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Poll: At peak speed and without a CAT tool, how many source word can you translate in 1 hour?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Local time: 05:34
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Dec 22, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "At peak speed and without a CAT tool, how many source word can you translate in 1 hour?".

This poll was originally submitted by linguaport

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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Andrea Ali  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:34
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Amazed! Dec 22, 2005

1000-1500 words per hour without CAT tools? Fast fingers indeed!

Cheers,
Andrea


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Guinness Book Dec 22, 2005

Andrea Ali wrote:

1000-1500 words per hour without CAT tools? Fast fingers indeed!

Cheers,
Andrea


Maybe they should apply to the Guinness. I have found the figures of this poll extremely high, they start at 300! Am I the only one? Are they considering speech recognition softwares?


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 08:34
SITE FOUNDER
I guessed that the poll is looking for burst speed Dec 22, 2005

I edited linguaport's suggested poll, revising down the range somewhat and clarifying that one should not consider the increase in speed produced by use of a CAT tool.

I suggest approaching this poll as a question of your "burst" speed in a familiar field, assuming you don't hit any snags (as opposed to the average working speed you can maintain over time.) The data suggests to me that many people are answering this way, and therefore I think the range of options is suitable.


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 14:34
French to English
Typing speed counts for a lot Dec 22, 2005

I answered in the 1000-1500 word range. I type 80 wpm (on standard typing tests). So, for an easy text I just let my fingers fly. This is "peak" of course, and cannot be sustained over weeks or even for a whole day, for that matter. I have been known to translate 3000+ words in a half-day this way, but then usually spend the rest of the day proofreading carefully, which leaves me at 3000 words translated, proofed, and finalized in around six hours. I try not to work more than 6 or 8 hours per day (for my health and sanity).

In general, I translate 3000 to 4000 words per day on average. The fact that I can sustain this throughout the year without burnout or fatigue is due largely to typing speed, IMO. I spend less time and energy banging the thing out and more time revising, checking terminology, and proofreading, which means better quality!

On the French forum, Rene Vinchon recently mentioned typing speed as a key success factor for translators and I have to say that I agree with him.

Sara


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 14:34
Partial member (2003)
French to English
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Your typing speed for sure, but that's not the only factor Sara Dec 22, 2005

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:



In general, I translate 3000 to 4000 words per day on average. The fact that I can sustain this throughout the year without burnout or fatigue is due largely to typing speed,

Sara


And the fact you don't have kids


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 14:34
French to English
Very true... Dec 22, 2005

But what I gain in output (no interruptions from little ones) I lose in income tax payments

[Edited at 2005-12-22 13:52]


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
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Congrats! Dec 22, 2005

Sara Freitas wrote:
I answered in the 1000-1500 word range.
.


Well, thank you for the explanation, makes sense, and Congratulations! I am impressed.

Henry wrote:
I suggest approaching this poll as a question of your "burst" speed in a familiar field, assuming you don't hit any snags (as opposed to the average working speed you can maintain over time.) The data suggests to me that many people are answering this way, and therefore I think the range of options is suitable.


Well, I wasn't answering this way because this has never happened to me, in real life at least. However, I am sure that if I reconsidered in this line of thought I could probably go from 500 to 600-800... I don't know.

But I am sure I could never beat Sara and her gang, congratulations for your 'value-adding typing skills'.


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Lars Jelking  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 15:34
Member (2006)
English to Swedish
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How to count? Dec 22, 2005

Translating a flat, unformatted text in ones expert field is one thing. But doing it a table formatted, 3-column operator's manual with bold and underlined words here and there and where the outsourcer specifically demanded the format to be exactly as the source is another.

I made a few tests and found my flat-out typing rate down to < 30% of the normal.


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:34
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Many many factors Dec 22, 2005

there are many factors that can influence on your speed. Except the difficulty of the text, your expertise in this domain, and typing speed, which were already mentioned, I'd add for instance language pair. For example, if I have to translate from Russian into French, it will be more time-consuming than en > fr just because Russian is so much different from French. There almost never a Russian sentence that you don't have to fully reword so that it is acceptable in French. Whereas translation en>fr is much more direct (which doesn't mean you don't reword sentences, but you reword them less).

I'd also add target quality needed. Some texts do not require very beautiful fomulations, you just have to translate as loyally and clearly as possible. So then of course it goes much faster than when you have to write something that must sound really good.

Maybe you'll add other factors...


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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:34
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
It depends on how you define "translate" Dec 22, 2005

Like Sara, my burst speed lies between 1000 and 1500 words when the text is straightforward and there are no formating considerations (especially chemical formulae with their subscripts), etc. However, the text is totally raw; it still needs checking for correctness, spelling, grammar, readability, and formating. The time required for this varies considerably so that my overall burst speed lies between 500-750.

Again, like Sara, I believe the key lies in fast typing - touch typing, in fact. I only look at the source text, or out of the window for particular inspiration, and not at the keyboard or what I am typing. If I get stuck on a word, I just skip it and try to keep riding the wave to keep the flow going.

Merry Christmas everyone,
regards
Jill


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Andrea Ali  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:34
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
In that case... Dec 22, 2005

I don't feel that bad now

Though I type quite fast I spend a lot of time on each sentence. Revision is just spellchecker and changing a couple of terms in most cases.

Children, telephone calls and the bell are a nuisance. That's why I work at night!

Andrea


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John Walsh  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:34
Member (2004)
Italian to English
I tried... Dec 22, 2005

...to post a poll asking how many words you can translate per day but it was rejected for some reason.
My average is between 500-750 and that figure is what I use to schedule my workload. My "burst speed" is 1,000 words per hour if I don't need to do any research.
The reason why I proposed that poll was because I received indirect criticism from several colleagues on a number of occasions when I said I can produce 5,000 words per day. Actually, that criticism really surprised me. I thought my output was just average.

[Edited at 2005-12-22 16:16]

[Edited at 2005-12-22 17:55]


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 14:34
French to English
I've received criticism, too Dec 22, 2005

John Walsh wrote:

I received indirect critism from several colleagues on a number of occasions when I said I can produce 5,000 words per day. Actually, that critism really surprised me. I thought my output was just average.

[Edited at 2005-12-22 16:16]


I have had people insinuate that the quality of my work must be crap given my relatively high daily output. I think average output is around 2500 words per day from what people say. I can do 5000 a day when required, but for me the ideal is to use my typing skills to bang out a draft quickly and then spend more time on what I love, which is reworking and tinkering with the text until it is just right. Nobody has complained about the quality yet! I can maintain a 3000-word per day average in this way with high quality due to fast touch typing (and no kids ) and relatively little fatigue.

Sara


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indonesian
Singapore
Local time: 20:34
English to Indonesian
+ ...
I agree with you... Dec 22, 2005

I can translate general text up to 4000 words or more (if necessary), WITHOUT compromising the quality!
For highly technical documents, I only manage to translate around 500 words hourly.
But after that, I will proofread again to check for errors.
Does that contribute to the translation time referred?


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