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Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:09
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 29, 2009

I woke up to a job offer in my in-box from a new agency offering instant on-line translations.

Just when you think you have seen it all, this company wants me to commit to translating short sentences and paragraphs at a rate not to exceed 15 seconds per word.

Do the people who create these wonderful marketing ideas realize that sometimes it takes HOURS (and in some cases DAYS) to find the proper translation for a word (or term)? Sure 240 words an hour (on average) for a long job may be doable (most words will take you less than 15 seconds and some will take longer so it (usually) averages out in the end), but random sentences and paragraphs about any subject under the sun?

Sometimes I get the impression that some of the people who create these automated "systems" do not seem to know the slightest thing about how real translation really works. Instead, they think we are robotic multilingual dictionaries who enjoy sitting for hours in front of our computer screens and who effortlessly and voraciously spin proverbial straw into magical golden translation nuggets.

[Edited at 2009-07-29 13:11 GMT]


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:09
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What is the purpose? Jul 29, 2009

The only purpose I can think of is translating on-line chats or IM messages between people who do not know the other person's language... Sort of "written interpretation"?
I know I would not be interested in such a job, but maybe it is something some interpreters would find interesting?


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:09
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Chat messages Jul 29, 2009

Perhaps, but even short IM-chat bursts can be painstaking and time-consuming to translate because you first have to figure out what they are talking about without any context. Examples: Does that Spanish "su" refer to his, her, its, their or yours...? What does "rsrsrs" mean in a Portuguese text message? [answer: "lol"] Not to mention all the abbreviations and misspellings.

What will happen when the "translation in a second" results in bodily injury or financial damage? I hope the company is insured.


[Edited at 2009-07-29 14:22 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:09
French to German
+ ...
One word... Jul 29, 2009

describes them all: desperados.

Laurent K.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:09
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It's a question of discipline Jul 29, 2009

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
Do the people who create these wonderful marketing ideas realize that sometimes it takes HOURS (and in some cases DAYS) to find the proper translation for a word (or term)? Sure 240 words an hour (on average) for a long job may be doable (most words will take you less than 15 seconds and some will take longer so it (usually) averages out in the end), but random sentences and paragraphs about any subject under the sun?


The important thing is that the client is aware that he is participating in an experiment.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:09
English to French
+ ...
I agree, but... Jul 29, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

The important thing is that the client is aware that he is participating in an experiment.

Isn't something wrong with the picture when, after the service is launched, translators are the ones who have to make the client aware of that?

I once took medication prescribed by my doctor, and I found it fishy, so I looked it up on the Web. It is other users of the medication who have developed nasty side effects (in rather great numbers, too) who alerted me to the fact that I was yet another lab rat. Well, that, and the fact that a more extensive search helped me discover that only one study was done on humans, which involved a total of twelve people, six of them having taken only a placebo. The medication in question was taken off drugstore shelves--six years later. Take a wild guess whether I was mad or not to have paid to be a lab rat...


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