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How many hours to edit a 200 pages translation?
Thread poster: Francesca Sfondrini

Francesca Sfondrini  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:36
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Aug 13, 2008

Dear colleagues,

I've just been asked to edit a 200 pages technical text translated into my mothertongue (financial statement, all numbers need to be checked as well). At first sight the translation seems well done; still the original document is long and difficult.

The translation agency suggested 3 hours should be enough.

Can I please have your comment on that? It seems so little to me...

Thanks a lot,
Francesca


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:36
French to Spanish
+ ...
200 pages, 3 hours? Aug 13, 2008

Must be an error: only reading 200 pages would take 3 days!

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Michaela Sommer  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:36
Member
English to German
1 hour for 1,000 words Aug 13, 2008

A lot of agencies I work for reckon 1 hour is needed to proofread 1,000 words, which is quite a useful guideline. So 200 pages in 3 hours for a specialised text is a joke, if you want to do the job properly!

Michaela


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Manuela Junghans  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:36
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
3 hours? Aug 13, 2008

This can only be a joke. Just imagine how difficult it would be to just read 200 pages in 3 hours.
But maybe I´m only a slow reader which I don´t think I am...


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Dr. Birgitte Eggeling  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:36
German to Danish
Unbelievable Aug 13, 2008

Sometimes you really get unbelievable demands. If you want to do a good and proper proofreading it is impossible in that short time. I see it as Michaela writes.
Best regards
Birgitte


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:36
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
They're on drugs! Aug 13, 2008

For a really good text you might figure around 10 standard pages per hour for editing. That would give a roughly 7 times the agency's proposal. Doesn't sound like a sober estimate to me....

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Liv Fridtjofsen  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:36
English to Norwegian
+ ...
They want perfect quality.... Aug 13, 2008

.... but they do not want to pay .....

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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 10:36
Spanish
+ ...
Only if they're 15-word pages Aug 13, 2008

200 pages in 3 hours is absolutely ridiculous.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:36
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
20 hours at least, I would assume Aug 13, 2008

However, that would be really fast! I cannot even proofread my own translations - of the specialised or complex kind - at the rate of 10 pages per hour! Sometimes I can only proofread 3 or 4 pages of my own translations in one hour. Proofreading is a VERY time-consuming job!

Astrid


[Edited at 2008-08-13 14:42]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:36
Dutch to English
+ ...
Spot check or full revision? Aug 13, 2008

Francesca Sfondrini wrote:

Can I please have your comment on that?



Yes, sure: if they mean the whole job .... send them packing.

Just remember one thing, if the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, the editor/revisor is always first in the line of fire. Why put yourself on the line like that for the sake of what, EUR 120-150 (or am I being overly optimistic)?

Three hours isn't even enough to speed-read the whole thing.

I'm assuming they actually do expect you to revise the whole job and not just randomly select parts and spend three hours on those as a type of quality spot check procedure? Have you considered that or is it absolutely clear they really mean the whole thing? Sounds like it, but thought I'd mention the spot check possibility in case.

If it is just a spot check, be very careful to clearly stipulate which pages you have revised and make it crystal clear you accept NO responsibiity for the rest. Personally, I don't accept those type of jobs, but they certainly do exist.






[Edited at 2008-08-13 15:24]


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Marcus Geibel
Germany
Local time: 17:36
English to German
Ridiculous! Aug 13, 2008

A major agency I work for bases its estimates on 5 pages (1375 characters) per hour. 200 pages is a week's work!

AND: Be sure you charge the actual time spent and do not accept a fixed price. Proofreading can be so full of surprises...so full that retranslating the text might be less time consuming.

Good luck!

Marcus


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Francesca Sfondrini  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:36
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Aug 13, 2008

Thank you all. I wish I could forward them your remarks

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:36
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Absolute "best case" estimate Aug 13, 2008

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
I cannot even proofread my own translations - of the specialised or complex kind - at the rate of 10 pages per hour!


You're quite right. My quick estimate assumed that the text was in super shape and easy to cope with, which is almost never the case. Looking at poorly translated work from a translator whose quirks I don't already know I'm lucky to do half that rate. In many cases re-translating is indeed faster. However long it may take - 20 hours, 40 hours or 60 hours - it certainly won't be three hours if all the text is to be reviewed. I can't even speed read a trash novel that fast.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 17:36
English to German
+ ...
speed reading course. Aug 13, 2008

Manuela Junghans wrote:

This can only be a joke. Just imagine how difficult it would be to just read 200 pages in 3 hours.
But maybe I´m only a slow reader which I don´t think I am...
Hi! This is a misconception. We had once a semester long course to reach a speed of 80 pages an hour at an american university during the 80s. How ever this does not cover the editing part. BR Brandis

[Edited at 2008-08-13 17:41]


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Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:36
German to English
+ ...
Hands up who knows what "edit" means? Aug 13, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:

I can't even speed read a trash novel that fast.



Neither can I.


Depending on what is supposed to be checked during "editing" (just mistakes that punch the average speed-reader in the face, or if e.g. the grammar/punctuation/capitalisation/format/ logic/terminology consistency/content etc. need to be checked too), I'd say anything from as little as 2000 words (for prepress copyediting e.g. of multipage brochures) to 200,000 words per hours is possble.

If the text to be "edited" was not written by a native speaker, then even 2000 words/hour of straightforward bodytext can be very ambitious. (Re-translation would produce better result and may even be cheaper.)

We tranlsators operate with too many wishy-washy words.
As far as I'm aware, there's no consensus as to what "editing", "proofreading", "copyediting" etc. actually mean.


Summa summarum: Before entering any negotiations, let clients specify exactly what they expect. Your understanding of "edit" is probably not the same as theirs.

Late night thoughts.
C


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