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How many pages to translate a day?
Thread poster: TariqSh

TariqSh
United Arab Emirates
Arabic to English
+ ...
Jul 19, 2017

I have been a translator for over 10 years now, so I should be able to figure out how many pages a translator should finish per day, which I do. But my question is a bit different. I am currently working on a big file (200 pages), and to finish it on time I have been told by the management to finish at least 15 pages every day for 17 days in a row. (Note: what I mean by a "day" here is the working hours "9 hours"), so this means doing 15 pages in 9 hours everyday for 17 days.

Is this normal? Is it possible for a translator to keep doing 15 pages a day everyday for 17 days?

Also note that sometimes I am forced to do 23 pages in 9 hours.


Looking forward to your thoughts on this matter.


 

Iman Tahanan
Iran
Local time: 20:36
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
Beyond normal workload Jul 19, 2017

Depends on the text type but this is typically the request of managers and clients who don't know much about the translation process and the difficulties in it. This most probably leads to a low quality.

 

Agneta Pallinder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:06
Member (2014)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Slavedriving! Jul 19, 2017

Are you a fulltime employee of this company, Tariq? Most of us here are freelance, so we negotiate how quickly we can deliver a given amount of text. You use the word "forced" - this is worrying.

The number of pages does of course not mean much, unless we know the number of words per page, but the demand on you seems extortionate. You are asked to be working like a machine, but translation of any kind of text must needs have an element of creativity, which in turn requires some variation in time pressure.


 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 18:06
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
No, You had to be "Superman"! Jul 19, 2017

Dear TariqSh,

Of course, this is abnormal!

TariqSh wrote:

Also note that sometimes I am forced to do 23 pages in 9 hours.


Oh, you had to be "Superman" to be able to handle such number in so little time!

I do not know if you can either finish this remarkable amount using the famous CAT tools.

*I have not used them yet icon_smile.gif

I guess by your tone, that it is impossible to convince your boss or even to change his mind.

My question is: I am anxious to know what will you do in such a situation?

All my good wishes for you and my kind regards.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Every day Jul 19, 2017

TariqSh wrote:

.... everyday ...


It all depends what you mean by " a page".

Assuming you translate EVERY DAY, in my experience no sane human being can finish more than about 3,000 - 3,500 words, every...day.

That's an everyday figure. But there are regular discussions about this every day. In fact, you could say those discussions are almost an everyday occurrence. Because they happen every day.


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:06
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Jul 19, 2017

Tom in London wrote:

TariqSh wrote:

.... everyday ...


It all depends what you mean by " a page".

Assuming you translate EVERY DAY, in my experience no sane human being can finish more than about 3,000 - 3,500 words, every...day.

That's an everyday figure. But there are regular discussions about this every day. In fact, you could say those discussions are almost an everyday occurrence. Because they happen every day.


Oh I believe in everyday


 

TariqSh
United Arab Emirates
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
CAT tools Jul 19, 2017

Dear Morano,

I have not used the CAT tools before, so I do not know if they can help with my situation. Actually, after doing 23 pages the day before yesterday and 19 pages yesterday, I felt very exhausted especially that the material is very technical.

I am trying to take a break every other day so that my energy can keep going. But on the long run this is not very helpful because work like that will keep coming.

Thank you so much for your feedback and concern.

I guess the solution would be to start freelancing.


 

Maija Cirule  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 19:06
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
A page usuallly means 230 - 250 words or 1500 to 1800 characters with spaces (sometimes less) Jul 19, 2017

this means 3450 to 3750 words per day. If you are a professional translator and use a decent CAT tool, it's nothing abnormal

 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:06
Member
English to Italian
Maybe possible... Jul 19, 2017

TariqSh wrote:

Is this normal? Is it possible for a translator to keep doing 15 pages a day everyday for 17 days?

Also note that sometimes I am forced to do 23 pages in 9 hours.


... but in my opinion not advisable, nor desirable, not for you, nor for the client.

As for it being "normal", again, I'd say no.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
or without Jul 19, 2017

Maija Cirule wrote:

this means 3450 to 3750 words per day. If you are a professional translator and use a decent CAT tool, it's nothing abnormal


That is what I achieve - without a CAT tool. So I agree with the number of 3450 to 3750 words per day. That number could only increase by lengthening the working day.

I can increase that number to 5000 words or more, if I work all day up to midnight. But not every day ! And only for everyday, straightforward text (i.e. for example not erudite, linguistically demanding, problematic academic papers).

NB: the number means translated text completely researched, checked, proof-read, and corrected as necessary, free of errors and ready for use by the end client, e.g. for publication the next day if required.

[Edited at 2017-07-19 10:01 GMT]


 

Jane Phillips  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:06
Member (2013)
French to English
Words per page Jul 19, 2017

The question remains how many words per page - the document I'm currently working on averages 500 words/page. I'll let you do the sums but for me that sort of workload is totally unreasonable and untenable.

 

Maija Cirule  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 19:06
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Wow Jul 19, 2017

Jane Phillips wrote:

The question remains how many words per page - the document I'm currently working on averages 500 words/page. I'll let you do the sums but for me that sort of workload is totally unreasonable and untenable.



I have worked for some 10 years with agencies that pay per page and have never heard of 500 words in an A4 page. In this case, not physical pages are taken into consideration as their size depends on font size, images, etc., but a specified number of words/characters per page.


 

Maija Cirule  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 19:06
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I have got the impression Jul 19, 2017

Tom in London wrote:

Maija Cirule wrote:

this means 3450 to 3750 words per day. If you are a professional translator and use a decent CAT tool, it's nothing abnormal


That is what I achieve - without a CAT tool. So I agree with the number of 3450 to 3750 words per day. That number could only increase by lengthening the working day.

I can increase that number to 5000 words or more, if I work all day up to midnight. But not every day ! And only for everyday, straightforward text (i.e. for example not erudite, linguistically demanding, problematic academic papers).

NB: the number means translated text completely researched, checked, proof-read, and corrected as necessary, free of errors and ready for use by the end client, e.g. for publication the next day if required.

[Edited at 2017-07-19 10:01 GMT]


that our colleague is an in-house translator and an agency most likely has an in-house proofreader/reviewer/editor or whatever his/her name.
As regards a CAT tool, MemoQ has several plugin MTs that do the most part of typing. Of course, you must carefully compare each word of source text with target one but nevertheless it helps to save time (and wrists:)).

[Edited at 2017-07-19 15:35 GMT]


 

TariqSh
United Arab Emirates
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Length of the working day Jul 20, 2017

Dear Tom,


Exactly. That's the sort of problem I am facing. My working day is a typical 9 hours and I am expected to finish around 3000 - 3500 words per (9 hours) not in 24 hours (full day). This is the point that my manager is unable to get.

Plus, this limited time and huge amount of pages does not give me enough time to do any proofreading or editing of any sort which off course might leave the text lacking in quality to some degree.

And as you said, If in any given day I had to finish over 3000 or 5000 words, then I may be able to do that, but not everyday for like two or three weeks in a row. It is like a marathon. How long can you keep doing that and not risking your sanity or health in the process.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:06
Russian to English
+ ...
Yeah, it's quite too many words per day if it is something to be done for more than a day or two Jul 21, 2017

Never do any work at the expense of endangering your health--companies don't care for most part--they will not give a damn if they no longer need you. So, just set your own rules, and negotiate.

 
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