Measuring Uncertainty in Translation Quality Evaluation (TQE)

15 Nov 2021  ·  Serge Gladkoff, Irina Sorokina, Lifeng Han, Alexandra Alekseeva ·

From both human translators (HT) and machine translation (MT) researchers' point of view, translation quality evaluation (TQE) is an essential task. Translation service providers (TSPs) have to deliver large volumes of translations which meet customer specifications with harsh constraints of required quality level in tight time-frames and costs. MT researchers strive to make their models better, which also requires reliable quality evaluation. While automatic machine translation evaluation (MTE) metrics and quality estimation (QE) tools are widely available and easy to access, existing automated tools are not good enough, and human assessment from professional translators (HAP) are often chosen as the golden standard \cite{han-etal-2021-TQA}. Human evaluations, however, are often accused of having low reliability and agreement. Is this caused by subjectivity or statistics is at play? How to avoid the entire text to be checked and be more efficient with TQE from cost and efficiency perspectives, and what is the optimal sample size of the translated text, so as to reliably estimate the translation quality of the entire material? This work carries out such motivated research to correctly estimate the confidence intervals \cite{Brown_etal2001Interval} depending on the sample size of the translated text, e.g. the amount of words or sentences, that needs to be processed on TQE workflow step for confident and reliable evaluation of overall translation quality. The methodology we applied for this work is from Bernoulli Statistical Distribution Modelling (BSDM) and Monte Carlo Sampling Analysis (MCSA).

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