Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Agencies: How many words per day?
Thread poster: mattsmith
mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:53
German to English
+ ...
Apr 6, 2006

Hey guys,

I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a quick question. I have been offered an in-house 'trainee' job with a German translations agency. For the first 6 months they are offering training, but they have told me they only give permanent contracts to translators after this period to those who can comfortably translate more than 2,800 words a day, and ideally well over 3,000. The pay rate for those employed permanently starts at around the 15,000 Euros per year mark.

Is this a fair number of words / salary rate?

Does anyone have any advice?

Thanks for your help.

Matts25.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 14:53
Dutch to English
+ ...
Some feedback.... Apr 6, 2006

Hi,

Word count is fine - of course, each text differs but on average as a professional translator you should be able to hit this target quite easily in a working day. It depends of course what interruptions you'll have, whether you'll have to oversee project management etc as well.

As for the salary, well it's far less than what you should be able to earn freelancing with time but the in-house experience will be invaluable and a chance to build up contacts and experience both sides of the business.

You can also of course find out whether you'd be allowed to supplement your income with freelancing after hours and at weekends, as long as it doesn't compete with their in-house projects.

My advice would be to go for it, albeit it as a stepping stone if there are no career advancement prospects after a while.

These offers aren't easy to get and you'll know at the end of the training period, whether you're interested from your side in staying in any event.

Good luck
Debs


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rita Bilancio  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:53
English to Italian
+ ...
Mmmmhhh Apr 6, 2006

Dear matts25,
I didn't work in-house but I know that your daily otput should be quite high. 3000 words per day seems too be
very high. But it all depends on the texts. If texts are rather
general it might be achievable but for technical ones it
seems quite strange. As far as your salary is concerned
I really can't tell but maybe you should consider your profile, your preparation and the chance to learn the job if it's your first as a translator.

Good luck then!
Rita


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Jalapeno
Local time: 15:53
English to German
Surely they're joking? Apr 6, 2006

Matts25 wrote:
The pay rate for those employed permanently starts at around the 15,000 Euros per year mark.


Regarding the 3,000 words per day: Depends on yourself and the type of text. There might be some texts where you comfortably translate 4,000 words, others where you struggle to translate 1,000. You'll have to find out for yourself how many words you can manage.

Regarding the salary: They must be joking. EUR 15,000 / year for a full-time translator in Germany is ridiculously low.

[Edited at 2006-04-06 09:54]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Walsh  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:53
Member (2004)
Italian to English
good experience Apr 6, 2006

Deborah do Carmo wrote:

Word count is fine - of course, each text differs but on average as a professional translator you should be able to hit this target quite easily in a working day. It depends of course what interruptions you'll have, whether you'll have to oversee project management etc as well.

As for the salary, well it's far less than what you should be able to earn freelancing with time but the in-house experience will be invaluable and a chance to build up contacts and experience both sides of the business.

Debs


I agree. 3000 is very high for a newbie (assuming you are one) but after 6 months of training you should be able to reach it and it does depend on what other duties you will have.
If you are new to the business then don't focus too much on the salary. If it is enough to get by on then it's acceptable. What you should focus on is the valuable experience you would gain from working for an agency in-house (contacts, learning the ropes, learning business skills, experience with CAT tools etc.).


Direct link Reply with quote
 
mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:53
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks ... Apr 6, 2006

Thanks for your help everyone!

Yes, I'm just starting out in the industry.

Apparently it would mostly be financial, legal and technical work. My main concern is the rate of pay really, 15, 000 euros does seem very low indeed to me for a professional job, even in the first year.

Any more pointers appreciated!






Rita Bilancio wrote:

Dear matts25,
I didn't work in-house but I know that your daily otput should be quite high. 3000 words per day seems too be
very high. But it all depends on the texts. If texts are rather
general it might be achievable but for technical ones it
seems quite strange. As far as your salary is concerned
I really can't tell but maybe you should consider your profile, your preparation and the chance to learn the job if it's your first as a translator.

Good luck then!
Rita


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
3000 words in an 8-hr day Apr 6, 2006

The realities of working in-house is that there is a start time and a finish time and a routine (Mon-Fri) that you will be complying with

I could do 3000 a day, even 4000, but not within 8 hours or Mon-Fri weekk after week. I rarely ever take on more than 10,000 -12,000 words a week.

I would occasionally do 3000-4000 words spread over a 10-12-14 hour day, but not squeezed into 8 hours and not every day.

Then again, that's probably my way of working:-)

In your case, I would consider a 3000 words/day ceiling (that's 15000 words a week, few translators would commit themselves to more than this), you also need to know what other tasks you will be required to attend to.



[Edited at 2006-04-06 09:50]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Walsh  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:53
Member (2004)
Italian to English
like i said Apr 6, 2006

Matts25 wrote:

Thanks for your help everyone!

Yes, I'm just starting out in the industry.

Apparently it would mostly be financial, legal and technical work. My main concern is the rate of pay really, 15, 000 euros does seem very low indeed to me for a professional job, even in the first year.

Any more pointers appreciated!


Don't get too caught up on salary. Think about your professional growth first. That is more important at your age. You have to go through boot camp first and this might be a good opportunity.
Of course if it's not enough to live on then that's another story.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:53
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
link to previous survey article on translation capacity and speed Apr 6, 2006

See the results of my survey conducted in 2004 on this very topic of translation and editing capacity and speed. I've provided a link to the resulting article at:

translation and editing speeds
http://www.proz.com/post/226722#226722

Jeff

---------------
Jeff Allen, PhD
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/


Direct link Reply with quote
 
juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What other options do you have? Apr 6, 2006

If you are just starting, and want to be a translator, then as the others said, it is a good way to gain experience and insight.

