First Large Project - Advice
Thread poster: Michele Minsuk

Michele Minsuk
Local time: 09:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 20, 2011

I am quite excited that I have been offered an assignment translating a book by a well known author, a book I find fascinating, for decentish money (OK, the money's not great, but I'm honored anyway). I feel pretty confident that with some elbow grease, I will do this book justice. My problem is, this is the first time I have taken on a projec of this size, and I am not sure hpw to organize myself and get started.

I shouls alos mention that severla chapters were preciously translated,but the author was not thrilled at the English used, and he would like me to edit those for homogeneity.

I just need a little structure to work with.
-Michele


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
More Specific Mar 20, 2011

Perhaps you should be more specific as to your doubts and areas in which you are requesting advice. In terms of organizing and getting started, since you have been in the business for a while, no one needs to tell you that it takes a lot of self-discipline. Otherwise it it just like any other project, but bigger. I would recommend not giving any thought to the previously translated material; just do it over your way and tell the client it is no advantage, and to not expect a lower rate because it was supplied.

My own practice in projects big and small is just to start at the beginning and move on until I reach the end!


 

Jean-Pierre Artigau (X)
Canada
Local time: 12:51
English to French
+ ...
Sections Mar 20, 2011

I suggest you divide the book into sections (chapters?) to work on in sequence. I like sections of 3 to 5,000 words. Try finishing a section before you start on the next one, and take notes as you go (to keep the whole consistent, e.g. vocabulary, etc.).

From the number of hours spent on the first sections, you will also be able to extrapolate the number of hours of work required for the rest, which allows for a good planning.


 

Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:51
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Some suggestions Mar 20, 2011

Henry Hinds wrote:
... tell the client it is no advantage, and to not expect a lower rate because it was supplied.

There are some recent previous threads related to rates for book translation:

Book translation rate?

How to quote a book translation

This source is mentioned in one of these threads:

Comparative income of literary translators in Europe

Henry Hinds wrote:
My own practice in projects big and small is just to start at the beginning and move on until I reach the end!


100% agree!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very true! Mar 21, 2011

Henry Hinds wrote:
My own practice in projects big and small is just to start at the beginning and move on until I reach the end!

Absolutely. Apart from that, it is just a matter of dividing the volume by the days until deadline, and never translate less than that amount on a particular day.


 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:51
Italian to English
+ ...
Practicalities Mar 21, 2011

Michele Minsuk wrote:

I am quite excited that I have been offered an assignment translating a book by a well known author, a book I find fascinating, for decentish money (OK, the money's not great, but I'm honored anyway). I feel pretty confident that with some elbow grease, I will do this book justice. My problem is, this is the first time I have taken on a projec of this size, and I am not sure hpw to organize myself and get started.

I shouls alos mention that severla chapters were preciously translated,but the author was not thrilled at the English used, and he would like me to edit those for homogeneity.

I just need a little structure to work with.
-Michele


Michele,

Beyond the honour, be careful. Your author has already ditched at least one translator. Have you agreed a separate editing price for the unacceptable work? Will you be paid in instalments? Who will proof your work, and who pays? Do you have a contract? Etc.

BTW, invest in a spellcheck icon_smile.gif

Suzi


 

Jean-Pierre Artigau (X)
Canada
Local time: 12:51
English to French
+ ...
Contract Mar 21, 2011

Have a contract signed by your client with a schedule of sections to be delivered by you at certain dates and payments to be made by your client (say one week to 10 days after each delivery). If payments get delayed, don't hesitate to delay your next deliveries by the same time.

 

Michele Minsuk
Local time: 09:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
First Large Project - Thank you! Mar 24, 2011

I just want to thank all of you who took time to address my questions.

I am still learning a lot about the business side of the Translation industry, and I'm very grestful for this resource.
-Michele


 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:51
Italian to English
+ ...
Advice Mar 25, 2011

Michele Minsuk wrote:

I am still learning a lot about the business side of the Translation industry, and I'm very grestful for this resource.
-Michele


Don't forget that spellcheck!


