The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2021 - 32

RESOURCE REVIEW By Jost Zetzche
ModernMT
In the January/February 2021 issue I wrote about the surprising quality
and ease-of-use of the OPUS-MT and OPUS-CAT products.1
When I
interviewed developer Tommi Nieminen, an experienced professional
translator and MT researcher, about the OPUS tools, he said-much to my
surprise-that according to his testing, his products (the locally installed
MT and the connector to CAT tools) are as good as or better than any
other trainable machine translation (MT) engine.2
Except one: ModernMT.
M
odernMT is a cloudbased
adaptive
solution for neural
machine translation (NMT),
just like a number of other
systems (including the
above-mentioned OPUS
tools). Interestingly, though,
the adaptive part of the
technology is fundamentally
different than its competitors
because there are actually no
changes in the base engine
happening at any time.
Instead, the system uses a
technology called " instancebased
adaptive NMT. " This
consists of the translation
request first being sent to
a translation memory (TM)
layer (which can consist even
of a relatively small TM as
long as it's highly tuned).
With similar segments found
in that TM layer, the NMT
engine's " hyperparameters "
are adapted on-the-fly
so that a more suitable
suggestion is generated.
The base engine, which is
hosted in a number of data
centers, including in Rome
and San Jose, is trained
in 46 languages (see the
list at the homepage
www.modernmt.com) on the
large data sets collected
by Translated, the Italian
language services provider
and tech developer of the
massive MyMemory TM.
(Translated also owns a
majority of the shares in
ModernMT.) And while the
base engines are retrained
once or twice a year, your
data effectively sits in the
middle and adapts the MT
suggestions to your style
and terminology.
The benefit is that you
don't ever need to actually
train a specific MT engine,
but you can instead use a
large generic engine whose
suggestions are specialized
by having the query
parameters adapted as the
translation is happening.
When ModernMT was first
released as a commercial
product in early 2019 it had
two major problems: it was
outrageously priced and
used a completely outdated
privacy concept that used
customers' data for general
training purposes.
After being nailed with
criticism from many sides
(as well as little customer
support), they completely
overhauled both their
pricing and their privacy
considerations. There's no
longer any cross-training,
and any data that you upload
to enhance your own MT will
32 The ATA Chronicle | November/December 2021
be strictly used by you alone.
Kind of what you would
expect from a paid product
these days.
The pricing is also in line
with other tools. You pay by
the number of characters as a
language services provider or
translation buyer (between
$8 and $50 per million
characters, depending on
whether you want to train
the engine as you translate or
queue documents for a batch
translation) and a monthly
fee if you're a freelance
translator ($25).
You can use ModernMT
via its website, but as a
professional translator you
would be more likely to
use it via their application
programming interface
through a translation
environment tool. Presently,
you can use it directly
within Trados Studio with
an app you can download
from the RWS app store,
with memoQ through an
already integrated plugin,
and of course with MateCat
( " of course " because
MateCat is also owned by
aforementioned Translated).
Presently, the ModernMT
team is working on a
Chrome extension as well,
which should allow for the
use of any browser-based
translation environment
and ModernMT.
There is a free 30-daytrial
period you can access at
modernmt.com/pricing/
#translators. And unlike with
other products, it might
actually make sense to try it
out first because, again, there
is literally no setup aside
from connecting to the MT
and choosing a well-suited
TM to " sit in the middle. "
NOTES
1
Zetzsche, Jost. " (More)
Advanced HumanComputer
Interaction
For Translators, " The
ATA Chronicle (January/
February 2021), 30,
https://bit.ly/ZetzscheChronicle.
2
Zetzsche,
Jost. " Any
Artistic Work, Especially
One on a Large Scale, "
The Tool Box Journal,
Issue 21-4-324 (April
2021), https://bit.ly/
Zetzsche-ToolBox.
Jost
Zetzsche is
chair of ATA's
Translation and
Interpreting
Resources Committee. He
is the author of Characters
with Character: 50 Ways
to Rekindle Your Love Affair
with Language. jzetzsche@
internationalwriters.com
Remember, if you have any
ideas and/or suggestions
regarding helpful resources
or tools you would like to
see featured, please e-mail
Jost Zetzsche at jzetzsche@
internationalwriters.com.
www.atanet.org
http://www.modernmt.com/pricing/#translators http://www.modernmt.com/pricing/#translators https://www.bit.ly/Zetzsche-chronicle https://www.bit.ly/Zetzsche-chronicle https://www.bit.ly/zetzsche-toolbox https://www.bit.ly/zetzsche-toolbox http://www.modernmt.com http://www.atanet.org

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