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Can you QC 3000 words in an hour?
Thread poster: Christine Andersen

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:18
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Apr 2, 2014

I have been asked recently to edit or proofread for a large agency - no names, no pack drill, but they have a lot of 5s on the BB.

They seem to have had some administrative problems with payment a couple of years back, but all seem to have been resolved amicably. Everyone likes these guys apparently.

I have done a few jobs for them myself, but have not got the hang of their online CAT tool, so there has not been a lot of translation for me.

However, I find it increasingly difficult to accept the QA and editing requests, and have asked them to take me off the list.

A mail arrived at 11.34 today (2. April) ...
______________________________________

Start date & time: Wed 2 April 12:00 CET
Delivery deadline: Wed 2 April 12:30 CET
Estimated length: 10 minutes for all rounds
Word count: 344 words
______________________________________

They were proposing to pay me for 0.25 hours.
It strikes me as a waste of administration - wouldn't everyone be better off taking a deep breath and checking the text instead of sending mails and ticking off forms?

Is there anyone here who can check /flag / add sticky notes etc. on 3000 words in an hour???

I never was the world's fastest worker, and I'm getting old, but I give up!
Recently I proofread around 2500 words, admittedly not written by a professional translator. I billed the client for two hours - which she happily accepted as realistic. That is how I typically work.
______________________________________

These are the instructions for QA - editing is a different procedure.

- QC is a final check after translation and separate edit right before client delivery.
- Speed: 3000/3500 target words per hour
- Project format can be either Word doc (you have to use Track Changes), pdf (Adobe Reader – you have to use sticky notes), Power Point Presentation, Excel spreadsheet and sometimes for a specific request Trados files (any file format specific requirements will be confirmed with you before you take the job)
- Always follow instructions specified by the project coordinator.

... ... ... ... ...

- Correct any grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes
- Make sure there are no additions or omissions (sentences, paragraphs) in the translation
- if the document contains figures, symbols, etc; make sure all in the target file are matching the source file and consistent throughout the file
- Do NOT change terminology or style at this point. However, if you notice that the terminology or style is poor, flag it to the project coordinator immediately
- Make sure you run spellcheck before delivering the QC’d file
- Make sure the format of the target file follows that of the source. If you cannot carry out the required formatting in the target file you have to flag it to the relevant project coordinator immediately as this means the task should ideally be allocated to someone else who is able to perform this task.
- Stick to the allocated time specified by the project coordinator for this task. If you think the task will take longer to complete, flag it to the project coordinator as soon as possible.
- Confirm that the QC’d file you send to us is of satisfactory quality to be delivered to our client
- Please always follow (for every single QC assignment unless otherwise specified) the Quality Control Checklist below!
... ... ... ... ...

I have checked all instructions below and in any related emails have been followed
I have completed a spell-check for the deliverable(s)
I have checked for omissions, duplication, and truncated text
I have confirmed the number of paragraphs and/or sentences match
I have checked all dates in text match conventions of the target language
I have checked all proper names and source-language words are correct
I have verified that the TOC, Indices, list of figures, cross-references etc. are correct
I have checked all text attributes (bold, italics, underlining, etc.) are correct/consistent
I have checked all special symbols and bullets
I have verified capitalization and punctuation follow target language conventions
I have checked the spacing in text (no double spacing, etc)
I have checked headers and footers
I have checked all charts/graphs
I have checked all figures and text in tables
Page numbering follows Source text

Please rate overall quality:
1. Unacceptable 2. Poor 3. Average 4. Above Avg. 5. Excellent
Any comments:
__________________________________________________

You really do NOT want to hear my comments - or else the Moderator would remove themicon_biggrin.gif


 

KateKaminski
Local time: 06:18
German to English
Difference between proofreading and quality check? Apr 2, 2014

It seems they simply want you to skim-read the text, check names and numbers and see if there are any paragraphs or entire sentences missing.

