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75,000 words in 15 working days?
Thread poster: Beatriz Ramírez de Haro

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:28
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 21, 2009

I just received a job notification for 75,000 words in 15 working days (including Saturdays).
Being slowish and a perfectionist, I didn't even consider it, but now I am starting to wonder if I am really too slow.
Is it possible to deliver good quality in such a short deadline? If not, what would be the normal turnaround time?
I would love to hear your opinion.
Bea


 

James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:28
Russian to English
+ ...
Not me Dec 21, 2009

I couldn't do it in much less than double the time without killing myself. I wouldn't accept the job.

 

XX789 (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:28
English to Dutch
+ ...
Definitely possible Dec 21, 2009

15 working days is no problem at all (including two proofreadings), but working on Saturdays is taking things too far.

 

Taña Dalglish
Jamaica
Local time: 13:28
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A stretch ..? Dec 22, 2009

It is also highly dependent on the material, and if a great deal of research is required. Do the math: 75,000 words divided by 12 days is 6,250 words per day, but you would have to accomplish more to to able to revise and proof ... I have delibertely not mentioned the use of CAT tools which may speed up the process somewhat, but not much, IMO.

@ Loek, pray tell us what your secret is? The average in our language pair is 3,000 - 4,000 words per day, but again, the more technical in nature is the less words one is able to do.

Warms regards to all and a Joyous Season!

Taña


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 21:28
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Possible Dec 22, 2009

It will not leave you any time for other customers, so you should consider the risk of losing a good old customer when working on large projects 100%.
I outsource proofreading, that saves time and guarantees better results.

Regards
Heinrich


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:28
French to English
+ ...
Can you deliver an acceptable service to the client? Dec 22, 2009

In principle, the client is asking for 4-6 weeks' of work to be done in 2 weeks.

But...

Rather than saying "no" straight away, I would always turn it round and see if I can find a solution that works for the client:

- do you have some known, realiable colleagues to hand that you can split the work with?
- is the client prepared to pay a premium price to give you the necessary budget to pay proofreaders/other collaborators given the short timescale?
- can the client tolerate some level of inconsistency (inherent in splitting the work without further editing)?
- once you've seen the text, does it turn out that there's a lot of repetition?
- can the client prioritise any of the work? after discussing it further, is there a part that they could actually live with a bit later?

Plus of course, as Heinrich rightly says, you need to weigh it up against how much of a genuine opportunity it is for you.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:28
German to English
A month's work, at least Dec 22, 2009

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro wrote:
I just received a job notification for 75,000 words in 15 working days (including Saturdays).
Being slowish and a perfectionist, I didn't even consider it, but now I am starting to wonder if I am really too slow.
Is it possible to deliver good quality in such a short deadline? If not, what would be the normal turnaround time?


Assuming you are familiar with the subject and had a good glossary, 45,000 words in 15 days would be the *outer* limit of what a client should expect. 75K words would be the better part of a month's months' work, in my opinion (a full month, allowing for days off).

I promise my clients 2500 words/day which allows for terminology research and reasonable quality control. I can deliver more if I have a *great* translation memory and if I'm very familiar with the subject matter, but 2500 allows for potential problems (power outages, difficult text, etc.). Working weekends is a separate issue. I don't mind working Saturday/Sunday as it allows me to take other days off during the week.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It's barely doable in my language pair Dec 22, 2009

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro wrote:
I just received a job notification for 75,000 words in 15 working days (including Saturdays).


Not counting Saturdays, that's 75000 words in 12 days. And I would use a separate person for the review/proofreading, and it may be best to give that person 3 days extra in case something goes wrong and the reviewer needs spare time to catch up. So that means 9 days for translation and about 11 days for reviewing. That's 8000 words of translation per day, for three weeks. I would consider this job, but only if the source text is compatible with fast translation.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 20:28
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Depends Dec 22, 2009

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro wrote:

I just received a job notification for 75,000 words in 15 working days (including Saturdays).
Being slowish and a perfectionist, I didn't even consider it, but now I am starting to wonder if I am really too slow.
Is it possible to deliver good quality in such a short deadline? If not, what would be the normal turnaround time?
I would love to hear your opinion.
Bea

If this was a topic I'm familiar with and a text format that doesn't make life too difficult, I could handle this much material fairly comfortably. Easily doable with, say, European Parliament plenary session transcripts.
It's 5000 words a day if you take Sundays off - something I don't do when I have a rush job on my hands. This is not a workload I would want to sustain for long periods, but it's definitely doable for a fortnight if the text is right.

