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Poll: Do you use time tracking software?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 19:16
SITE STAFF
Sep 17, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you use time tracking software?".

This poll was originally submitted by Julianne Rowland

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 03:16
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TimeStamp Sep 17, 2008

I have to do a fair number of ppt translations and the like, where doing word counts is v difficult, plus you spend much more time coming in and out of the different bits. So I have to charge by the hour.

Someone on ProZ put me onto TimeStamp this summer (thank you, no time to look up right now!), and it suits me fine.


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:16
Member
French to English
+ ...
I've never been asked Sep 17, 2008

I often charge by the hour as I do a lot of proofreading and editing. All of my customers appear to trust the times stated on my invoices, though, and I've never been asked to use time tracking software. I always give an estimate in my quotes and of course inform the customer up-front if ever any "surprises" come up that are likely to greatly alter my quote.

I suppose that I would not be opposed to using such software if I received a request from a new customer. I might find it slightly alarming if an existing customer asked me to start using it when I never have in the past.

It could also just be a good tool to get used to using for my own reference, I suppose…

Best,
Jocelyne


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Christiane Boehm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:16
French to German
+ ...
Office Time Sep 17, 2008

I use Office Time– not because I charge by the hour, but for economic reasons. I find it useful to know how the work I do pays off. I don’t use it always though, just for certain projects.

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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 07:46
German to English
+ ...
I've started off using Exactspent Sep 17, 2008

In general, I find time tracking software helps me focus on the translation and helps in getting it done much faster. It's amazing how the mind tends to meander off on a tangent, be it within the subject domain of the translation itself. Time tracking helps to concentrate on the task at hand: getting the translation done in good time.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
Italian to English
+ ...
I've tried to... Sep 17, 2008

but it's not for me. I used Time Stamp a couple of times for long revisions charged by the hour, but I was forever forgetting to turn it on or off, making it essentially useless.

[Edited at 2008-09-17 15:31]


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Julianne Rowland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:16
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
Improved efficiency Sep 17, 2008

I originally began using ExactSpent to keep track of my time spent on editing jobs, but I now often use it to keep track of my per-word translation work, as well.

I fully agree with Anil: I, too, am much more efficient in my work when I know I am 'on the clock.' And it also helps me estimate turnaround times because I know approximately how many hours of a typical work day I can dedicate to translation, and how much I need for administrative tasks.


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lillkakan
Local time: 03:16
English to Swedish
Tried to Sep 17, 2008

I have tried it, but I have the same problem as Marie-Hélène, I keep forgetting to turn it on/off. Or rather, I just switch between tasks and take short breaks (5 mins or so) so often, that this type of software is basically useless for me. I have pretty good grasp on my time expenditure/efficiency by other means though so I don't feel like I'm missing out.

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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Seldom need it Sep 17, 2008

Almost all my work is charged per source word.

For the rare projects that I bill by the hour, I just create a word processing document in the project folder and track my start and stop times manually.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:16
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
i'm thinking of it Sep 17, 2008

i use time cards to keep track of editing, but mostly what i do is translate which is by the word, and excel handles that.

But i've thought of using project management software...any recommendations?


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
What's that? Sep 17, 2008

Sounds like something from Dr Who. As I understand it, it's a software to check how much real time you spend on a job. I'm not sure how it works but I often charge by the hour for non-word formats (PDF, Excel, PPT, Dreamweaver, etc). However, I don't always sit down and work continuously on one job at a time - I often "juggle" between 2 or 3 jobs, and also may have to stop to walk the dogs, clean up, wash dishes and do other sundry household chores, so I don't know how well it'd work for me.
Maybe I'm just lucky enough to have clients that trust me not to inflate my estimate of how long a job has taken...

[Edited at 2008-09-17 18:58]


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Nicolette Scholte  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
English to Dutch
+ ...
No software Sep 17, 2008

I use a simple bit of paper and a pen, write down the starting time, whenever I take a break, etc. At the end of the day I know exactly how many hours I spend actually working. I also keep track of the total hours I work on a certain translation, so I know at the end of a project how much time I spend on that aswell.

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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 21:16
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
TimeStamp on the system tray Sep 18, 2008

I use TimeStamp very often because I work on a lot of by-the-hour projects. I just keep the TimeStamp icon on the system tray; one click to start the timer, one click to stop it. It's the easiest time-tracking software I've found. I do however, make sure that if I'm charging by the hour, I won't have to do anything else.

[Edited at 2008-09-18 01:33]


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Dilek Yigit  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:16
Member (2006)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Worth trying Sep 18, 2008

Yes, I also use the TimeStamp and keep in the system tray just like Claudia. I started using it because a client, I charge by the hour, asked me to do so.
To my surprise, it is not complicated and helps me a lot to concentrate but I don't use it for all projects.


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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:16
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
emergent task timer Sep 18, 2008

I mentioned this in another thread, but I've used the Printable Executive's Emergent Task Timer,

http://davidseah.com/tools/ett/alpha/

which works a little differently than most time-tracker devices I've seen--instead of being like a chess clock that you toggle on and off, it basically beeps every fifteen minutes and you go and check off what you spent that last 15 minutes working on.

The reminder beep is a good reminder to stay on task, and if you do wander off or have to go take care of things, it's usually not too difficult to fill in to your best recollection if you missed a few intervals.

I voted that I don't use time tracking software because I'm not using it currently, but there was a period when I was doing technical editing for a government contractor, with each batch of work being 1-2 hours at most and dozens of billing codes depending on the batch, so it helped a lot in that situation.

Nowadays, though, I personally prefer to quote a flat rate (per word, per page, per job) for editing and proofreading whenever possible. For most things, I can estimate pretty accurately how long a job will take.


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