Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Translation of thousands of place names- how to charge?
Thread poster: Waleed Mohamed

Waleed Mohamed  Identity Verified
United Arab Emirates
Local time: 10:20
English to Arabic
+ ...
Dec 10, 2009

Hi,

I have been asked to translate about 45,000 place names from English to Arabic to be used in a geographical publication.

The client asked me for a rate. How to charge for this kind of job?
Please note that some place names can be translated in seconds, but others may take several minutes if research to get the correct translation and spelling.

Should I use per-word rate? In this case, the rate should be double, triple my normal rate? or higher?

Should I use hourly rate? But this will be confusing for me and my client, as I don't know how many hours will I need to finish the job.

Waiting for your kind advice!

Regards

Waleed


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:20
English to Japanese
+ ...
Go by source words Dec 10, 2009

I would go by source words, since whether they are geographical names which you can come up in a second or need research, there's no difference between translating them into your target language. If you consider translating two sentences with 20 words each which you can translate the first in 20 seconds and the second in 2 minutes, do you still charge differently, even though those two sentences are in the same translation?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:20
Dutch to English
+ ...
One idea Dec 10, 2009

If I was going to accept this job -- which I wouldn't, but that's not the point -- I'd translate 25 or so, taken from a random spot in the job, see how long it took and then factor that back into my word rate.

So, if you can normally translate 500 words an hour, for argument's sake, and see with this you'd struggle to make 250, then you'd need to double your rate, etc.

A quick test with 25 place names is not exactly a representative sample, given the size of the job, but it's going to give you a clearer idea of where you stand.

There's no point doing the job if you're going to be out of pocket.

Good luck
Debs

[Edited at 2009-12-10 13:00 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
By time Dec 10, 2009

I have had this kind of request in the past, and honestly the only way I see you can deliver quality is to charge by time. I don't know about Arabic, but in the case of Spanish a big number of source names have a different spelling or a completely different name altogether (some examples are Mainz > Maguncia or Frankfurt am Main > Fráncfort del Meno).

You are bound to require research in your language depending on the historical relationship of the location to Arab-speaking countries.

Charging by source word can be risky unless you charge at least thrice your usual rate.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:20
English to German
+ ...
45,000? Dec 10, 2009

There is one thing to consider:

Will you receive the place names in alphabetical order? That's bad. Assuming, that the same English name might apply to several places, and you can't tell which...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:20
English to German
+ ...
Yes. Dec 10, 2009

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

If I was going to accept this job -- which I wouldn't, but that's not the point -- I'd translate 25 or so, taken from a random spot in the job, see how long it took and then factor that back into my word rate.

So, if you can normally translate 500 words an hour, for argument's sake, and see with this you'd struggle to make 250, then you'd need to double your rate, etc.

A quick test with 25 place names is not exactly a representative sample, given the size of the job, but it's going to give you a clearer idea of where you stand.

Good luck
Debs


I once translated a huge shopping list for the military. Unfortunately, the products, gizmos, and machine parts were not grouped by application but alphabetically. The PM thought she would do me a favor because I could work my way through the dictionary from A to Z, hahaha! There are 31 translations alone for the word "bearing", depending what machine we are talking about.

I certainly wouldn't want to go through a similar nightmare. Besides, place names tend to change during the course of history. Very annoying...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:20
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I agree with Debs Dec 10, 2009

Charging per word makes most sense, providing that first you check how much slower you work and take it into consideration when determining price per word. I suppose that Wikipedia is going here to be of great help - still it's going to be a rather boring job

Best Regards
Stanislaw


Direct link Reply with quote
 
FarkasAndras
Local time: 07:20
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Agree Dec 10, 2009

Either charge by the hour or do a sample and go from there... I have done small tasks that were somewhat similar, so I know it can be a massive pain to do.

If you're somewhat handy with a computer, I'd suggest doing this:
http://www.proz.com/forum/translator_resources/134699-wikipedia_as_a_glossary_source.html

Wikipedia contains very many place names, so you could load this glossary into Multiterm (or similar) and have a third of the job done. Or make a TM out of it and pretranslate the list. Then you'd only have to check the hits.
However, you are bound to come across tens of thousands of items that simply don't have an Arabic name or have a couple of unofficial name variants. You have to come up with some rules about what to do with them... Not a job I'd gladly take.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:20
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Charge by target character Dec 10, 2009

I would charge like any other job, based on target characters. I would see no problem doing this work (although not into Arabic, I don't speak a word of it) - although could be boring after a while. (I translated something just as boring a few weeks ago - some 34 pages of computer commands, error messages and so on)

Regarding place names, like Tomás I have no idea about Arabic, but in Portuguese relatively few place names are translated - Mainz and Frankfurt, for example, remain the same, different from Milano (Milão in Portuguese), Praha (Praga), Warszawa (Varsóvia) to name a few. Brazilian place names are never translated into another language, as far as I am aware.

[Edited at 2009-12-10 15:43 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:20
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
That's a very large one... Dec 10, 2009

45.000 location names? I admire your patience. After about 2.000, I would have a nervous breakdown

Seriously, these projects can iritate anyone after a while. What I would do:

a) Charge normally by word count + 20% because you don't have "whole sentences", therefore you can't have your typical speed.

b) Request a lot of time (1.500 only per day or less) in order to protect my nervous system and to ensure 100% accuracy. The brain gets easily tired with such monotonous things.

c) Alternatively, I would take only a part of the project (first 10.000 words) and then I would recommend other colleagues to the project manager. This will foster good relationship with my colleagues.



[Edited at 2009-12-10 21:40 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 03:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thinking laterally... Dec 10, 2009

This job sounds incredibly boring.

