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charging for terminology creation
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 22:29
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Sep 28, 2008

It is a generally accepted wisdom, that compiling a specialized terminology is quite a different ballgame, compared to "normal" translations. If I remember correctly, prices from 0.15€ upwards (top was 30) were being mentioned. I think it would be more appropriate to charge the time.

The problem is the attitude I may get from the agency (if they are stuck in so-called Trados Analyse mode). Any experience in this regard with agencies? Do they understand what it involves? How to make them understand?

I have my own ideas about it, but would like to have your opinion about the issue.

Thank you in advance

Vito


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:29
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Pricing terminology work Sep 28, 2008

I was in a very interesting discussion years ago with a terminologist who had been involved in work at a major German manufacturer of printing equipment. The actual calculated cost per term of the work at that time was about € 19 per term. A few yeras later I actually got to see excerpts of this work during an agency job, and I consider it to be substandard. So I always use *that* benchmark to put things in perspective.

More realistically, I just kept track of the average time it took me to mine terms using statistical methods (Trados MT Extract or my own workflow involving the DVX lexicon function) and figured out a target price per term based on my hourly rate. I charge this for corpora-based terminology work and additions created in "real time" - when charged - are charged at about the same rate. Doing the work "from scratch" - i.e. without parallel texts - is often more time-consuming and needs to be scaled accordingly. Those cases I would charge strictly based on time or at a hefty premium to the work based on TM content.

Be certain to calculate the time required for review cycles (if relevant) into your rates, too.

Depending on a number of factors, rates for this type of work should come out between € 0.30 and € 1.00 per word in most cases for TM-based term mining or statistical work on sources with no particularly challenging terminology.


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:29
English to French
+ ...
different methods, different rates Sep 28, 2008

I have, in the past, been handed some pre-selected list of words, and been required to translate them at normal word rate, as a preliminary glossary. Compared to the rest of the work (message catalogs) it did not make much difference in terms of time. But I HATE this approach, because whatever the technique used, it gathers a good lot of clutter and misses some important words.

In some other cases, I have organized this collection work myself. I read very quickly through all the file, and only pick the specific terms, or those for which several different translations are commonly used (in order to avoid inconsistencies when several translators work on the same file).
I got paid by hour. The cost per word was probably high, but what does a cost per word mean? if you need it low, add some clutter to your glossary (triviall words) and that's the trick

For me, a translation glossary must be short enough that I can read it before starting translation, check that I agree with all translations proposed if I didn't prepare it, and memorize all source terms so that, whenever I hit a glossary term during my translation, I know it (whatever my CAT tools are).


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:29
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Workflow suggestion for DVX Sep 28, 2008

This will be short because I'm racing a deadline; perhaps I'll expand on the idea later if it isn't obvious to others.

I had completely forgotten you are a DV user, Vito. Here's my typical workflow for fast compilation of a new terminology for a bunch of texts in a project.

1. Set up the DVX project with all relevant files to translate (doh!)

2. Auto-generate a lexicon with the max. word setting wherever you care to put it for the source language you are dealing with. Select the option to resolve with the attached databases if you like (I usually do).

3. Export the lexicon to Excel and delete it from the DV project.

4. Sort the Excel list by the number of words as the primary criterion (descending order) and frequency (descending ) as the secondary criterion.

Now, depending on your purpose, the procedure may differ at this point. If you want to collect only new, interesting terms, while you cut the junk from the Excel list, you will also want to cut stuff that may be relevant that you already have in your databases. If you are making a terminology for use by others, this stuff may be left in.

5. Prune the Excel list. I tend to chop anything that doesn't have a frequency of 3 or greater, though if I'm in a mood to add less frequent stuff for future use I've been known to waste time and bore down to the single occurrence level.

6. While you are going through the list, you may choose to translate any obvious terms that you wish to add to your termbase. Stuff that requires some research should be left blank.

7. Sort the final Excel list by the target column. Select the lines with no translation (these should now be grouped together), cut and paste them into a new spreadsheet, which we'll call TermsToTranslate.xls

8. Add TermsToTranslate.xls to your project.

9. Import the remaining translated lexicon list in Excel to your termbase and/or DV lexicon. If you are creating a new termbase for use by others, you may want to do so at this point and attach it to the project.

10. Now open the complete content view for all files (by double-clicking the folder icon at the top of the File Navigator. Find the part where the content of TermsToTranslate.xls appears (I think it should be at the end).

11. Select a source term, right-click on the cell and choose "Filter on Selection" from the context menu. Only the sentences in which the term appears will be shown, giving you the context. As you know, this can also be done with sub-portions of a term or entire phrases.

12. You could choose to translate the term in one of the context segments and add it to the termbase from there via F11 in order to capture the context sentence and other attributes for your termbase.

The biggest weakness in this procedure I think is the lack of a stopword list to filter the lexicon generated initially. It would be easy enough to do that with VB/VBA/VBScript, but I don't do much of that any more, so I prefer to leave that exercise to those who are more in practice.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 22:29
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translating the Rosetta cost a bundle too Sep 28, 2008


Depending on a number of factors, rates for this type of work should come out between € 0.30 and € 1.00 per word in most cases for TM-based term mining or statistical work on sources with no particularly challenging terminology.


