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Other in-house translators
Thread poster: Anodien
Anodien
Local time: 19:27
German to English
+ ...
Dec 10, 2008

Hallo everybody,

I know that most proz.com users are working as freelancers. However, as an in-house translator I also frequently use proz for my work, in particular when searching for terminology.

So, I am just curious if here are other in-house translators around. Although freelancer and employeed translators are facing the same challenges with regard to terminology and language there are differences when being in-house such as working hours, resources etc.

What are your experiences? How long do you work each day? What resources are provided by your company (TMS, internet access, trainings etc.)?

Of course, nobody shall mention the company he/she is working for - I have just a general interest to get in contact with other translators.


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Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 19:27
German to English
fellow in-houser Dec 11, 2008

Hi I'm also an in-house translator, I put in a full day but I'm not alway busy. when times are slow I usually review/edit previously translation work, skim through the company Web site for errors or research ways to improve or expand my abilities as a translator. As I am the first in-houser the company has had, I had to aquire the resources I use myself (CAT tools, glosseries, etc.). Another issue I face is explaining the choices I make when translating since most where I work have the wrong idea of what translating is and what's involved. I often find myself having to write in a style that is, from my point of view, unnatural. It's very frustrating sometimes.

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Anodien
Local time: 19:27
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi colleague Dec 11, 2008

I am also working 40 hours/week but actually it is often more. Same as in your case, my workload differs. In my case it is due to normal seasonal fluctuations, which are due to the business my company is working in.

Although I am not the first translator here and the company is a worldwide operating one, they are neither experienced with translators nor with translation in general. Therefore, me and my two colleagues have to face different problems. First is that our corporate language is English and that therefore a lot of people think that their school English is sufficient to provide good translations. And as deadlines are often narrow, a lot of texts are directly written in English by non-Natives and often there is no review by a qualified translator or a native speaker. That is really a problem, however, it is problematic to explain it to the executives.

We also face the problem that people do not understand what translation is about. I often get texts of about 100 pages and people expect it to be ready within a few hours. Or they ask me how long I will need for a translation (in hours) and I cannot answer the question, as it depends on the text type and if it is standard text (for which we have templates) or not.

Also it is very difficult to get all the necessary resources. We are provided with an unlimited internet access, what is good when searching for parallel texts or terminology and also dictionaries or professional literature is no real problem. But when it comes to stuff like translation memory systems and co., people do not understand how important these are nowadays and that you cannot operate on a global market without doing terminology work.

I hope, we can find some more fellow in-house translators to share our experiences.


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:27
Italian to English
+ ...
Hi all... Dec 12, 2008

I'm freelance but around 85% of my work is done at the office of one client, so I guess that makes me sort of in-house.

I'm glad you guys started this thread, I find the only thing I use Proz for now is terminology searches. Maybe I'll cut back my membership to Kudoz-only, I don't know. What do you think?


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Anna Dzidowska  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:27
English to Polish
+ ...
Looks like there are not too many of us on ProZ... Dec 12, 2008

Hi, I'm another in-house translator/ interpreter, which already makes four of us:).

Anodien, I can totally see what you mean - it looks exactly the same in my case.
I've been working for my current employer (a global financial company) for over six years and by now I could write a book about misconceptions re: translation/ interpretation.

The most common - 1) you can translate anything after one year of high school English or a two-week crush course in the UK 2) If a word in Polish seems similar to an English one, just add an English ending and everyone will understand it (false friends? what are you talking about?) 3) a text that took one week to be written can be translated in one hour. After all translation comes down to re-typing the original, right? And so on, and so on.

Still, it's fun:)


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Anodien
Local time: 19:27
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Already four... Dec 12, 2008

Oh, that is great, that there are already four of us, although I have to agree that it seems, that here are not so many of us at proz

@ryan
that is exactly the reason why I am so far not a paying member of proz, although I have already considered to become one.

@Anna
I am also working in a global financing company, over here in Germany. I really love my job, it is so interesting. But sometimes it is also difficult as people know nothing about translation business. Just see today - someone asked me to make an offer on a translation about 130 pages.The typical questions: How long will it take and how much will it cost? But it is difficult to estimate the hours if I do not know the text.

Or currently I am working on an English-German translation with the problem that the English text already is an translation into English and was not written by a professional linguist. So I often can only guess what the author will say.

Another problem: Last year I iniated a project with the objective to implement a terminology management system. Initially there was a huge interest but currently things are getting slower and unfortunately we did not get the final "go" so far. Perhaps this is also a side-effect of the financial crisis - currently everyone thinks twice before making huge investments. So I have gifferent glossarioes with about 6,000 to 8,000 terms, 10 or 12 different dictionaries and some templates, but cannot use these resources properly or share them with others.


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Buzzy
Local time: 19:27
French to English
Memories of an ex in houser Dec 15, 2008

Hi Anodien and the others,

I started out as an in-houser and it was my greatest stroke of luck (I was actually their second choice and fortunately for me the first choice wanted more money and effectively talked herself out of the job!) because it gave me a specialisation and useful contacts for later. I wasn't thinking about it in those terms then, though, I was just pleased to land the job.

