Translator’s Star Wars: 7 lessons from the saga

This post originally appeared on Just Translate It and it is republished with permission.

Searching for a balance between creativity and routine

As an old school Star Wars fan, I can safely say now: “All is well that ends.”

The 42-year legendary saga ended in phews and negative remarks. For me, it’s a reminder that we should not try to monetise all and everything committing our lives to printing money in perpetuity.

Moreover, technology is only as good as people using it. Without a passion and a vision, it’s an empty vessel hardly worth the second glance.

I still believe that the first part of the saga gave rise to better sci-fi movies and new talents. And here is my short tribute to Star Wars I watched “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”.

Seven Star Wars lessons for becoming a better professional and a better person.

1. Find a good mentor

A good mentor like Grand Master Yoda plays an integral role in shaping your life by stimulating personal and professional growth and challenging you to think differently.

Just like Pade put it, “Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults that we would like. It’s the only way we grow.”

A mentor does:

  • Take a view of your development.
  • Help you see the destination.
  • Offer encouragement but not “how-tos”.

A mentor does not:

  • Serve as a coach or a counselor.
  • Function as an advocate of yours.
  • Support you on short-term problems.

Each of us develops at our own pace, but mentoring can have many positive and lasting effects both for the mentor and the mentee.

“Do or do not… there is no try.” Yoda
Star Wars: find a mentor

2. Overcome failures to achieve success

As entrepreneurs, translators deal with ups and downs. Gradually, we learn to cope with the feast and famine cycle.

Success is found through trial and error, dedication, and the ability to see setbacks as stepping stones towards better deals.

We all make mistakes, and we sometimes fail. But successful people are good at overcoming failure.

• Do not fear mistakes or failures and treat them like a scientist.
• See challenges as opportunities.
• Take time each day to reflect what’s working and what’s not.
• Take small, repeated actions and focus on small wins.

“Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

3. Do not be guided by fear

Fear cripples us from doing what needs to be done. It prevents us from becoming the people we are eager to be.

We are afraid of failing, succeeding, offending people and looking silly. Suddenly, deleting all the old emails in the inbox seems more important than writing to a potential client.

  • Scared of not being good enough? Use that as motivation for consistent CPD activities and credentials.
  • Embrace a system with funny permissions and prizes to get unstuck (like ’28 Days to Clients’).
  • Spend time enjoying yourself to deal with the stress that fear creates.
  • Give yourself credit for all your efforts and not just achievements.

 

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

4. Dream big

We can do incredible things. But to get both driving force and creative passion to overcome the challenges, you need to know your aim. Accept the fact that there will be people who don’t believe in you. All you can do is work hard to prove them wrong.

Do you think your business is going to be substantially more this year? If your answer is a yes, then you are dreaming big!

• A dream without a plan is just a wish, so plan your next steps.
• Time to work on your plans and steps needs to be a priority on your everyday calendar.
• Your friends and special ones are the people who would support you against all odds.
• As a freelancer, you’re way further along the track than most people. Believe in your abilities!

“Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.”
“Never tell me the odds.”

 

5. Complete what you started

Goal setting means nothing without goal achievement.

Starting new project is exciting, emotionally arousing, and infused with the natural motivator of novelty. We do not pay much attention to obstacles, downsides or challenges we’ll soon face.

And later (more often than not?), we are inclined to drop off things that we started, without reaching the finish line.

• Know yourself and try to be realistic.
• Ensure your main motivation is based on personally meaningful reasons.
• Research more deeply into your next project before jumping in.
• Make a timeline or write out scheduled steps towards your goal.
• If needed, quit on purpose, without a sense of failure. Avoid the sunk cost fallacy.

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Darth Vader

star wars for translators_dream big

6. Don’t lie to yourself

Listen to your heart, the Force, and your conscience. We usually know what the right thing to do is.

Lie is comfortable as we don’t have to face the hard truth and can keep doing the same thing without changing anything. Lie helps avoid self-responsibility for our actions.

Sometimes, we are inclined to feel miserable. And it’s ok. As long as after that we start doing what’s right for us. You already know what to do. So do it.

