Sending the job by (small) parts
Thread poster: Claudia Iglesias

Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:57
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Dec 23, 2004

Imagine that there’s a project of 50,000 words and that the project manager works with a team. There is a deadline that would allow sharing the 50,000 words among all the translators giving to each one the same amount of words and expecting each one to translate 2,000 words per day.
But the project manager doesn’t want to work this way and explains:
“Anyone can have a computer problem, a family problem, more or less time, and I prefer to have the job done as soon as possible. So I’ll share only 20,000 words among all the translators and as soon as you send me the translated files I’ll give you 5,000 extra words.”

What do you think of this? Good or bad?
Have you already heard of working in such a way?




Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:57
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Similar system, but not exactly the same... Dec 23, 2004

Here is the system I have tested with (admittedly) one client:

He provided me all the files to be translated. I divided the work into three parts. I sent each part separately and got paid for each part.

It was agreed that the intermediate parts I have sent him were not finished, but they would be only 80-90% complete. They were not to be used by the client (as they could be different from the final version) but they were the assurance that I am making steady progress with the translation and that the client is not suddenly left with a huge job to be done just before the final deadline.

I was assured too when I began receiving the money before I handed in the rest of the translation.

In my opinion, withholding parts of the original text does not make sense. Translation can be much better and consistent if the translator knows the whole text, especially when working in teams.


English to Spanish
+ ...
Another similar system, but not the same Dec 23, 2004

I regularly work with a publisher who shares out a book between several translators, as deadlines are usually short. Each of us takes a part according to his/her availability. We are asked to send in our work whenever we have a fair number of pages (every 2 weeks aprox.)so that they can work on the layout. If one of us is far behind, we share out the remaining work again; any important last minute changes can be notified to the proofreader before the book goes to print. However, we are not paid until a couple of months later.
I guess this is a way of making headway and also ensuring that if any irresponsible and unprofessional translator suddenly decides to "disappear", the damage won't be that great.


Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
French to English
Think of it from the Project Manager's point of view Dec 23, 2004

The PM's objective is to get the job done. All the PM is doing is ensuring that none (or at least, very little) of the work disappears into a "black hole", especially at this time of year (for those that celebrate Christmas & New year). It doesn't seem an unreasonable approach to me. You may be 100% reliable. Others may not be. The PM has to allow for this possibility.

We, the translators, are service providers. As such, we are obliged to be flexible with regard to (reasonable) customer requirements. Alternatively, don't take the work, if you don't think the requirements are reasonable.

Since it is possible that, in the light of a subsequent batch of work, you may wish to make minor adjustments to a previous delivery, it may be worth pointing out that it is *possible* you may wish to amend an earlier translation in the light of new information. Depending on the project, and assuming that the PM's reason for adopting this approach is simply the reassurance that work IS progressing at the expected pace, this may well be acceptable.


Alejandra Villarroel  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Normal right around the corner Claudia Dec 23, 2004

Dear Claudia from our conversations in powwows I am assuming this project involves translators based outside Chile. Anyway with my 10 years of experience, that would be the normal approach here in Chile and abroad as well.
One good reason to work under that system would be quality. In your scenario the PM will be receiving translations and checking quality before any new assignments. Then if you provide a good translation for those initial 2k words, you will be in a position to translate another 5k or even more if it is ok with the deadline and your availability. But if you perform really poorly, you will simply not get new assignments after spoiling only 2k words instead of 1/6 of the project.
Another good reason from the point of view of project management would be TMs. If the PM can quickly build up a TM fed on those initial 20k words, chances are there will many more 100% and fuzzy matches for the remaining 30k words. This will make the job easier for everyone involved, assuring language consistency and probably -not necessarily- increasing profits for the PM or project owner in case there are discounts in place.
Feliz Navidad, ALE

[Edited at 2004-12-23 21:44]


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