workflow configuration.
  5. Enter the credentials. 
  6. (Optional) Click Test Credentials to ensure the credentials are correct. Ensure all fields are complete before testing (including the Profile Name).
  7. (Optional) Define language-specific credentials and rules. This only applies for trained MT engines with different credentials by language, i.e. Amazon Translate, Google AutoML, and Microsoft Translator.

Editing an MT Profile

  1. In the Account Settings dropdown, click on Integrations
  2. Click on the MT Profiles tab
  3. Click on the MT Profile name you want to edit
  4. The Edit MT Profile dialog appears where you can edit and test MT Profile credentials and define new language-specific credentials and rules.

You cannot edit Smartling Auto Select.

Deleting an MT Profile

  1. In the Account Settings dropdown, click on Integrations
  2. Click on the MT Profiles tab
  3. Click the ellipses under Actions > Delete

You cannot delete an MT Profile that is assigned to a workflow. You need to re-assign the workflow step to another translation option. If you unassign an MT Profile while translations are in progress, translation progress will stop. The translations will remain in the translation step until the step is reassigned.

Smartling Auto Select

Quality and capabilities can vary between engines and through time and rigorous testing with multiple MT providers, you will be able to establish which engine is best for the content you are translating. However, setting up an account with each MT provider can be cost ineffective, and cumbersome. The testing process is lengthy, labor-intensive, and expensive. Luckily, Smartling has the functionality to determine which engine, out of all the engines, is best to translate your content.

Smartling Auto Select is Smartling's additional MT provider which evaluates your content on a multitude of criteria (including content type, target languages, linguistic and non-linguistic content, integrations, etc.) and routes the content to the best-suited MT engine for Machine Translation. Content can be translated by any of the MT providers listed above, saving you the time and hassle in setting up and testing each.

If for any reason, Smartling Auto Select's chosen engine cannot provide a quality translation, it will re-try using the next best suited engine. If after those two attempts that a translation is still not possible, it will route the content to the Fallback Method, typically a human translation workflow step.

Smartling Auto Select's evaluation continuously evolves as MT engines evolve, so your content will always be routed to the "best-in-class" for each evaluation.

To enable Smartling Auto Select simply follow the steps above in creating an MT Profile, no credentials are required. Furthermore, as it works the same as any other MT Profile, you will be able to manage it in the same way in your workflows.

Managing MT in Workflows

  1. Go to Projects (select a project) > Gear Icon > Project Settings > Workflows
  2. Click on the dropdown caret on a Translation step. Translation steps have purple quotation icons.
  3. In the Translation provider dropdown, select an MT Profile that has been previously created using the steps above.
  4. (Optional) Define Alternate MT Profiles: if a string cannot be translated by the assigned MT Profile, you can choose other MT Profiles to translate the string.
  5. (Optional) Define a Fallback Method: if a string cannot be translated by any MT providers due to an error, you can choose a different workflow step to automatically move these strings to.
    • A translation issue will be raised on the string even if you do not designate a Fallback Method.
    • The Fallback Method workflow step must support the same languages as the current MT step. If there are no options in the Fallback Method dropdown, then that means that there are no other workflows that support the same languages.
    • If a Fallback Method is not defined, the string will stay in the translation step until a user manually changes the workflow.
    • If you want Machine Translations to be processed through an edit step after the initial MT step, you need to understand how Machine Translations are saved to the Translation Memory.

To find out what MT Profiles are in which workflows:

  1. In the Account Settings dropdown, click on Integrations
  2. Click on the MT Profiles tab
  3. Under Workflows, click the number to view a list of active workflows with the MT Profile

Machine Translation in the Translation Memory

Machine Translation can be configured as a translation provider in a workflow, or as a language resource for linguists in the CAT Tool.

Machine translations that are inserted or autopopulated in the CAT Tool are stored in the Translation Memory and are counted as Processed Words because the action of submitting the translations is executed by a human.

Machine translations that are processed through an initial MT workflow step are not saved to the Translation Memory (TM). Saves to the TM could happen if there are additional human steps after the initial MT step or if there are any edits made to the MT.

If Machine Translation proceeds to an Edit or Review step type, this will lead to Machine Translation saving to the Translation Memory. This is because any content submitted or saved in an Edit or Review step type is considered "human" translated content. So, even if Machine Translated content was unchanged in any of those step types, it will be saved to the Translation Memory.

If you want Machine Translations to be processed through an edit step after the initial MT step, ensure your workflow includes a Post-Machine Revision step type as the "edit" step. This will avoid having any unedited Machine Translated content save to your TM. However, any edits to an MT on this step will result in saves to the TM.

If a Machine Translation was edited and saved by a user in the CAT Tool (outside a Machine Translation Post-Edit step type), in the TMM itself, or in the Strings View, the edited Machine Translation will save to the Translation Memory.

If you want all Machine Translations (edited and unedited) to be saved to the Translation Memory, consult your Customer Success Manager.

Enabling MT Profiles in the CAT Tool

  1. Go to Integrations > MT Profiles
  2. Click CAT Tool Settings
  3. Toggle the Enable MT in the CAT Tool switch on, and choose a default MT Profile from the dropdown. 
  4. (Optional) Define language-specific rules to use different MT Profiles for different languages in the CAT Tool. For example, you can define "Google MT" as your default MT Profile and "Microsoft MT" for French and Spanish. 

For more information, read MT in the CAT Tool.

MT Errors

If any errors occurred on an MT workflow step (e.g. invalid API key, unsupported language, placeholder or tag inconsistency), they’ll show up in the MT Profiles page.

  1. In the Account Settings dropdown, click on Integrations
  2. Click on the MT Profiles tab
  3. Enter the MT Profile by clicking the profile name
    • If there are any errors associated with the profile, they will show up in the yellow box.
    • The error box is collapsed by default, so you’ll need to click on Show Details for more information.
  4. Click on Retry MT to retry the MT requests
    • If the errors persist, they will appear again after a few minutes.


Types of MT Errors

Errors can be found on all strings or on some strings.

All strings

If the MT error was found on all strings, it could mean that the MT provider's credentials are wrong or invalid. Ensure all credentials are accurate and then click Retry MT to retry the MT requests.

Another reason why errors can be found on all strings is if the languages pairs are invalid. Ensure languages pairs correctly mapped from the MT provider and Smartling.

Some strings

If the MT error was found on some strings, it could mean that placeholders and/or tags in the translations do not match those in the source strings. This means that placeholders/tags could be different, invalid, or in a different location in the translations. 

Another reason why errors can be found on some strings is if the MT provider failed to respond to the request. This could be due to any number of reasons, including a network error. In this scenario, just wait a couple of moments before clicking Retry MT to retry the MT requests.

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