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Poll: What's your average monthly output?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:47
SITE STAFF
Dec 10, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What's your average monthly output?".

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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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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:47
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Hard to vote Dec 10, 2007

I chose the 3rd answer but it was difficult to chose because my mean productivity is exactly around 50.000 words! Say from 40.000 to 60.000.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same here Dec 10, 2007

A month with working days totally blocked off would be 60,000 - 66,000 for me. I take weekends off and may have 2 additional free days on average. Working Saturdays would increase that by 12,000.

For freelancers it might be easier to distribute population over divisions of 15,000/30,000/45,000, etc..


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Robot translators around? Dec 10, 2007

My average is somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 words, but it's hard to say as I normally make all quotes, invoices etc. based on standard lines with 55 characters. Depending on language, one standard line can have between 7 and 9 words (for Swedish). For the languages related to Latin it must be far more.

I am wondering though how any translator can produce 200,000 words and more on average per month. Are there any robot translators around? I would like to learn how to handle this amount of text as it would give me much more spare time. Speech recognition? Special keyboard? 18 hours/day?

Regards
Erik

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Erik Hansson ( SFÖ )
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
www.hansson.de
info@hansson.de
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 08:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Too many variables Dec 10, 2007

My output in the past several months has been close to zero as I'm devoting my time and energy to (potentially) more-lucrative activities.

When I was working in-house full-time (40-hour week) I was doing between 100 and 150 thousand words/month (and I voted accordingly in this poll).

In my most productive year since I started freelancing - always on a time-share basis with other activities - I was doing something closer to 50 thousand per month.

This poll is somewhat meaningless as it stands. For those working in-house, how long is your working week - maybe anything from 35 to 70 or more. For the freelancers, is this your only professional activity? - and if not, what share of your time is devoted to translation? etc. etc.

To those who say they do less than 10 thousand words per month, I hope you have 'real job' as well, since if we multiply 10,000 by the rates often mentioned in the jobs offered here, the result will be barely enough to feed the cat, let alone the translator!

MediaMatrix


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Chanda Danley  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
More Spare Time??? Dec 10, 2007

Erik Hansson wrote:

Are there any robot translators around? I would like to learn how to handle this amount of text as it would give me much more spare time.


Actually, Erik, I think that at that turnaround rate (you mention over 200,000 words), instead of robot translators who have a lot more spare time, they are probably more like robot translators who barely sleep.



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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 07:47
German to English
I had the same problem Dec 10, 2007

Sophie Dzhygir wrote:

I chose the 3rd answer but it was difficult to chose because my mean productivity is exactly around 50.000 words! Say from 40.000 to 60.000.


This sounds about right for me, too.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I did think of cloning Dec 10, 2007

Erik Hansson wrote:

Are there any robot translators around? I would like to learn how to handle this amount of text as it would give me much more spare time. Speech recognition? Special keyboard? 18 hours/day?


... once, when someone asked for a volume discount after 60,000


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:47
Italian to English
+ ...
Haven't got the foggiest Dec 10, 2007

And I don't care - I'm far more interested in my average monthly income!

And no, I'm not saying


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 07:47
English to Russian
+ ...
25-35K on average Dec 10, 2007

With ~30% time devoted to translating and 70% - to interpreting anywhere between 20 and 50 hours/week and at least 6 days off spread over the month, or a whole week off after a particularly crazy month. Real vacation count is separate. Also, some months - 0.


[Edited at 2007-12-10 20:29]


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:47
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
About robots Dec 10, 2007

Erik Hansson wrote:

I am wondering though how any translator can produce 200,000 words and more on average per month. Are there any robot translators around? I would like to learn how to handle this amount of text as it would give me much more spare time. Speech recognition? Special keyboard? 18 hours/day?
Good point Eric. Just after writing my answer, I thought the poll could (as usually) be interpreted in different ways. I always talk about weighted words, they are the only ones important to me since they reflect as well my workload as my income. But (apart from the fact that some people are more productive than I am), some people might have answered taking total words into consideration. If I had made such an answer, I would probably be over 100.000, which is not a big difference because I love to take on numerous different project, sometimes big ones, but mostly small-medium ones. If I worked only on big projects (where there are usually a lot of reps, etc.), I could hit the 200.000 too.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:47
English to German
+ ...
Creative translation process or applying TMs for repetitions? Dec 10, 2007

If I would think that I have to translate 200,000 words a month to reach my desired income, I would fire me.

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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 14:47
French to Dutch
+ ...
.. Dec 10, 2007

Nicole Schnell wrote:

If I would think that I have to translate 200,000 words a month to reach my desired income, I would fire me.

This means 10,000 words on a working day!! I hardly reach 2,000, maybe 2,500 if I know the subject. And I do my paperwork (invoicing, ec.) on saturdays.

And how about quality control? Are these people their own proofreaders?

[Bijgewerkt op 2007-12-10 22:50]


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NativeSpeakers  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
80/20 and Translations Dec 10, 2007

In the 19th century, Italian Economist/Sociologist Wifredo Pareto discovered the famous Pareto Distribution, which states that in any group of any type of creature (pea plants in Pareto's study; translators in ours), 80% of the wealth is produced by 20% of the members. The distribution is often more skewed (90-10, 95-5, 99-1, etc.), and can be generalized. Looking at today's ProZ poll, so far 83.4% of 884 respondents produce fewer than 100,000 words per month. Only 2.4% of respondents produce more than 200,000 words per month.

I've lived in many countries, the world is my home. Most of your low end producers in life, "en la calle," complain about "la situación" and "el sistema," but if we abstract ourselves from our own situation for a second, it becomes clear that we limit ourselves from... or enable ourselves to... achieve greatness.


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:47
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
estimation Dec 11, 2007

I don't keep a running monthly total of word volume (although I could compile
it from my records), but, based on my average monthly income and average rate,
I figure I am translating on average about 70k words/month.
I had a couple of months this year where I apparently approached 100k to 120k.
Crazy months...I didn't sleep much.

I have, on rare occassions, translated as many as 12k words in one day, and once,
I translated 4500 words in less than three hours.
The PM was amazed. I was flying and if anyone came into my office and spoke
a single word, I just screamed "OUT!!".
It was material of a nature that I do frequently, and a rush-rush job, so the agency
offered me nearly double my usual rate to do it.
It was straight text from a pdf (no formatting issues, tables, etc.), so all I had
to do was read the pdf and type the target doc.
I did no have time to proofread, and made no guarantees regarding errors.
They were in such a rush to have the document that they accepted those terms.
The PM e-mail me the next day. They had found 3 typographical errors.
"You're a translating machine!" he wrote.
On average, though, my output is between 4000 and 5000/day, sometimes 6000.
I put in long days. Usually 10 to 12 hours, and sometimes up to 18.

Likely, if I charged more (my rates are near or just under industry ave. according to
the info on this and other sites) I could work less,
but I am afraid that I would not get enough work, and end up working way too little
and not making enough dough.



[Edited at 2007-12-11 02:21]


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