Those pesky certificates and diplomas...got an efficient way to bang out these types of projects?
Thread poster: Todd Field

Todd Field  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:39
Member (2003)
Portuguese to English
Jun 28, 2003

Dear colleagues,

We get a lot of these, you know, requests for university diplomas, birth and death certificates, and so on, all via fax or scanned hardcopy.

Of course, we try not to turn down any job (unless we feel unqualified to do it)... but golly are these little guys annoying! It seems you spend more time formatting, clicking, and re-arranging rather than actually TRANSLATING.

We bought ABBYY FineReader, thinking this would be the solution. It's fantastic software alright, but most of the source texts we get are so bad (having gone through a couple of faxes) that it still isn't cost-efficient by the time you import the file, spell check it, take out all the miscellaneous junk, re-format it, and export it to Word.

So...

Has anyone come up with an efficient way to bang out these types of projects? A nifty trick, a specific type of software, or some other creative answer? We would love to keep accepting these projects, but are starting to get "worn down" by the disproportionate time investment relative to the reward.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Todd and Monica


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:09
English to Tamil
+ ...
Quite a simple answer Jun 29, 2003

At the outset I would like to say that I do not know of any software other than the Readiris, whereby the scanner is to be used and the scanned copy desired in Word format or any other editable format. But then I would like to suggest as to how the job and the client are to be handled. Tell him frankly the problems involved in the translation and the extra time and effort entailed by it. Tell him that he will be charged by the hour for the same plus your normal translation word rate. Alternatively he may accept just the translation without worrying about the formatting. 90% of the time the client will accept the later choice. He may perhaps request you to give an affidavit along with the translation.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Take Them as They Come Jun 29, 2003

Just do them in a format that is understandable even though it does not conform completely to the original, and take them as they come. Most of these clients cannot pay much so it is more of a social service than anything else. That kind of work will never be your "bread and butter" but the PR can sometimes help.

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Save the blank formats Jun 29, 2003

Sorry if you think this is too obvious, but it is worth while saving formats you have created as blanks (without the personal data) so that if you get e.g. another UK birth certificate in the same format as a previous one, you can just fill in the blanks.

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Valeria Verona  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 05:39
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
agree Jun 29, 2003

Henry Hinds wrote:

Just do them in a format that is understandable even though it does not conform completely to the original, and take them as they come. Most of these clients cannot pay much so it is more of a social service than anything else. That kind of work will never be your "bread and butter" but the PR can sometimes help.


There's no need to work as a designer... just translate the contents.
Here in Argentina this kind of documents have to be sworn translations, and this implies a standard format (very simple, no blanks, "box-like" layout) for every document, whether a contract, diploma or blood test. This "official" layout regulated by an Association of Sworn Translators doesn't give you any freedom... so we don't have that problem!
But in your case, I think you should focus in contents and not layout.
Good luck.


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Charge accordingly Jun 29, 2003

I translatate that type of document regularly, and I am always required to follow the original format as closely as possible (clients in the USA), so you might want to keep doing the same.

I charge per word, plus US$50 a page for formatting (about an hour per page). Notarization, when required, is charged extra.



[Edited at 2003-06-29 14:23]


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xxxtramont
English to Spanish
+ ...
Use Acrobat Jun 29, 2003

Here's a possible solution:

Get Adobe Acrobat - the full program, not just the reader.

Stage 1: Scan the original certificate and turn it into an Acrobat document. You can do this directly using File/Import feature.

Stage 3: Use the Text Annotation Tool in Acrobat (5th down on the left-hand menu)to insert your translated text over the top of the original. You end up with a text box which you can move around, resize, change attributes on etc.

After a bit of practice it's very easy, and effective. The disadvantage, of course, is that your final presentation is only as good as the copy of the original document, and that the client gets it as a PDF. However, most people have an Acrobat Reader, and most people asking for certificate translations are only interested in a print-out, so it might be worth a try.

Nicholas Fry


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