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

Dorothee Rault  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:07
Member (2007)
French to German
+ ...
Don't panic! Apr 10, 2008

That is the best advice I ever got!

The beginning is always difficult and if you can handle about 350 words a day and the client is happy you have won a lot. But if I were you, I would not mention either that you are a beginner nor that you cannot handle more than 400 words a day.

Just say when they ask: about 1800 words which indicates slightly that you are not confirmed, but which does not tell that you are an absolute beginner. Instead mentioning the amount of word
... See more
That is the best advice I ever got!

The beginning is always difficult and if you can handle about 350 words a day and the client is happy you have won a lot. But if I were you, I would not mention either that you are a beginner nor that you cannot handle more than 400 words a day.

Just say when they ask: about 1800 words which indicates slightly that you are not confirmed, but which does not tell that you are an absolute beginner. Instead mentioning the amount of words a day, try to talk about your experiences, about your background, about your knowledge and the reason why you are so special and what advantages they have working with you!

As some colleagues said before: Be prepared to spend some nights or at least weekends on your translations in the beginning.

When I started out, I sent my applications mainly on Fridays and got lots of translations offers right that day. That was very convenient for me as I had much more time to produce quality.

With the time - and do not worry about that, when you work hard, it is certain to come - you will be able to increase your speed. For me, it was a question of some months.

Today, I am able to translate up to 3000 words a day and the quality is excellent.

Best luck to you!
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jjacek
Local time: 10:07
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Apr 10, 2008

Thanks for all the advice, people.

I told my employer I can handle 1000 words/day and even that is a though start. Things will get better, though. I sure of it


 

Alistair Gainey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:07
Member (2009)
Russian to English
Some calculations Apr 26, 2008

Having started with 1,000 words a day, increase your word count by 10 words a day (just 1 sentence). By the end of a week, you'll be doing 1,050. By the end of a month, you'll be doing 1,200. By the end of a year, you'll be doing something like 3,000 (assuming you work 44 weeks a year).
Starting with a higher number of words per day, or increasing the count by a higher number of words per day, accelerates this improvement.
For example, say you start with 2,000 words a day and you inc
... See more
Having started with 1,000 words a day, increase your word count by 10 words a day (just 1 sentence). By the end of a week, you'll be doing 1,050. By the end of a month, you'll be doing 1,200. By the end of a year, you'll be doing something like 3,000 (assuming you work 44 weeks a year).
Starting with a higher number of words per day, or increasing the count by a higher number of words per day, accelerates this improvement.
For example, say you start with 2,000 words a day and you increase the count by 20 words a day. By the end of a week, you'll be doing 2,100. By the end of a month, you'll be doing 2,400. By the end of a 44-week year, you'll be doing something like 6,000 words a day.
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Alistair Gainey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:07
Member (2009)
Russian to English
Voice recognition software Apr 26, 2008

N Ivan Contreras wrote:

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


I do. I am dictating this message using Dragon Naturally Speaking software. You need a decent headset for it (I'm using a Plantronics USB model), and you need to take time initially to train the computer to recognise your voice. It is superb. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Yes, it makes the odd mistake (to which you have to be alert), but it is at least as accurate as my typing, if not more so. Not only does it make translating much quicker, it also allows me to translate for longer periods at a time. For example, if I translate anything more than 3,000 words a day my fingers get knackered. With voice recognition software I don't have that problem at all.


 

Kenneth Friend
Germany
Local time: 10:07
German to English
2,000 - 3,000 per day Jul 10, 2009

I'm not an especially fast typist, in fact I only have a pretty efficient "2-finger method", but I end up making a fair ammount of mistakes that have to be corrected in proofreading. Nonetheless, given a normal Word file that I can overwrite, I have often managed to translate close to 3,000 words a day without half killing myself. In lets say a 10 hour day of work, with short breaks to eat and smoke. I guess 2,500 per day would be a pretty fair average for me. Unfortunately though it never tends... See more
I'm not an especially fast typist, in fact I only have a pretty efficient "2-finger method", but I end up making a fair ammount of mistakes that have to be corrected in proofreading. Nonetheless, given a normal Word file that I can overwrite, I have often managed to translate close to 3,000 words a day without half killing myself. In lets say a 10 hour day of work, with short breaks to eat and smoke. I guess 2,500 per day would be a pretty fair average for me. Unfortunately though it never tends to work on an average. It's two or three days sitting around like the Maytag repairman, and then whammo, everybody is sending me jobs at once.Collapse


 

FarkasAndras  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:07
English to Hungarian
+ ...
3000-6000 Jul 10, 2009

About 6000 words of reasonably easy and familiar text, proofread - if I were to work through a full 8-hour shift, which I hardly ever do. About half that if the circumstances are not that ideal.

