URGENT TRANSLATION PROJECT - 40K for tomorrow
Thread poster: Anil Gidwani

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 07:54
German to English
+ ...
Oct 3, 2013

The title of this post happens to be the title of a job posting yesterday on ProZ for a Spanish to English power/energy generation project. Here is a part of the post:

"
We received a Spanish into English 40K project to be completed by tomorrow afternoon.

Translator should preferably live in Argentina.

Please send me your cv ASAP, your daily output and your rate.
"

Methinks the title should have been: URGENT SORTING PROJECT - 40k POSTAL ARTICLES TO BE SORTED BY TOMORROW.

Do some agencies think words are postal articles to be sorted before dispatch? Are translators people who merely shuffle words retrieved from a dictionary? Can even a team of translators produce a coherent translation of 40K words in one day? Are translators to be given the time to think and produce meaningful, perfectly worded text? Do such agencies worry about the quality of translations and consistency of terminology?

The above agency is obviously merely an "outsourcer" (speaking most euphemistically) not interested in providing true service to the end client or being a meaningful partner to the freelancer.
Too bad the Blue Board does not allow comments on job postings.

Thankfully, there are scores of other agencies that do things right, give translators ample time, and expect quality translations.


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dianaft  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Could be worse Oct 3, 2013

Only a few weeks ago, I was contacted for a job ***2 hours AFTER the deadline***.

The client didn't want to pay for the time travel though...


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:24
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I love the way Oct 3, 2013

"translator" is in the singular too.

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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:24
Member
French to English
+ ...
Slightly less unrealistic job offer Oct 3, 2013

Although it doesn't hold a candle to your example, yesterday afternoon I was contacted by a fairly regular client who wanted to know if I could take on about 20k words (Russian due diligence report) for 9am on Monday. What surprised and disappointed me was that this lady really ought to have known how unrealistic that was, as she's been at that translation agency for years and contacts me fairly regularly. I nearly replied "yeah, no problem, I'll knock that off tonight". But no doubt she'll find some other person who'll be willing to work like mad all night every night (including the weekend) until then! Good luck to them...

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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:24
Member
Italian to English
Oops... Oct 3, 2013

Assuming this to be true, I can just imagine someone in the company coming to the horrified realisation that this monster text has to rendered in a foreign language in the space of 24 hours.

Three cheers for incompetency.


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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:24
German to English
G&T Oct 3, 2013

Put it into a certain well-known automatic translation program and press the button... You never know, they might even pay you!

Steve K.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:24
Member (2008)
French to English
Some outsourcers just don't get it Oct 3, 2013

A very good client of mine contacted my yesterday for 18,000 words to be done by today, extremely urgent.

I composed my reply, pointing out the impossibility of it, and they said they would have to go back to their client. A few minutes later they came back: the client actually only needed two paragraphs of the 54 page document!

Seems like no one, either end client or agency, had thought it through that 18,000 words is quite different from 250 words!


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 11:24
Japanese to English
+ ...
LOL Oct 3, 2013

John Fossey wrote:

A very good client of mine contacted my yesterday for 18,000 words to be done by today, extremely urgent.

I composed my reply, pointing out the impossibility of it, and they said they would have to go back to their client. A few minutes later they came back: the client actually only needed two paragraphs of the 54 page document!

Seems like no one, either end client or agency, had thought it through that 18,000 words is quite different from 250 words!


It's like people aren't even making an effort to pay attention sometimes, isn't it?


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:24
English to Polish
+ ...
... Oct 3, 2013

Forty thousand words in one day? Not even I could do that.

I was just gonna say 'impossible' but then the scary thought came. That crazy German tech translation cyborg lady I know has actually done it at least once. And yes, that's like ~1.7K per hour.

Peter Shortall wrote:

Although it doesn't hold a candle to your example, yesterday afternoon I was contacted by a fairly regular client who wanted to know if I could take on about 20k words (Russian due diligence report) for 9am on Monday. What surprised and disappointed me was that this lady really ought to have known how unrealistic that was, as she's been at that translation agency for years and contacts me fairly regularly. I nearly replied "yeah, no problem, I'll knock that off tonight". But no doubt she'll find some other person who'll be willing to work like mad all night every night (including the weekend) until then! Good luck to them...


Been there, done that, got the scars. Not Russian, though, but PL-EN should be similar enough.

[Edited at 2013-10-03 23:15 GMT]


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Fida Malki
Local time: 04:24
Arabic to English
40K Oct 4, 2013

Could this be -by any chance- a reference to the document size in kbs? lol you never know the whole post seemed very vague to me

I must confess though, that some clients (I deal mostly with direct clients) have no idea how hard it is to translate their - at times- very strangely worded texts from one language to another and make it all sound flowing. I work with Eng-Arab language pair, where it is possible to write paragraph-long sentences (in Arabic) without a need to stop or break; rather, speckle the text with commas all the way, which requires a monstrous effort to be worked into coherent smaller chunks!!

I too was told that translating a 56 page document would need 2 days at most!! I secretly laughed, and said thank you for the offer, but I'm afraid that I'm all out of kryptonite


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