• I’m not good enough.
• I don’t have enough time/money for it.
• I am not in the mood.
• It’s too late/early/the wrong day.

 “Already know you, that which you need.” – Yoda

7. There is Force in everyone

Your focus determines your reality. Our thoughts and interests directly affect our future for better or worse. You will find only what you bring in.

Invest your energy into the things and people you are passionate about rather than focusing on the negative moments or empty distractions. Be patient and do not give up — progress happens slowly.

May the force be with you in the new decade coming!

“Well, if droids could think, there’d be none of us here, would there?” — Obi-Wan Kenobi

Author bio

Olesya Zaytseva is an English and German to Russian freelance translator and content marketer with more than 20 years of experience, specializing in tech-focused marketing communications. She loves transforming complex topics into effective and engaging marketing materials for suppliers of printing, packaging and 3D systems and technologies. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/olesyazaytseva/

Eight tips to become the ideal translator

This post originally appeared on Multilingual and it is republished with permission.

As a senior localization manager, I spend a lot of time finding and hiring translators for my client’s projects. Over the past 15 years, I’ve discovered that the translators who consistently deliver the highest quality adhere to certain helpful and professional business practices. Whether you hire translators or are a professional linguist yourself, whether you are a new translator or one with many years of experience, incorporating these skills will ensure successful and long-lasting partnerships.

1. Be responsive

I routinely send out translation quote requests for potential jobs to an extensive network of professional linguists, but many times, I receive no response. As a project manager, this can be very frustrating. A lack of response doesn’t give me the feedback I need to understand why a particular job wasn’t of interest.

The ideal translator is responsive. They will let me know if they are interested in the project and when they might be free to work on it. If the project isn’t a match for their skill set, or if they aren’t available due to work on another project, they will still respond to let me know. When my contacts take the time to reply, even if the answer is “no thanks,” it shows that they are professional, courteous and that they are interested in a future working relationship.

2. Ask questions

When requesting quotes, I send the name of the client, the industry and the type of content to be translated. The ideal translator will always ask additional, follow-up questions to better understand what the project entails. They will ask about delivery dates, word counts ans so on — any information that will help them do a better job. The best will ask if the client has a style guide, any existing translation memories (TM) or glossaries. By asking questions, they will get the information they need in advance to determine if it is a job that they can complete successfully.

3. Respect deadlines

Translation can be a very deadline-driven business. That’s why translators who respect my deadlines and my client’s deadlines are ideal. As a project manager, I try to give our linguists plenty of time to complete a project. Managing rush jobs and several different delivery dates can be challenging, so knowing when a project will be completed is key to my ability to manage customer expectations. The best translators respect deadlines and will keep me apprised of their estimated delivery date and will always let me know if they need extra time to finish a project.

4. Discuss rates in advance

Most linguists have a per-word rate and different rates depending on the subject matter and type of content. It is important to discuss any applicable rates in advance, before committing to do a project. I always include rates in my initial email. The ideal translator will take note of that information and get any clarification they need on payment terms in advance. The ideal translator should also be willing to negotiate or offer discounts based on higher volumes and the consistent work that is available when working for larger clients. Agreeing to a lower rate can pay off by providing more steady work and lead to becoming a go-to resource for a particular client.

5. Keep in touch

It’s not unusual for project managers and translators to work in different time zones. As a result, it is important to make sure there is a time frame where those hours overlap, in order to communicate about the project in a timely manner. Nothing is more frustrating for a project manager than receiving an Out of Office reply that contains no information on when the recipient will be available. The ideal translator will keep in touch and let me know about any dates they are unavailable, such as local holidays, vacations or when they will be engaged with other projects.

6. Identify potential translation issues

Translation is not an exact science. Sometimes word choices require the translator to make a judgment call on the best translation. We also know that clients might not necessarily agree with those decisions. The best translators will provide a summary of issues or certain word choice decisions, when the project is delivered, before the client sends it on to their reviewers. This type of proactive, conscientious work is always appreciated and helps to ensure that all parties are communicating to ensure the highest quality.

