Translating into foreign language pages per hour
Thread poster: Samuel Trippler
Samuel Trippler
Germany
English to German
Jun 8, 2016

Hey, all you translators and whatnot.
I was recently asked to translate a technical text from my mother tongue into English. It contained a decent amount of specified vocab, and I found it rather hard to translate it at all.
My boss claims that they can do 1.5 pages an hour from their mother tongue into English while I managed to do half a page an hour at best.
Now I'm wondering, am I just slow or are they just lying? I'm not super experienced, but I do have a university degree in translation studies.
Are they unreasonable or am I really not fast enough? The text was about cooling systems and welding items and locking pins and other crazy voodoo.
I mean you shouldn't really translate into a FL anyways, but that's what they wanted.
What do you think?
Thanks for any answers.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, you shouldn't Jun 10, 2016

If that's what they wanted, they are not truly professional translators, at least in my scheme of things. The tenet that translation should be INTO one's native language is basic for me and anyone that disagreees can sod off. I'm not looking for an argument, or a debate about it. I simply believe I'm entitled to my opinion.

PS: Your boss sounds mendacious, and is probably unscrupulous and trying to browbeat (bully or shame) you into 'peforming' better... i.e. faster.



[Edited at 2016-06-10 07:57 GMT]


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:42
German to English
Is your boss a witch doctor? Jun 10, 2016

Samuel Trippler wrote:

My boss claims that they can do 1.5 pages an hour from their mother tongue into English while I managed to do half a page an hour at best. ... The text was about cooling systems and welding items and locking pins and other crazy voodoo.


Is your boss a master of cooling-system voodoo with an excellent knowledge of English? If so, he or she may very well be able to turn out better work at three times your speed. If not, the solution is fairly simple: The boss's translation is probably no good.


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:42
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Just curious Jun 10, 2016

neilmac wrote:

If that's what they wanted, they are not truly professional translators, at least in my scheme of things. The tenet that translation should be INTO one's native language is basic for me and anyone that disagreees can sod off. I'm not looking for an argument, or a debate about it. I simply believe I'm entitled to my opinion.

PS: Your boss sounds mendacious, and is probably unscrupulous and trying to browbeat (bully or shame) you into 'peforming' better... i.e. faster.



[Edited at 2016-06-10 07:57 GMT]


@Neilmac

You got easy talking, but the facts belie your claim. What is YOUR native language, English or Español? You seem to eat from both sides.

[Edited at 2016-06-10 11:29 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-06-10 11:40 GMT]


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telefpro
Local time: 22:12
Portuguese to English
+ ...
about 40 min Jun 10, 2016

It takes me around 40 min to translate a page

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Experience in subject vs. direction Jun 10, 2016

I began translating professionally in 1973, long before the Internet, globalization, etc.

I spent the first 9 years in this activity focused on technical literature, i.e. installation, operation & maintenance manuals, technical specifications and the like, so I considered "translation" in my case as more of an engineering job than a linguistic one. Some important aspects were different drawing standards, measurement units, tools, instruments, materials and methods used in either source/destination country.

I knew two people in my circle who were conference interpreters, didn't consider them as "colleagues" in any way then.

Having so little information on the translating profession, though I was inadvertently doing it already, my instinct led me to believe that a translator should be equally skilled to translate in both directions. So I always made a deliberate effort in developing myself to translate from my 'native' PT into EN... though the demand for it then was negligible.

On another front, I gave up on translating from IT and FR, acknowledging that I'd have to study a few more years of each to translate into them properly. Nowadays I see many people translating (only) from EN for a living with a lesser knowledge of it than I had of IT/FR then.

In 1999 my State ran the exam for Sworn Translators, which required translating and (consecutive) interpreting in both directions. I just went there, took it and passed, like 1 out of each 5 candidates overall. I guess that most who failed did so on account of insufficient skill in translating from our common PT into the foreign language they were applying for.

Nowadays I notice that I am much more sensitive to the subject area than to the direction in my language pair. My all-time record so far, 10,000 words in one day, was achieved translating from PT into EN, and my client was delighted with the quality. It was a rather technical business agreement, and yet I didn't have to stop translating to research on anything; it was a non-stop gig in high gear.

On the other hand, some subject areas that are entirely cryptic to me (best example is medicine) pose such a challenge that it takes me forever to translate them from EN into my 'native' PT, so I completely gave up on these; I immediately refer such requests to specialized colleagues that I know.


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Samuel Trippler
Germany
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Damn you right. Jun 10, 2016

neilmac wrote:

If that's what they wanted, they are not truly professional translators, at least in my scheme of things. The tenet that translation should be INTO one's native language is basic for me and anyone that disagreees can sod off. I'm not looking for an argument, or a debate about it. I simply believe I'm entitled to my opinion.

PS: Your boss sounds mendacious, and is probably unscrupulous and trying to browbeat (bully or shame) you into 'peforming' better... i.e. faster.



[Edited at 2016-06-10 07:57 GMT]


She's not a professional translator. Damn, I don't even know why I doubted myself. Thank you for your answer!


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Samuel Trippler
Germany
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 10, 2016

Thanks for all the replies!

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