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Advanced Translation Techniques: 10,000 words per day
Thread poster: Mike007
Mike007
English
Sep 11, 2008

Hi there,

I'm eager to learn what techniques you all use to hit high-volume daily outputs.

Obviously, working very fast, figures above 4,000 words per day are readily achievable, but do you have techniques to process 10,000 words per day?

Examples might be:

- Advanced use of CAT tools (ultra-large TMs, MultiTerm, glossaries converted into TMs, etc.)
- Find and replace macros (run on Unclean Trados files, for example)
- Glossary macros
- Templates
- Collaborative solutions

Any advice is greatly appreciated!!



Mike

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-09-12 13:37]


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:16
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
My list of favourites Sep 12, 2008

After 7 years in the business, I have never achieved anything like 10,000 words a day (net, in an 8-hour day, after deducting repetitions etc).

But I do sometimes achieve quite large data volumes. Perhaps surprisingly, none of your techniques would be on my list (with the possible exception of MultiTerm).

In no particular order, the techniques I find most productive are:
- Powerful PC with 2 large screens (each 24")
- Electronic dictionaries, including my own specialised glossaries
- Medium-sized TMs, pruned from time to time of useless terminology. I find that ultra-large TMs give too many matches, so it is hard to find good ones. As we say in English, you can't see the wood for the trees.
- Speech recognition. Perhaps my single most effective technique. Translating a well-written text in a subject I am familiar with with a well-trained microphone can be highly productive.

I look forward to hearing what other people do.


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Felipe Gútiez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:16
Member (2002)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Déjà Vu Example based machine translation? Sep 12, 2008

I am in the process of buying Déjà Vu. Has anyone experience of working with the tool Example based machine translation. It should to be very good.

Has anyone 3 or more large screens working at home?
What about prompt? Has anyone used it?
I have used very much the Oxford Superlex (English, German, Spanish) electronically
I used to start not with the index, but to translate it in the end. I used to go on with the next paragraph if a paragraph is difficult and then I come back with more ideas and when I am more fresh.
A very good chair is a very good investment
The most powerful internet connection available in the market
The most powerful PC (what about Mac?
The most important thing: read regularly what other translators think and do in ProZ or other platforms.


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Mike007
English
TOPIC STARTER
Feedback... Sep 12, 2008

Peter,

Many thanks for your advice.

I agree on the screen set-up - you can't have a desk that's too ergonomic or user-friendly in my experience. It's essential to have a fast pc for all those heavy ppt tag files...

I'm interested about your comment on speech recognition. It seems this technology has come on in leaps and bounds of late and a lot of translators are using it.

Mike


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:16
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My two cents Sep 12, 2008

Mike007 wrote:
Obviously, working very fast, figures above 4,000 words per day are readily achievable, but do you have techniques to process 10,000 words per day?


Actually it's quite simple!

1. Simple text ─or simple based on your own knowledge─ with no terminology doubts and medium-sized sentences.
2. A memory that can feed you a lot of matches.
3. Fast typing.
4. 9-10 hours of continuous work, no distractions

My formula! Of course I am not claiming that I do 10K words every day...


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
German to English
+ ...
File format and formatting Sep 12, 2008

Don't forget that file format and the formatting within the file can also help or hinder you in increasing your output. When I get "straight" Word files with no graphics or embedded tables, I can work much faster than I can on Excel files or Word files with all sorts of embedded stuff, hotlinks, etc. Not even mentioning PDFs!

[Edited at 2008-09-12 11:52]


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Mike007
English
TOPIC STARTER
DVX is a winner...eventually :) Sep 12, 2008

Thanks to Felipe, Tomas and Daina...

I take your point about the file format.

What I like to do is create an Unclean Word file (translate it first using a blank TM), hide the Source text and do lots of find and replace on terms/expressions. Only the Target text is replaced, so the source is intact. Obviously, you have to be careful, as with any find and replace!

On DVX Felipe, I've used it extensively over the last 2-3 years. I would take as much as advice as you can from users, as it's NOT intuitive initially and the best things are not immediately obvious. Send me an email if you're unsure of anything. It's really great for preserving folder structures and batch processing files, unlike Trados.