7. Be open to feedback

Feedback is important in translation project management. The ideal translator is professional, open to and accepting of feedback. They do not take negative feedback too personally. There are times when a client might insist on a translation that is non-standard. While it is important to bring this to their attention, the client always has the final say. As the adage goes, “the customer is always right.” Remember that the more feedback you receive, the more you learn. That information can be used to update the style guide of client preferences to ensure satisfaction with the final product.

8. Get certification

When I’m hiring translators, I look for native speakers of the target language(s). It is also important that they are accredited by a globally-recognized translation and interpretation industry organization such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), American Translators Association (ATA), Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT) and so on. The ideal translator will include any certifications they have and display them prominently on their website, profile, and resume. They should also include any subject matter expertise and relevant work history. This makes it easier to have an understanding of their level of qualification for any particular project.

Rise above the competition

Professional translators are facing increasing competition, from each other and from emerging technology that threatens to replace them. Forging long-lasting and financially beneficial relationships with localization project managers and language services providers is key to survival. Becoming the ideal translator is possible with greater communication, attention to detail, professionalism, and being proactive. Translators who adopt these eight business practices will quickly gain a reputation for conscientiousness and quality that will help them stand apart.

Author bio

Romina Castroman has an MBA from the Bremen University of Applied Sciences and a BA in travel and tourism from Brigham Young University. She has 15 years of experience successfully managing projects and cross cultural experience in Europe, Latin America and the US. She is fluent in German, Spanish and English.

Pursuing the Translation Dream: Promoter of the Profession

 

Since we last visited ATA’s Self-Evaluation Questionnaire for Translators we hope you’ve had a chance to practice the items we discussed in section 4, “Professional Demeanor.” It can be a challenge to develop a professional mindset and apply it to all your business interactions, but we’re confident that you’ve done so skillfully.

Now that you’ve mastered what to know before the phone rings, what to know after the phone rings, how to keep the phone ringing, and developing a professional demeanor, we’re ready to move on to the fifth and final installment of this series on how to achieve a successful professional career in translation. Today we’ll explore the steps to becoming a “Promoter of the Profession,” not only to gain respect from your peers and colleagues, but also more appreciation for your career from your friends, family, and acquaintances. We hope this prompts you to become a more active proponent and spokesperson for the translation and interpreting professions in your everyday life.

In conversation, whenever appropriate, do I bring up the words “translation,” “translator,” and “interpreter” in order to further the public’s awareness of the profession and its significance?

Mentioning what you do is a signal that you like it and you’re proud of it. Anytime I meet people who don’t like to talk about their jobs outside their workplace, it’s a sure sign to me that they don’t enjoy what they do! Talking about translation and/or interpreting with your personal and professional networks sends a message that you’re invested in your career and enjoy it for reasons other than simply the financial gains it may bring.

When you do discuss translation and interpreting with friends and family, try to be aware of any misunderstandings they may have about your profession. You may be the only translator they know! Make sure to listen carefully to how they ask or talk about your job in order to gently correct any myths they may have adopted about this profession. (For example, friends may assume you translate in both directions, that you speak lots of different languages, or that you only work in hospital settings when they hear “I’m a translator.”) Try not to diminish what you do in an effort to be modest; if you’re genuinely proud of your job, don’t downplay it! Don’t be afraid of admitting you’re fluent in another language and that you earn a good living doing what you do. It can be tempting to modulate your conversations with false humility, saying you’re “just” a translator or even choosing to refer to yourself as a “freelancer” instead of a “small business owner.” These small changes in the way we talk about our work can make a big difference in how people perceive us.

Would I consider doing outreach work for the profession by talking to high schools, participating in college career days, submitting articles about the translation field to general interest publications, writing letters to the editor, speaking at business community networking meetings, or informing new translators about professional associations and conferences, etc.?

One very meaningful way to promote the translation and interpreting professions is by talking to future generations about the importance of the work we do. ATA has an entire School Outreach team to encourage linguists to do this very activity! Teaching others about the work of translators and interpreters is a great way to both inform the public about the professions and also learn more about it yourself. By researching and preparing for these events and publications you may learn things you didn’t know and make connections you wouldn’t otherwise have made. Promoting the profession through outreach can be as simple as visiting your child’s classroom on Career Day or writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to share an interesting update about your profession. Whatever platform you may have to share information with others, consider it an opportunity to broadcast the fact that translators and interpreters play a crucial role in many of the everyday products and processes we take for granted.

