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to make a glossary before the translation project?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 01:46
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Jun 30, 2008

Hi folks,

Have such a situation:

A client approached to me offering a big and interesting, and rather complex project and they have quite a strange request - they have asked me to make a glossary before we start the translation. It is about some rather sophisticated software and they say they need that glossary (names of commands, and so on) to be inserted into some software already. The second strange thing is that they say if they see if the glossary is OK, they will give the job to me...

I sent them an email and a detailed explanation that such a task can be problematic (i.e. doing the glossary first, and then translation), esp. when there is no context (they said the files for translation will come in ~ 1 week after completion of the glossary) and offered them to do vice versa - translation first, and then the glossary (after the job is completed, revised, edited, and so on). Now waiting for their reply that should come on Monday, but it seems they will still insist on "glossary first".

I am afraid that this can turn into a problem, esp. for the language combination when the same English word can be translated into 3-4 ways in the target language and imagine the nightmare there can be if something changes in the glossary during translation or after translation is completed, let alone that I only have the glossary in the source and no files that will have to be translated (I actually have no context at all).

What would you suggest? Shall I insist on "translation, then glossary" and if they do not agree, then refuse this job? Any other ideas or solutions?






[Edited at 2008-06-30 00:36]

[Edited at 2008-06-30 00:37]


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 05:46
Partial member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Very big volume jobs Jun 30, 2008

I met with such the situation when I translated for big volume jobs e.g. construction machine manual, accounting software, website pages.

I first submit them glossary with comments: To be revised after seeing contexts. This ease up their source text writing process.
2-3 revisions were needed but these were better than ignoring cooperation with the clients.

Regards,
Soonthon L.


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Hanan Zain Eddin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:46
Arabic to English
+ ...
glossary amount Jun 30, 2008

Ok, here is my suggestion: you can ask them to give you the list of glossary, if it is too much, you can ask them to pay you for it per word, as it is difficult for you to get them out of the text. the glossary is the most important part in any translation task, when it is done, maybe the task is done! So, take a look at the glossary amount then decide.
But you are right, it is better to translate first.
Good luck


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Marina Soldati  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 19:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My experience Jun 30, 2008

Hi Marius,

What you client wants is not uncommon in software translation.

I´ve done many software translations and they always ask me to translate the glossary first with all the names of menus, commands, buttons, error messages and the like(always an Excel file).
You can ask for two things, either an Excel file with three columns: source, target and comments, where they should write some context for the term, usually an explanation of what the command does or the menu refers to.
Or, they can send the glossary and the text to translate (I suppose it´s the users manual) just to have it as reference material.
If they haven´t written the manual yet, at least ask for some context for the terms in the glossary.
My clients usually agree to a three column Excel file.

Have a nice week
Marina



[Edited at 2008-06-30 01:26]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:46
English to German
+ ...
Not unusual Jun 30, 2008

Hi Marius,

Recently I worked on a large project that included software localization, manual, online help-files and website - we started with the glossary. It was incredible work (research from hell..) and at first I had similar concerns.

Later on I realized that it was the smartest way to "attack" this nearly 200k job. It helped tremendously during the course of the project.

However, getting the glossary right was not a prerequisite to get the job. It was simply meant as a tool to ensure consistency and quality.

HTH,

Nicole


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xxxhazmatgerman
Local time: 00:46
English to German
Agree with Schnell, but ... Jun 30, 2008

It may be a good idea to arrange for - partial - prepayment for the glossary work, just in case. Soldati's suggestion is very practical and should be heeded. Regards.

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Hector Aires
Local time: 19:46
Member
English to Spanish
First the software strings Jun 30, 2008

In fact, there is no such glossary, there are the software strings. They should be selected to fit with the meaning and, very important, with the available space measured in characters.
I have a file with some commercial & technical terms that need to be agreed with the customer. In the particular, it says:
H) Translation of software manuals - In these special translations we can find two clearly different cases:
H.1) The texts within screenshots, windows, text boxes, dialogs, tabs, etc. will remain in English. In this case, those
texts included in the explanations will be translated into Spanish followed by the English text between brackets.
Examples: “TCP/IP Protocol Properties window” goes into “Ventana Propiedades del protocolo TCP/IP (TCP/IP
Protocol Properties)”; “Press Enter” goes into “Pulse Aceptar (Enter)”.
H.2) The texts within screenshots, windows, text boxes, dialogs, tabs, etc. should be translated into Spanish. In this
case the first thing to be done is to translate the software strings. Once the translation of the software strings has
been approved by the customer we shall start with the manual translation.
If the software is already translated into Spanish, the customer should provide the Spanish strings, screenshots,
windows, text boxes, dialogs, tabs, etc.

The above can be discussed, of course.

