Poll: How many projects do you get in an average year?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:14
SITE STAFF
Feb 15, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many projects do you get in an everage year?".

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[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-02-18 20:06]


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 13:14
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Definition necessary Feb 15, 2007

I don't wish to sound churlish, but in order to answer the question we'd first need to define "project".

When I first started translating, people would only use such a grandiose word as "project" if:

a) it was a single assignment, but one of considerable length (use your imagination), probably to be completed in stages, etc...., or

b) it was a long-term arrangement - regular publication of articles, in-house reports, minutes, newsletters, etc.....

Over recent years I increasingly hear/read people talking about a 1/2-page translation as a "project". (A term I personally find rather ridiculous).

I think a more accurate and revealing survey would be of the number of words translated a year but I seem to remember that this was already discussed in a poll.

If it wasn't, it might be a good idea for the next one.

Andy.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:14
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mor than 100 Feb 15, 2007

Andy Watkinson wrote:

...
Over recent years I increasingly hear/read people talking about a 1/2-page translation as a "project". (A term I personally find rather ridiculous).


Why? That's just a tiny project.

I translate many patent projects, brochures and some webpages so I easily surpass this 100 number in October.

[Edited at 2007-02-15 02:36]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:14
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I am somewhat baffled by the options available here Feb 15, 2007

All of the possible answers except one ("over 100") refer to part-time work. In that case, why not ask, "Are you an occasional, part-time or full-time translator?"

And for a full-time translator, 100 translations in a year would be the rock bottom minimum to make a living. I did 283 translations in 2006, and I don't consider that exactly spectacular for an entire year. However, I suppose, as Andy says, the number of words translated per year is much more revealing. Most of my 283 jobs were quite small, but not, I think, smaller than average.

Astrid


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Vauwe
Local time: 13:14
English to German
+ ...
Difficult to say Feb 15, 2007

Mostly I get long lastings 'projects' although the throughput is relatively high. At a certain date (end of month) I issue invoices. But you cannot say I do 50-60 projects a year because I issue 50 - 60 invoices a year. The project number is smaller

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:14
English to Arabic
+ ...
1 project = 1 invoice Feb 15, 2007

The only way I can say how much I've worked in a particular year is by checking the number of invoices I've issued. However, some of these may be for a 200-word "project", while others may be for a 20,000 word job which took ages to complete. So really, saying that I've issued 120 invoices in 2006 doesn't say much at all.

[Edited at 2007-02-15 07:40]


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Valérie Madesclair
France
Local time: 13:14
Member (2005)
English to French
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- Feb 15, 2007

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

All of the possible answers except one ("over 100") refer to part-time work. In that case, why not ask, "Are you an occasional, part-time or full-time translator?"

Astrid



Some projects can keep me busy for months, so I definitively don't work part-time with less than 100 projects.
In 2005, I had a 5-months project. Last year, I had two projects which lasted 2 and 3 months. Many of my projects take me one week minimum.

The size of the project is much more important than the number of projects you invoiced.
If you invoice 200 projects with 200 words each, in comparison with 40 projects with more than 20,000, what is "the rock bottom minimum to make a living"? 200 projects or 40 projects?


[Edited at 2007-02-15 09:15]


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Joeri Van Liefferinge  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 13:14
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
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Project = assignment with no link to any previous assigment Feb 15, 2007

I consider a project any assignment that is not related to any other assignment. So two documents in one day from the same client, but with a totally different subject are two projects; a document that is the second part of an assignment I received last week, is not a new project. IMHO, a project can be anything from a one-page document tot a 500,000-word project with 120 different fund prospectuses (last year, I had both and about everything in-between that).

And with that definition of a project, I had 1103 projects last year... Needless to say, I did not take a lot of time off and had to work long days, but still, I don't think the options offered are very realistic for a full-time freelance translator, which is evidenced by the large proportion (33% when I cast my vote) of people who answered "more than 100".

fwiw

Joeri


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Absolutely agree with everything you said, I was a sent a 2-word phrase the other day... Feb 15, 2007

Andy Watkinson wrote:

I don't wish to sound churlish, but in order to answer the question we'd first need to define "project".

