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Poll: An interesting subject for a long-term study of issues affecting translators would be their:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:41
SITE STAFF
Dec 1, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "An interesting subject for a long-term study of issues affecting translators would be their:".

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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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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 17:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Productivity ... Dec 1, 2007

... by which I mean "how much time/effort does it take to finish a given job", as a function of language pairs, relevance of translator's specializations and experience wrt the source text, use or not of CAT tools, etc. etc.

This could provide some useful data to back up comments I've made in several other threads about productivity (or lack thereof) which I think is one of the major causes of low incomes for many of those working in this profession.

Reliable data on this topic might go some way towards dispelling the myth that 3000 words/working day is some kind of upper limit beyond which quality must suffer.

MediaMatrix


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Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:41
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Other Dec 2, 2007

Sanity

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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 16:41
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
According to whom? Dec 2, 2007

Cecilia Civetta wrote:

Sanity


Can you believe that there are people in this world who couldn't care less about subjunctives and terminology and whether the comma comes before or after the quotation marks? I think WE are all perfectly sane!

I answered geographical distribution, because I happen to be very curious about that. The profession changed so drastically with the Internet! We don't need to be where the work is any more; but we still need to be where we can keep up our skills in the languages, or find another way to do that.

But as Henry points out, a fascinating and valuable study could be made touching on all of the above.

[Edited at 2007-12-02 01:48]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
All of the above Dec 2, 2007

I answered NA because my answer is all of the above and more, it would all be interesting.

Maybe a project like that should be done.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same opinion Dec 2, 2007

Cecilia Civetta wrote:

Sanity


And I mean it seriously!


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Leticia Klemetz, CT  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:41
Swedish to Spanish
+ ...
Reasons for dropping it Dec 2, 2007

Some people get tendinitis.
Some people get sick of it because of work overloads.
Some people cannot handle the social loneliness.
Some people cannot handle the financial insecurity and become in-house translators.
Some people perhaps don't get enough work and have to switch to something else, within languages or not.
Other perhaps just get bored.

Thing is, I have a feeling few people have this (full time freelance translation) as a life-long career.

It would be interesting to find out why. But of course such a poll cannot be done in ProZ, because those are not to be found here.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
Income fluctuations as it's a combination of factors Dec 2, 2007

The reason I went for income fluctuations because it would make a much more comprehensive study.
To look at the reason why one person's income has fluctuated, you need to look at:
- Their developing marketing skills
- Their work flow fluctuations
- Their time management skills
- Their use of TM software and other reasons for the increase in their productivity
- Financial issues related to their geographical location.

So while most other poll options cover a single factor, this one covers a combination of all other factors.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
3 that would interest me Dec 2, 2007

I´d love to see the results of studies on stress (pressure of too much work and then too little) and it's effects on mental and physical health.

Out of curiosity, I´d also like to see a study on the longevity of freelance translators/interpreters in comparison to the general population (of whichever country).

Physical work-related ailments would also be worth finding out about.

I volunteer to be a guinea pig in any of the above-mentioned studies


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:41
English to Russian
+ ...
Future of the profession Dec 2, 2007

It would be very interesting to make a futuristic study: Wht will happen to the profession with the creation of artificial intelligence

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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 17:41
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Workflow AND technologies Dec 2, 2007

Alexander Kondorsky wrote:
It would be very interesting to make a futuristic study: Wht will happen to the profession with the creation of artificial intelligence

I am skeptical regarding "the last translator" - I firmly don't believe that machines will ever completely replace men/women in the art of translating (and interpreting).
But nevertheless, new technologies popping up always challenge our activity. At least, the way one gets used to translating, expecting to do "the same thing for a lifetime".

Whenever I meet a new ProZian, he/she is worried about "joining and not getting enough workflow". My answer: "first you must learn the art and rules of tele-working, second you must learn the state-of-the-art technologies, (...) and last but not least, you must take care to keep updated". Which means: workflow must somehow start - and then you must keep up with advance if you want the workflow to go on coming.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:41
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I agree Dec 2, 2007

JaneTranslates wrote:

Cecilia Civetta wrote:

Sanity


Can you believe that there are people in this world who couldn't care less about subjunctives and terminology and whether the comma comes before or after the quotation marks? I think WE are all perfectly sane!

I answered geographical distribution, because I happen to be very curious about that. The profession changed so drastically with the Internet! We don't need to be where the work is any more; but we still need to be where we can keep up our skills in the languages, or find another way to do that.

But as Henry points out, a fascinating and valuable study could be made touching on all of the above.

[Edited at 2007-12-02 01:48]


I answered "geographical concentration", as I'd really love to know that, but a study of all the factors listed would be most interesting, and I adore statistics - very weird. Is anyone offering to make such a study?
Regards,
Jenny.


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yam2u  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:41
Member
English to Malay
+ ...
Agree with Nesrin Dec 2, 2007

Nesrin wrote:

The reason I went for income fluctuations because it would make a much more comprehensive study.
To look at the reason why one person's income has fluctuated, you need to look at:
- Their developing marketing skills
- Their work flow fluctuations
- Their time management skills
- Their use of TM software and other reasons for the increase in their productivity
- Financial issues related to their geographical location.

So while most other poll options cover a single factor, this one covers a combination of all other factors.


Not to mention (assuming that respondents are also asked to state the languages they work in) the possibility of correlating such a comprehensive study to the supply and demand of any given language pair in the market.

Such a study may even indicate the increase or decrease of competition in the language pair(s) that affect us, or the shift in the quality of our competitors. In other words a tool for us translators to use to gauge the market in order to make appropriate business decisions.

For example, I use my own income fluctuation data (which generally correspond to work volume fluctuations) to make such decisions as when to take my vacation or to attend courses or seminars or do other things that interest me based on the downtime trends of the last several years.

Will someone start such a study already!


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Els Spin  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:41
Dutch to English
+ ...
Specialisation Dec 2, 2007

I wonder why, how and to what degree translators specialise in their main topics...

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:41
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not a myth Dec 3, 2007

mediamatrix wrote:

Reliable data on this topic might go some way towards dispelling the myth that 3000 words/working day is some kind of upper limit beyond which quality must suffer.


In the days of time-and-motion studies (before they called it P.E.R.T. -- these fashionable names and name changes), 3000 (at target) was the optimum figure for an 8-hour working day.

However, to achieve this, it was important that the worker (translator) not be saturated and his/her attention not impaired. Short-term measurement at optimal output was at 500 words/hour, but breaks and pauses were necessary to maintain that state. Hence, self-revision altogether counted, the eight-hour working day was actually some 6-7 productive hours with some periods of healthy rest.

Why not more? The limit lay in humanly possible keystrokes per unit time and correction factors. And yes, overtime was possible if the favourable working conditions were maintained.


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