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Advice for project managers for (almost!) each language pair
Thread poster: CLS Lexi-tech

CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 23:42
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Mar 14, 2002

I would like to compile a list of important advice for project managers concerning specific language pairs, something that to a translator working in that language pair is self evident, but may not be so to a multilingual project manager who has to work with many language combinations.



For example, if I were to provide a crucial advice re EN>IT I would say that Italian is usually 10 to 15% longer than English.



How do you measure a text when going into German?



What about simplified Chinese?



This is crucial important advice for a multilingual agency. I would like to be able to compile it and make it available to new project managers.



Your help is very appreciated.



Paola L M







[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-14 21:01 ]


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Albert Golub  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:42
English to French
English/French Mar 14, 2002

About the same as En/It between 12 and even 20% for talkative translators (me!!)

I think that each translator could pick his source and target files for a big project (about 30000 words) and easily establish this ratio.

For some fields (computer informatics) it can be lower (reduced to 10%)

It don\'t know if it will help or if it was evident for you

Good luck


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:42
German to English
English Mar 14, 2002

Maybe this is too basic for your purposes, but any time a project manager needs any language translated into English, he or she should first establish whether it is BE or AE that is required. Sometimes the client doesn\'t know the answer to that question either, so the PM would then have to ask a set of questions to make the right choice.

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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:42
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
De/Ru>En Mar 14, 2002

English would at least be 10% longer than German I\'d say.



Russian would be around 15% longer than English.



Gotta think about Fr and Es...


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 23:42
German to English
+ ...
Kudos, Paola Mar 14, 2002

... for starting this thread.



Indeed, there are many PMs who don\'t have a clue (because no one has ever told them).



Here\'s some of my input:



- agree with Kim: PM needs to clarify the type of English that is required



- translating from German to English: the word count of the English translation will always be higher than that of the German source document; this can range from about 20% to as much as 50%.



- always provide all the details: I have lost track of the number of job ads (especially on this site) that don\'t even mention the topic of the document to be translated. And stating that it\'s a \"medical text\" is not very helpful either.



- all requests for translation sent out to subcontractors should include, among other things: exact topic, volume (preferably the word count as most of us can relate to \"words\" only, not to \"standard lines\" or \"characters\" or, worst of all, \"pages\"), format of the source document (WORD, EXCEL, pdf, fax copy, etc.), required target file format, deadline, the name of a contact person we can get in touch with in case of any doubts or problems with the text.







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John Kinory
Local time: 04:42
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Ger > Eng ratio, Heb > Eng ratio Mar 15, 2002

It is not necessarily the case that English is 15% longer than German. You need to specify how you measure it.

Most German clients work on std lines @ 55 keystrokes. On that basis, English is typically 10% shorter than German.



I find that averaged over long texts, a std line of 55 strokes = 9 English words. Thus, it is possible to convert strokeswords, sourcetarget counts etc. I have conversion rates, but of course translator and PM need to agree in advance how to measure volumes.



Hebrew is anything between 20% and 30% shorter than English on a word-count basis, being highly agglutinating (character counts are also much lower, due to the absence of vowels per se). As is mentioned elsewhere with regard to Turkish, the Hebrew word \'hit\'halakhta\' = \'you (m. singular) were walking about\'; in a legal text, this means 1 word >> 6 words.



_________________



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-16 02:10 ]


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CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 23:42
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So far so good... with many thanks Mar 15, 2002

How do you compute source words when going from GER into EN, Werner, considering the nature of German?

Portuguese: Brazilian or mainland?

Which Chinese does one use?

etc.

We are talking very basic here. I can just give advise for the very few languages I cover. If you have any more please send them my way. I am trying to draw up some general and very basic instructions for new project managers.



Thanks so much for your help also to Kim and Marcus. And if anything else occurs to you, just let me know.



paola l m



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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:42
German to English
+ ...
English to Spanish Mar 15, 2002

Spanish is 15%-20% longer than English.

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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 23:42
German to English
+ ...
Reply to Paola's question re: DE - EN source Mar 15, 2002

Paola, I am not quite sure I understand your question, but I\'ll give it a try:



My invoices are usually based on the target-word count (common practice, at least in Canada ). However, I leave it up to the client: he/she can choose between a \"source invoice\" and a \"target invoice\", but source-based rates (DE to EN) are higher - that\'s how I account for the difference. Does that answer your question? Let me know.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-15 01:53 ]


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 23:42
German to English
+ ...
"Geography" Mar 15, 2002

What Kim said about BE and AE is also true of other languages with a number of different regional varieties: Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc.



Spanish is a really tricky one (thank God I don\'t translate into Spanish ). In this case, the PM would have to specify the exact country for which the translation was intended (saying that it is for South America doesn\'t cut it. Is it for Mexico, Venezuela, ... ?).



As the recent debate on \"video/vídeo\" and \"México/Méjico\" has clearly shown, even Spanish native speakers are totally lost and can\'t seem to be able to agree on what\'s right and what isn\'t (because the debate was started without specifying the \"target country\").



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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:42
German to English
Another fundamental requirement Mar 15, 2002

Always confirm that the translator has the file and will be able to meet the deadline.

Not too long ago a PM contacted me to ask if I would do a translation. After looking at an extract, I told her I could do it. Then she forwarded the entire file. I was unable to open it - I think it was an Excel file (a program I don\'t have). Somehow our messages got mixed up and I had the impression she knew she had sent me the wrong file and would follow up with the right one. She had the impression I had started working on the rush job. The next day she asked me where the translation was. I told her I was still waiting for a file that I could open.


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FrancescoP  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:42
English to Italian
+ ...
Project Managing Mar 15, 2002

Paola,



why don\'t you read Bert Esselink\'s A Practical Guide to Localization?



I found it very interesting indeed and I am quite sure you can find there most of the answers you\'re looking for.



FP



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Marta Argat  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:42
Chinese to Ukrainian
+ ...
<marquee>Chinese</marquee> Mar 15, 2002

In Chinese, one counts the number of characters, no difference whether they are traditional or simlified. Simplification doesn\'t influence the number of characters, but the number of strokes in each character. The majority of words in the modern Chinese dialects consists of 2 characters.

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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 05:42
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
GER > IT (probably, GER > ES) Mar 15, 2002

Hi Paola,



as far as the above-mentioned combination is concerned, I would say an average of +30%-+50%. Please, do not take it as a fix rule, as it depends on the text: a lot of \"compounds\" = up to 50% and not because the translator is wordy! 1 \"compound\" = up to three Italian words, like \"x of y\". Then, as you know very well, Italian tends to longer sentences (use of relative sentences), instead of many simple sentences \"subject-verb-object-full stop\".

That\'s why \"we\" normally prefer a line count (target language). Personally, I like the line count better than the target-word count, but opinions about \"target-line\" or \"target word\" count differ... I think it\'s just habit..)



It would be great, if PM were more aware of this fact.... even if I believe clients and agencies only tend to ignore this problem, as it concerns and affects the translator...



Have a nice day,



Giuliana
[addsig]


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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 05:42
Dutch to English
+ ...
Word Count Mar 15, 2002

Based upon linguistic comparisons of languages, I have been doing some calculations and apply the following principle:



If the source text is a Germanic language and the target text is a Romance/Slavonic language the target word-count will determine the final prize.



If the source text is a Romance/Slavonic language and the target text is a Germanic language (Dutch,English,German…): add10-15%per word to the target word-count.







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