Beginners, I don't know. Typing speed does matter, as does language competence, research skills and how well they can think on their feet, and a bunch of other things, including the source text and the translator's familiarity with the subject, of course. Anywhere from 500-5000 words, I gues
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About 6000 words of reasonably easy and familiar text, proofread - if I were to work through a full 8-hour shift, which I hardly ever do. About half that if the circumstances are not that ideal.

Beginners, I don't know. Typing speed does matter, as does language competence, research skills and how well they can think on their feet, and a bunch of other things, including the source text and the translator's familiarity with the subject, of course. Anywhere from 500-5000 words, I guess.

[Edited at 2009-07-10 21:15 GMT]
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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:07
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
Hard telling. Jul 10, 2009

There are some facts to consider:

- I have to spend approximately 30% of my day on administrative tasks, such as communication with various clients, freelancers, telephone, financial, and project management.

- My jobs usually consist of creative marketing and advertising texts which I simply can't churn out like a machine.

2000-2500 make a good average, including QA. I can write faster, but then I have to work at night when everything is quiet and the phon
... See more
There are some facts to consider:

- I have to spend approximately 30% of my day on administrative tasks, such as communication with various clients, freelancers, telephone, financial, and project management.

- My jobs usually consist of creative marketing and advertising texts which I simply can't churn out like a machine.

2000-2500 make a good average, including QA. I can write faster, but then I have to work at night when everything is quiet and the phone finally decided to shut up.

I have managed 7000 words in one day, but believe me - you don't feel so good the next day...

I am using CAT tools only when someone is forcing me to do so because in my line of work they are rather slowing me down.

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Marius Feilberg Jacobsen  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 10:07
English to Norwegian
+ ...
3500-4000 Aug 11, 2009

I find this to be a good daily output. However, I often find myself taking on very large projects and working on those for 10-12 hours straight. Please note that I am IN NO WAY recommending this style of work. The most I ever translated in a day was approximately 11.000 words, and it left me looking, feeling and talking like a zombie.

My advice is to get a really early start. I find that when I'm at my desk and ready to go at 06.00 am, I am a lot more focused and effective than if
... See more
I find this to be a good daily output. However, I often find myself taking on very large projects and working on those for 10-12 hours straight. Please note that I am IN NO WAY recommending this style of work. The most I ever translated in a day was approximately 11.000 words, and it left me looking, feeling and talking like a zombie.

My advice is to get a really early start. I find that when I'm at my desk and ready to go at 06.00 am, I am a lot more focused and effective than if I start at 9 am (probably because I have no distractions). It's also really motivating to know that I can finish at 2 pm (8 hours).

I wish you the best of luck!

P.s. I know this thread is old, but I just felt like sharing
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Monika Elisabeth Sieger  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:07
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Quality is important Sep 10, 2009

I am translating legal documents from English into German. And although I am trained in both legal systems and have translated for some years until now I never would dare to offer my customers 3,550 words per day as this is simply unrealistic. All my peers are absolutely right: this won't work especially in translations with a very high grade of specification or might be used as documents for use in court etc.
How could anybody have a good conscience of having researched every necessary a
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I am translating legal documents from English into German. And although I am trained in both legal systems and have translated for some years until now I never would dare to offer my customers 3,550 words per day as this is simply unrealistic. All my peers are absolutely right: this won't work especially in translations with a very high grade of specification or might be used as documents for use in court etc.
How could anybody have a good conscience of having researched every necessary aspect in either legal or linguistic way with such an "output"?

