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Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
Poll: How many words do you usually translate per day?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:16
SITE STAFF
Nov 7, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many words do you usually translate per day?".

This poll was originally submitted by FSCDC. View the poll results »



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HassanLotfy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 20:16
English to Arabic
+ ...
my normal daily productivity Nov 7, 2011

my normal daily productivity is 3000 words English to Arabic

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Teresa Borges
Belgium
Local time: 20:16
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends Nov 7, 2011

on the difficulty of the subject matter, the quality of the source text...

[Edited at 2011-11-07 17:32 GMT]


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 20:16
German to English
+ ...
No idea Nov 7, 2011

I count in lines.

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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 20:16
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Standard rate Nov 7, 2011

Officially, I can usually do 2000-3000 words a day comfortably. Sometimes I can even squeeze a similar amount in between other jobs I may be working on, depending on the content and if the deadlines can be shuffled, although I do prefer working at a more human pace.

However, despite telling clients and agencies this repeatedly, and reminding them ad nauseam that I do have other clients, all equally important, who also rely on my services, they will insist on offering me larger projects, for example a Powerpoint translation of "at least 4000 words" on Thursday for the following day, which I reluctantly had to refuse.


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Constance de Crayencour  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:16
Member (2009)
German to French
+ ...
5000 words/day and above...Really? Nov 7, 2011

I am always amazed that some translators assert being able to translate more than 5000 words a day.

Unless they always translate closely similar texts with a CAT software or they work in team...I would love to discover their secret to deliver a translation of quality in this context!


[Modifié le 2011-11-07 11:35 GMT]


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 20:16
English to French
+ ...
Incentive Nov 7, 2011

At the first seminar I attended on translation, when I was still combining a full time teaching job with part time translation, a British colleague said "those who cannot round off 300 lines (= ± 3000 words) good quality in a day are not professional translators".
I was far from achieving that in those days, but it certainly worked as an incentive... Tx Mike!


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 21:16
Turkish to English
+ ...
Exceptions Nov 7, 2011


Constance de Crayencour wrote:

I am always amazed that some translators assert being able to translate more than 5000 words a day.

Unless they always translate closely similar texts with a CAD software or they work in team...I would love to discover their secret to deliver a translation of quality in this context!


I once translated transcriptions of oral market research surveys which consisted almost entirely of short, single-clause sentences and found that I was comfortably able to acheive a daily output of 5,000 words with this material.
I was once asked to provide very speedy and unpolished translations of some news reports with non-technical subject matter. I found that I was able to produce about 1,000 target words per hour on this assignment.
The above two examples are exceptions and I am not usually capable of approaching that kind of speed.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:16
English to German
+ ...
As a part of an ongoing job? Nov 7, 2011


Interlangue wrote:
a British colleague said "those who cannot round off 300 lines (= ± 3000 words) good quality in a day are not professional translators".
I was far from achieving that in those days, but it certainly worked as an incentive... Tx Mike!


No problem, if the 3000 words are part of largish project and the translator doesn't have to look up every other word. 3000 words as in five glowing Business-to-Business press releases at 600 words each for different companies and industries? No way. That would be sloppy and no professional translator would ever claim to be capable of doing that.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 20:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I'd have thougt the opposite Nov 7, 2011


Interlangue wrote:

At the first seminar I attended on translation, when I was still combining a full time teaching job with part time translation, a British colleague said "those who cannot round off 300 lines (= ± 3000 words) good quality in a day are not professional translators".
I was far from achieving that in those days, but it certainly worked as an incentive... Tx Mike!


Some days I probably spend fewer hours working than the most industrious of my colleagues. But the number of words I can translate in an hour depends a lot on the subject area.

Swedish often takes me longer than the equivalent in Danish, because I am not so familiar with the language.

It also depends on other language factors. German is well known as a language of 'few words' - or in fact as a languages where several words may be strung together, so that the computer only counts one. That, I believe, is why German speakers prefer to count lines - they may almost be the same thing.

In Scandinavian languages, the definite article often does not count as a separate word, and they too, string words together.

Close the main entrance = four words in English, but the translation is only two in Danish. (Luk hovedindgangen).

I have translated over 4000 words in a day... but to do it every day, in my pairs and subject areas, would IMHO be really unprofessional.
Medical records full of Latin and abbreviations, for instance.
I would not have time to proofread properly, and in many cases the syntax and terminology might be very shaky too.

Using a CAT may increase the number of words produced, if it saves re-typing routine repetitions, but I always check them at the proofreading stage.

I never promise clients that I will do more than 2000 new source words a day, because I know I would risk not being able to do it.


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Marieschen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:16
English to French
+ ...
really can't tell... Nov 7, 2011

How do you count?

I once had to work a 10K document in 24 hours... but with a huge TM (half of it were reps) and very short sentences, and though it took part of the night, it was ok. So do I get to say I do 10k word per day???

A few days ago, I started working for a new client. The field is very specific and specialized, and I took half the day to translate a few hundred words. Next time it is going to be quicker, and so on.

Usually, however, I try to do 3000 words a day. I have found it is my cruising speed.


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
words, words Nov 7, 2011

I aim to translate around 2000 words a day, but really it varies hugely depending on the type of text I am dealing with.

I once took three days over a four-word slogan that is now widely used by a certain luxury brand, and for which I was not paid nearly enough. Yes, I had to go for lots of long walks, but I also spent half the night thinking about it too, before I came up with something that worked wonderfully well. I know this is "transcreation", and not translation as such, but the whole wordcount thing is pretty invidious in my view. It is not a sensible way to get paid but, faute de mieux...!


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:16
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Nov 7, 2011

I've completed about 9,500 words in 3 days (including very few hours of sleep), but have been working on only 630 words for the past three weeks, and they're still not finished/polished to my liking. But these 630 words are more the creative type of work, and the Muse cannot be rushed.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:16
Flemish to English
+ ...
Dragon Nov 7, 2011


Constance de Crayencour wrote:

I am always amazed that some translators assert being able to translate more than 5000 words a day.

Unless they always translate closely similar texts with a CAT software or they work in team...I would love to discover their secret to deliver a translation of quality in this context!


[Modifié le 2011-11-07 11:35 GMT]


You forgot Dragon Dictate. When it is optimized, you do not translate any longer, but you do "On-sight" translation, which at interpreter schools is the first step to training budding interpreters. Dragon produces an average of 120 wpm.


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xxxAhmad Mustaf
Indonesia
Local time: 01:16
Depends... Nov 7, 2011

My current cruising speed is 4,000 to 5,000 words per translation session, ì.e I have no fixed working hours, although I usually work at night, from 9 PM onwards (usually until 5 or 6). Also, type of text and the writing style and quality affect my speed.

I once translated a badly written 6,000 word paper, and it tortured me for a whole week. Adding insult to the injury, the client refused to pay. A complete opposite is dealt in around 10-12 hours work.

I once saw an English-German translator who claimes to be able to translate some 16,000 words per day.. No idea on how he did it though.


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