This will, of course, not pick up any translation or terminology errors in the text.

Average adult reading speed is 250 words per minute or 15000 per hour. So in theory, you could do a quick "QA" on 3000 words in 60 minutes (50 words per minute). They do not expect you to make any major changes, just inform them if you consider there to be quality or formatting issues. Maybe clarify this with them before accepting this sort of job.

I do find it odd that they outsource small QA jobs though. The organisation, payment etc. take much longer than simply checking through the file themselves!


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not 3,000 words though Apr 2, 2014

Hi Christine,

While I agree that their instructions seem to be too "dummy-proof" for my liking, it seems to me that what they're asking for is a Quality Check of 344 words in 25 minutes. This is more like 1,376 words an hour and I don't think that's an unreasonable request per se.
Marie-Hélène


 

Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:18
Polish to English
+ ...
3,000 words/hour??? Apr 2, 2014

As far as I know, a professional typist was required to write 180 characters /minute = 10,800 signs/hour (for Polish language). This figure translated to approx. 1,500 - 1,800 words/hour.

Looks like your client thinks that a requiring brain work could be much faster that just typing.
My rating for such job proposal:
1. Unacceptable.

icon_wink.gif


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 14:18
Japanese to English
+ ...
This reminds me Apr 2, 2014

I got an offer through email (addressed anonymously as usual, typical mass mail) that said:

"task completion is expected immediately"

I mean, if I could move faster than the speed of light I wouldn't be translating...

In fact, most translation jobs I have seen lately have deadlines of a couple of days or less - many of them being due in less than 24 hours from the time the email was sent. And interestingly, many of them were for gigantic projects (some in the millions of words) which were to be split among who knows how many translators.

I have to assume that these ridiculous deadlines stem from the apparent tendency to sub-sub-sub-subcontract the original translation job to death, so that each agency gets their little slice of the pie. All that negotiating undoubtedly takes time, though, so by the time it gets offered to me it is almost due to be delivered to the end client.

Either that, or someone built a time machine when I wasn't looking.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:18
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The bottom line is that... Apr 2, 2014

...independent freelance translators HATE to be micromanaged.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:18
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This is bilingual checking against the source, not 'average adult reading' Apr 2, 2014

I suspect they outsource these small jobs because they can't read the source language.

It is not your average literature that the average adult can read at 150 000 words per hour (without switching from target to source, flagging etc.)
The subject matter is frequently medical, and Danish medical Latin can be quite cryptic and/or full of abbreviations.

They do not allow ANY time for administration... reading the special instructions, opening the files and setting up track changes or whatever.
Ticking all the boxes on the form and transferring it to a mail or their upload system would take me several minutes.

I certainly can't do it all in the 15 minutes they were paying for (which is how I understand 0.25 hours...)
_______________________

The other side of it is the asumption that I can drop whatever else I am doing within 30 minutes... and do their job STRAIGHT AWAY.

It takes me a quarter of an hour to pack away my dictionaries, close down Trados and start it up again afterwards...

A rushed job charge would be offered by some of my clients if they really meant it!

But as Imentioned, these people have dozens of 5s on the BB, so some people obviously like them...

[Edited at 2014-04-02 13:48 GMT]


 

Melanie Meyer  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:18
Member (2010)
English to German
+ ...
I know what you mean ... Apr 2, 2014

Hi Christine,

Thanks for sharing – I must have worked for that same client a couple of years ago because the instructions sound very familiar.

They once asked me to do a ‘QC’ of 30,000 (!) words in one working day. When I questioned their time allotment, they replied that this was after all ‘only’ a QC and not an editing job.

I reclined their job offer and eventually asked them to remove me from their data base because their requests (most of them ‘cattle calls’ to hundreds of translators at once for projects due within a couple of hours) were becoming more and more ridiculous.

I ask myself what kind of quality they deliver to their end clients with those working conditions and how in the world end clients put up with that?

