Social groups in machine translation post-editing: a SCOT analysis

Akiko Sakamoto, Masaru Yamada

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We analysed focus group interview data collected from 22 project managers (PMs) working in Japan, covering their experiences of machine translation post-editing (MTPE). A Social Construction of Technology analysis of how PMs describe different social groups in translation enabled us to examine the meanings those groups attach to MTPE, the intricate and complex power structures which exist between them, and the negotiations that take place in their day-to-day operations. The examination discovered that MTPE is still in a fluid and controversial state due to the difficulty of meeting all groups’ interests, which may lead to MTPE’s disappearance as a business model and the eventual dominance of conventional human translation and raw MT. We conclude that establishing ethical and sustainable translation workflows for all social groups will be vital for MTPE’s survival, which will require careful consideration of the complexity of these social groups and negotiations between them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-97
Number of pages20
JournalTranslation Spaces
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2020


  • translation studies
  • translation technology
  • machine translation post-editing
  • sociology of translation
  • translation industry
  • translation project managers


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  • Machine Translation Summit 2019

    Akiko Sakamoto (Presented paper)

    20 Aug 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

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