New to Freelancing - Need to know how fast is considered good.
Thread poster: petermartins
I'm new to freelance translating. But I've spent the last year translating (english>portuguese) how-to manuals for the company I work for. I'm native in both languages. I've known how to read, write and speak them both since I was 6. But I have no idea how fast I should be doing it (words/h). I wouldn't want to start freelancing and not be able to comply to regular schedules or maybe cheating on my employers.
| | xxxMurielP
Local time: 07:47
French to English
| Average of about 2000 words/day || Oct 6, 2004 |
Welcome to freelancing! It seems to be around 2000 words per day (at least here in the UK) but obviously this is very much dependant on the document you are translating. You need to see how much you can do in a day remaining confident and comfortable with the quality of your work. You will soon be able to rate your speed as I think this is personal. There's no need to rush a job if you're not going to do a good job of it. You can also have a look at the ITI website (www.iti.org.uk) where you will find useful tips on how to get started.
Hope this helps.
| | Kevin Fulton
Local time: 02:47
German to English
| You'll get faster with time || Oct 6, 2004 |
You're better off taking your time and producing a quality product rather than trying to crank out 3000 words/day with a mediocre result.
As Muriel indicated, 2000 words/day is a realistic goal, and over time, as you become more experienced, you'll be able to exceed that. But you'll also learn to promise no more than 2000-2500, even though your capacity might be greater. Reason: Murphy's Law: if anything can go wrong, it will.
Your typing skills are also a factor. I'm sure I could produce more if I ever learned to type properly.
| There are two speeds to consider - ongoing and "sprint" || Oct 6, 2004 |
Speaking based on what we have seen in surveys among ProZ.com members, it is important to differentiate between your maximum throughput rate and the rate you can maintain every day on an ongoing basis. Surveys suggest that around 2500 words is typical on an ongoing basis. Many members report, though, that in a pinch they can do twice that or more (presumably by working longer hours).
I recommend you determine both your "sprint" and "ongoing" throughput rates. This will help you to plan.
By the way, to boost your speed consider:
(1) Sticking to your specialty(s)
(2) Using CAT tools
(3) Using KudoZ for tough terms you can not find in dictionaries or web searches
(Note added later: I see that you already do at least (1) and (2). Great.)
| | xxxLia Fail
Local time: 08:47
Spanish to English
| Be cautious about committing yourself. || Oct 6, 2004 |
Peter Martins wrote:
I wouldn't want to start freelancing and not be able to comply to regular schedules or maybe cheating on my employers.
You wouldn't be cheating, they usually pay by the word/line, you'd just land yourself in it:-)
In other words, if you agree to do 3,000 words in 24 hours, then find you can't, then the client won't be very pleased with you.
I rarely accept jobs without first seeing a text, or at least a sample. Then I calculate time, building in a margin for error - no more than 2,000 words/day for technical stuff - and let the client know my proposed delivery. If their deadline is too tight, I ask them for an extension, and if that's not possible, I turn down the job.
Note that 2,000 technical words a day might means a l-o-n-g day, i.e. not your 7.5 office hours, but your 10 translator hours:-) Work is frequently interrupted by calls, emails, etc or other admin things, so a translator's real work day tends to be long.
What's more, it may not be feasible for somebody with relatively little experience to do 2,000-3,000/day, either.
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| Biting off more than you can chew || Oct 7, 2004 |
I tended to do this when I started out, and it really bit me back - my customers were thrilled, but all it resulted in was severe, and entirely self-inflicted, stress!
I started off saying "up to 5000 words per day", before I realised that I could only do this in certain subjects I knew well (video games, software manuals, easy general texts).
My "average" is now 2,000 per day, but again, that can be a LONG day - 14 hours is not unusual ;-(
If it's technical or complicated and/or in an area you don't have a lot of experience in, I would even say 1500 per day. And please watch out for those ones that look straightforward and have 3 pages hiding in the middle about something you've never heard of!
Just a few hard-earned pieces of advice - I am proud to say that I have been doing this for a year now, am trying hard to practise what I preach, and have never had a customer who hasn't come back with more work (and no, it's NOT just corrections!).
| | lien
Local time: 08:47
English to French
| Thank you Hilary || Oct 7, 2004 |
to be so honest.
Thank you to put back things in perspective. You read so much boasting nowaday on lists.
2500 words a day, yes, but they always forgot to tell how long is the day. I used to be complexed, but I realised that they didn't say how many repetitions they were, if they used a CAT tool, how familiar they were with the subject, how many time they did something very similar etc.