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"Auto-translate empty fields (with Bing)" - get rid of it, please!

"Auto-translate empty fields (with Bing)" in the translation interface is a real menace, which can mess up perfectly sane ongoing human translations. This obtains for all automatic translations, that should only be used indicatively by users, never published as such.
My impression - but I might be mistaken - is that this Bing stuff had disappeared around the time Darren Bridenbeck announced that Google now had its Amara team. Anyway, can it be eliminated, please? Apart from the messes it causes, Bing is proprietary software, hence not compatible with Amara's claim that its tools "are free and open source".

If translators want to see for themselves what an automatic translation of empty fields looks like, they can just have the original subs translated by adding their URL in Bing or Google Translate. Or they can even download the original subs as an .srt file and reuse them by uploading the file in the Google Translator Toolkit, which is great because there's a little eraser in each sub for deleting the Google translation in one go if its beyond editing.

But no automatic translation - be it Bing's or Google's - should ever get published. See the way Google's is offered on YouTube: it's the user who has to choose it, and to OK a warning about its unreliability.

Hello Claude, 

We agree with you: The auto translate option should be used as an aid, but not as final product since it gives unreliable results.  We only have it enabled for certain languages, not all, to ensure that quality is acceptable. The auto-translate feature  has been requested by many other users and that is why it is back in the system. We trust that users will use the tool appropriately and in the case a subtitle is published with auto-translated subtitles, other users will see this and improve the subtitles.

As for why we  are using Bing instead of Google: Google is now charging for the translation API, while Bing remains free.  And well, Google, Bing, YouTube and Vimeo, all names familiar to Amara users... they are all proprietary. We want our service to remain free to our users, and for that to happen, we need to use tools that help us with that goal. At this moment, Bing is the one that works out for the community's needs. 

Thanks for the explanation, Jules: I didn't know about Google charging for the translation API. But that was just as bad, actually. Well, perhaps not quite as bad, but still a pain: perhaps add a note that automatic translation should never be used on subtitles someone else is already humanly translating?

I know someone who got really irritated when someone used the Google - back then - automatic translation on subs for a long video she was working on. I asked her why she didn't simply revert to her former version, instead of editing the Google translation, which took her longer. She replied she thought it would have been discourteous.

But there is an external Google solution people might use: their Translator Toolkit. It uses Google Translate, but it works differently: you upload a file, indicate source and target languages, then you get a page with the original on the left and the Google translation on the right.

With normal text files, the text is split by sentences, but if you upload an .srt subtitles' file, it's split by subtitles. I.e. the interface is very much like what you get if you ask for an automatic translation in Amara, but with one advantage: each section has a little eraser below with which you can delete the automatic translation in one go, if it's beyond editing.

Once you've finished, you can export the result in the same format as what you uploaded. I used that - and in particular the little eraser - a lot in June, when translations got blocked by the imposed Amara moderation in teams that didn't want it.

But of course, back then, you could upload an updated translation even if there already was a blocked one. Presently, this wouldn't be feasible. Hopefully Amara will re-enable this possibility? If it did, then the in-Amara translation with Bing could be replaced with a link to the Translator Toolkit.
Hi Claude, 

The toolkit certainly sounds useful! We'll see when the new version comes around how we'll work with auto-translation. The toolkit sounds like an elegant solution that could be useful to include.
Hi Jules,

Maybe just a link to the toolkit would be better: you have to sign in to your Google account to use it.
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