Comprehension and Trust in Crises: Investigating the Impact of Machine Translation and Post-Editing
Alessandra Rossetti | Sharon O’Brien | Patrick Cadwell
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the European Association for Machine Translation
We conducted a survey to understand the impact of machine translation and post-editing awareness on comprehension of and trust in messages disseminated to prepare the public for a weather-related crisis, i.e. flooding. The translation direction was English–Italian. Sixty-one participants—all native Italian speakers with different English proficiency levels—answered our survey. Each participant read and evaluated between three and six crisis messages using ratings and open-ended questions on comprehensibility and trust. The messages were in English and Italian. All the Italian messages had been machine translated and post-edited. Nevertheless, participants were told that only half had been post-edited, so that we could test the impact of post-editing awareness. We could not draw firm conclusions when comparing the scores for trust and comprehensibility assigned to the three types of messages—English, post-edits, and purported raw outputs. However, when scores were triangulated with open-ended answers, stronger patterns were observed, such as the impact of fluency of the translations on their comprehensibility and trustworthiness. We found correlations between comprehensibility and trustworthiness, and identified other factors influencing these aspects, such as the clarity and soundness of the messages. We conclude by outlining implications for crisis preparedness, limitations, and areas for future research.