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Weighted Words
Thread poster: Josephine Cassar

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:36
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Mar 22, 2013

I know this topic has been "discussed" but I do not seem to find the correct answer as discussion moved towards charging, rather than the meaning of Weighted words. I would like to know the exact meaning and how it differs from prices per source word as I am relatively new. Many thanks to all those that contribute

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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:36
English to Dutch
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CAT breakdown Mar 22, 2013

Many agencies will ask for discounts for repetitions of sentences - as CAT tools will do the translating for the translator. It is very common to have breakdowns like:
New words: full word rate
85-95% match: 60% of word rate
96-99% match: 30% of word rate
100% match: 10% of word rate
or similar constructs.

For a job that has, say, 1000 new words and 200 96-99% matches, they would pay 1000x word rate + 200x 0.3 x word rate = 1060 'weighted words'.

Of course, you would have to possess a CAT tool to even profit from the CAT matches. And then there's the debate whether your client should get a discount for something you yourself bought and paid for.

Hope that clarifies things a bit?

Jan Willem


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:36
Member (2005)
English to Russian
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A simple explanation Mar 22, 2013

This usually refers to the weighted total of all translatable words, with different weight assigned to repetitions and fuzzy matches. The analysis usually looks something like this:


Category ******* Wordcount ****** Weight *** Weighted subtotal
================================================
Repetitions ******** 500 ********** 30% *********150 ******
100% matches ***** 500 ********** 30% *********150 ******
95-99% matches *** 300 ********** 50% ********* 150 ******
85-94% matches *** 400 ********** 75% ********* 300 ******
75-84% matches *** 500 ********** 90% ********* 450 ******
New words ******** 800 ********* 100%********* 800 ******
================================================
Total words: 3000
Total weighted words: 2000

P.S. Edited for table alignment

[Edited at 2013-03-22 17:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-03-22 17:22 GMT]


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:36
Member (2012)
Italian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Weighted Words Mar 22, 2013

Thank you Jan. Perfectly. I think it seems like someone wants to recruit, not really a job. Is it ok if I answer that I charge per word, but do not use Cat tools, but make discounts for big jobs or not urgent jobs? Is a 30k word job a lot? Do not think so. I found their website and happens to be an area I graduated in, but do not like not being paid for work I take trouble with. It is a very complicated system to work out.
Thanks a lot for your prompt and clear reply


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:36
Member (2005)
English to Russian
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Quite standard Mar 22, 2013

Josephine Cassar wrote:
Thank you Jan. Perfectly. I think it seems like someone wants to recruit, not really a job.


Not at all. This practice is widespread if not standard in the industry.

Josephine Cassar wrote:
It is a very complicated system to work out.


No, not really complicated. But how lucrative the job is rests heavily (pun intended) on the weights they assign to different categories (see table above). Just ask them for the breakdown, and go from there.

Obviously, as Jan said, you need a CAT tool to take advantage of the matches and repetitions. If you don't use one, it's unlikely that you will land this job. CAT tools are also industry standard, by the way.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:36
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Italian to English
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CAT tool needed Mar 22, 2013

Thank you both; unfortunately I do not have a CAT tool though i followed course as too expensive. The person will probably need a CAT tool as EU affairs related. With a CAT tool, you still cannot recuperate costs of time & research.
But thanks both


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
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. Mar 22, 2013

Obviously, as Jan said, you need a CAT tool to take advantage of the matches and repetitions. If you don't use one, it's unlikely that you will land this job. CAT tools are also industry standard, by the way.


This is not necessarily the case, and you shouldn't be deterred from bidding for work on the grounds that you don't have CAT.

I don't use it because I find it reduces my productivity rather than increasing it. I've often been offered jobs where the customer wants CAT, and when I say I don't use it, I still get the job in about two thirds of cases. It's a bonus to them, but it's often not essential.


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:36
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
If the client says "weighted words," they most likely require a CAT tool Mar 22, 2013

It's true that the work itself may or may not be done with a CAT tool. But if they said " weighted words," they want you to grant them those CAT discounts. *IF* you're willing to take the job with the CAT discount, even though you don't use CAT, then hey, more power to your elbow!

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Shankaran Viswanathan  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 19:06
French to English
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Tricks to rip off the translator Mar 22, 2013

I would say that all this business of weighted words is just a way of bringing down the translator's fees and increasing the margin of the agencies.

A very fallacious assumption is made here: that the so called weighted words and fuzzy matches offer any real advantage to the translator. Along with this, it is assumed that one has to use CAT tools for *all* jobs. In my experience, sometimes these tools simply make the job more tedious, makes me a slave to Ctrl-Entr.