They would keep you busy for a few month, and after that you may or may not want to work for them anyway. Your confidence will grow, you will be able to refer to the work you have done there, and in the main time may find some clients or agencies, and be ready to start freelancing.

If your other option is to try to get work on your own, you may not get much. It takes time to build up contacts and get a steady flow of work. This would be the right time and opportunity to do inhouse work, get on the first step of the ladder so to speak.

Later, when you are in business, you wouldn't want to give up existing clients for an inhouse job, so in practice you may never have this opportunity.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rita Bilancio  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:53
English to Italian
+ ...
I do agree Apr 6, 2006

John Walsh wrote:

Matts25 wrote:

Thanks for your help everyone!

Yes, I'm just starting out in the industry.

Apparently it would mostly be financial, legal and technical work. My main concern is the rate of pay really, 15, 000 euros does seem very low indeed to me for a professional job, even in the first year.

Any more pointers appreciated!


Don't get too caught up on salary. Think about your professional growth first. That is more important at your age. You have to go through boot camp first and this might be a good opportunity.
Of course if it's not enough to live on then that's another story.


I didn't accept jobs because of very low rates. But when you're at the beginning of your maybe luckier carrier I think
you should give it a try. AFter my first experiences I am now regretting my decisions.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:53
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Define 'trainee' (or ask them to do so) Apr 6, 2006

IMHO, and as far as I read, 3,000 words a day is the desired end result of training. It would not be normal for a beginner to cover this much during a first month.

During my beginner days (electric typewriters & a few word processors), 3,000/day was reasonable for a professional with very good typing skills, based on time and motion studies for that period (around 1985). Broken down into units (breaks being considered important in the business), it distributed itself into 500 words/hour at cruising (not burst) speed and a total of 2 hours allocated between self-proofing and a certain amount of wastage. The trick was not to panic or accumulate fatigue (two factors that increase possibilities of error and hamper efficiency) and to be able to rely on a team turning out approximately the same, particularly in matters of correction/proofreading/editing.

It's possible to do more, but not MUCH more, owing to the fact that in the end it boils down to keystrokes per unit time, and unit time is limited (on the other hand it's the same for everyone).

Resorting to burst speed under this system is confined to the strictly necessary, since over an extended period it does more harm than good (owing to the fatigue factor). I hope it helps you analyse the situation.

Salary is another thing altogether. What do you get if you make the grade? Because that's definitely worth more than 15,000 p.a., and I have my doubts about this estimate of current beginner rates.

Good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:53
German to English
+ ...
Agencies: How many words per day? Apr 6, 2006

2,500 words per day is widely seen as a realistic ballpark output. If you have no other duties (the various aspects of running a freelance business can account for as much as a quarter of a sole operator's working time), 3,000 words might be a realistic figure for an experienced translator. But: for an inexperienced translator, it strikes me as being very high.

Then you say "it would mostly be financial, legal and technical work". That doesn't leave an awful lot, does it. In other words, you're going to have to translate more or less anything, which is highly dubious from a quality point of view, besides making any question of 3,000 words a day utopian, even for an experienced translator.

I agree with John about the value of experience; some of us paid thousands in order to be able to complete our diplomas, after all. But the vibes I'm getting are that this is hardly a top-notch outfit, and I wonder how good the training will really be. More than a few translators have spent a couple of years in a bucket-shop followed by years or even decades freelancing, and have been translating badly for the whole time: years of doing something badly doesn't necessarily teach you to do it well. Bottom line: if you're really interested in in-house training, approach a reputable agency and ask them to take you on unpaid for three months. You'll learn more than you would in three years at a cowboy outfit.

As for the "salary" for when you are supposedly up to scratch, you would have difficulty finding a cleaner for that in many parts of Germany. Draw your own conclusions.

Marc


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some statistics from my office Apr 6, 2006

Matts25 wrote:
...can comfortably translate more than 2,800 words a day, and ideally well over 3,000.


Your question prompted me to do a quick survey of the amount of work done in the office where I work. Here are the stats:

December 2005 - January 2006
95 000 words total by 3 translators in 30 days
1055 words per person per day

February 2006
90 000 words by 4 translators in 20 days
1125 words per person per day

March 2006
100 000 words by 4 translators in 20 days
1250 words per person per day

Last week
40 000 words by 5 translators in 5 days
1600 words per person per day

I'm the only one using CAT (and only about 25% of the work is CAT-able anyway). All translations are also proofread by fellow-translators, and for about 60% of the text we also have to proofread the DTP proofs. Our office is busy, and the deadlines are tight. We process about 1200 documents per month, ranging from oneliners to broadsheet full-pagers.

That should give you an idea...


Direct link Reply with quote
 
mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:53
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks so much everyone! Just to clarify things... Apr 6, 2006

- It would be an 8 hour working day,

- I would be translating a variety of legal, financial technical and general commercial texts from DE - EN.

- Translators who aren't able to translate 3,000 words a day, and ideally well in excess of this by the time the six months' 'initial training' has finished aren't offered a permanent job.

- The starting salary after the six months is 15,000 Euros - 18,000 Euros a year.

thanks, Matts25


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


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


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

Agencies: How many words per day?

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



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