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Volume 17 Number 1, Spring 2020, Pages 1-318 PDF Download

The Effect of L2 Proficiency on Post-editing Machine Translated Texts

    Eun Seon Chung

The present study examines how proficiency in the second language (L2) affects language learners' ability to post-edit texts that are machine-translated from the learners' native language (L1) to L2. More specifically, the study investigates how L2 proficiency level affects the degree to which Korean learners of English can discern the accuracy of L1-to-L2 machine-translated (MT) text and whether it affects the level of errors (word, phrase, clause, sentence) that are corrected in the post-editing process. Fifty-nine Korean university students' proficiency was measured using a cloze test and a writing test. They were then given a source text (Korean) and a machine-translated text (English) and were asked to detect and correct as many errors as they can. The overall results of the study showed that L2 proficiency does have a significant effect on how language learners post-edit machine-translated output. With increasing proficiency, the number of corrections increased especially above the word-level, and significant group differences could be found in post-editing patterns of the MT text. The findings have important pedagogical implications for integrating MT activities in L2 classrooms with learners of different proficiency levels.

Keywords: machine-translation, post-editing, L2 proficiency, L2 writing, error-levels