In my case it is a particularly challenging terminology - everything about cranes. Just one example: among the 6+ degrees of freedom for movement there's "scheren, schwenken, drehen, (ab)wippen" not to mention ", heben, absetzen, ausfahren, einfahren (of course), teleskopieren" and I am not even sure if some of those verbs (!) are not sinonyms.

I'll definitely go by hours. And I am more or less Trados user - but this is at the end of a long tunnel and irrelevant.

Thanks anyhow!

Vito

[Edited at 2008-09-28 16:56]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:29
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Using Trados Sep 28, 2008

> everything about cranes. Just one example: among the
> 6+ degrees of freedom for movement ...
> I'll definitely go by hours.

You'd be nuts not to in this case. What language(s) is this for?

> And I am more or less Trados user - but this is at the end
> of a long tunnel and irrelevant.

However, since you have the DV license already you can perhaps compile your terms faster this way and include context. Then export from the DV termbase to an Excel file later and use MultiTerm convert to make yourself a nice MT termbase. That's assuming you don't already have and work with MT Extract, which would be a more efficient way to go since it does use stopword lists.


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RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sure by hour? Sep 28, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:


More realistically, I just kept track of the average time it took me to mine terms using statistical methods (Trados MT Extract or my own workflow involving the DVX lexicon function) and figured out a target price per term based on my hourly rate.



bohy wrote:

I got paid by hour.



Vito Smolej wrote:

I'll definitely go by hours.



I am a specialist on Biomedicine, but I have a limited knowledge on Surgery, while I am proficient on Biochemistry; so, a glossary on the former subject would take me more time than another glossary on the later subject. Should I charge more money just because I am less proficient on Surgery?; should I charge less because I am very good on Biochemistry?

In a free market, a certain work with a certain quality deserves a certain prize, regardless of the time spent by the freelancer. That's why it is so difficult to know how much to charge and that's why Proz rate calculator is useless.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:29
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Simple solutions Sep 28, 2008

RNAtranslator wrote:
I am a specialist on Biomedicine, but I have a limited knowledge on Surgery, while I am proficient on Biochemistry; so, a glossary on the former subject would take me more time than another glossary on the later subject. Should I charge more money just because I am less proficient on Surgery?; should I charge less because I am very good on Biochemistry?
In a free market, a certain work with a certain quality deserves a certain prize, regardless of the time spent by the freelancer.


Deserves? Nonsense. Each job deserves as much as you can get for it - there are no absolute price benchmarks.

If you generally make € 60 per hour in your translation of ordinary texts (on average), of course you will be making more in cases where you are more familiar with the subject and a bit less in other cases. But it's a daft waste of time to take on terminology work if what you earn will come out to a much lower number. In such cases (where you can't get an acceptable word rate or hourly rate), tell the customer to get someone else to do the job.

What you could do is figure out a "worst case word rate" based on the average time to compile a decent glossary for a rather challenging subject. Just do it sometime for a few hours on a subject you think will be useful in the future. Then quote that rate for all terminology jobs. If you get a subject you can do three times faster, you can smile all the way to the bank.

If you are consistent about keeping track of the time required for translating glossaries and other jobs with short bits of text (sometimes with context not as available as one would like), this information can be useful to negotiate appropriate rates the next time someone tries to pull a fast one on you and get you to do a list of terms at your usual word rate.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 22:29
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
a little more on the context Sep 28, 2008

In my specific case it's more like proofreading the terminology, that got accumulated with time. Weeding out BS entries etc.

My general attitude in such cases is that
a) termbases are good, but translation memories are better. I had my share of agencies, who
i) fed their source materials through some meat grinder like Extract
ii) took the top x thousand entries and sent them out to get translated

This is absolutely asinine. But they keep doing it. Probably because it can be budgeted to a cent (sg). And ... "we have to use Extract, it cost us dearly"...

b) both are supposed to live and breathe. But with a TM breathing is much easier. Because you have context.

Now some food for thought.

Should I charge more, because I dont know it i.e. I have to learn it? Should I charge less, because I spent years collecting all kinds of terms and idiooms, i.e. because now I am an expert?
o nonsense (take I): because it looks like the less I know the more expensive I can get: no way Jose -my assets have to amortize.
o nonsense (take II): we should not forget the client - Id rather not use the M word.

Eventually everything should amortize - except the new knowledge. Means, dont get complacent. And keep running.

[EDIT]so far spent 2hrs 15 minutes on the project.

[Edited at 2008-09-28 20:35]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:29
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
MT Extract Sep 28, 2008

>> I had my share of agencies, who
>> fed their source materials through some
>> meat grinder like Extract [and] took the
>> top x thousand entries and sent them
>> out to get translated

Yuck. A fool with a tool....

Amortizing MT Extract isn't that hard, but for God's sake it must be done with some intelligence. However, given the way in which the SDL marketing machine has been flogging it with the CCM propaganda campaign I suppose we can expect more of the same.

So let me see if I understand what you have in front of you here... an existing term list and TM that require checking and possible additions? If you don't mind, let us know the final throughput statistics.

As far as the charges, maybe the best thing to do in this case is to make subjective adjustments to the actual time to reflect what your professional judgment tells you is appropriate. Not everything can be plugged into a formula.


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