About your case I would ask for a demo of the software or the original version with a non disclosure statement. Then translate it at an hourly rate as it would be a time consuming task. Now you are able to start with the manual.
In anycase, get payed.
Have my warm regards
Héctor


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 01:46
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
one more thing... Jun 30, 2008

Thanks so much for the help and advice - it really helped!!! Now we are negotiating about the rates with the client. One more thing - they say they want to pay for that glossary per "word count" basis. I do not quite agree as glossary is not a translation and to make a glossary without having even the source texts, it is a big job. Do you think it would be fair to ask for the usual hourly rate for the glossary for the number of our spent "per fact"? Because 2000-3000 words of translation per day is possible and normal, where some 1000-1500 terms in that glossary can take a couple of days...Anyone who has "been there, done that?" about this issue?

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:46
English to German
+ ...
Of course a glossary will be paid Jun 30, 2008

This is not a translation test, yikes. Terms will be provided by the client including context for each term.

After all, it will be used for the website, the manual and what not. It just makes sense to start with this task.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:46
English to German
+ ...
I just checked Jun 30, 2008

My most recent glossary contained 12,000 words. Words, not terms, because a glossary consists of terms plus the definition (on average 5 lines per technical term). I charged per word. If I have to figure out and research the terms upfront or during the course of a project doesn't make a difference. The advantage: Everything will be checked and approved by the client before you start the rest of translation. This saves time!

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:46
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
By the hour if you can Jun 30, 2008

MariusV wrote:
One more thing - they say they want to pay for that glossary per "word count" basis. I do not quite agree as glossary is not a translation and to make a glossary without having even the source texts, it is a big job. Do you think it would be fair to ask for the usual hourly rate for the glossary for the number of our spent "per fact"? Because 2000-3000 words of translation per day is possible and normal, where some 1000-1500 terms in that glossary can take a couple of days...Anyone who has "been there, done that?" about this issue?


Having dealt with this sort of thing a number of times, all I can say is do it by the hour if possible or jack up your word rate for the task. It is a LOT more time consuming than translation of ordinary content and your rate should reflect that.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:46
English to French
+ ...
This is actually the best method for software localization Jul 1, 2008

The method described above is actually the best for this type of work. The company isn't only looking to get the manual translated - they also want the interface translated. In order for interface elements mentioned in the documentation to match with the ones that will appear in the interface, it is best to get the interface localized first. Otherwise, when you translate the manual, you may translate an element in the interface as A, only to realize at the interface localization stage that that translation will not do - and then you will have to go back to the manual and edit it all over.

It is best to start with the interface localization. The company should be able to provide you with a CSV or Excel file of the interface terms in the source language, as well as with screen captures so you can see all these in context. As you go, some interface terms will be obvious (there will be lots of Save, Quit, Next, Print, etc.) and you will not need any context for these most of the time. Some terms may (and will) be more problematic - that is when you will need to take a look at the screen captures to see just what they mean. If it still isn't clear, then you need to speak with the contact person (ideally a software engineer - not the secretary or the head of department) to sort it out. Once you are done translating the interface (which will provide you with your glossary by the same token), you can start working on the documentation. If you use a CAT tool and are wise, you will create a termbase using the glossary, which you will then use to translate the documentation.

As for charging for this work, I'd charge for the interface translation by the hour, and I would make sure to let the client know that the number of hours you will ultimately charge will most likely be revised by the end of the project (if, for example, you have more questions than you initially anticipated and therefore spend more time compiling lists of questions, sending e-mail back and forth, etc.). The documentation part of the project will be much like any good ol' translation job, so you can charge for that by the word (unless the client accepts to be billed by the hour for that, too - I would jump on the occasion).

All the best!

[Edited at 2008-07-01 01:11]


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Agree per hour Jul 1, 2008

Having translated a glossary one or two times before, I must say that I agree with the per hour approach - given that I've been suckered into the per word thing and regretted it. A glossary is really good to start off with so that you keep consistent with terminology - particularly with a long job...

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Juliana Cullafiq
Albania
Local time: 00:46
Member
English to Albanian
+ ...
That is true Jul 1, 2008

[quote]Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

The method described above is actually the best for this type of work. The company isn't only looking to get the manual translated - they also want the interface translated. In order for interface elements mentioned in the documentation to match with the ones that will appear in the interface, it is best to get the interface localized first. Otherwise, when you translate the manual, you may translate an element in the interface as A, only to realize at the interface localization stage that that translation will not do - and then you will have to go back to the manual and edit it all over.

Victoria is right. I have worked with these kind of projects 3-4 times and the glossary allways comes first. Than is more easy to maintain the consistency in UI and UG.

And you should charge this by the hour, since they are not just words of a text. It involves a lot of term research.

Best regards,
Juliana


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:46
English to German
+ ...
This just in Jul 2, 2008

I just got more work from my recent glossary-demanding client. It has been months. Guess, what is my bible right now. My glossary, my glossary, my glossary...

Boy, what a lexicon. I'm so proud. It was worth every minute. No soulless TM can do that.

[Edited at 2008-07-02 12:04]


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