When I first started translating, people would only use such a grandiose word as "project" if:

a) it was a single assignment, but one of considerable length (use your imagination), probably to be completed in stages, etc...., or

b) it was a long-term arrangement - regular publication of articles, in-house reports, minutes, newsletters, etc.....

Over recent years I increasingly hear/read people talking about a 1/2-page translation as a "project". (A term I personally find rather ridiculous).

I think a more accurate and revealing survey would be of the number of words translated a year but I seem to remember that this was already discussed in a poll.

If it wasn't, it might be a good idea for the next one.

Andy.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:14
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree with Andy Feb 15, 2007

I call them "jobs", and a separate job comes with its own job number from whatever client. I really don't know how many jobs I had last year, but I'd say somewhere between 1000 to 1500. Calling it a project when it's just a half-page letter or a few phrases to be added to a website does seem a bit too grandiose.

And if I issued a separate invoice for each individual job, I'd spend more time doing my paperwork than actually translating.

[Edited at 2007-02-15 10:38]


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Marija Stojanovich  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 13:14
Member (2003)
Serbian to English
+ ...
A tricky question.. Feb 15, 2007

I rarely get more than 20 projects a year, yet I can make a perfectly comfortable living - but that's due to my definition of "a project" rather than the price for translation in Serbia.

Most of the time I get long-term assignments related to a specific company and its product range(s) so, even though I may get up to 60 different documents from the same client, I can't really classify them as separate projects.

The most realistic way to assess my yearly workload is to check my account credits and turn them into words/month (which lands me somewhere around 160k in an average year)


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:14
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
For convenience Feb 15, 2007

I just counted the number of entries my Excel sheets have had to calculate, and since the changed format (year 2000 for the euro) they haven't dropped below 100. (I no longer have the spreadsheets before that, for statute of limitations reasons).

I suppose I could say my average is around 200. Also that my average year consists of approximately 230 working days (excluding weekends and holidays).

That doesn't mean I issue 200 invoices a year. To streamline production, I issue invoices once a month. The items posted accumulate up to the end of the month for each active client.

Some "items" are composed of a series of sub-items, as in the case of news and copy agencies who send short press releases every day.



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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:14
Member
English to French
Entries in TO3000 Feb 15, 2007

973 entries from the past two years, from my min fee to several thousands euros (no max fee applied), from a few minutes to 8 months.
And not even 200 invoices in that period of time. It's good for the forests.
pfew!
Philippe


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Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 05:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depending on your field Feb 15, 2007

I translate a lot of birth, marriage and death certificates, as well as school and unviersity transcripts. These are short documents. I also translate a lot of deeds related to the sale of new vehicles, and real estate properties (houses, farms, etc.) In some cases they are pretty similar. Should I cosider them different projects?

I also have longer documents of more than 20,000.

In my opinion, each document is a different project.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:14
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I call them "jobs," too. Feb 17, 2007

A "job" is an assignment that the client has a separate job number for.

With the really short ones, it can take less time to translate them than to do the invoicing and record-keeping. For me, they aren't worth the effort. Also, if the subject matter is different, it means shifting my mind-set and possibly getting into another area of expertise. Too much trouble!

So I've raiseed my minimum cutoff, and I'm focusing on clients who give me large jobs. I get more large jobs by pushing to finish them before the deadline. That impresses the client and gets me more work sooner. Looking at my log for last year, I had jobs that were 117,000 words, 34,000, 23,000, 17,000, 16,000, and so on -- the majority in the multi-thousands. I didn't have a whole lot of them, and I'm happier that way.

[Edited at 2007-02-17 09:20]

[Edited at 2007-02-17 09:23]

[Edited at 2007-02-17 09:24]


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