What to do in a case of a badly formatted source?
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 01:54
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
May 30, 2006

I'm doing some manuals in Trados and Word.

The client behind the agency does not seem exactly fluent in word; I have cases of paragraphs, where he uses tabs to get hanging lines.

This of course causes a slaughter in segments, because per (reasonable) default tabs are segment separators. So the result is that TRADOS in the example like this:

contains the information about
/t the functionality this module is
/t adding to the system.

creates three segments out of a single sentence: "contains the information about", "the functionality this module is" and "adding to the system". On top of it all, the source language is actually Geman (with the verb unexorable in the last line), so you may appreciate the size of my problem.

I tried to adjust my segments to the source, but it is an absolute horror, so I changed the source ("nobody will see it"). Of course they saw it (or the agency did) and now we are hunting the segments around.

I'll solve this one way or another, but - back to the question - what to do in case the source sucks? If the agency would just need the target this is no problem. If, however, they need bilingual files - , because of some corporate translation memory- it's not just me, it's them and the client of course, who may end up with a potentially big problem.

TiA

[Edited at 2006-05-30 12:40]


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:54
German to English
+ ...
Who needs a meaningless TM (and what for)? May 30, 2006

Vito Smolej wrote:
contains the information about
/t the functionality this module is
/t adding to the system.
creates three segments out of a single sentence: "contains the information about", "the functionality this module is" and "adding to the system".
If the agency would just need the target this is no problem. If, however, they need bilingual files - , because of some corporate translation memory


What on earth do they want a TM for if the segmenting does not produce meaningful segments?
The end customer may of course have a corporate top dog who hasn't a clue about language or meaning, and just wants meaningless numbers ("We have five thousand segments in the TM. None of them mean anything, but the statistics will make me look grand when I boast to the shareholders.")
It is not so funny when an agency agrees to play along with this meaningless TM numbers game.
I would explain to the agency what a ridiculous game it is. If the agency values professional work, they will not blame you for any problems that arise from this job. Otherwise, I would look elsewhere for clients that are prepared to look for quality instead of meaningless numbers.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 01:54
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What on earth do they want a TM for? May 30, 2006

Hi Victor:

Simple, so that they pretranslate the next version of the same document and quote me a job with 95% repeats and 5% (= 23 words) of new stuff (**)

By the way, they also supply a MultiTerm - "Ye shall not worship any other dictionary" ... Here a testing question to see if you grasped the situation: "If the source files says X, and the TM translates it as Y, the MultiTerm will suggest ..." (*)

Why do I stick with them? Well, first of all they're my customers and it's hard to dump anybody and I am no saint either and second there's always bound to be some best and some worst case of the customer species and I am happy as a lark with them in the worst slot - I did do some cleaning and they moved up, I mean down the line-up -.

smo


(*)... Z of course, you have not been reading carefully enough.
(**) no, no , I was only joking, it's 10x more, it's 230 words;)

[Edited at 2006-05-30 13:55]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:54
German to English
+ ...
What to do in a case of a badly formatted source? May 30, 2006

Vito,

In cases like the one you describe, I delete the "kludge" tabs (line breaks, whatever) in the source text and reformat properly, meaning that the sentence is no longer broken up. The resulting segmentation observes the one sentence = one segment principle.

Simple, so that they pretranslate the next version of the same document and quote me a job with 95% repeats and 5% (= 23 words) of new stuff (**)


I vaguely recall discussing this with someone before (possibly in Another Place).

If the customer wants to work out the number of 100% matches and repeats, can he not do so by analyzing the old source text(s) (i.e. without modification by the translator) and the new source text in Trados?

Marc


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:54
German to English
+ ...
Such a pity ... May 30, 2006

Vito Smolej wrote:
Simple, so that they pretranslate the next version of the same document and quote me a job with 95% repeats and 5% (= 23 words) of new stuff (**)


Sorry, Mr. Agency Owner, I've just taken on a big job that will keep me up every night for the next eight weeks. I'd love to do your highly attractive job, but there is just no capacity.
But perhaps you'd like to format the text so that you only send me the new stuff. Perhaps I can manage the 230 words of new stuff between the hours of 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. every day over the course of the next week. And I'm sure the end customer will be happy for you to deliver the rest as raw TM output. After all, they are 100% matches, aren't they?


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 01:54
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
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TOPIC STARTER
Sorry, Mr. Agency Owner... May 30, 2006

Been there, done that.

Plus they have a minimum charge to pay from now on (hard times, hard hearts) . I evidently still accept their orders, but they must have started to feel a certain - ? hesitation - on my part.

Seems like I've been going in the right direction.

Thanks so much!


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 01:54
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"delete the kludge" - it's much like eradicating a virus... May 30, 2006

Been there, done that.

I cleaned the source (at no extra cost, except to myself) and sent it out to the agency together with the bilangual version. Back comes the mail with "here's one more paragraph that's not been translated..." meaning that they either pretranslated with some version in between - I may even have sent it myself (gulp). - or did not get the idea at all.

Thinking of all the wrong versions somewhere up the pipeline I get cold running down my spine.

Otoh, it's just one more document(ation) and possibly the person writing them will eventually learn about hanging indents.

"Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day".


can he not do so by analyzing the old source text(s) (i.e. without modification by the translator) and the new source text in Trados?


Oh yes. It just takes some experience.

Thanks so much! One more check with a positive outcome - two out of two for me

[Edited at 2006-05-30 14:39]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:54
German to English
+ ...
What to do in a case of a badly formatted source? May 30, 2006

Vito Smolej wrote:

"Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day".


I hope you are right. The other possibility is that one day, you will realize that at some stage you ceased to be a translator, and became a Trados operator.

Marc


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 01:54
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
who would've thought ... May 30, 2006

all those extra tabs, missing or superfluous hard breaks, can be explained if the agency has the order to translate printed originals. Then they sweat it through with OCR, spellcheck the rough draft in source language, format it (and reformat it again) ... And then it's my turn.

Why do I think this is what's happening?

Here a few bozo statements (some German, some English)

" ...zu überzeugen, daß die Artleiten endgültig abgeschlossen sind..."
"...Seile grundsätzlich erneuem."
" ... embitterment of the coating...."
"...for a save operation it is recommended..."
"...the edge should be sharp, not scared..."


plus, a lot of times, the period (!) is missing. To offset extra segments produced by tabs I assume.

So far the embittered coating has been my favourite. And, btw, Marc, it takes a translator to laugh over it - to quote Conrad `The horror! The horror!':D

regards
[EDIT] one more, not yet backtracked to the original on paper (any suggestions?) "coated with a grade of grease" - I love the alliteration

[Edited at 2006-05-30 19:58]


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Badly formatted source May 30, 2006

I've received this type of files on ocassion.

My response to the client is always the same:

Either format the files properly before sending them to me,
or expect to pay my hourly rate for any extra time spent sorting things out.

--
Dyran
(not a doormat)


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