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How many words can you translate in a work session
Thread poster: Sami Khamou

Sami Khamou  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:05
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Aug 24, 2002

Translation is a basically mental activity. I need to find out how long can a translator carry on working non stop before he takes a break in terms of time and production. How many words can a translator produce in each work session? I know my capacity. I would appreciate your input.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I take breaks every 2 hours Aug 24, 2002

I translate until I find myself slowing down, the words stop flowing well... then it\'s time for a break (meaning, for me, any change of activity).



Three periods like this a day and I meet my quota.





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Patricia Posadas  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:05
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very variable Aug 24, 2002

For me the number of words varies a great deal depending, first of all on what I am translating, but also on many other reasons.



I\'m far from being a machine and all the days are not the same. On an energetic day I can do up 4500 words of a simple text, on a

greyish one that can go down to 2500.



Another factor that has an influence on this is the level of stress. If I have a great many words to do in a very short period of time I can work 12 hours a day during one week ... but then I need some days at a vey slow pace before I speed up again


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:05
Member
Dutch to English
+ ...
Words per day Aug 25, 2002

My situation is similar to that of Patricia. I have been known to translate 8000 words in a day when it is my area of expertise and it is \'easy\'. I usually have a break after two hours (hanging up washing, reading the post that arrived by snail mail, etc.). I think it also depends on your typing speed. I type blind and have a very high speed. My average in a day is 3000 words (this includes proof-reading and doing the final checks).

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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
Just don't forget the industry standards.... Aug 25, 2002

...of 1,000/words per day as being *normal*, and 2,000 words per day as being considered *rush* delivery -> in about 8hrs/day!



I have been in this business for a couple of decades now, and although I can translate more than the above industry standards (all depending on the subject matter, level of technicality etc), I have found that I do my very best quality work when I stick to a maximum rate of 2,000 words/day.



This also gives me ample time to revise and touch up the work etc. and I make an excellent income (i.e. no need to force myself to squeeze in more words per day in order to get a decent income in the end).



I can type a good 60-65 words per minute as well.



I just do not want (especially) new comers in the business, to think that we all output 3,000 + words per day.



Remember that balance in everything should prevail. Take time to be with your family, your pets, play, exercise, eat well, and sleep well.... *Smell the roses - we only have one life!!!*



You should also take regular breaks from your computers because of the wide spread RSIs (Repetitive Strain Injuries) caused by long hours keyboarding, using a mouse etc.



In the end, it adds up and can be very detrimental to one\'s health.



Kind regards,

Nathalie


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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:05
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
2 words in 4 hours Aug 25, 2002

I feel confortable translating about 2000 daily words but this is just an arithmetic mean. I include in that mean the terminology research, the translation and the edition.

Recently I had a quite difficult technical job for which the translation of a single two words expression took me 4 hours!

If I\'m too tired I better don\'t work; I take a rest, and whem I\'m back the translation is easier.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pressure Aug 25, 2002

Even though the thought of pressure is totally contrary to my lifestyle, I find that I do my best work under pressure, with greater production and productivity (read quality) than when I am loafing along. I also avoid taking breaks because it ruins my concentration.



With long days, seven day work weeks and no interruptions I can produce quite a bit, but the money needs to be really good.



Because after that, I\'m going to goof off for a while. Life is too short...


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Nikolai Muraviev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:05
English to Russian
+ ...
depends on many factors Aug 26, 2002

Normally, 2000 words/day is an average word count (used by agencies for calculations). If you use TRADOS, you may increase your word count (my \"record\" is >7000 words/day



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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 14:05
Dutch to English
+ ...
Time zones Aug 26, 2002

It depends: With the use of TMs,CAT-tools (some language combinations-especially if they are of the same linguistic family- are 75% accurate), the productivity level can be considerably enhanced. These tools give at least an idea of what the texts are about. It is up to the translator to produce the final version.

Otherwise the normal industry standard of 1500-2500 applies.

I wonder if at this standard and a certain rate, the activity of translation generates enough cash-flow to realize growth (goal of any economic activity) and is not only a means of earning a living?



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markusb  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:05
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Standard or more Aug 26, 2002

Although the work speed largely depends on the familiarity of the subject, I personally try to achieve more than 2,000 words/day while still maintaining quality, hopefully. If you\'re not only working for long-time customers but also for some agencies who pay significantly less, 2,000 is just not enough to make a living, at least here in Germany.

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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:05
English to German
+ ...
Depends on the deadline Aug 27, 2002

The tighter the deadline the more I translate. My personal record is 6000 words, an easy translation in my field of expertise. But if the text is difficult and the subject unfamiliar I might translate just 1200 per day. If the text is interesting I\'m good and fast, if it\'s boring I\'m sluggish and uninspired. I find it helpful to leave a translation overnight and review it the next day but very often I don\'t have the time to do that.

I think 2000 words on average is fine but when I started agencies tried to convince me that 5000 - 6000 is normal, rubbish.


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Sami Khamou  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:05
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A thousand thanks Aug 29, 2002

Thanks to all responders. You have enriched my understanding. It is good to know that 2000 words a day (my normal capacity)is not a shame. One day I was pressed to produce 4000 words a day, I needed one full day to recover. Those who can do 8000 a day are exceptionally gifted people.



Many thanks to you all


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