Yes, and I agree with you, straight 5 star ratings for agencies like that are a mystery to me as well...


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 07:18
English to Russian
+ ...
It's actually a still bigger problem Apr 2, 2014

I am not going to argue whether quality checking 3000 words an hour is feasible or not. However, I am firmly convinced that translators should not be doing quality checks at all. Translation and QC require totally different skill sets, and I would venture to guess there are very few people who have both. Forcing a professional translator to do a quality check would in most cases be a waste of money, brains and time.

[Edited at 2014-04-02 16:14 GMT]


 

Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:18
English to Russian
+ ...
We always have the right to say no. Apr 2, 2014

Anton Konashenok wrote:
Forcing a professional translator to do a quality check would in most cases be a waste of money, brains and time.

Forcing? Don't exaggerate. You can easily decline or even ignore the job offer if you don't feel like doing this type of work. No one is being forced here, I believe.
Actually, even though the payment is not appropriate for the topic starter, this type of jobs is not rare. One of my customers was a news agency that produced news in several different languages (almost simultaneously or as soon to the original news as possible). I was given a link to the original news article as soon as it went online and then received the translated text from the translator 30 to 60 minutes before the translated news went online, so I did not have much time to sit and stare. It was paid based on my hourly rate for urgent projects (another similar job was paid based on my per word rate, but they accepted my minimum charge for small jobs, so the payment covered my efforts).


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:18
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It's an EN15038-related "scam" (a legal one) Apr 2, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:
They were proposing to pay me for 0.25 hours.
It strikes me as a waste of administration
I agree. The overhead of admin effort is just too high when you're only getting paid for 10-15 minutes, although you do sometimes get highly streamlined interfaces that make it just about worthwhile if there are a lot of meatier jobs too.
Is there anyone here who can check /flag / add sticky notes etc. on 3000 words in an hour???
OTOH, I see that as perfectly feasible, and I'm actually averaging over 4000 wph at the moment on a big job. But it's feasible IF, and only if, the client really is talking about this:
QC is a final check after translation and separate edit right before client delivery.


Recently I proofread around 2500 words, admittedly not written by a professional translator. I billed the client for two hours - which she happily accepted as realistic. That is how I typically work.
That sounds about what I do for normal monolingual revision i.e. straight after the writer has put down his/her pen. I don't do much bilingual revision as it makes me feel sickicon_frown.gif.

QC should be AFTER this step. It follows that there shouldn't be a lot left - just any formatting quirks, the odd "form/form" typo that can get missed multiple times, some inconsistencies that only get spotted because you're whizzing through the text...

So you're being asked to do 3000 wph as a final pre-delivery QC check? No problem as far as I'm concerned.
But WHOA! These excerpts are MOST DEFINITELY NOT part of QC, IMHO:
- Make sure there are no additions or omissions (sentences, paragraphs) in the translation
- if the document contains figures, symbols, etc; make sure all in the target file are matching the source file and consistent throughout the file
- Make sure the format of the target file follows that of the source. If you cannot carry out the required formatting in the target file you have to flag it to the relevant project coordinator immediately as this means the task should ideally be allocated to someone else who is able to perform this task.

All of them require you to be performing bilingual revision - that isn't a pre-delivery check at all. Someone else should have done that in an earlier stage (when they were processing far fewer than 3000 wph).

- Please always follow (for every single QC assignment unless otherwise specified) the Quality Control Checklist below!
... ... ... ... ...
OMG! They want you to go through the two texts with a fine-toothed comb, don't they? It's sounding more like 750wph maximum now.

I've come across this state of affairs quite a few times lately. It clearly came about due to the EN15038 standard that so many agencies covet nowadays. They have to include this pre-delivery QC check. It's supposed to be AFTER the bilingual revision step - that was the intention, to ensure that every last imperfection was chased out. But some of the cheaters have discovered that they can stop paying a translator a third of their translation rate for revision; instead they can pay them maybe a tenth and call the same job "QC". So now some poor naive and/or hard-up translator somewhere works flat out for a pittance. And the client gets worse quality than ever before, but probably pays more because of that EN15038 sticker.

