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Advise from translators with a technological background
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:52
Flemish to English
+ ...
Feb 28, 2003

This posting addresses the technical specialists among you: people with a basic eduction in science and technology. I have an acquiantance, who is an engineer. He fascinated by technology, management, maths and stats.

He has a solid knowledge of many branches of engineering. Of course, he does not review technical translations for free.

To accept a highly technical translation at the classical 0.03-0.07 euro offered by so many, would mean that I can not pay him for revision unless I work for free.

For that reason, I am curious to find out in what price-fork the rate of the \"techies\" among the translators on this site is situated. The Rate Stats only give a general impression of the entire Proz-populace, who work in a certain language combination.


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Kimmy
Local time: 06:52
Italian to English
+ ...
Manupro - I see that you are in Switzerland Feb 28, 2003

The rates you quoted for technical transaltion 0.03 - 0.07 are very low (even more so for CH).

Over and above the problem of getting a qualified reviewer - for those rates I wouldn\'t even be translating the jobs in teh first place - let alone reviewing!

Having said that - I would be upping my technical rate if I were you!

Ciao


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AAAmedical  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 22:52
English to Dutch
+ ...
it depends Feb 28, 2003

It mainly depends on the country the agency is located. In the States rates of 0.15-0.18 are seen. In Europe the rates are lower and a little higher than the rate for \'general texts\'. The best thing to do is to find a translator with the same specialisation and proofread eachothers documents (or at least the parts you are not sure about).



Regards



Ann


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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 17:52
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
Depends on the rates... Feb 28, 2003

Although proofreading should be charged hourly and not per source word, this is mostly done in-house and not freelance for obvious reasons. I hence charge a fee which would reflect in average my hourly rate.



The rates you quote differ quite a lot; I charge USD 0,03 per technical proofreading and USD 0,07 for technical translations. The first rate applies only if the text has at least a minimun quality guaranteed (in other words, if it\'s a lousy translation I will tell the client the situation and either reject the work or rise my rates).



However, it is usual to lower your rates for colleagues or to trade work. Find a qualified technical translator which does your reverse pairs and offer him to collaborate on a even basis. That\'s the easiest way around.



And, although I fear this could be the beggining of a very controversial topic, I cannot agree with what Mr. Torunoglu said:



Quote:


In a few such revisions you may fully grasp the field and become a reference person instead of looking for a specialist.





I am afraid a few revisions, no matter how good-willed and researched they may be, would never, ever, qualify you as an expert (not to mention \"a reference person\"). If it were so, we would all have thousands of especialist fields, and that is obviously not feasible.



Regards,

Rossana





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AAAmedical  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 22:52
English to Dutch
+ ...
You don't learn a technical speciality overnight Feb 28, 2003

Quote:




I am afraid a few revisions, no matter how good-willed and researched they may be, would never, ever, qualify you as an expert (not to mention \"a reference person\"). If it were so, we would all have thousands of especialist fields, and that is obviously not feasible.



Regards,

Rossana











Fully agree with you Rossana. I have a medical bckground but new things are happening every day. I just can not follow everything. Sure I have the advantage of understanding medicals documents easier than other translators but still it\'s hard.



Regards



Ann







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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:52
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
People Service Profit Feb 28, 2003

May I point out that I only requested the rate-bracket of translators with a non-linguistic education and background? I did not ask for an opinion about what I should do or not do. Two people together know more than one and no company will function without the dedication of its employees. So, isn’t the stereotype of the lonely translator bent over his dictionaries, isn\'t that a bit out of date?

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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 17:52
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
Ah, well... Feb 28, 2003

Quote:


It takes some years to make an exact formation. It is a life long process not overnight.What is more as stated above, specialst of the field also need to do some searchs on the field.





Now we agree; you were just talking of research within your field (which is done all the time is some fields as tech. & medical), not to say, proofreading something which has nothing to do with your specializations (as I would be perusing a legal text!).



What I understood from Manupro\'s post was that he was in need of a proofreader for an area entirely different from the one he covers, in which case he needs external help.