Have you ever seen an atlas or gazeteer that contains anything like 45,000 place names in Arabic? Does any such publication exist? If not, then it's a sign that maybe you are being sent on a fool's errand.

And if, by chance, such a thing does exist, then I would start by procuring a copy. Preferably an electronic copy; otherwise I'd scan it into Excel or Access.

Then I'd download one of the large English-language gazeteers available free on the web and import that into the database.

Finally I'd link the two gazeteers together using the latitude/longitude of each place as what a linguist might call an 'inter-language' and the IT geeks would call a 'key'.

It might not give optimum results (it might not work at all!) - but it would be far more fun than translating 45 thousand place names one after another...

If you want to do it the 'boring' way, then I suggest you charge a fixed rate 'per name' (not per word or per hour), based on the time and effort needed to do a random sample of, say, 200 names.

MediaMatrix


Direct link Reply with quote
 
philgoddard
United States
German to English
+ ...
Hope this doesn't sound pedantic, but... Dec 11, 2009

Shouldn't we be talking about transliteration rather than translation here?

I'd have thought 98% of placenames would be the same in any foreign language - examples like Munich for München and The Hague for Den Haag are few and far between, and usually big cities.

How do you ensure consistency? Your idea of how to transliterate a name might be completely different to someone else's.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Explain to the client your work method Dec 11, 2009

Waleed Mohamed wrote:
I have been asked to translate about 45,000 place names from English to Arabic to be used in a geographical publication. ... The client asked me for a rate.


I think in addition to providing a rate, you should tell the client what method you'll follow to do the translation.

For some names it would be easy to find out their translation, but for other names it would be more difficult. Some names would have to be transliterated, but names that have existing translations should be translated. So you need to determine what procedure you will follow to ensure that you catch most existing translations.

I can't speak for Arabic, but if it was English > Afrikaans, I would do it this way:

1. Check the name against a set number of specified electronic resources.
If not found, then:
2. See if there is an existing Dutch or German translation (for these two languages are similar to Afrikaans), and adapt it if necessary.
If not found, then:
3. If the name consists of translatable elements, translate the elements individually.
If not possible, then:
4. Try to determine how the name is pronounced, and transliterate it.
If not possible, then:
5. Use a standard transliteration table to change certain non-Afrikaans looking letters or letter combinations.
If not viable, then:
6. Borrow the name as-is (or transliterate letter-by-letter).

One problem is that each additional step takes time. It is possible to estimate how long each step might take, except for step 4, and possibly step 2 as well. For those two steps I would impose an arbitrary time-limit (if the time is up, then I move on to the next step, even if I have a hunch that an extra 5 minutes of searching might get me the answer).

So, step 1 would take 30 seconds, step 2 is 1 minute, step is 30 seconds, step 4 is 2 minutes, step 5 is 30 seconds, and step 6 is 30 seconds. That's a maximum of 5 minutes per name, and a minimum of 1 minute per name.

I don't think it is possible to tell the client in advance how much it will cost, although you can tell him what the maximum amount would be (based on the above). So when it comes to billing, I would suggest either (a) let the client trust you and simply bill him for the total time, or (b) write the step number next to each name after you've translated it, and calculate the amount of time based on the numbers.

Either way, I would suggest giving the client regular reports about how many names you have translated every hour or every day, so that the client has no excuse to say "oh, it took longer than I thought it would" or "you did not translate enough names in the past month to justify this billing total".

Please note that some place names can be translated in seconds, but others may take several minutes if research to get the correct translation and spelling.


Yes, exactly. But you have to forcefully limit the amount of time you spend on any name, unless it is a labour of love and there is an unlimited budget.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If your client is cheap Dec 11, 2009

Waleed Mohamed wrote:
I have been asked to translate about 45,000 place names from English to Arabic to be used in a geographical publication. ... The client asked me for a rate.


If your client is cheap and does not want to engage in a comprehensive quality control but simply wants a straight-forward quote from you, then what you can do is to pre-calculate how much time you're going to spend on the job, and then translate collections of names in chunks per portion of time.

No name will take you less than 10 seconds to translate, but some names may take you several minutes to translate. So let's assume that out of every 50 names, 10 of them will take 10 seconds, 15 of them will take 20 seconds, and 25 of them will take 30 seconds or more. This means that the translation of the 50 names will take 100 seconds (for the 10 quick names) + 300 seconds (for the middle 15) + 750 seconds (for the 30 slow names) = 1150 seconds (or 20 minutes) for every 50 names.

Then what you do is divide the names into groups of 50, and do one group of names for 20 minutes. If you complete the names before the time is up, recheck some of the names you're unsure of. If you fail to complete the names before the time is up, it means you have to work faster (and unfortunately less accurate). Use an extra 10 minutes after every 20 minutes to rest and to catch up with groups that you were unable to complete in 20 minutes.

By the above calculation, it would take you 450 hours to do 45000 names (900 groups of 50 names, at 1/2 hour per group of names).

If the client thinks the amount of time is too high, you can reduce the amount of time that you spend on each group of names, but experiment first to see how long it really takes you to type out a translation of one name. And remind the client that the shorter the time, the more there will be guesswork.

Edited: Corrected miscalculations -- double-check them!

Added: For a job like this, I would get 4 colleagues to help me, and let everyone sit in the same room (to ensure that they spend the required amount of time per 50 names, and so that you can ask for second opinions). If you work 6 days a week, with 5 people, it'll take 3 weeks (i.e. 15 days) to complete the job. Hire 1 extra person to proofread the work.



[Edited at 2009-12-11 10:23 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:20
Dutch to English
+ ...
Dec 11, 2009



[Edited at 2009-12-11 11:03 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Translation of thousands of place names- how to charge?

Advanced search







BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search