But maybe I'm just getting cynical in my dotage.icon_smile.gif


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:18
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Super revisor Apr 4, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:

I billed the client for two hours - which she happily accepted as realistic. That is how I typically work.


And I. And yes, that is realistic.icon_wink.gif

Christine Andersen wrote:
These are the instructions for QA - editing is a different procedure.

- QC is a final check after translation and separate edit right before client delivery.
- Speed: 3000/3500 target words per hour
...

- Correct any grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes
- Make sure there are no additions or omissions (sentences, paragraphs) in the translation
- if the document contains figures, symbols, etc; make sure all in the target file are matching the source file and consistent throughout the file
- Do NOT change terminology or style at this point. However, if you notice that the terminology or style is poor, flag it to the project coordinator immediately
- Make sure you run spellcheck before delivering the QC’d file
- Make sure the format of the target file follows that of the source. If you cannot carry out the required formatting in the target file you have to flag it to the relevant project coordinator immediately as this means the task should ideally be allocated to someone else who is able to perform this task.
- Stick to the allocated time specified by the project coordinator for this task. If you think the task will take longer to complete, flag it to the project coordinator as soon as possible.
- Confirm that the QC’d file you send to us is of satisfactory quality to be delivered to our client
- Please always follow (for every single QC assignment unless otherwise specified) the Quality Control Checklist below!
... ... ... ... ...

I have checked all instructions below and in any related emails have been followed
I have completed a spell-check for the deliverable(s)
I have checked for omissions, duplication, and truncated text
I have confirmed the number of paragraphs and/or sentences match
I have checked all dates in text match conventions of the target language
I have checked all proper names and source-language words are correct
I have verified that the TOC, Indices, list of figures, cross-references etc. are correct
I have checked all text attributes (bold, italics, underlining, etc.) are correct/consistent
I have checked all special symbols and bullets
I have verified capitalization and punctuation follow target language conventions
I have checked the spacing in text (no double spacing, etc)
I have checked headers and footers
I have checked all charts/graphs
I have checked all figures and text in tables
Page numbering follows Source text

Please rate overall quality:
1. Unacceptable 2. Poor 3. Average 4. Above Avg. 5. Excellent
Any comments:


So they expect you to QC 3.500 words in one hour plus: check off their check list, plus: state your rating, plus: provide them with any comments you might have.

based on an average speed, you have less than 30 seconds to read and check their quality control sheet, rate the overall quality and then write your comments.

Wow, if anyone can do this accurately, hat off to you for being the super Speedy Gonzales.

Or do they, by any chance, expect you to provide all information listed above as a free service?icon_eek.gificon_confused.gif


 

KateKaminski
Local time: 06:18
German to English
The main problem Apr 4, 2014

The big issue with these QA assignments is that you are being paid a small amount to shoulder a large responsibility. Ultimately you are the last port of call who needs to find every single error, omission and incorrect formatting issue still remaining in the text.

If an error is found by the client, you are going to be to blame. Is it really worth getting involved?


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:18
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Freedom of choice Mar 18, 2015

KateKaminski wrote:

If an error is found by the client, you are going to be to blame. Is it really worth getting involved?


Fortunately, we are all free to choose the projects we wish to commit ourselves to. Somtimes the lowest paid bears the greatest responsibility. Is that fair? If so, then bank managers' salaries should be cut in half...at least.icon_biggrin.gif


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:18
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
I recently Mar 18, 2015

had a request to proofread 96 individual files containing one sentence each within an hour. When I explained that I might manage to download, open, close, zip and return 96 individual files if I don't bother looking at them... they decided to skip that step after all.

 
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