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Poll: What's the largest number of words you've ever translated without a CAT tool?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:02
SITE STAFF
Jun 19, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What's the largest number of words you've ever translated without a CAT tool?".

This poll was originally submitted by Crystal Samples

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


 

Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 18:02
German to English
42,000 words Jun 19, 2008

42,000 word collection of articles on art theory and music history... needless to say it was quite a slog and I am quite relieved to now own a Wordfast license.

 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 13:02
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The legal world still uses plenty of paper Jun 19, 2008

I estimate 10,000 to 12,000 words as the highest figure I've ever had to translate without the aid of  a CAT tool. This is because there are countless legal texts that were faxed to the agency and then scanned, and then sent to me. The result is a PDF or image file that can in no way be electronically coaxed into a CAT tool.
 
This is fine for me, as I am quite used to it.  In fact, I am secretly happy that there are still documents that cannot be fed into a CAT tool for the simple reason that human translator intervention is tantamount to achieving the final product.  There is no way that machine translation software can be used, and there are no discounts for fuzzy matches.
 
In any event, I try to think like a CAT tool.  By this, I mean that I set up shortcuts via macro software, Direct Access, that allows me to type a few letters that expand into a phrase or sentence.  That way, I am never typing every single word, and more importantly, I am not thinking in words, but rather "chunks".  (I nearly died laughing the first time I heard the linguistic term "manageable chunks".)


 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:02
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Funny you should ask... Jun 19, 2008

I just finished 13,000 words in an academic article last night.
Old articles don't OCR well from the pdf files, so I just leave them as is.
It's a slog, but I like the people I'm working for, and they do pay to have every word typed in.


 

Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:02
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
What about when there were no CAT tools around? Jun 19, 2008

I've been translating for almost 20 years, and way back then there were no CAT tools to speak of.
That meant that I sometimes had to translate texts that were hundreds of pages long (we did not count words but pages or lines).
And we had no Internet either!!!
It's amazing how much easier a translator's life is nowadaysicon_biggrin.gif


 

Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:02
French to English
+ ...
50,000 + Jun 19, 2008

I was surprised that the numbers were all so low! In fact, I misread the answers and replied "Other" because I missed the > sign with 8000. I've been translating for 24 years and I've done many long translations, most without CAT tools in the early days. I would say the longest I've done recently was an uneditable pdf file - a set of German regulations on bunds for oil storage which was well in excess of 50,000 words. Thank goodness for voice recognition software!

 

Crystal Samples  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:02
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
In one day (24 hours) Jun 19, 2008

Hi it's me, the originator of the poll. I suppose, when I proposed this poll, I should have specified "most you've ever translated in one day or 24 hours". But, oh well , it's still intersting to hear about the days of old when CAT tools didn't yet exist.

 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Other Jun 19, 2008

Get real... up to 8,000 words max?

Now I'm getting close to 37 years as a professional translator and every word has been translated without a CAT tool, because I have never even seen, let alone used one. The first half of that was with pencil and paper!

A recent single job amounted to over 236,000 words working from paper documents.

All I can say is that I am not ready to go back to pencil and paper. I have ways of getting excellent productivity and accuracy just using an ordinary word processing program combined with a good translation memory that also serves as a perch for my hat.


 

Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:02
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
In the old days... Jun 19, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:

The first half of that was with pencil and paper!



Exactly!!! I remember when legal translations had to be typed (with a typewriter). In order to avoid any mistakes in the typed version of the document all translators would use a pencil and paper just as Henry did.


 

Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:02
German to Italian
+ ...
In one day Jun 19, 2008

Crystal Samples wrote:

I suppose, when I proposed this poll, I should have specified "most you've ever translated in one day or 24 hours".



OK, so I guessed righticon_wink.gif In my case that was about 7000 words, a few years ago. Needless to say I was exhausted afterwards.


 

Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:02
Member (2008)
French to English
25,000 in a day Jun 19, 2008

Just kidding. But I just got an email asking me to do that very thing from a PDF by tomorrow. It's in a field I don't know very well, so I couldn't really do an adequate job in that time even if I wanted to, which in fact I don't. I think the most I have ever done in a day without CAT is 6000-8000, and the most with CAT is around 10,000 - and that was quite enough for me, thanks!

 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:02
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
I did presume "in one day" Jun 19, 2008

and said >8000. I was aware of this as I was comparing the possibility of translation and interpretation fees under similar conditions being on a par at that time. The conclusion: it's possible, but both leave you exhausted. (Translation at that rate was both more exhausting and more profitable. And no, thanks. I won't repeat it).

icon_biggrin.gif


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:02
Flemish to English
+ ...
Before 1984 Jun 19, 2008

Trados did not exist. Other CATs either. When I started we had to look everything up in paperback dictionaries and use a typewriter. In 1982, I had a primitive word-processor, called Apple Writer II. One of my favorites was construction specifications and such specifications are about 100000 words, with a lot of repetitions due to legal specifications at the end of each chapter. Never gave discount and was never asked to do so.
There would be a lot less "translators" on the market if CATs had not been invented. Some have tags such as "have Trados (CAT) , will translate", linguistic skills superfluous.

[Edited at 2008-06-19 16:44]


 

Satto (Roberto)  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 11:02
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Exactly..This is another life beyond CAT tools Jun 19, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:

Get real... up to 8,000 words max?

Now I'm getting close to 37 years as a professional translator and every word has been translated without a CAT tool, because I have never even seen, let alone used one. The first half of that was with pencil and paper!

A recent single job amounted to over 236,000 words working from paper documents.

All I can say is that I am not ready to go back to pencil and paper. I have ways of getting excellent productivity and accuracy just using an ordinary word processing program combined with a good translation memory that also serves as a perch for my hat.



I haven't been in the business as long as Henry and I have used CAT tools, but there is a life beyond CAT tools, they may be good for some applications, but NOTHING beats the "old fashioned" human mind!

Cat tools have limits..the mind however has not been beat..not even in a Chess Game!


 

brainfloss  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 02:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
about 30 000 words from manuscripts Jun 19, 2008

I spent more time trying to decipher the manuscripts than actually translating them. That slowed me down way much than I thought so I was not able to have a very decent WPD count by the end of the day. Every single file was an OCR and you know what they say about a doctor's handwriting... CAT tools, of course, were of no use. It would have been way better to read the actual papers than staring at the monitor non-stop for weeks. I slept two days in a row once I was done and celebrated freedom when I woke up.

 
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