How to enable Machine Translation?

I am used to Weblate in other projects where there is an excellent support for Machine Translation (DeepL, Google, MS…). I see that here it is disabled. is there a way to enable it for AntennaPod project to support the translation process?

If I remember correctly, we disabled machine translations because some translators just accepted the machine translations without really thinking about them, creating inconsistent and sometimes even (in that context) obviously wrong translations.

Hmm, I understand that we don’t want ‘blind’ acceptance of MT, on the another hand, let’s face it - today’s MTs are really good - in many cases I’d even argue that they are better than non-professional human translators and disabling them simply just adds manual work to people which discourages many from doing the translation at all. I personally contribute to quite a few translations across different projects and MTs significantly reduce the effort and increase quality. I like reviewing different options MTs suggest, picking one of them and eventually adjusting when needed. I realized that provides better quality translation than if I’d translate strings from scratch. I’ve completed the translation now but I’d really like to ask for reconsidering enabling MT again.

It seems that Weblate has changed its Automatic suggestions set-up in version 4.13. One of the implications seems to be that Hosted Weblate (which we use) now no longer provides automatic integration with a shared API key, but instead allows (forces) projects to add their own API keys.

Some integrations Weblate offers:

  • LibreTranslate: isn’t great (yet) in my (limited) experience, and with the ‘official’ server an API key is $29 per month - that’s too much for AntennaPod and I don’t think it’s worth the hassle of using one of the free mirrors or setting up our own.
  • Deepl: usually has good quality translations and has a free API (up to 500,000 characters/month, which I reckon should be fine for us).
  • Apertium: a free/libre translation tool I didn’t know, but the main server doesn’t allow to request an API, so would need to be self-hosted - which is too much trouble for the languages seems to support.
  • Google & Microsoft Translate: just nah.
  • rest of the services not worth discussing :slight_smile:

In general terms, if the suggestions are good (e.g. with Deepl) and the translators are critical, automatic suggestions can be of great help. However, the tricky part is indeed the translators: they come and go on Hosted Weblate (anyone can contribute) and don’t always pay attention. One way to mitigate that is to have a bit more strict review process – that’s something we can discuss.

I do understand that (especially with documentation translation), automatic suggestions can be quite helpful in reducing time needed.

@ByteHamster, given their quality, how do you feel about creating an account with Deepl?

Automatic suggestions based on the Weblate Translation Memory are also enabled by the way, so these should still be visible (?)

Agree that DeepL seems to be very good. Based on my recent experience from translating other project in Weblate I have to say, that surprisingly MS Translate was also providing great translations - sometimes even better than DeepL. I dont know the cost but IMHO if we can setup DeepL, Google and MS that would be great set for most translators.

BTW I believe there is also a way to identify when the translation was taken directly from MT - and those could be suggestions for review process.

I spent hours correcting the translations from Deepl that someone accepted. Had to go through all strings again to ensure that they don’t make AntennaPod look bad when used on the website.

Deepl used literal translations which simply didn’t make sense in German. It used the wrong formal/informal form. It produced sentences that sound awful, even though they might be technically correct. It did not respect the context of sentences (eg breaking grammar in enumerations, making every item a full sentence). It used naming in the documentation that does not match the naming inside the app (eg “Forward” as in email vs “Forward” as in a media player).

A human translator who knows what app they are translating would never have made most of these mistakes. I fear that if we add the machine translations again, people will again start accepting suggestions without thinking about them - they will maybe check whether the translation is valid German, but will not think about whether it makes sense for AntennaPod.

We have discussed this again as a core team and decided that we won’t re-enable automatic translation suggestions for now. We will see if, when & how we can implement quality assurance mechanisms (which could in turn allow for a bit more room for machine translations).

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