At the time, would you believe it, the internet had not yet arrived - we worked on little Macintoshes you had to put a system disk in every day to start up - and we thought our little in-house message system was really amazing! So I was more dependent on paper dictionaries than you. But it was great having all the colleagues around to ask for explanations where necessary. On the other hand I soon noticed that correcting their written English (or if the source text was unclear, questioning their French!) was for many a very personal issue. I suppose they were all from high-flying schools and were used to being told how wonderful they were - and to be fair they were very good at English. But as we all know, writing well in a foreign language is different from communicating well orally. It was hard to get across that the image of the firm was reflected in our letters and reports and this was not just a case of the upstart translator questioning their abilities. Sometimes the only way to get round this was to play dumb - "I'm sorry, I'm not sure I've understood this rightly, could I just check with you...?" Once I spent ages in the office going over something with a particularly finicky person, justifying all sorts of terms and when he'd gone, satisfied, the girl I shared the office with looked at me in awe and said "How do you stay so patient!" But it was a better tactic than being short with them because if they felt insulted they simply stopped using my services, thus increasing the chances of seriously wonky tax or other advice being issued in the firm's name.

Apart from the diplomacy issue, there was the question of status. I was classified as an "administratif" not as a "professionnel" - in other words the same status as secretaries etc. But I had the same targets for hours of work as the "professionals" although I was dependent on what I was given by others. I was paid like a (senior) secretary but my work was charged to the client at a junior consultant rate. Sometimes I felt undervalued, but sometimes this in-between status was useful. If I was "only" administrative staff (and that was rather the corporate attitude) then they couldn't expect too much dedication of me - and some staff really put in silly hours. When I stopped doing overtime because of too many migraines they didn't like it at first, but then even the partner who would always send translations round at 5.30pm to be done that evening began to send the stuff round with the question "can you do this tomorrow morning"? And it didn't seem to reflect badly on how I was evaluated. My first step in "educate your clients".

I can relate to your problem over the terminology project. Even without the credit crunch, such ideas are generally not a priority for a firm that tends to see its translator as a kind of machine. They wouldn't really need him/her at all if they only had the time to do it themselves... Keep trying, keep explaining what a good idea it is for corporate image quality, and keep smiling. You might even try to distribute a memo on how best to use the translator's services, explaining how long it can take to translate x pages, how you may need to contact them for clarification, etc. In the end being the in-house translator uses many of the same skills as being freelance, it's just that your clients are your colleagues. Oh yes, and you can't slop around in tracksuit bottoms all day...


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:27
Italian to English
+ ...
This is a cool topic! Dec 15, 2008

Finally, some Prozians who are in much the same position as me...
Can we organise a special Powwow for in-house translators?
Seriously, I have tons of things I'd love to discuss with you all - but I can't, because my client is on Proz as well and I have to be careful what I say! Maybe I'll start a Google Group - would anyone be interested?


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:27
English to French
+ ...
Another fellow translator in-house Dec 15, 2008

Hi all,

I'm an in-house translator as well, for more than 5 years now. This job is pretty special to me as it's my first 'real' job as a translator AND my colleagues and I had to set up the in-house translation department from scratch. We are not only translators, but project managers as well for languages that are outsourced. Quite a challenging job! It hasn't been an easy road, we faced a lot of incomprehension (and still do...) from within the company and quite often we had to justify our presence and prove our expertise to gain some sort of recognition. The typical kind of situation is a manager claiming he can get his translation done 'quicker and cheaper' by some contact he has, but in the end we always end up doing the translation for much cheaper and much quicker than this alleged contact. But don't get me wrong here, we are not working with 0,001/word translators Most of my colleagues translators are also freelancers (myself included) and we refuse to pay our freelancers and agencies at bottom prices. We want quality and a professional service and we know this comes at a price!

Even after 5 years, our department is far from being 'finished'. There are still so many workflows and processes that still fine tuning! So there are many challenges coming our way in the near future


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Anodien
Local time: 19:27
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
it is really interesting to read your experiences Dec 16, 2008

it seems that there are some of us here on proz.

@ryan
I support the idea of a powwow (also I have to admit that I am not fully sure what it is). The reason I am writing with a nickname is also that I am not sure if perhaps someone from work will read it here.

@buzzy,
Did you work for the same company as me, only French-based? I really found myself in your post, including the used terminology and the distinction between professional and support/administrative staff.
Same is here – we are considered as kind of administrative staff like secretaries, IT support etc. This has advantages when it comes to working hours (e.g. nobody expects overtime from us at least not to the same extent as for “professionals”). The other side of the coin is of course the salary – but I think that is something all of you know.

@Marie-Claude,
Our “translation department” is similar, although in fact there is no such department. On the other hand, we are only translating German to English and vice versa, so currently there is no need for other language combinations.


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xxxKhrystene
Australia
Polish to English
+ ...
Oh gods yes! Feb 1, 2009

Anna Ujma wrote:

Hi, I'm another in-house translator/ interpreter, which already makes four of us:).

Anodien, I can totally see what you mean - it looks exactly the same in my case.
I've been working for my current employer (a global financial company) for over six years and by now I could write a book about misconceptions re: translation/ interpretation.

The most common - 1) you can translate anything after one year of high school English or a two-week crush course in the UK 2) If a word in Polish seems similar to an English one, just add an English ending and everyone will understand it (false friends? what are you talking about?) 3) a text that took one week to be written can be translated in one hour. After all translation comes down to re-typing the original, right? And so on, and so on.

Still, it's fun:)



I've had similar experiences. Totally laughable. Including in my latest 'in house' work for a make-up magazine. NEVER MIND that even to translate the varying colours used is a nightmare in itself, but surely it's only going to take a few moments to do that translation!

I hate the word "błyskawiczne"... my boss uses it liberally.


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