Anyone use macros or tools to find and replace natural language expressions? (assuming we all do a bit of find and replace of terms)

Mike


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:16
English to Italian
mmmm... Sep 12, 2008

how long is your day?

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Mike007
English
TOPIC STARTER
8 hours Sep 12, 2008

Normal day = 8 hours

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My secrets... Sep 12, 2008

Mike007 wrote:
Obviously, working very fast, figures above 4,000 words per day are readily achievable, but do you have techniques to process 10,000 words per day?


Depends on the text. If the text is easy and familiar, and if I don't count reviewing time, I can do about 800 words per hour, with no fuzzy matches and repetitions. But I can't go on like that for more than 5 hours (then my brain explodes and my fingers cramp up), and I need to rest.

The most I have achieved in a 12 hour period (with no pre-existing TM) for software strings was about 30 000 words and for paragraph text was about 20 000 words, but that does not include reviewing and it obviously includes many, many internal fuzzy matches.

So my tongue-in-cheek answer is: make sure the text is easy, repetitive, and familiar. If it aint, you can't hope to achieve such high volumes. And get to know your CAT tool very, very well.

I would be slower if it weren't for:
* My CAT tool (Wordfast)
* My CD dictionaries (I have four)
* My fast internet (well, fast enough)
* My browser, built for speed (Opera)
* My word processor's spell-checker (underlines)
* My headphones and such musicians as Vaakevandring, Slechtvalk etc
* My high chair
* Mugs and mugs of liquid chicory (or coffee, if chicory is unavailable)



[Edited at 2008-09-12 13:27]


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Mike007
English
TOPIC STARTER
Wordfast over Trados? Sep 12, 2008

I agree Samuel and thanks for your input.

For shorter periods of time, on simple, repetitive texts (in Word), output like that is achievable.

The only CD I have is the Collins Robert French-English which is very helpful, if limited. What ones do you use? (I'd never go back to paper I have to say)

Would you rate Wordfast over Trados? I've used Trados, DVX, SDLX and Multitrans, but not Wordfast...does it have any features that set it apart from the competition?

Mike


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:16
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Juluka? Sep 12, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
* My headphones and such musicians as Vaakevandring, Slechtvalk etc


Sad you don't mention Juluka. Am I very outdated Samuel?


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:16
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Limit yourself Sep 12, 2008

We've got a specialist for legal stuff who often posts in the forums who claims a typical daily output of somewhere around 10,000 words a day. As far as I know she does most of her work with voice input and sticks strictly to the subject she knows best and practiced as an attorney.

I can fly through an average text in my best subjects (chemistry and IT) at a pretty good rate, but I doubt I come anywhere close to 10,000 words/day when you ignore repetitions. Maybe 5-6,000 can be expected without a mental meltdown if the phones are shut off and I stay away from e-mail.

However, it's not very productive to worry much about your "peak output", and it's a damned dicey thing to plan projects based on such maxima. Worry more about your average and minimum throughputs and give yourself a safe margin in planning or you'll find yourself with a serious case of burnout at some point.

Try collecting statistics on actual projects you've done. Classify them by type and difficulty and calculate the throughputs. That is the best basis for planning.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:16
Dutch to English
+ ...
Geez ... Sep 12, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:We've got a specialist for legal stuff who often posts in the forums who claims a typical daily output of somewhere around 10,000 words a day. As far as I know she does most of her work with voice input and sticks strictly to the subject she knows best and practiced as an attorney.


... who is this Wonder Woman?

Funny, because apart from the word count, it sounds a little like me ...

I work using speech recognition software, a CAT tool, stick almost exclusively to the field I know best (law), often post in the forums and practised as a lawyer - but this woman has got me way beat when it comes to typical daily output.

I do wish she'd come and share her secrets though, I'm always looking for ways to make more money

[Edited at 2008-09-12 18:09]


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:46
German to English
+ ...
I wonder if it's worth it Sep 12, 2008

What, pray, are the burning reasons for having to race through a text at 10000 words/day?

This rate of translation would surely 'translate' into a great income, but, as Kevin pointed out, there is a very real fear of burnout.

Besides, would there by any time left to mull over that turn of phrase, research that interesting off-topic, delve into that new way of using the dictionary or CAT tool, or just enjoy that intellectual satisfaction that comes from a translation done at a reasonable pace?


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