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Poll: How many words do you typically translate per day?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:01
SITE STAFF
Oct 29, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many words do you typically translate per day?".

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:01
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other N/A Oct 29, 2015

I translate source characters - and some of them are pretty dodgy, too. icon_biggrin.gif

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 29, 2015

It varies. When I'm busy, it might be around 4000 words, but for example yesterday I only translated 5 words and the rest of my work was (non-urgent) revision/correction/editing.

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Can't count that high Oct 29, 2015

I translates a zillion words a day cuz I is better than u

 

missdutch  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:01
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
You made my day, Chris! Oct 29, 2015

Chris S wrote:

I translates a zillion words a day cuz I is better than u


U shirley iz...


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Oct 29, 2015

Typically? In my book, there is no such thing as typically! I've just finished translating 60,093 words in 14 days (Saturdays and Sundays included), but there was nothing typical about that and things have got back to normal now...

 

Roni_S  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 23:01
Slovak to English
gazillion Oct 29, 2015

Is gazillion more than zillion? It is a contest, after all.

 

Justin Peterson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:01
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
I Don´t Understand It (Words per Day) Oct 29, 2015

I have been baffled by this question throughout my career.

I can translate over 800 words/hour.

I do not feel rushed, and I do not consider myself an especially fast worker.

I am a decent typist, but have had no serious training.

I proofread carefully, reading everything I translate out loud.

At this rate, I can translate over 6,000 words/day, which places me in the top 0.8%, apparently.

I don´t get it.

If I were unable to translate at this rate, there is no way I could make a good living at this.

The average out there seems to be around 3.000 words, which I find utterly baffling.

I've never understood it. ¿?

JRP


 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:01
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
6,000 peanuts? Oct 29, 2015

Justin Peterson wrote:

At this rate, I can translate over 6,000 words/day, which places me in the top 0.8%, apparently.

I don´t get it.

If I were unable to translate at this rate, there is no way I could make a good living at this.

The average out there seems to be around 3.000 words, which I find utterly baffling.

JRP


Really? Then you need to put your rates up or find clients who pay decent rates. If I was translating 6,000 words every working day then I would earn something like € 140,000 a year.

Output also depends very much on the field of translation you work in, and the fundamental differences between the two languages involved.


 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:01
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Now I am baffled Oct 29, 2015

Justin Peterson wrote:

I can translate over 800 words/hour.
...
At this rate, I can translate over 6,000 words/day, which places me in the top 0.8%, apparently.



But do you really translate 6,000 words per day on average? If so, when do you find time for other essential tasks like replying to emails, checking new requests, quoting for new projects, writing invoices and all those other admin tasks?

I can easily translate 800 words/hour (and I am sure so can most experienced translators) but that does not mean I typically translate 6,000 words per day.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
2,000 Oct 29, 2015

It's easy for me answer because under normal conditions I assign myself a daily quota. Once I've translated 2,000 words and come to a nice stopping point, I stop and do something else (possibly proofreading). I schedule my deadlines for this pace and if clients ask me to deliver more than 2,500 words a day, I turn them down.

I do accept rush work if the job is relatively small. One day last week I had done my daily quota and was about to go to bed when I got a rush request to do a speech that was needed in the morning (another 2,315 words). I asked them to find someone else and they couldn't, so I worked through the night.

The question was "typically" - I've been known to hit some really high numbers, but that wasn't the question.


 

TalTranslations
United Kingdom
English to Hebrew
More to life than >2000 Oct 29, 2015

I COULD translate thousands of words a day, but WHY?

Justin Peterson wrote:
If I were unable to translate at this rate, there is no way I could make a good living at this.


What is a good living?


I prefer to live in a small apartment, no new car, etc.
and work 5 hours/day
and spend the rest of my valuable hours of life with friends and cat, walking in nature, enjoying life.


[Edited at 2015-10-29 13:53 GMT]


 

silvia72  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:01
English to Italian
+ ...
words/day Oct 29, 2015

Hallo!
I think the answer depends on the degree of difficulty of the job, and on how big is your TM.
Of course if you have a thorough knowledge of the subject, and the glossary is on your mind, you can be very fast... (4,000 - 6,000 words/day).
The problem is: you don't have much time to the rest... houseworks, cooking, taking a walk with the dog...
In the past and occasionally I translated nearly 6,000 words/day, (my field, machinery I knew well and trados freelance) but thank God, this was not routine!


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Chinese is fun for typesetting Oct 29, 2015

Julian Holmes wrote:

I translate source characters - and some of them are pretty dodgy, too. icon_biggrin.gif


I don't translate Japanese or similar languages, but I'm drawn to the strong character of their ideograms.

Pretty dodgy, huh? Sometimes when I was typesetting Simplified Chinese, all I could see were little houses, headless kangaroos and skinny guys.

icon_biggrin.gif


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Measuring translation Oct 29, 2015

Non-translators, such as translation managers, VPs, Human Resource headhunters, project managers and bilingual people with no formal education in translation (never mind Silicon Valley sycophants, venture capitalists, software developers and their ilk) find translation deeply baffling to measure: words per hour, per day, per year?

How about measuring the quality of a translation? Back translations? Numbers of pages translated in a quarter to justify the existence of a translation team? If a team member is not averaging at least a certain number of words (which is usually an arbitrary figure pulled out of someone's hat —I'm being polite here), then that person is not being productive or a good team member.

The focus is on a visible output (words) that even someone with an IQ of 60 can count. Nobody, and I mean nobody pays attention to the writing.

Good writing can't be rushed. There are days when I can translate 2500 words, and others no more than 250. Why? Saying that it depends on the difficulty of the text is a gross oversimplification, and a subtopic that deserves a separate discussion.

If I sound a bit intense on this topic is because I recently discussed it with a couple of bank managers who interviewed me for an in-house position. One of them said: “I'm impressed with your CV. I can see you can easily do 3000 words a day.”

Oh boy, was he a bit disappointed when I clarified that point for him. “But we are flexible,” he added.


 
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