Regards,

Rossanah

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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 17:52
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
Although I meant my point to be emphatic... Feb 28, 2003

I didn\'t mean to have it repeated!.



Can a moderator please erase it?.



Thanks,

Rossana


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:52
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To the point Feb 28, 2003

To be concrete: I have a friend. He is an engineer. He is obsessed by everything which has to do with is technology. He knows three languages very well.

At a business-course, one of the things they teach you is cost-calculation (activity-based costing).

Exam question of ABC : You place a bid at 0.03-0.05 euro for say 10,000 words.

The engineer asks one fourth of the total value of a voluminous translation for revision? What rate do you ask to be able to pay him, cover your activities and generate enough cash-flow. Is that rate high enough?

No, I cannot translate a highly medical text on my own, but with the help of a professor at a medical school, I can.


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 22:52
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
To the point as well Feb 28, 2003

When you accept jobs at 0.03-0.07 you\'re indeed in for a whole lot of problems if you have to pay extra for revision and/or proofreading. Even without this, I wouldn\'t accept such rates, especially not when I\'d be supposed to deliver an edited translation for that kind of money.



My advice would be to simply decline such \'offers\', or charge a normal decent rate.

Any idea how much bonafide translation agencies charge?



Being a bit more assertive sure helps (at times).


[addsig]


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David Sirett
Local time: 22:52
French to English
+ ...
Still more to the point Feb 28, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-02-28 15:46, manupro wrote:

At a business-course, one of the things they teach you is cost-calculation (activity-based costing).

Exam question of ABC : You place a bid at 0.03-0.05 euro for say 10,000 words.

The engineer asks one fourth of the total value of a voluminous translation for revision? What rate do you ask to be able to pay him, cover your activities and generate enough cash-flow. Is that rate high enough?

No, I cannot translate a highly medical text on my own, but with the help of a professor at a medical school, I can.





Is that rate (0.03-0.05 euros) high enough? NO!



Look, if you\'ve done cost calculations on a business course, surely you can work this out for yourself. A qualified engineer would probably expect 75 euros an hour or more. Factor in what you need to live on and your productivity, and I\'m sure the model doesn\'t work at 3-5 cents a word!



To supplement the \"concrete\" answers you\'ve already received, French agency rates vary widely, and of course direct customers are another level. For the former I work at 0.09-0.11 euros at present - but only in technical fields in which I have competency/experience, so I do not subcontract translation review/editing.



Regards

David

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:52
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I did "figure" it out... Mar 1, 2003

Thanks: I did figure it out. Conclusion: I just shall have to place bids at 0.12-0.15 euro and agencies (especially those posting here) will be \"delighted\" to pay that price, especially if they are based in Spain and Italy. Fortunately, there is the American market. Why is it that an engineer can ask 75 euro/hour or more and a translator cannot?

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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:52
English to French
Poor agencies Mar 4, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-03-01 10:59, manupro wrote:

Thanks: I did figure it out. Conclusion: I just shall have to place bids at 0.12-0.15 euro and agencies (especially those posting here) will be \"delighted\" to pay that price, especially if they are based in Spain and Italy. Fortunately, there is the American market. Why is it that an engineer can ask 75 euro/hour or more and a translator cannot?



Good conclusions, but I would like to stress that agencies in poor countries are handling documents for customers which ARE NOT in poor countries. So what sense does it make to accept the work of rich customers from \"poor agencies\" at lower rates.



Rates are applicable to the market one is aiming at, not the market the agency is located in.

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David Sirett
Local time: 22:52
French to English
+ ...
facts of life :) Mar 8, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-03-01 10:59, manupro wrote:

I just shall have to place bids at 0.12-0.15 euro and agencies (especially those posting here) will be \"delighted\" to pay that price, especially if they are based in Spain and Italy. Fortunately, there is the American market. Why is it that an engineer can ask 75 euro/hour or more and a translator cannot?





I agree with your implication, that it is impossible to work for Spanish or Italian agencies and pay a technical reviser to check your translations, and still earn enough to live in Switzerland!



A translator can *ask* for 75 euro/h. With specialist experience and working for direct clients, he/she might even get it - some do.



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