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Translation/review throughputs for Japanese
Thread poster: JennyC08

JennyC08
Local time: 06:40
German to French
+ ...
Sep 4, 2007

Hello,
Sorry, I cannot enter my questions in Japanese, but I thought it would be the best place to post my question. Please feel free to move it if it is not the case.
I am managing localization projects in several languages, amongst those Japanese.
For quite a while now, I counted as a thoughput for translation around 300 words/hour (about 1600 words/day) and for review 800 words/h (6000 words/day).
Does it correspond to the reality? The translators are coming back to me now saying that they cannot review more than 4,000 a day.
Thanks for your input!

Caroline


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:40
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Calculations - Specialty? Quality? Sep 5, 2007

Hi Caroline,
I regularly translate from Japanese to English and sometimes I do reviews, too.
I do not translate/review INTO Japanese.
I am not sure which direction you were asking, but I normally use a 2.5 division/multiplication between source characters in the Japanese text, and target English words. (So, 2500 source characters in the Japanese text will be about 1000 English words, when translated.)

First of all, I do not understand how 300 words/hour corresponds to 1600 words/day.
Perhaps you meant 200 words/hour?
The review figure (800 x 8 = 6400) works out OK - I mean the calculation itself.

Now, as for what is reality and what is not - translation and review speed depends on the field of the text, the quality of the translation (for reviews) and the expertise of the translator/reviewer.

I have a feeling that legal texts, patents, and medical/pharmaceutical documents are in general require more time to translate, compared to other fields (I do not work in these fields, so I cannot say for sure, but I have seen such texts and they are often very complicated, plus there is liability in working with them, so they require extra attention and double-triple checking). But again, if somebody is specializing in those areas, they may see those areas as easy, and consider my primary areas (engineering, computers, software, etc.) difficult. So, again, it depends on one's expertise.

I normally translate around 250-300 words/hour (again, this is from Japanese into English, so about 5000-6000 source characters/day) in my field of expertise. (I try to work only in my specialty areas.)

As for reviewing, if it is a good quality translation, I think 800 words/hour is realistic. I normally do 1000 words/hour, but again, I make sure before I take on the review work, that the translation is of good quality. If it requires significantly more work, then I either don't take it, or negotiate for more time. I do have a client where I review less than 800 words/hour, but for them I have to comment on every issue I find, not just correct it, so that's a special case.

So, I don't know why your reviewers say they cannot review more than 4000 words a day:
- Do they work 8 hours a day? If not, that is a simple explanation.
- What about the quality of the translations you give them? Do they need to do a lot of editing to fix the texts?
- Do you require them to do formatting as part of the review? (That may take a lot of time.)
- Is the source text particularly difficult (poorly written, or very special with specialized terminology that they need to check in detail)?
- Does the material fall within the translator/reviewer's range of expertise? (If not, the work will take longer, or the translation quality will suffer, so the reviewer will have to work a lot.)
- Is the source text hardcopy, or scanned PDF? (Those are sometimes hard to read.)
- Do you/your translators/editors use any CAT tool? (If the text has repetitive parts, and you don't use CAT tools, the reviewers may need to spend extra time to manually make sure the translation is consistent throughout.)
- Do you (or your end client) provides previously accepted translations as a reference so the new translations should follow the terminology, style etc. of those?
- Do they have to work with some special software tool? (Some tools are hard to use, and can slow down people not used to them.)

These are a few reasons I can think of as a possible reason to take longer to translate or review, even in the case of the best translators/reviewers.
Does of these cases above apply to your situation?
If not, and you definitely want to increase the throughput, then perhaps you need to find other translators/reviewers.
But I think the fundamental question is: are you happy with the quality you getting at the end from your translators/reviewers? If yes, and you can afford them, then I would say keep them.

Either case, talk to them.

[Edited at 2007-09-05 01:26]


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JennyC08
Local time: 06:40
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
more info Sep 5, 2007

Hello Katalin,
Thanks a lot for your answer. I forgot to mention that I was looking into translation from English into Japanese, but your explanations are very interesting all the same.
The field I work in is localization of software. It includes the translation of the software itself as well as the user guides.
The reviewer reviews texts that was translated by an external vendor (the vendor includes in their cycle a review as well).

Here are some answers:
- Do they work 8 hours a day? If not, that is a simple explanation.
Yes they do, and sometimes more than that.

- What about the quality of the translations you give them? Do they need to do a lot of editing to fix the texts?
They have to report errors that they see. I don't have the feeling that there is a lot of editing involved.

- Do you require them to do formatting as part of the review? (That may take a lot of time.)
No formatting at all, they have to review TTX files and not implement any changes (just report them).

- Is the source text particularly difficult (poorly written, or very special with specialized terminology that they need to check in detail)?
It is quite specialized.

- Does the material fall within the translator/reviewer's range of expertise? (If not, the work will take longer, or the translation quality will suffer, so the reviewer will have to work a lot.)
We only use translators who are specialized in our field, although it is difficult to find some.

- Is the source text hardcopy, or scanned PDF? (Those are sometimes hard to read.)
Only TTX files with preview.

- Do you (or your end client) provides previously accepted translations as a reference so the new translations should follow the terminology, style etc. of those?
We do have reference material that is provided to the reviewer.

- Do they have to work with some special software tool? (Some tools are hard to use, and can slow down people not used to them.)
They have too.

Thanks again!

Caroline


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:40
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Well, you have some of the answers, then Sep 5, 2007

CarolineC wrote:

The field I work in is localization of software. It includes the translation of the software itself as well as the user guides.


Well, that is an additional parameter in the puzzle. This means they probably have to deal with string length limitations for the User Interface, plus they have to cross-reference every UI item in the user guides to make sure they translate all the buttons and menu items, dialog boxes the same way as it is in the UI itself - which takes extra time.

- What about the quality of the translations you give them? Do they need to do a lot of editing to fix the texts?
They have to report errors that they see. I don't have the feeling that there is a lot of editing involved.


Well-well. This is the case I mentioned in my post - when I review less than 800 words/hour. In my case I have to mark the error, and explain what is wrong with it, in English, so somebody (e.g.PM) that does not understand both languages would have an idea what the problem is and I need to make a suggestion for the correction, but do not correct the text itself.
This takes actually more time than simply correcting the text.
If the reviewers are native Japanese, and you require them to write the notes in English, that again may take extra time for them.


- Do you require them to do formatting as part of the review? (That may take a lot of time.)
No formatting at all, they have to review TTX files and not implement any changes (just report them).


See my response above.


- Is the source text particularly difficult (poorly written, or very special with specialized terminology that they need to check in detail)?
It is quite specialized.


Well, there is one reason, right here, and it is quite important.


- Do you (or your end client) provides previously accepted translations as a reference so the new translations should follow the terminology, style etc. of those?
We do have reference material that is provided to the reviewer.


Well, if those are not in a TM to use with a CAT tool, then again, here is another reason, why they may be slow. They need to manually check and ensure consistency with the legacy materials.


- Do they have to work with some special software tool? (Some tools are hard to use, and can slow down people not used to them.)
They have too.


Well, this is your next reason.

Are you still doubting them?


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JennyC08
Local time: 06:40
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Sep 5, 2007

I don't really doubt them, but when I compare them with other reviewers for other languages, the throuhput for review in Japanese is half, which seems a bit excessive to me (thoughtput for other languages for review is 8,000 a day).
I will take your comments into consideration.
Caroline


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