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Poll: Your translation experience is close to:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:39
SITE STAFF
Jun 25, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Your translation experience is close to:".

This poll was originally submitted by Mikael Adolfsson

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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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is this a poll about how OLD we are? Jun 25, 2007

Just joking folks...

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M Helena Ayala
United States
Local time: 20:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Close to 2 million Jun 25, 2007

In 6+ years.

And I'm not that old!


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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:39
English to French
+ ...
Quick poll... quick answer Jun 25, 2007

No idea! I'd have to think about how much I've made for the past ten years and convert in words... I don't keep track of word volume

Rough estimate: 2-2,5 million words in ten years. I'd never thought of expressing my experience that way, it sounds gigantic!


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:39
English to Arabic
+ ...
The only reason I know... Jun 25, 2007

is because I applied for ITI membership earlier this year, and had to include the number of words I've translated so far in the application (it took ages to get to an approximate number). Otherwise, I don't know why I should know, and I don't think I'll be keeping count from now on.

Marie-Céline GEORG wrote:

I'd have to think about how much I've made for the past ten years and convert in words


Hey, that's a good idea! I wish I had thought of that before!

[Edited at 2007-06-25 17:06]


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Fernando D. Walker  Identity Verified

Local time: 00:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
I do not know... Jun 25, 2007

I really do not know how many words I have translated since I am a professional translator but I have to admit that it made me think...
Regards!


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:39
Italian to English
In Italy, we have to keep track of all this for the taxman Jun 25, 2007

A few years ago, the Italian government instituted "studi di settore", which require businesses and professionals to supply information on the basis of which the tax authorities calculate baseline earnings for each category.

For translators, one of those parameters is the number of keystrokes/words/lines/pages translated. On that basis, 250,000-500,000 words a year is probably about par for the course.

The crucial point, needless to say, is how much you managed to gouge out of your clients for each word translated

FWIW

Giles


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 00:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Well over 15 megawords ... Jun 25, 2007

Most of that was done in the 1970s-90s while working in-house for an organization that expected throughput of around 5 kilowords per working day. That's 1.2 megawords per working year of 240 working days - a target I easily maintained during more than ten years full-time translating, after which I got involved in other activities which caused my translation workload to tail off somewhat.

Giles wrote:

... 250,000-500,000 words a year is probably about par for the course.



I fail to see how anyone can hope to earn a living from translation doing as little as
250 or even 500 kilowords per year at today's rates. No wonder people here complain about low incomes from translation!

MediaMatrix


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good ballpark figures Jun 26, 2007

Giles Watson wrote:

250,000-500,000 words a year is probably about par for the course.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is that figure right if we split it in days? Jun 26, 2007

Giles Watson wrote:
For translators, one of those parameters is the number of keystrokes/words/lines/pages translated. On that basis, 250,000-500,000 words a year is probably about par for the course.


But, in a working year of 250 working days, that means from 1,000 to 2,000 words a day, or at most 250 words per hour (8-hour working day, which is rare as far as we have seen in other polls)... I wonder, is that still right as an average figure?


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:39
Italian to English
I thought there would be reactions! Jun 26, 2007



I fail to see how anyone can hope to earn a living from translation doing as little as
250 or even 500 kilowords per year at today's rates. No wonder people here complain about low incomes from translation!

MediaMatrix


Hi mediamatrix,

It all depends on the rates you work for.

The lower figure of 250,000 words p.a. at an average of 0.13 eurocents a word works out at 32,000 euros gross, which is roughly what HRH Prince William is getting as a second lieutenant in the Blues and Royals (the 0.13 eurocents figure is, of course, arbitrary and was chosen for the purposes of this comparison).

If you charge less than 0.13 eurocents and want to match Wills' earnings, you'll have to churn out proportionately more words, or find new clients who are willing to pay a premium for your target-language writing skills.

Cheers,

Giles


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Mikael Adolfsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 05:39
English to Swedish
+ ...
The idea of the poll Jun 26, 2007

Hello.

Some of you wonder what this poll is all about - so here is the idea:
Some translationagencies requires 3 years (or more) experience as a translator. That´s a rather strange requirement in my eyes! Since I´ve clicked around at ProZ.com, I realized that some translors have worked for, for instance, five years, but only produced 10.000 words or so per year. Thats not very much experience, even though they have been translators for five years.
I think it must be a better way (as some agencies do) to ask for experience in words rather than in years! If you just translate as an extraincome it´s easy to be in business for many years without gaining so much experience, in words.
So I was a bit curious about the experience in words that others have, who has been "in the game" for a long time!


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
...at a very high rate! Jun 26, 2007

Mikael Adolfsson wrote:
Since I´ve clicked around at ProZ.com, I realized that some translors have worked for, for instance, five years, but only produced 10.000 words or so per year.


Just continuing with the calculations... probably the 10.000 words were done at 3 euros each, giving 30.000 euros per year? Sounds fair enough to me!


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:39
Italian to English
+ ...
1-5 million Jun 26, 2007

Although I got my calculations wrong and voted 51k to 500k - it was only thanks to Giles' post that I realised how wrong I'd got it!

Based on my income, I must have translated something like 600-650,000 words last year - or at least the equivalent, bearing in mind that I also do revisions/proofreading.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:39
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
A word is not just a word ;-) Jun 26, 2007

I have to vote 'I don't know'.

I have in fact got records on paper of most of the jobs I have done in the last nine years! But I haven't the time or energy to add them all up. Some count source words and some count target words, and with a 20% difference on average, the total is fairly meaningless anyway.

Then it depends what kind of text you are working on. For a certain regular client I can often turn out a thousand words in two hours minus a coffee break, proof read and all. Well, with Trados and Multiterm I can! There are practically no >60% matches, but I know their terminology, or can find it in Multiterm or the concordance from last year, last month or whenever the topic last came up

This afternoon, at the other end of the scale, I have just spent 45 minutes on a 60-word job. I can't live on those, but they're fun now and then, and for good clients they're well worth the effort.

I sometimes spend a great deal of time reading up and finding terminology, collocations and references etc. before I even start some texts, as I like to translate smoothly, without breaking the flow too often once I start. So the number of words per day swings a great deal too.

But it's an interesting thought.
Happy translating, however you do it!


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