Rates: explanation needed
Thread poster: Marco Nuzzi

Marco Nuzzi
Local time: 01:06
English to Italian
Mar 21, 2011

Hello everyone,

this is my first post here and I hope I'm using the right forum. I've been a translator for a few years now but I worked mostly for one agency, hence my lack of knowledge about this topic. Until now I used a translation rate, a proofreading rate and an hourly rate for extra tasks. Now I'm trying to expand my customer database and I'm getting a bit confused by all the different rates that I've been asked to provide.

1) Translation for doc (by word)
2) Translation for SW (by word)
3) QA (by hour)
4) Monolingual Proofreading (by word or by hour)

Could anyone please explain me the difference between 1 and 2? What does "SW" mean? Also, what's exactly the QA rate? Any other insight would be much appreciated.


 

Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:06
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
HTH Mar 21, 2011

Hi Marco

SW stands for software. Software is usually more difficult to translate than documentation (because of the format, tools, limited context, necessary technical knowledge etc). That is why you can ask a (slightly) higer rate.

QA or quality assurance can mean different things, really. It usually involves comparing the target and the source text, while monolingual proofreading does not, and you only focus on the fluency of the text. For hourly tasks, I normally divide the standard daily output in words x translation rate by 8 hours. Some large international companies expect 2500 words of translation and 6000 words of proofreading daily, but this could differ depending on a lot of factors, so it is just an example.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My experience of QA work Mar 21, 2011

Adam Łobatiuk wrote:
QA or quality assurance can mean different things, really. It usually involves comparing the target and the source text, while monolingual proofreading does not, and you only focus on the fluency of the text. For hourly tasks, I normally divide the standard daily output in words x translation rate by 8 hours. Some large international companies expect 2500 words of translation and 6000 words of proofreading daily, but this could differ depending on a lot of factors, so it is just an example.


The QA work I personally do is monolingual and it fulfils the ISO Standard requirement for a final quality check before delivery. I have to read the target text and comment on whether it reads perfectly naturally or whether it reads awkwardly, is ungrammatical or contains other errors or ambiguities. In theory I simply evaluate, but in practice the client likes me to actually correct things. I charge a low rate per word because if the quality is really awful then all I have to do is spend enough time to gather the proof. Normally, I refuse to give a per word quote for proofreading before seeing the complete text.


 

Marco Nuzzi
Local time: 01:06
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
QA/Proofreading work Mar 21, 2011

Adam, thanks for the explanation. In the end I decided to ask directly to the customer what kind of QA work they are expecting from me.

Also, Sheila, as far as I understand, you are saying that QA work is mostly about checking the standards (like terminology and glossaries) and provide a global evaluation of the file. Checking grammar and style problems should be part of proofreading though.

It seems like there is a really thin line separating proofreading and QA work.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
To clarify Mar 21, 2011

Marco Nuzzi wrote:

Also, Sheila, as far as I understand, you are saying that QA work is mostly about checking the standards (like terminology and glossaries) and provide a global evaluation of the file. Checking grammar and style problems should be part of proofreading though.

It seems like there is a really thin line separating proofreading and QA work.


There is indeed a fine line and the proofreading step should be completed before QA is performed. However, one has to be realistic and I do find that the agency I work with uses its QA consultants as proofreaders to some extent.

I would say that the role differs in two ways:
1) The principal deliverable i.e. the most important thing in QA is the report that says "it's perfect", "it's fine except for ...", ... down to "it's totally unsuitable for delivery and will need to be re-translated". The last needs only to be accompanied by a brief summary of some of the major problems.
2) Any corrections needed should be minor and not too numerous - otherwise it's normal proofreading. I'm sometimes asked to do more changes for extra payment but there are limits, particularly as the source text is usually in Polish, a language I know not at all.

But I hasten to add that this is only one view of QA. QA, proofreading (monolingual and bilingual), editing, revising, copy-editing - all requests need to be checked carefully with the client to make sure that you do what they want and that they are willing to pay you for what you do.


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:06
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Difference between QA and proofreading Mar 21, 2011

As Sheila said there is a fine line between proofreading and QA, I would say the main difference is in the fact that when you proofread you have access to the source document so you can compare it to the translation, with QA you only look at the translated file and have no access to the original.

 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:06
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Other way round Mar 21, 2011

Alex Lago wrote:
I would say the main difference is in the fact that when you proofread you have access to the source document so you can compare it to the translation, with QA you only look at the translated file and have no access to the original.

It is a sign of the terminological confusion in this area that, while Alex's definition is clear, I would say exactly the opposite – that when you proofread you check the translation without the original, and QA, to me, means what other people might describe as revision, with access to the source.

The British standard for proofreadng etc (BS EN 15038) defines it thus:

proofreading: checking of proofs before publishing
revision: comparing 2 language versions


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:06
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Like Sheila said check with client to avoid situations like this one Mar 22, 2011

Peter Linton wrote:

It is a sign of the terminological confusion in this area that, while Alex's definition is clear, I would say exactly the opposite – that when you proofread you check the translation without the original, and QA, to me, means what other people might describe as revision, with access to the source.

The British standard for proofreadng etc (BS EN 15038) defines it thus:

proofreading: checking of proofs before publishing
revision: comparing 2 language versions



Must admit you may be quite right about the correct definition, I have no idea, I was just referring to the standard use of these terms by the translation agencies I work with, which at least in my experience when asking me to proofread send me the translation and source document and when asking me to QA just send me the translation however and as Sheila said everything should always be checked with the client to make sure both parties understand the same thing and to avoid situations like this one when two people understand the same word in completely different waysicon_smile.gif


 

Marco Nuzzi
Local time: 01:06
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
I received an answer Mar 22, 2011

I just received an answer from this agency and I thought to share it. Apparently by "QA work" they refer to a review with the only difference that you don't need to correct the file directly. Instead you are requested to use a QA template, pointing out the problems and providing a different translation where needed.

Mystery solved.

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.


 


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