Ideal Japanese character per minute translating speed?
Thread poster: Allyson Larimer

Allyson Larimer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
Apr 23, 2012

Hi,

I'm an in-house Japanese English translator. My job requires me to set goals and I thought one good goal would be to increase speed. I intend to measure by characters per minute, broken into two categories:E>J CPM and J>E CPM and set two separate goals.

So, my question is: What is a reasonable character per minute goal? Right now I have 8.46 in J>E and 21.06 E>J (I think my math is right). This does include some projects that I took my time on.

So, for you freelancers and people with more experience, do you often calculate character per minute or do you tend to stick to word per minute? What are your goals?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 19:08
Chinese to English
Characters per minute sounds rather tight Apr 24, 2012

Explicit targets are a great way to improve performance, but I don't think you want to prescribe anything too narrow. I have no idea how this works in Japanese - is one kana one character? and one kanji one character? because presumably a kanji-heavy text is slower and harder to translate.
And I'd never narrow it down to just a minute - sometimes I spend ten minutes tracking down a word, and I don't think those minutes are non-productive!

When I have a real rush on, I break my work down into hour chunks, and that is sometimes feasible for work of a fairly constant level of difficulty.

And I would advise finding your own standard. Time yourself over a day, see what you can do at the moment. Then set yourself a goal of 10% improvement. It would be ideal to pair it with a quality target, to make sure your quality doesn't go down as you increase speed, but quality is hard to measure, so that might not be feasible.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Steven F Smith
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:08
Member (2007)
Japanese to English
Per hour is a more useful metric Apr 24, 2012

If you are able to translate in an unbroken stream without the need to look up any words, ponder alternative sentence structures, etc., then I would expect you to be able to translate as fast as you can type. I sometimes hit patches like this and may reach 50 or 60 words in a minute, but my average per hour rarely gets about 600 words (1200 characters), so my per-minute rate (not that I usually think in those terms) is averaged from the per hour rate.

Having said that, if I find myself crawling along like a snail I find it useful to set micro-targets of, say, the next 300 characters in 5 minutes. This wakes me up and spurs me on.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Allyson Larimer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Another question Apr 25, 2012

Steven F Smith wrote:

If you are able to translate in an unbroken stream without the need to look up any words, ponder alternative sentence structures, etc., then I would expect you to be able to translate as fast as you can type.


Thanks for the replies. I understand what you are saying, but actually, its not always looking up words that slows me down. It takes time to re-read the original, revise sentences, and think about the best way to say something. It seems more akin to the time it would take you to draft an important email (which most people re-read and put thought into before they send).


However, I have another question that I hope you can help me with:
Should I be calculating characters per minute in the target or original?

Here is my dilemma: 742 English character (w/o spaces) becomes 310 Japanese characters when translated E>J. If I completed this translation in 25 minutes, do I calculate out 742/25 (which is my rate of processing English into Japanese) or 310/25 (which is my rate of output into Japanese)?

I would appreciate your insight. Since I have never worked freelance I am not used to how rates and efficiency are calculated.

Thanks for your help.


P.S. Phil, thanks for the 10% improvement target. That's a good goal.
In response to your "kanji-heavy" comment, it really doesn't make that much of a difference. Unless you are translating a kids book, almost any business, science, or law document will be pretty much equally kanji heavy.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Steven F Smith
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:08
Member (2007)
Japanese to English
English characters ? Apr 25, 2012

I don't really do E>J translation but since the word is the basic semantic unit and also the standard unit for calculating translation rates from English, I would have thought it is more sensible to stick to the usual conversion : 1 En word = about 2 JP characters.

As for grasping one's own productivity rates, I just realized that I always quote and schedule according to JP character count, but measure my hourly productivity based on translated word count. This is probably because it is often just easier to do word counts as you go, especially if the source is a pdf.

I don't know about other translators. I am a bit obsessive about this because I used to be rather slow and needed to be sure I was staying on target. I used to keep track of quite a lot of other productivity data too but never made much use of it. I would say only measure it if it's useful to know, but it may take a while to find out what is useful!


Direct link Reply with quote
 


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


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

Ideal Japanese character per minute translating speed?

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



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