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How many words per day can you translate on a day-to-day basis?
Thread poster: jjacek

Boris Sigalov
Local time: 22:19
English to Russian
~ 1,200 - 1,500 Apr 3, 2008

I may say I'm a good translator but not very quick... I'm a very slow typist.

 

Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:19
English to Dutch
+ ...
Technical solution Apr 3, 2008

N Ivan Contreras wrote:

Is dictating a common practice among slow-typing translators?


That's where tools like Dragon Naturally Speaking come in (check the forums if you would like to know more).

By the way, there have been discussions about words-per-day before. Even a poll, if I remember correctly.
Experience is an important factor, speed of reading and typing is another.
Quality of the source text too. Then there is the matter of circumstances - do you have a comfortable chair, desk, how well can you concentrate, etc.

How many words per day you can translate depends on a lot of factors. I'd say try 1500 for a while, and if you find you can do more, increase.


 

Jean-Pierre Bergez Saretzki (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:19
English to Spanish
I wasn´t joking!! Apr 3, 2008

I offered 3,500 words per day when I first started about 18 years ago.
So far (fingers crossed), I have had no complaints about my quality.

For some years now, and since era of Mr. Google, I am offering up to 5,000 words a day.

I know quite a number of translators capable of 7,000+ words a day and their quality is good.

However, the asker just wants to know about output, the question of quality is a different issue. My use of the phrase "acceptable qu
... See more
I offered 3,500 words per day when I first started about 18 years ago.
So far (fingers crossed), I have had no complaints about my quality.

For some years now, and since era of Mr. Google, I am offering up to 5,000 words a day.

I know quite a number of translators capable of 7,000+ words a day and their quality is good.

However, the asker just wants to know about output, the question of quality is a different issue. My use of the phrase "acceptable quality" is a matter of intepretation. Good agencies have their own trusted proofreaders who will decide what is a good translation and what translators are worth being called again and again.

Sorry,
Jean-Pierre
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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 21:19
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
Dragon Naturally Speaking ---- Apr 3, 2008

That's where tools like Dragon Naturally Speaking come in


.... for the few target languages available (English, German, French ...) . No Slovenian to be expected for some forseeable future.

A stenographic keyboard would be swell - something along the iPhone line (but doing Unicode; IBM has a guy who has developed something in this direction - playing words on some contraption pretty much like chords on the piano.

Or ... IntelliSense for Word

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa155749(office.10).aspx

[Edited at 2008-04-03 09:33]


 

Brandis (X)
Local time: 21:19
English to German
+ ...
800 - 1500 - 4000 > more Apr 3, 2008

then depending upon the requirement my regular teams come in and do 15000 - 2500 - also 80000 words a day. quo va dis . Brandis

 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
German to English
+ ...
I haven't done it yet Apr 3, 2008

N Ivan Contreras wrote:

I am not a fast typist, and I suppose at some point I may have to hire a typist whom I can dictate to. Does that sound familiar?


I have heard of people doing that, but don't know anyone personally. I have thought of trying speech recognition, though. My typing speed is limited by repetitive strain injuries in the past. If I try to go too fast for too long I start getting symptoms again. It is a problem.


 

Heidi C  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is typing the speed bottleneck? Apr 3, 2008

N Ivan Contreras wrote:

I am not a fast typist, and I suppose at some point I may have to hire a typist whom I can dictate to. Does that sound familiar?


I am a fast typist. I would say I can type faster than I talk (and whoever knows me would say that is really a mouthful! )

Anyhow, I do not think that your speed at typing will determine your word per day output! Maybe it did in the old days when there were no computers and you had to type your final version (with all the carbon copies...), and then it would have affected only how fast you could type your final draft.

Nowadays, you are working on a word processor, stopping and thinking while you work. In my opinion, typing speed does not have much to do with your speed at translating or how many words you translate a day...

I recommend you first try out how much your typing speed really affects your actual work, from first try to final draft!

[Edited at 2008-04-03 12:24]


 

Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:19
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Depends on the source language to some extent Apr 3, 2008

Some languages, notably German, have compound words such as the well-known Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitänsmütze (Danube Steam Ship Company Captain's hat), which falsify the actual number of words translated. I usually calculate on the basis of 2250 German words, which leaves me enough leeway for problematical texts or allows me to shorten deadlines if the translation is really urgent.