 

Werner Walther  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:51
English to German
+ ...
Large book translations Mar 25, 2011

I have done translations of books 1200 pages each, several times.

This ist not just translating, you need a system of translation controlling, that means accompanying the project - to regard it day per day by a certain distance - you have to be a different person for this task, not just falling in love with the project.

You have to make sure for consistency: a certain word with a certain translation on page 10 of the original has to be the same translation on page 500 or on page 1190. This means, you need your TMS.

What format do you have the original text - just plain print, PDF, Word or something else.

It might be worth to put the whole thing on a scanner and transform it into PDF files. If you have a sufficiently fast computer, you compile your OWN dictionary (TMS, data base) like this: you find a word to be translated on p. 10. Then you translate it, and then you put in the SEARCH function, and you can see, how often it appears, and in which context.

* Very important is the counting of words or letters. E.g. an average page is 50 lines, 40 letters each, you have 2000 letters per page, with 1200 pages 2.4 Mio letters. Divide it by 7, and you have an estimate of 350 000 words.

Then read a page aloud. A 2000 letter page will take approx. 10 to 12 minutes. This means, WRITING the page in the target language takes up to 2 hours per page (my estimate 10fold) if you don't need a dictionary. What about graphs, tables, fotographs and, are you in the know in the respective discipline (medicine, engineering, business or philosophy, e.g.)?.
Is this the same legal environment, or is it necessary to change the legal context - e.g. from Texas to Austria or even to Usbhekistan?

If you need two hours per page, and you've 1200 pages, so how much is that really? In Gemany, a regular workload per year (40 hrs p week, holidays, vacation) is approx. 1400 hours, in Japan approx. 1600 hrs. So, this book needs approx 2400 hrs, that means ONE and A HALF YEARS! How much do you want to earn in this period? If you are on your own, you will loose all the other clients!

Please let me know, if there are still questions open (surely there are questions left) - be careful in calculating the project - a big project is an all-or-nothing task.

Good luck,
sincerely from Germany,
Werner

(by the way, it's my birthday today).

PS.: Think about using a speech recognition system, I have been using IBM Via Voice for many, many years. They're cheep now, but you are much faster - you speak, your computer types.


 

Teressa Weaver  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Procedure Mar 25, 2011

I thought the comment about having an agreement with the author to deliver X# of pages every Y days and GET PAID for that work was very helpful.

It would be too bad to translate a great part of the book and have it rejected because the author wasn't pleased.


 

Sarah Swift  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:51
German to English
Deliver text and get paid in regular instalments Mar 25, 2011

But - this is the only caveat I would add to that suggestion, which others have already made - don't dive straight into the chunk of text you promised to deliver as your first instalment. Take a week (or three) to read the entire book, take notes, get hold of any other literature you might require and look through it.

With very small projects, I like to get stuck in quickly, and sometimes I put off doing research (on the actual topic, or on the terminology) until I'm already half-way through the work or have almost finished it. Once I have accumulated a few focussed questions, I can look for answers and incorporate them into short texts very quickly. With longer texts, though, the answers tend to pertain to multiple passages in the text, and fixing lots of similar errors is time-consuming. So with these longer texts, I like to get much more of the research out of the way before work begins. I suspect that it's more efficient to be a full-time researcher and then a full-time translator than to alternate between both roles, especially if research involves travel. And I find it easier to keep a rhythm going when translating if major issues have been clarified beforehand. Maintaining consistency is also easier if one starts as an expert, rather than becoming one in the course of the project.

So I would negotiate a time plan with an output of 30 000 - 40 000 words per month from the point when you actually start translation onwards, but at the same time warn the customer that you won't be translating more than half or a quarter of that in the first month. With a huge project, there's a huge temptation to think that the pressure is on now; if you don't get started, you'll never get finished. I think it's probably helpful to resist that temptation and take a longer view. You're not shirking, just setting up the project properly...


 


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


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

First Large Project - Advice

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



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