Technical translations - Just starting
Thread poster: Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer

Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:48
English to German
+ ...
Feb 14, 2006

Maybe someone can help me.
I am an adjunct German teacher at two different colleges, and part time I did a few translations over the last 5 years. A few weeks ago, I got the offer to apply as a freelance translation vendor for a larger company. I passed their test translation (instructions for a new software program) and they actually want to work with me. They need mostly translations of computer and technical texts, things that I hadn`t done before. They want me to use TRADOS, of course buying it myself. They couldn`t give me any price range, and couldn`t give me any information about the frequency of business with them. In the end, I got this vague info: You will give us a price (per word) and we will accept it or not. Me: How should I know the common price? Answer: I can only tell you it is somewhere between 7 - 12 cents/new word and of course TRADOS words are much less. This is what is done in the industry.
Here is where I need some help: Is this actually a correct price for "the industry"? Can I negotiate anything? She mentioned that new people in the job of course get the lower payment, but I know that they are really desperate for German translators. In my jobs so far, I charged 20cents/word and always got that. Was I just lucky? A few years ago I did some proofreading for a large company and they payed $20/hour. I should almost go back to that. The next question: For somebody who is used to Microsoft office and Word and not much more, how long does it take to get into "the TRADOS world"? I don`t have to make any decisions before March 10, but somehow I have the feeling it might be too big? Or is it just new and looks bigger as it is??
One last thing: Is there a really good dictionary for IT out there. I have a good one for industrial technology but not information technology.
Any suggestions or opinion on this will be really appriciated.


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 22:48
... Feb 15, 2006

I wouldn't give up the day job just yet if I were you.
It's no skin off their nose if you quit your teaching job or not, you could still keep translating on a part-time basis, but they are not making it worth your while to quit.
They're not necessarily obliged to provide a freelancer with a fixed volume of work.


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Ingo Dierkschnieder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:48
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
A few comments Feb 15, 2006

7 - 12 cents/new word is indeed the average rate in the business, if you got 20 cents/word you were very lucky. Usual is 9 or 10 cents where there are more companies pushing on the market trying to lower these rates (offers of 5 or even 3 cents/word are not unusual anymore and regrettably there are still translators out there who accept such a rate). Of course you can negotiate that price but if they give you a range, they will not pay more than that. However, that shouldn't stop you from going for the higher rate, 10 - 12 cents maybe. If they say no to that, you are definitely better off with not working for them. By the way, $20 for an hour proofreading is also pretty average.

TRADOS is actually quite simple and depending on the file format that your client uses you might still be working with Word as it can be applied to the usual formats. Learning how to handle TRADOS is not that difficult and you should manage to know how to use it within two, three days.

As regards an IT dictionary, I wish I could help you but I am myself still looking out for a good dictionary. There are average dictionaries by German publishers Cornelsen and Langenscheidt but as the IT landscape changes so quickly, I reckon it is quite difficult to keep the dictionaries up-to-date and that's why no one really bothers.

Good luck

Ingo


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:48
Member
Italian to English
Wordfast Feb 15, 2006

is compatible with Trados and it's free.

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