In search of a fair MTPE pricing model: LSPs’ reflections and the implications for translators

Akiko Sakamoto, Sarah Bawa Mason

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Machine translation post-editing (MTPE) has become an important part of the commercial translation business. As such, MTPE pricing models are under-studied yet vital elements in determining the professional value of translators as workers. This focus-group study investigates the discourse of eight LSP representatives relating to their MTPE pricing practice and, using the notion of psychological contract from organisational psychology, analyses what kind of external messages, including untold meanings and cues, translators may receive from the MTPE pricing practice. We then discuss how such messages may shape translators’ individual beliefs relating to contractual terms in MTPE projects, as well as their implications for MTPE operations in general. Three significant points are identified regarding; (1) How LSPs use different pricing models for different stakeholders to manage translators’ motivation for MTPE work; (2) How the notion of ‘speed’ incorporated in the MTPE pricing methods has a potential to determine translators’ work motivation and recruitment; and (3) How the power structure of technology ownership may influence future MTPE pricing practice. The outcomes of this exploratory study will contribute to the development of much needed industry-wide conversation about this controversial topic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Early online date8 Jan 2024
Publication statusEarly online - 8 Jan 2024


  • Language service providers
  • psychological contract
  • machine translation postediting (MTPE
  • MTPE pricing models
  • translators
  • focus group

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