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Repeated words
Thread poster: Anna Davies

Anna Davies  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:58
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
Jan 26, 2016

Dear Translators and Agencies, or any person working with translators,

Why agencies expect from us to make a discount because of TRADOS or any other CAT Tool.

Personally, I think this question demonstrates a lack of respect to, and ignorance of our profession. Even if a word is repeated, the time spent on it to construct a correct meaning can vary. A repeated word can have different meanings in different contexts; this is where a translator’s true skill and value lies. A machine (or an amateur with a translation tool) can never, and will never, replace the accumulated knowledge and skill of a professional linguist. There are instances where companies have lost revenue and credibility because small or repeated words were translated incorrectly. Translators charge an average price per word to take variables into consideration.

As professional translators, we should unite and fight against the erosion of our craft by ignorant, greedy people. Please let me know what you think.

[Edited at 2016-01-27 09:56 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:58
Member (2008)
Italian to English
What I think Jan 26, 2016

I agree with your description. Depending on the context, the meaning or nuance of a word may not necessarily always be the same.

I don't use CAT tools because I like translating interesting documents. CAT tools are probably fine for translating mechanical, uninteresting documents but that isn't what I do.

[Edited at 2016-01-26 22:15 GMT]


 

Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:58
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Jan 27, 2016



[Edited at 2016-01-27 06:50 GMT]


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:58
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Misconceptions about "repeated words" and the purpose of CAT tools in general Jan 27, 2016

Statements like "a repeated word can have different meanings in different contexts; this is where a translator’s true skill and value lies" or "depending on the context, the meaning or nuance of a word may not necessarily always be the same" are certainly true, but made as a refutation to using CAT tools they hint to a lack of understanding what a CAT tool does, and what a "repeated word" actually is in the context of CAT tools.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with translating without CAT tools, and in certain circumstances, it really won't matter. In a way, a CAT tool is to translation what a typewriter or a word processor is to writing text. Both aren't necessary, but both can improve productivity. They don't magically produce better results, but can be powerful tools in the hand of someone who knows how to use them.

The suggestion that "CAT tools are probably fine for translating mechanical, uninteresting documents" really is too ridiculous to be worth discussing.


 

Anna Davies  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:58
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They expect from us a discount, because the word is repeated Jan 27, 2016

The problem is, that the agencies expect from us the lower price because a word is repeated.
Every time I see it, I am very angry. It shows how greedy they are, and how they do not understand what it is about.
Giving a price, we give already an average price, this is not enough for them, they expect again a discount.
Some agencies do not pay at all for repeated words.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:58
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
No need to be angry Jan 27, 2016

Anna, there's no need to be angry. Just tell them you don't offer discounts of that kind. If they insist, go looking for other customers. Works just fine for me.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:58
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Expectations Jan 27, 2016

Again, agencies are entitled to expect whatever they want, including discounts. After all, it's a free (business) world.

However, I've always disliked the idea that agencies consider themselves to be vendors when they're dealing with translators. This is as incorrect as anything could ever be. When an agency asks a translator for her/his services, then the agency is doing this in the position of a customer, not that of a vendor. So what is their demand for discounts based upon?


 

Anna Davies  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:58
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Giving an answer Jan 27, 2016

The best idea would be if every translator could, every time if it is the case, refuse to give a discount because of repeated words. We are already giving an average price. So I would answer: my price is for every word.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Most of what you say are valid points Jan 27, 2016

Anna Davies wrote:
Why agencies expect from us to make a discount because of TRADOS or any other CAT Tool.


You know the answer to that: because price is an important factor in appointing a translator, so agencies will use the cheapest translators who comply with all other requirements. If you have a CAT tool, and you don't accept match discounts, then you are more expensive than those that do.

Personally, I think this question demonstrates a lack of respect to, and ignorance of, our profession.


Or it may simply be poor design on the part of CAT tools. Most of these tools are not language-specific, so their algorithms work on averages, which is good for only a small selection of languages and bad for the rest.

But, you can do something about it: you can set your own fuzzy match discount grid based on your knowledge of the unique requirements of your own language combination.

As professional translators, we should unite and fight against the erosion of our craft by ignorant, greedy people.


Do you have a list of such people?


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:58
Member
English to French
An answer Jan 27, 2016

Anna Davies wrote:
...Why agencies expect from us to make a discount because of TRADOS or any other CAT Tool.