Brandis wrote:

..... 80000 words a day.......


Gee wizz!


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:19
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
enormous variation Apr 3, 2008

In my experience, my output varies enormously depending on the source text format, quality and subject.

For example, I am working on 6000 words xml help texts distributed over a zillion small files, containing tags between every other word, with a lousy glossary...You know what I mean. I come nowhere near 2000 words a day.

In contrary, I have just squeezed in a 1000 word job for relief, press text about a conference. Plain text, Word file, well formatted. Took approx.
... See more
In my experience, my output varies enormously depending on the source text format, quality and subject.

For example, I am working on 6000 words xml help texts distributed over a zillion small files, containing tags between every other word, with a lousy glossary...You know what I mean. I come nowhere near 2000 words a day.

In contrary, I have just squeezed in a 1000 word job for relief, press text about a conference. Plain text, Word file, well formatted. Took approx. 30 minutes. I could easily do 8000 to 10000 a day of this kind of text. Customers seem to be very happy with my work.

I am a fast typer, which is a real benefit when translating straight texts that do not need too much investigation. I think the difference is smaller when you need much time to think while translating anyway.

My 2 cents,
Erik
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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:19
Swedish to English
+ ...
Depends of what market segment you target Apr 3, 2008

Heidi C wrote:
Is typing the speed bottleneck?

I'm sure you have to be a very fast typist if you quote for the kind of jobs usually (please note, "usually", not "always") posted at ProZ. 20,000 words at 0.001 peanuts.

Since I'm neither a fast typist nor a monkey, I cannot accept these assignments. I demand best quality from myself (and so do my clients). Thus, I only accept assignments which allow me to deliver this kind of quality. Any assignment which involves me having to speed type does not.


 

Karin Maack  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:19
English to German
And as there are so many different texts... Apr 3, 2008

...I do not say anything about how many words I am generally able to translate. It really depends. I can tell a customer after I have seen the text I am supposed to translate - but not beforehand. So - as I am not as well organized as Victoria Gimbe is (I really admire that!), I don't answer general questions about how many words I can translate per day.

 

N Ivan Contreras, Ph.D.
Local time: 16:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
The dictation question Apr 4, 2008

Nobody seems to have paid any attention to the dictation question I posted a couple of days ago. Should I suppose that no translator ever dictates a text (either alive or using a dictating machine) to a fast typist to improve his/her speed?
Or shall I suppose those who do it won´t confess the sin?


 

Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:19
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
I know of people who do Apr 4, 2008

I doubt it's a sin, Ivan. Just not very cost effective and you have to be very well-organized for it to work. As well as having the translation on the tip of your tongue.

Personally I couldn't work with another person next to me - too much temptation to chat and not focus on the job.

Angela


N Ivan Contreras wrote:

Nobody seems to have paid any attention to the dictation question I posted a couple of days ago. Should I suppose that no translator ever dictates a text (either alive or using a dictating machine) to a fast typist to improve his/her speed?
Or shall I suppose those who do it won´t confess the sin?


 

N Ivan Contreras, Ph.D.
Local time: 16:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
How about a poll on voice recognition usage Apr 4, 2008

Anybody would guess the proportion of translators using voice recognition software these days? Anyone currently uses this tool routinely?

 

Anne Seerup
Ireland
Local time: 20:19
English to Danish
+ ...
it is about comfort and balance as well Apr 10, 2008

It is not excactly comfortable working all day and night in front of the computer translating 3500 words + - it will wreck you in the end.
I have done it, and I don't do it anymore. We are selfemployed to have freedom and manage our own working hours amongst other things, so why would we bother straining and neglecting ourselves just for the sake of money. It just leaves you in a miserable state from which your business won't benefit.

Well ok, sometimes I end up working late
... See more
It is not excactly comfortable working all day and night in front of the computer translating 3500 words + - it will wreck you in the end.
I have done it, and I don't do it anymore. We are selfemployed to have freedom and manage our own working hours amongst other things, so why would we bother straining and neglecting ourselves just for the sake of money. It just leaves you in a miserable state from which your business won't benefit.

Well ok, sometimes I end up working late, but that just because I have been doing other not work related things.

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