Edit: the fact that you can't or don't want to do 75,000 words in 15 days doesn't make you too slow. As far as I can remember from other threads, this sort of workload is well over what most prozians consider their normal daily dose. Figures in the 2000-3000 word/day range were thrown around, with the highest numbers hovering around 4000-6000 IIRC.

[Edited at 2009-12-22 10:26 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 19:28
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I would have tried Dec 22, 2009

to negotiate a more viable deadline (let's say 20/25 days) assuming that the subject is a familiar one...

 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:28
German to Spanish
+ ...
75,000 words in 15 working days? Dec 22, 2009

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro wrote:

I just received a job notification for 75,000 words in 15 working days (including Saturdays).
Being slowish and a perfectionist, I didn't even consider it, but now I am starting to wonder if I am really too slow.
Is it possible to deliver good quality in such a short deadline? If not, what would be the normal turnaround time?
I would love to hear your opinion.
Bea


If this job does not contain a lot repetitions or it is very easy, may be your client does not know what he is speaking about. I have seen that there are colleagues who say this is possible. Of course this is posible. To translate 750 000 words in the same time is possible too. But they should know that, if I were his/here client and they were accepting a job in such conditions, I newer would award it to them. Of course this is my way of thinking and and they do not have to agree.

I guess the reasonable time for doing a good job of this nature is approximately 25 days. On the other hand, you can consider alternatives like sharing the job with a colleague, subcontract a third person to proofread, etc.

[Editado a las 2009-12-22 10:44 GMT]


 

mediamatrix (X)
Local time: 15:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
75,000 words in 15 working days Dec 22, 2009

That's fairly typical of what I used to be expected to do - and actually achieve - on a regular basis when I was an in-house translator 30 years ago (and I didn't work Saturdaysicon_smile.gif ).

It's not at all unreasonable - or difficult - if the subject-matter is within your specializations, it's well-written in the source language and you have proper skills in your target language and typing. Those conditions tend to be met more easily in an in-house situation where the translator has a 'captive' client base (or, as is more-often the case, the client base has a captive translator), but by careful selection of jobs and clients they can also be applied to freelancing.

Being able to handle this kind of throughput on a long-term basis is what makes freelance translation profitable.

In contrast, translation diplomas, CATs, electronic dictionaries, Proz.com and the other parapheranalia surrounding many freelancers' business operations distract attention away from specialization and lend credence to the theory that a professional translator can translate (almost) anything in a cost-effective time-frame.

MediaMatrix


 

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:28
English to Polish
+ ...
depends on the money Dec 22, 2009

Depends on the money. I'd work weekends and long hours if the rate per word was right. I wouldn't do this amount of work for my standard rate, though.

Now, this is assuming no substantial repetitions, so depends on the material you get. Needless to say, if sentences are highly repetitive for some reason (e.g. same content used in a number of different documents), it reduces the amount of work big time.


 

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
There are three possibilities Dec 22, 2009

I can think of just three possible reasons why a client would ask you to handle such a job:

1) The client has no idea about translation.

2) The client is asking you to manage a project.

3) Quality expectations are low and you are only required to clean up a machine translation.


 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:28
Italian to English
+ ...
75,000 words Dec 22, 2009

Also, starting when? Over the holiday period? If so, then surely a premium rate is called for. Personally, I would back off as the whole thing sounds too full of 'ifs' and 'buts'. Moreover, is this a regular client, who pays on time or are you taking a risk and leaving yourself open to payment problems?

I consider myself within the norm for words/day running between 2,500 to 4,000 depending on the content, format etc., but I could not manage the counts mentioned here.

Keep us posted.


 
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