Because repeated parts, like caution/safety notices, titles et al., or similar content, like a text update, in a very interesting manual about how to blast half a mountain with as few casualties as possible or how to operate a 30,000-ton turbine on Mars, require less time to "process" when you use a CAT tool than when you don't.

And some agencies want their share of your time savings.

Whether this is unethical or unfair or naughty or insane or downright criminal can be debated ad nauseam, but at the end of the day, you alone decide what is best for your interest.

Mine is to earn above a given threashold per hour/week/month/year without compromising my mental health.

Philippe


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:58
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
The whole point Jan 27, 2016

[quote]Philippe Etienne wrote:

Anna Davies wrote:
repeated parts, like caution/safety notices, titles et al., or similar content


Sic! Content and not separate words shall be considered as matches and then, naturally, discounts would be reasonable.
What Anna is talking about is that agencies take separate words as "segments" and demand discounts on their repetitions.
However, and idea "if every translator could, every time if it is the case, refuse to give a discount because of repeated words" is pure utopia IMHO. I don't use CATs, as they are counter productive in my texts, but other translators that own CAT and work in languages without flexions will - and maybe should - accept discounts within their understanding of reasonability thereof.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another viewpoint Jan 27, 2016

Working without a CAT tool is unpractical. The word itself says it all; it's a "tool", hence it needs a "master".

As for "being angry", there is no need, really. Everybody, including translators, are trying to make money. It's business and it's a "free" business (you can walk away; you're not an employee).

If you work for an agency who sends you projects from one large client for a year or two, your translation memory will speed up your work considerably in two ways:

1. You will not have to search for terminology
2. Some segments will be populated automatically from your TM

This does not mean you can just leave it as it is, some proofreading is obviously necessary, but it's not the same as translating the segment from scratch.

Do I defend agencies' viewpoint? No. But I like to be fair; fair to all parties, myself included. If I receive Studio package that contains 20% of segments with 100% or 99% of matches, and my customer insists they will only pay me 10% of my rate for those segments, I will not complain. Another story is when you receive matches such as 75% - 80%. It can be anything. Sometimes it's even harder to adapt that "match" than doing the segment from scratch.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:58
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Maybe I'm missing something here Jan 27, 2016

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

What Anna is talking about is that agencies take separate words as "segments" and demand discounts on their repetitions.


Do they? Really? Could you explain how?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm still not convinced everyone here is knowing what a CAT tool actually does.


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:58
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, really Jan 27, 2016

Erik Freitag wrote:

Do they? Really? Could you explain how?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm still not convinced everyone here is knowing what a CAT tool actually does.


Erik, I am not an expert in CATs nor I pretend to be such.
I have done a couple dozens projects on Transit and MemoQ. Several projects on MemoQ were EU texts and the source column was composed of lines with one to max. three words. Oh, there were some lines where one word was connected to the following two ones by a conjunction (say, "sport and leisure activities"), and the conjunction "and" counted as a fuzzy match where the remaining words differred.
In general, in languages with flexions it's a nightmare, for the translation of "sport and leisure activities" is different from "for sport and leisure activities".
But your question was about how a segment can be of separate words. >Easily. Often. And I'm not sure whose ignorance is to provide such segments.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:58
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Sure Jan 27, 2016

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

Erik Freitag wrote:

Do they? Really? Could you explain how?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm still not convinced everyone here is knowing what a CAT tool actually does.


Erik, I am not an expert in CATs nor I pretend to be such.
I have done a couple dozens projects on Transit and MemoQ. Several projects on MemoQ were EU texts and the source column was composed of lines with one to max. three words. Oh, there were some lines where one word was connected to the following two ones by a conjunction (say, "sport and leisure activities"), and the conjunction "and" counted as a fuzzy match where the remaining words differred.
In general, in languages with flexions it's a nightmare, for the translation of "sport and leisure activities" is different from "for sport and leisure activities".
But your question was about how a segment can be of separate words. >Easily. Often. And I'm not sure whose ignorance is to provide such segments.


I see what you mean, we're on the same page, then, after all. Sorry.

Of course this happens. But in my experience, this is such a rare occurrence that the number of cases where this function actually saves me a lot of time and effort (and please mind that my only target language is a flective one) by far outweighs the number of cases where this poses a problem. Those rare cases are the reason why I don't give repetitions away for free.


 
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