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Are you finding end clients in a hurry?
Thread poster: Anil Gidwani

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:42
German to English
+ ...
Dec 19, 2008

Lately, I've been finding that some end clients for agencies I work with are in quite a hurry to get their texts translated, without having finalized them first. This leads to quite a lot of distress, as one can well imagine, for the service providers, both the agency and the translator.

When this happened not once but twice over the last 6 weeks, I decided to step back and see what could be done to alleviate the pain. And painful it certainly is, especially if large swathes of documents are modified, with a good dose of semantic updates to boot.

Here's where I found some similarity between software engineering and translation. Software engineers have to deal with updates to software products both due to additional features included in new versions as also to fix bugs in the software and due to sudden changes in specifications. Naturally, tools have been developed to deal with complex version control requirements. Surely translators could also use these tools.

Based on earlier suggestions (notably, Viktoria Gimbe's recommendation of FileSphere), I tried some of these tools. While FileSphere was nice, it did not offer as comprehensive a version control system as I would have liked. I could be wrong.

Having hunted around on the Web, I found a tool called Tortoise SVN that is free and provides an excellent interface to the free Subversion version control system (included). Though it is quite complicated to use, it makes for a smooth translation revision process once it is installed and procedures are in place, especially since it integrates well with Word files, including unclean Trados files. Documentation is excellent, and there are even tutorials for the product.

Here's a link to this excellent free tool.

http://tortoisesvn.net/


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John Di Rico  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:12
Member (2006)
French to English
thanks Dec 19, 2008

Thanks for the tip Anil. I don't know how many translators out there will download and try it out. The manual says it is written for computer literate folk... Most translators are literate types but add computer and you lose about 80% of them somewhere along the way.

Worth checking out none the less if you're not intimidated by new software.

Best,

John


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:12
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
An interesting idea Dec 19, 2008

I'll take a look at the tool you referenced and see if I can wrap my head around it. Although I suppose I am an IT-type, these days my grasp of software is often limited by the pace at which I work and live.

With regard to the end customers being in too much of a hurry for anyone's good, that problem is nothing new. I want to say that it isn't getting any worse either, though if I'm really honest about it, I will admit that I feel like I've seen more of that foolishness in the past year. But that might be burnout talking.

When I am plagued by a bunch of little revisions during a project, my approach is usually something like this:

1. I stop what I am translating immediately and note my stopping point.
2. I get a stopwatch and start it.
3. I set up the project again with the new files and work to the same stopping point (or its text count equivalent) in the new document. When I get there I note the time for an hour-based update surcharge on the invoice.
4. I continue on my merry way translating the rest of the document.

The final billing is based on the new document unless it is significantly shorter. Theoretically this means that some parts of the text up to the stopping point are billed twice (time + piece rate), but that's not inappropriate, because last minute changes are always costly. Try changing the floor plan while you are building a house and you'll see what I mean.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:12
Italian to English
+ ...
Call me one of the computer non-literate, but.... Dec 19, 2008

... I'm not sure I understood any of Anil's original post! In plain words for the hard of understanding, is this a tool to help keep track of revisions between two versions of the same document?



[Edited at 2008-12-19 10:05 GMT]


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:42
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Do we have a choice? Dec 19, 2008

John Di Rico wrote:

Most translators are literate types but add computer and you lose about 80% of them somewhere along the way.

John




John, I agree with you that some translators are not computer literate even today. But do we really have a choice now? With translations coming in files of all shapes and sizes (figuratively speaking), a variety of formats with tags internal and external, etc. etc., we translators HAVE to become more computer literate.

Luckily, revision control systems are not one of those must-have applications, but one of those nice-to-have tools that make the process of revising translations that much easier.


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:42
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Multiple documents, revision verification Dec 19, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

... I'm not sure I understood any of Anil's original post! In plain words for the hard of understanding, is this a tool to help keep track of revisions between two versions of the same document?



[Edited at 2008-12-19 10:05 GMT]


Hi Marie-Hélène:

Yes, in essence, this tool allows a translator to keep track of revisions between two versions of the same document. However, it does much much more than that.

For example, you can also keep track of changes to multiple documents within a project. Or even to directories. The possibilities are limitless, especially for a team of translators working together.

Another immediately practical use is revision verification. You can place both the original and changed source file under revision control. Now do the same for the original and changed translation. Comparing both sets of changes is a snap with this system.

Of course, you can do the same with the Word Diff feature, provided you don't mind dealing with multiple copies of files floating around in your directories, and having to select the right versions to diff.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 18:12
Partial member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Quick demander, slow payer Dec 19, 2008

I would like to refer to the chients as a "quick demander, but a slow payer."
This job assignent style is also painful to many translators and me.
I tried testing for degree of urgency. In fact, hurriness is not as having been explained prior to job assignment.
For instance, when I declined to do a hurry job, the client posted in Proz etc. again.
The client actually needs extra time to contact and negotiate with another translator before finalizing the job assignment.
I, then, conclude that hurry in request is not a true cause. It can be a habit, a practice or a presure.
With regard to payment, why the client cannot be hurry?
What a world of contradiction in my sense!

Soonthon L.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sorry, I could not respond earlier.... Dec 19, 2008

...as ALL my customers are in a hurry!

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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:42
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Surely you do not jest Dec 20, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

...as ALL my customers are in a hurry!




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