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FOUs (Frequently Occuring Units): is it a common practice?
Thread poster: bohy

bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:54
English to French
+ ...
Nov 5, 2008

Yesterday, I was supposed to receive the source files of a rather important job from a translation agency, with a very tight schedule, of course.
Instead of that, I received only a small file, about one tenth of the total job.
The project manager told me that it was FOUs (Frequently Occuring Units), and that I had to work on this first, then they will apply the result to the rest of the files "to cut down the word count for the whole project".
Why did they do that, knowing that we work with SDLX anyway? Well, they had the (bad) habit not to pay repetitions when updating a translation (this led me in the past to negociate a compensation in some cases).
Now they have figured out that they could ALSO take advantage of this to transform 100% matches (which they paid) into repetitions (which they don't pay).
The bad thing is, they have taken over 200 strings out of their context, which makes them more difficult to translate (and ambiguous in some cases). Once they are reintegrated (in several instances), I am supposed to work for free to correct all possible errors that THEY have generated with their silly method...
My question is simple: did it happen to you already, and how did you react? For my part, I said that I will do this job, with regard to the end-customer that I appreciate, but probably won't work for this agency again.


[Modifié le 2008-11-05 10:05]

[Modifié le 2008-11-05 10:05]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, with a large software company Nov 5, 2008

bohy wrote:
The project manager told me that it was FOUs (Frequently Occuring Units), and that I had to work on this first, then they will apply the result to the rest of the files "to cut down the word count for the whole project".


It was not called FOUs but "the repetitions file" (with a file extension that I can't reveal here), but yes, a very silly thing. In my case, I had no access to the FOUs once they were added to the system. I could see them, but not correct them if they appeared out of context. I could only attempt to make corrections on them in the beta testing stage a year later (which was done on a sample only).


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Claudia Digel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:54
English to German
+ ...
Only makes sense in certain cases Nov 5, 2008

This is an option that has been available in SDLX for a long time (Trados has a similar function).

It is, of course, mainly used to cut down translation costs. It does make sense to use the option in some cases but often it causes a lot of additional work, as you correctly suspect.

However, what I really don't understand, from what you write it looks as if you are the only person working on this project. The main use of FOU files is to extract segments that will appear in many files (that will be translated by different translators) so that they will only be translated once in advance and then can be inserted into the individual files as 100% matches. The idea is that the individual translators then won't need to touch them again. (More often than not this doesn't work because different translations need to be used in different contexts. I have seen at least one project being completely ruined by the use of this function.) If you are the only person who works on the files, this approach doesn't make much sense because you will have the translations in your TM anyway and will be able to use them as repetitions.


Now they have figured out that they could ALSO take advantage of this to transform 100% matches (which they paid) into repetitions (which they don't pay).


Actually, it should be the other way round. - In a normal project setting, what you now translate as FOUs would appear as repetitions. If these FOUs are translated beforehand, they will need to be applied to the translation file from a TM, which will result in 100% matches.


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:54
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How to convert 100% matches into reps... Nov 5, 2008

Thank you Claudia, for pointing the difficulties of this approach. This time, I'm the only translator on this project, so there is not more than a mean-minded approach.

[quote]Claudia Digel wrote:


"Now they have figured out that they could ALSO take advantage of this to transform 100% matches (which they paid) into repetitions (which they don't pay"

Actually, it should be the other way round. - In a normal project setting, what you now translate as FOUs would appear as repetitions. If these FOUs are translated beforehand, they will need to be applied to the translation file from a TM, which will result in 100% matches.



Well... They go one step further... they integrate the FOUs back from the TM (or wherever they pick them) into my source file... This way they can transform the 100% into reps ! Isn't it clever ?
With a rough estimation, the "savings" for them will be about $20, minus their work (which they have to pay for) and mine (which costs them nothing).

And you're right, everything is in my TM.


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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:54
English to German
yep, I've come across them, too Nov 5, 2008

...and agree with Claudia:

However, what I really don't understand, from what you write it looks as if you are the only person working on this project. The main use of FOU files is to extract segments that will appear in many files (that will be translated by different translators) so that they will only be translated once in advance and then can be inserted into the individual files as 100% matches. The idea is that the individual translators then won't need to touch them again. (...) If you are the only person who works on the files, this approach doesn't make much sense because you will have the translations in your TM anyway and will be able to use them as repetitions.


I can see why it is done when there are multiple files and translators working with desktop TMs. It does create consistency but I always hated being the one to translate the reps out of context. You get files with 100% (pretranslated) TUs that in theory you don't have to touch though sometimes it's glaringly obvious that all is not well. Ideally, either the translator or the reviewer gets paid for checking and if necessary correcting those reps as required by the context.

It really doesn't make sense to have someone who is the only translator on a project go through this process.


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:54
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Got confused with 100% matches and reps Nov 5, 2008

Sorry for the confusion. I don't know why I made the mistake (maybe because I hate both reps and 100% matches).
Actually, they don't pay 100% matches, and so by this clever way they transform all reps into 100% matches. It may make thinks clearer.
Thank you for your input, it comforts me into the idea that it is just a nuisance on a project where I am the only translator.
I also understand that it is not such a common practice, luckily.


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