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How many pages a day?
Thread poster: Monika Bledowska

Monika Bledowska
Local time: 22:54
German to Polish
+ ...
Mar 20, 2007

Good evening to everyone!
I was offered a translation job about 40.000 words and asked for a quotation for the whole project as well as an estimated completion time. And this is the point, since I never dealed with this amount of work: how many pages a day do you usually translate on average?
Thanks a lot for your answers,
Moni


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 09:54
English to Indonesian
+ ...
words per day Mar 20, 2007

the standard, i think, should be around 2000-3000 words per day. per page is tad subjective as it has more variables, i.e. spacing, font size, etc, although you can guesstimate total word per page.

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Danu  Identity Verified
Eritrea
Local time: 05:54
Member (2006)
English to Tigrinya
+ ...
It depends on you Mar 20, 2007

Dear Monica,

The number of pages per day depends on the number of hours you work on a day. I usually work, as full time freelance translator, for 8 hours per day. I can manage to translate an average of 500 words per hour. This means 4000 words per day. So, if you case is similar to mine, it will take you about 10 days to finish of the whole project. And, it will need you 1-2 for proofreading and editing.

Hope this helps you.

Thanks,
Danu


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Working days Mar 20, 2007

Hello Monika,

There are many important factors you need to know when setting up a quote.

Have you seen the source text? Are you familiar with the file format? What about the formatting? Some clients tend to use the computer as a type-writer, making hard break at the end of every line (even in the middle of a sentence), using tabs for builing up tables etc. which is terrible for us translators. If you first need to improve the file before starting off with your job, you will lose time and at the end you have invested more time than you supposed to.

Also, make clear that your quote contains working days (usually Monday till Frdiay) and not weekdays. Quite a few clients would understand "seven days" as from Monday until next Monday, although we are no machines and can't produce the same amount of translated text every day. Even translators need some days off.

You might also want to keep some doors open for any other jobs coming in during the time you're into this project, i.e. considering that you won't work on this project every day for two weeks, but also need a day or two for other jobs.

Regards
Erik


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
English to Polish
+ ...
So how big is a car? Mar 20, 2007

This question is impossible to answer, Monika.

1. What is the text like?
Is it simple, without the need to check dictionaries and the web for terms? Do you know the subject matter well (and thus the terminology)?

2. How long can you work effectively? 8 hours, 10, 14?
There comes a time when I find myself just staring at the screen or typing nonsense. That's when I shut down for the night. It will take me less time to start fresh in the morning than to check and correct the babble I wrote last night.

3. How fast do you type?

I have been known to do 40 standard pages in the course of a weekend (started Friday night, sent the text back Monday morning, working 14 hours each day with doors of my room locked and my wife slipping sandwiches under the door (just kidding )
But I knew the subject matter well and there was no need to stop to check references.

Sometimes it will take you an hour to translate a list of names of institutions or a list of EU directives (i.e. to find their official names on the web).
Sometimes it will take you 20 minutes to find the right term on the web.
Sometimes there is a sentence or a pragaraph which is so convoluted that you need to sleep on it for a while before you find the right way to translate it.

Look at the text, check it for potential problems, make up your mind.
And if you really want an answer to your question, I would probably ask for a calendar month to do this job, to give myself room for other small jobs in the meantime (as Erik mentions).

HTH
Pawel Skalinski



[Edited at 2007-03-20 08:38]


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:54
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not pages per day, but words per hour Mar 20, 2007

I wouldn't think in pages per day, but words per hour. You assert how many words you do per hour, and calculate the number of hours you will need. Then you check your calendar and spread out the hours over the upcoming days/weeks.

Also important: do you use Trados or a similar program? In that case, make an analysis of your source text to see how much repetition you can expect. (In Trados: Tools > Analyse) You may find that you don't have to translate 40000 words at all, but only 25000.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My speed is... Mar 20, 2007

monika_a_b wrote:
And this is the point, since I never dealed with this amount of work: how many pages a day do you usually translate on average?


In the days when I was a part-time freelancer (what some might call a moonlighter), I told clients that I could do 800 words per day. This was because I usually translated about 3 hours per night. If it happened that the work was particularly difficult, I would work 4 or 5 hours to make up for it, but at least I never underestimated how long it would take me.

Now that I'm doing freelance translation full-time, I tell clients that I can generally do 5000 words per day, if I'm familiar with the subject matter. But I usually try to get a deadline that is so far away that I can do 2000 words per day and still make it (you never know what might happen before the deadline, and you'll appreciate the breathing space).


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Marian Vieyra  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:54
Member (2007)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Pawel - How big is a car? Polish calque? In English - how long is a piece of string? !! Regards Mar 20, 2007

PAS wrote:

This question is impossible to answer, Monika.

1. What is the text like?
Is it simple, without the need to check dictionaries and the web for terms? Do you know the subject matter well (and thus the terminology)?

2. How long can you work effectively? 8 hours, 10, 14?
There comes a time when I find myself just staring at the screen or typing nonsense. That's when I shut down for the night. It will take me less time to start fresh in the morning than to check and correct the babble I wrote last night.