It is very naive to believe that these CAT tools can do your job for you. Yes, when you are dealing with words but certainly not when you are working on the meaning of words in a particular context.

Even a worse scenario is when the agency imposes its own TM. In this case, the previous translations, being bad in quality or out of context, in fact make the work more complicated, leading to errors.

Let us face it, we are in a profession where there are more black sheep than the normal ones

Vishwa
French to English translator
Dehradun, India


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:36
English to Dutch
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CAT too expensive? Mar 23, 2013

I don't know what your specilizations are, but if there is any repetition at all in your line of work, a CAT tool is NEVER too expensive. Often, the cost of the tool will have paid itself back in a month.
If you've never used a CAT tool, it's hard to imagine how much more words you can translate per hour when doing repetitive work (like so many technical texts).
Actually, that's why the idea 'weighted words' is so useful: it will tell you roughly how much time you will spend on the translation. If you translate, say 1000 words per hour in your specializations, you will be able to translate 1000 weighted words per hour. If the total number of words is 2000, but the weighted number is 1000, this basically means that, with a decent CAT tool, you will translate 2000 words in one hour. I've had jobs where I did 6000 words in one hour.

Another aspect of CAT tools is terminology - they will help you to always translate the same term with the same translation, which is vital in (e.g.) IT.

Of course, if your job is NOT repetitive, a CAT tool won't be much of help. There are other disadvantages too, like when your client gives you a TM that contains bad translations. (An all too often scenario: the client is not happy with a translator, then hires you in stead, but still gives you the TM with all the translations that they were not happy with.)

So, consider your specialization, and if it is repetitive at all, by all means buy a (decent) CAT tool.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:36
Member (2012)
Italian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
CAT tool needed Mar 23, 2013

Hi, thank you all. Your contribution was really illuminating- made me see things from different viewpoints. Though i answered the job poster saying I did not have a CAT tool but have followed courses on SDL, he still contacted me for the job and to fill up his forms as he needs to increase translators working in certain language pairs. When I earn enough, I will invest in a CAT tool. True, for repetitive work, it will come in handy, but will hinder me more if I am provided with TM that is incorrect, like editing/proofreading- better do the translation from beginning than correcting other people's mistakes or misunderstandings.

May I ask you if 30K is a lot or not? How many words/pages, please? As this was also a question. Thank you all


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:36
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
30K = 30 thousand Mar 23, 2013

Josephine Cassar wrote:
May I ask you if 30K is a lot or not? How many words/pages, please?


With typical daily output of 2000 words, that's about 15 days worth of work. Less if you're faster, more if you're slower.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:36
English to Dutch
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So so Mar 23, 2013

Josephine Cassar wrote:
May I ask you if 30K is a lot or not? How many words/pages, please? As this was also a question. Thank you all


I translate mostly technical stuff, manuals and stuff. Most of my jobs are smaller than that. For me, that would be a large job, but not excessive. Certainly not enough to consider a volume discount.
It would take me slightly less than two weeks, depending on match rate.


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
There are also free CAT tools Mar 23, 2013

Josephine Cassar wrote:

When I earn enough, I will invest in a CAT tool.


like OmegaT, which is open source. Otherwise, the major CAT tools, AFAIK offer a free trial period with all functions of normally one month. Wordfast is free until 500 segments without any other restrictions.

Otherwise, subscribe to Translator Group Buys (TGB) of ProZ; there are often very interesting discounts of various CAT tools.

Sure, you should not use a CAT the first time for a job with a tight deadline.

Anyway, good luck!



[Bearbeitet am 2013-03-24 08:46 GMT]


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:36
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Do your own calculations Mar 24, 2013

When you do use CAT, make sure you keep track of the work and time needed to do it. Automatic calculations may be misleading - it depends on the type of the text, languages involved etc. If you get experience, you will be able to tell which jobs are more profitable - i.e. you spend less time on them than the rate indicates, so in fact you earn more per hour than for new words, and those jobs which you do actually at a loss.

A good example is the rate for 100% matches, typically calculated as 10-30% percent of the normal rate. If the base is made by you, you know the subject well etc., you can usually skim through 100% matches with great speed, occasionally correcting your own work or picking up segments which, in spite of being identical, should be translated differently. Still, you can earn a lot of money that way. On the other hand, if the 100% matches come from the client's base, done by different translators, full of inconsistencies and errors, you can spend on them much more time than you are paid for.


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