I have to admit that I love to translate and that I am usually working 7 days a week. But my maximum daily output is around 2,000 words inclusive polishing and editing.
Please stay realistic!
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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:07
German to Spanish
+ ...
How many words per day can you translate on a day-to-day basis?" Sep 10, 2009

sivara wrote:

I have to admit that I love to translate and that I am usually working 7 days a week. But my maximum daily output is around 2,000 words inclusive polishing and editing.
Please stay realistic!


I agree. After more than thirteen years in business and as technical translator beeing very specialised in some involved matters (HST-engineering, etc.), I would say that an ouput over 2000 ~ 2400 words/day (revision included) is not realistic.


 

Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 11:07
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Cruising speed/boost Sep 10, 2009

2.5K/4K (effective)

(Boost output required some rest the day after.)

[Редактировалось 2009-09-10 17:44 GMT]


 

Lene Johansen  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:07
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Thank you! Jun 4, 2011

Sitting here on a Saturday night being frustrated because I am not particularly motivated to keep going on this document tonight, because I have already done almost 3000 words with formatting and footnotes and whatnot. The client is dying for this document (wanted 16 pages of jam packed chemistry translated in half a day) and has already sent more rush assignments, and I feel so bad for not completing it yet (been 1.5 day now, got four more pages to go before I am done and I DON'T want to wake u... See more
Sitting here on a Saturday night being frustrated because I am not particularly motivated to keep going on this document tonight, because I have already done almost 3000 words with formatting and footnotes and whatnot. The client is dying for this document (wanted 16 pages of jam packed chemistry translated in half a day) and has already sent more rush assignments, and I feel so bad for not completing it yet (been 1.5 day now, got four more pages to go before I am done and I DON'T want to wake up to this one in the morning). OK, done ranting. Thanks for thread. I don't feel like an utter looser now.Collapse


 

Maria Hoskins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:07
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
You're not a loser... Just human Jun 5, 2011

I'm starting out my figures are 1,500-2,500 a week ago I told a client I could not do 3,000 in four hours no matter how much extra dosh they offered me because I just wouldn't be able to cope with concentrating that long. They respected that, happy to say... Which I thought was very wise of them. I think we all have our limits, especially when we're starting.

 

Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:07
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
nigh on impossible Jun 5, 2011

Maria Hoskins wrote:

I'm starting out my figures are 1,500-2,500 a week ago I told a client I could not do 3,000 in four hours no matter how much extra dosh they offered me because I just wouldn't be able to cope with concentrating that long. They respected that, happy to say... Which I thought was very wise of them. I think we all have our limits, especially when we're starting.


3,000 words in four hours is nigh on impossible (even with a CAT!). I would even go so far as to say that any agency that thinks you can achieve that doesn't really know what they're doing...

I try to aim for 2,500 to 3,000 per day.


 

apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:07
English to German
+ ...
around 4.000 Jun 5, 2011

Around 4.000, as an average, for texts of a more general kind. Of course it is possible to deliver quality with that speed. But I have to admit there are texts where a higher speed than 2,5k-3k per day is simply not possible. Best one somewhere above 5k (without CAT, too), not much more because I force myself to take a break above that (with CAT, I would hardly ever manage more than half of that).

Still.... I would never accept an order that would expect or demand that speed upfron
... See more
Around 4.000, as an average, for texts of a more general kind. Of course it is possible to deliver quality with that speed. But I have to admit there are texts where a higher speed than 2,5k-3k per day is simply not possible. Best one somewhere above 5k (without CAT, too), not much more because I force myself to take a break above that (with CAT, I would hardly ever manage more than half of that).

Still.... I would never accept an order that would expect or demand that speed upfront (or, let's say, not without an "extra urgent super rate") usually I am simply happy afterwards that another text went quite smoothly, without the "half an hour for a word" suprises traps that simply occur from time to time (those little cute suprises, deep in the middle of a text that looked so innocent when cheking it before accepting the order).

And I definitely absolutely enjoy and prefer orders without deadline stress. The luxury to have time for a triple-thorough proofreading, with hours between end of the translation work and beginning of the proofreading phase in order to proofread with a really fresh eye, to take your time in order to search and finally find that one even-more-perfect-and-even-better-fitting-expression... I love that and texts love that, too - and exactly this, here you're right, Nikki, is not possible above let's say 3k at most. And I am not talking about technical translations, of course.




[Edited at 2011-06-05 22:08 GMT]
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