3. How fast do you type?

I have been known to do 40 standard pages in the course of a weekend (started Friday night, sent the text back Monday morning, working 14 hours each day with doors of my room locked and my wife slipping sandwiches under the door (just kidding )
But I knew the subject matter well and there was no need to stop to check references.

Sometimes it will take you an hour to translate a list of names of institutions or a list of EU directives (i.e. to find their official names on the web).
Sometimes it will take you 20 minutes to find the right term on the web.
Sometimes there is a sentence or a pragaraph which is so convoluted that you need to sleep on it for a while before you find the right way to translate it.

Look at the text, check it for potential problems, make up your mind.
And if you really want an answer to your question, I would probably ask for a calendar month to do this job, to give myself room for other small jobs in the meantime (as Erik mentions).

HTH
Pawel Skalinski



[Edited at 2007-03-20 08:38]


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Deschant
Local time: 03:54
My 2 cents Mar 20, 2007

One month also sounds reasonable to me:

-You could translate an average of 2000-2500 words per day which sounds sensible (for example I can translate up to 4000 words per day, but I don't think I could sustain that rhythm for 2 whole weeks!).

-You would still have a couple of days at the end to proofread the translation, ensure terminological coherence... (which, in my view, is not an option, but a must).

-You still would be enjoying your weekends or any other days you decided to have a break in.

-If another client of yours comes with another translation, you still would be able to do it.

-This timeframe still leaves a reasonable margin if, for some reasons, you cannot keep your workload for a couple of days (eg. if you are ill, your computer has crashed...).

That said, I think the minimum required would be about 12 days (4000 words per day + 2 days for proofreading) but you must evaluate whether the quality of your work would be seriously damaged by putting this pressure on you or not allowing you any breaks.


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Navy Huang
China
Local time: 10:54
English to Chinese
+ ...
Everybody seems to be superman! Mar 20, 2007

Honestly, I was shocked a bit when I found that most colleagues posting above can translate super-fast say 4000 or 5000 words per day, though myself can also translate 5000 words a day for files with subject matters that I am very familiar with, e.g. questionnaires. Most of the time I only translate 1500 words daily despite the fact that I can actually translate more, 2500 or 3000 words. I am curious about one thing, i.e. will those "AK47 TRANSLATORS" above get spiritually tired when handling large projects? I do get spiritually tired often----don't want to translate anything, don't know what else to do. As a result, I only accept large jobs with deadlines far away to ensure that I can find myself some entertainment when I get spiritually tired. For example, I am now dealing with a 26215-word project assigned on March 6 and with a deadline of April 1, of which I translate 2000 words a day when I feel good, 1000 words when I feel not so good or even none when I am not so happy. I know that some "AK47 TRANSLATORS" can translate very fast though I doubt whether there is any translator who is capable of keeping translating 4000 words for more than 3 days!

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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
English to Polish
+ ...
@Marian - no Mar 20, 2007

Actually, it was just something that came to my mind when I was responding to the post.
I can't think of a Polish expression that would correspond to the length of string...
So, no calque

P.A.S.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes... yes... oh yes... Mar 20, 2007

Haijun Huang wrote:
I am curious about one thing, i.e. will those AK47 TRANSLATORS above get spiritually tired when handling large projects?


Yes, I get tired (the Afrikaans word is "vuisvoos"). That's why I also do other smaller jobs inbetween. Or water the lawn. Or drink lots of coffee and eats lots of sarmies. Or read Proz.com and Lantra-L and whatnot.


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the Train  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
Combat fatigue syndrome Mar 21, 2007

Haijun Huang wrote:

I am curious about one thing, i.e. will those "AK47 TRANSLATORS" above get spiritually tired when handling large projects?


The issue is not finishing 5000 words per day. The issue is what happens after two weeks of chasing your tail and pushing yourself to the limit. I did it last year for a very urgent 70KW project. The two weeks were over and I needed one full week of rest. I was mentally drained.

Slow and steady wins the race.


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Navy Huang
China
Local time: 10:54
English to Chinese
+ ...
Think twice Mar 21, 2007

the Train wrote:

The issue is not finishing 5000 words per day. The issue is what happens after two weeks of chasing your tail and pushing yourself to the limit. I did it last year for a very urgent 70KW project. The two weeks were over and I needed one full week of rest. I was mentally drained.


Interesting that when I was a new hand I always envied those who have to drive themselves to deadline with no time and energy left even for themselves. Then one day when I finally got some time to rest a little bit after translating 50KW in 12 days I realized it was just a different story: I might not want to do this any more (after taking a break off it I would miss that feeling and working status from time to time though never try again). I think decent clients will notice that translators are only normal humans like everyone else who are not capable of working in the way an AK47 fires bullets! And those who do not I would think twice when working with them, e.g. one or two days is acceptable, three or four days is reluctantly acceptable, five or six days is never acceptable!


Huang Haijun


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Monika Bledowska
Local time: 22:54
German to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Mar 23, 2007

Hi guys
Thank you so much for your opinons! Your answers helped me a lot...
Have a nice evening...
Moni


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