Translating terminology lists
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:58
German to English
Dec 31, 2005

I recently accepted a job from an agency to translate several terminology lists in Excel sheets for which the only "context" given was subject headings: awnings, roller shutters, drives, fabrics, doors, etc. and things didn't turn out so well. I'd like to say up front that I've learned my lesson. One of my New Year's resolutions is never again to accept such a job without setting some conditions. I'd like to ask you fellow ProZians what conditions you would insist on before accepting such a job.

The job I accepted involved translating several lists of Austrian German terms (hundreds of terms) related to a client's roller shutters and awning business. To translate these terms I used several good technical dictionaries and many hours of online research. The client is unhappy with the result. He cites the example of "Ausfall" and says that my translation is incorrect in the context of awnings. Ausfall can mean breakdown, failure and several other things related to awnings. After just spending another two hours of research, I finally discovered that the term is probably "drop" – the drop of a drop arm awning.

In this case, the client submitted these lists to a translation agency and has no clue what's involved. The client naturally expects the agency to take care of it. A decent translation agency would take responsibility for educating the client about what's required to do this kind of job properly, pointing out the limitations and research involved, perhaps suggesting that only an expert in this industry should translate the terms. Very many agencies, however, don't do this. They place the burden on the translator. Another consideration is price. Chances are that an enormous amount of research time will go into such a list unless one is already a specialist in roller shutters and awnings.

Your thoughts will be appreciated.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
two suggestions Dec 31, 2005

Kim Metzger wrote:

....He cites the example of "Ausfall" and says that my translation is incorrect in the context of awnings. Ausfall can mean breakdown, failure and several other things related to awnings. After just spending another two hours of research, I finally discovered that the term is probably "drop" – the drop of a drop arm awning.

... Another consideration is price. Chances are that an enormous amount of research time will go into such a list unless one is already a specialist in roller shutters and awnings.




Hi Kim

Sorry to hear about your problems. In relation to the two items above, I would:

1. insist on having access to a technical expert who can explain things to you

2. charge a substantially higher than normal per-word rate, or better still, a per-hour rate.

All the best for 2006:-)

Ailish


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 14:58
Member (2005)
English to German
Define a workflow first Dec 31, 2005

Large companies that have a lot of stuff translated provide a terminology-management format with space for: source word, target word, word type (e.g. noun, verb), definition, context example, what project it belongs to, remarks, confidence level / QA department's opinion (such as Approved, Pre-Approved, Failed, For Research). And possibly some more fields. In your case, photographs or drawings would also have been in order.

Ricki

<Kim: gnaw off here>

Definieren Sie zuerst den Arbeitsablauf
Große Firmen, die viel übersetzen lassen, geben ein Format für die Terminologieverwaltung vor. Darin gibt es unter anderem die folgenden Felder: Ursprüngliches Wort; übersetztes Wort; Wordart (z.B Substantiv oder Verb); grammatisches Geschlecht; Definition; Kontextbeispiel; Projekt, aus dem das Wort stammt; Bemerkungen; Status der Übersetzung und/oder Anmerkungen der Qualitätssicherungsabteilung (z.B. "OK", "vermutlich OK", "abgelehnt", "muss überprüft werden"). Und manchmal noch mehr Felder. In Ihrem Fall wären auch Fotos oder Zeichnungen angebracht gewesen.

Kim: please find information on DIN and ISO standards about terminology management here: www.linse.uni-essen.de/linse/images/esel/sprache_als_norm.PPT



[Edited at 2005-12-31 22:12]


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John Jory  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:58
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Hourly rate Dec 31, 2005

Hi Kim,

due to similar "belly flops" with Excel and Powerpoint translations in the past, I always ask for the complete file(s) so I know what's coming my way.
If it looks in any way problematic, I give an estimate of the time required, with the provision that I will charge the actual time spent if it turns out to be considerably more than expected. However, I don't charge for time spent researching for words that are not in my field. I put it down to broadening my knowledge base.

If the client/agency doesn't accept - that's OK with me (my regular customers always agree).

As to the dual meaning for "Ausfall": if it's only one mistake in a list of several hundred words, that's pretty good

All the best for 2006.

John


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:58
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Translating terminology lists Dec 31, 2005

Thank you very much for your suggestions, Lia, Ricki and John. Now I'm wondering if Ricki would mind translating her explanation into German. Not this year, but maybe next year? It would give me more clout with my Austrian agency. And John, I'm afraid "Ausfall" wasn't the only problematic term.

I wish you all a very fine New Year!


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 19:58
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Higher Rate per Source Word Jan 1, 2006

Hi Kim,
I have ever accepted two technical glossary translations. Both are related to medicine. Fortunately, the agency gave me the reference materials to have clearer understanding of the possible contextual meanings. In addition, I charge them higher rates than usual because the glossaries comprise completely technical terms.
Happy New Year.


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dieter haake  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 14:58
Italian to German
+ ...
Danke ... Jan 1, 2006

für den Link




und ein erfolgreiches 2006

didi



sorry:


Thanks for the link
and a prosperous New Year






www.kaerntenservice.at

[Edited at 2006-01-01 08:38]


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Termilonogy Lists Jan 1, 2006

Kim Metzger wrote:
Your thoughts will be appreciated.


I have done this type of work before. Usually for publishing companies. These is what I insist upon:

1. Context - Accesibility to the whole text, regardless of whether it will be translated or not (manual, website, software suite, etc.) If the client refuses to supply the appropriate context, I send the client a disclaimer clause.

2. Expertise - If it is not about one of my specialties, I don't take the job, period.

3. Rate - I always charge by the hour. It wouldn't make sense otherwise.

--
Dyran


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
New clients Jan 2, 2006

Hi Kim,

Your thread has certainly provided very interesting answers.

I usually turn down more complex jobs from new clients. If it is a difficult job, why would they give it to a new translator? Also, a current client already knows your qualifications and will assume good faith.

However, if I decide to take on such a job I charge for the additional collection risk, maybe an additional 20-30%.

I can't provide more specific info on terminology since I haven't got much experience with this.

Best
Fred


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 14:58
English to German
+ ...
I did only one very large term list Jan 2, 2006

or a dictionary type of work on word rate basis. The lesson I got from that is never to repeat it, instead do an extra priced based on hourly basis. There is much to research as one word with out much context or with limited context can create a lot more work than one can imagine. Brandis

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