Pin It

Like every year, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), held a conference for linguists as an occasion to share knowledge, learn and discuss about the trends on the translation industry.

As members of the association, our team at Wagner participated in this major event and presented a study report on the evolution of Machine Translation, aligned with this year’s topic “The Changing Role of the Human Being in an AI-driven Language Service Industry”.

This edition of GALA’s conference took place in the beautiful city of Munich, Germany, between March 24th and 27, setting a new record of attendants with over 500 delegates from 50 countries.

It was the perfect place to discuss on the increasingly important role AI plays in our everyday lives and in the industry. For us at Wagner, attending like every year and having the opportunity to be speakers on a session among expert colleagues was an honor.


On September 2018, we were invited to apply for being panelists on the 2019 GALA conference and leading one of the sessions. We applied with a topic titled “The Evolution of Fidelity and Intelligibility of Machine Translation Quality over Time”, eager to share our findings.

After presenting the abstract and some preliminary information, our study was selected and our participation as panelists was confirmed by December.

The Conference

GALA is not your average conference, it is an incredible opportunity to connect, share, learn and work together within the translation industry. Knowing all this, we were excited from the moment of arrival, open to learn and filled with emotion to share the results our study had gathered.

The Sunday before the official start of the sessions, as speakers, we were given some tips and useful information about how to optimize our sessions. Additionally, we got to discuss challenges and opportunities to drive development on different specific areas in a stimulation regional development workshop that brought delegates from all countries together.

The talks in the different sessions covered a wide range of topics including machine translations, managing intercultural teams, video localization and more. Following this year’s topic, many reflections on the impact of AI in the industry were shared, along with appreciation on the future of the industry. During these sessions, Gino Toti, Head of Wagner’s US Division, presented the results on the study we conducted.

Wagner’s study: The Evolution of Fidelity and Intelligibility of Machine Translation Quality over Time

Noticing that the use of Machine Translation and Translation memories is becoming increasingly prominent, we took the initiative to present a study on this topic. We analized the effectiveness on Machine Translation and its evolution, based on variables like fidelity, legibility, semantic, syntax, usability and intelligibility.

Wagner is global company ISO certified company, with the ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certifying good management of processes and good practices in translation. In addition, we count with a trajectory of almost 2 decades providing linguistic services in more than 100 languages. So we relied on our own means to conduct the study in-house and analyze the advances and level of Machine Translation compared to Human Translation.

For the study purposes, we selected 4 different texts from the fields of Medicine, Law and Science and ran these through Google Translate, SDL Language Cloud to translate to German. We also got the same files translated by 3 of our in-house certified translators in order to have a human counterpart. We assigned texts to the translators according to their field of expertise. The texts did not undergo any type of proofreading since the point of our study was to compare texts translated by a human translator to the one obtained by a MT.

Next, a team of 10 expert translators from our firm reviewed the translated documents, following a set of guidelines based on the “Critical Study of Methods for Evaluating the Quality of Machine Translation”, prepared for the Commission of the European Communities by George Van Slype. To assess the quality of translations, we based our evaluation the definition used by L’Association Jean FAVARD.

Our team of experts reviewed and assigned a grade to the variables on each translation, being 10 the highest score possible. The results showed a big improvement on Machine Translation in the fields of Science and Legal, the two with the highest scores on terms of Fidelity and Intelligibility.

Even though the results of Machine Translation cannot no be considered as good as human translation in these two fields, both Google Translator and SDL Cloud obtained their largest numbers between 8 and 10 for Fidelity and 9-10 in Intelligibility, against 10 in both variables for the files worked by human translators. This shows that the areas of Medical and Science are very strongly developed, achieving high levels of Fidelity and Intelligibility.

We developed this study as a mean to help understand which areas would need a more exhaustive post-editing process. For us, having the opportunity to present the study results at this year’s edition of GALA was a way of sharing our experience to other companies who might benefit from it.

The future of the Industry

This year’s edition of the GALA Conference presented multiple remarkable insights into the advantages of AI, how to maximize such benefits, the different paths to grow and so much more. We bid the conference goodbye with our minds full of knowledge, new insights and inspiration to continue doing our best for our clients.

By the end of these days filled with knowledge-sharing, we could see that the final conclusions revolved around the role of the human component and its importance in a world where technology increasingly encompasses more areas.

Without a doubt, technology is here to stay and will evolve continuously. As our study showed, technology and AI have improved a lot. However, those are a mean of support rather than a replacement. The key is to embrace technology to reduce inefficiencies and repetitive tasks, allocating more time to human value. The human factor is and will be a need since new technology will demand new human talent. Talent we are ready to help develop.



If you wish to receive a detailed offer or consultation on Globalization or Localization services provided by Wagner Consulting, then please feel free to contact our Sales Team, who will gladly assist you

Sales team at Wagner Consulting

US: (718) 838 9533 (English speaking)

US:  (917) 725 3145 (Spanish speaking)

EU: (718) 618 4268

E-Mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.