Here’s a challenge for you: next time you are given a platform to share information with a group of people, try to mention your work in the fields of translation and interpreting. Slip in the fact that you speak multiple languages. See how many people come up to you later and want to know more! Perhaps this will even present more opportunities to share with a broader network of people or allow you to make connections that could benefit your business.

Am I interested in serving as an active volunteer or officer of a professional translator or interpreter organization?

Volunteers power our organizations! To volunteer in a professional association means to contribute your time and effort without pay; it can be a thankless job but it has the potential to benefit all your fellow translators and interpreters, not to mention the generations of professionals who will come after you. Involvement in professional organizations can come in many forms; within ATA alone there are volunteers who coordinate the Mentoring Program, School Outreach Contest, divisions, committees, certification program, and much more. If you’re interested in getting involved but don’t know where to start, see this ATA Chronicle article for some ideas.

Contributing time and energy as a volunteer can send some very powerful messages about you as a promoter of the profession; it tells onlookers that you care about your profession. Dedicating time to furthering the mission of translators and interpreters shows that you are committed to this career. Joining forces with fellow professionals says you’re a team player and that you collaborate and cooperate well with others. What do your current volunteer activities say about you?

Do I continue to be alert to what it is I do not yet know?

Part of being an advocate for the translation and interpreting profession is realizing you’ll never know all there is to know about it. As a promoter of the profession, you’re constantly on the lookout for new developments and changes that impact your work, and you use these updates as an opportunity to broaden your horizons and spread the word about your profession to new outlets. This may take the form of attending conferences, following newsletters and blogs, or just staying in touch with fellow professionals.

Do I enjoy the translation business?

People who don’t like what they do prefer not to talk about work. But if you love your job as a translator or interpreter, you’ll be bursting to share what you do with everyone around you! Focus on the aspects of your job that you enjoy; make a list if you have to, and be sure to share these perks with the people around you as you promote the profession and, as a result, promote translation and interpreting professionals everywhere.

Thank you for joining us for this journey in pursuing the translation dream; we hope it’s landed you closer to achieving your goals and helped you find success!

Connecting with translation and interpreting clients during a pandemic

COVID-19 has changed the way we connect. For public health reasons, networking events are no longer taking place in person. Since February 2020, people around the world have been recasting their connections. What used to be in person is now done remotely if possible.

What are we noticing?

I have been attending meetings with my local Chamber of Commerce, which has done quite a few things:

  • They switched their weekly live event (usually over 50 attendees every Friday) to a Zoom session every week.
  • They set up three trainings a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, for Chamber members to learn how to switch their business models to survive the new circumstances.
  • They moved as many networking meetings as possible to Zoom sessions, with the same schedule they had before.
  • They invited the Mayor for a Town Hall in English and another one in Spanish.
  • They are keeping members abreast of all developments, and set up tip jars, resources for starting up, and an amazing support service.

What have I learned through these sessions over the last three months?

  1. Be there. Show up and be involved with your community, no matter how your group meets. Yes, we are anxious to have coffee together, but can have at least this connection with some precautions.
  2. Go through your old, discarded list of contacts. As you look at it, you will remember some of the conversations you didn’t have the time to follow up on. Now is the time. Those people remember you too. Just send a couple of emails a week and see how it goes. Personally, I took all the cards I had collected and dropped them into an Access database. I am contacting a few of the people in that database a week.
  3. Take a few online trainings. Personally, I need at least 30 minutes between one online session and the next because meeting online is more intense than meeting face to face. I take those 30 minutes to take a couple of notes, maybe send a quick email, even stretch or have a cup of coffee. I like to start each session somewhat fresh.

How to participate in online events:

  • Focus on the content.
  • Participate in the chat. Then, select all the text in the chat (control-a), and copy it into a Word document so you can follow up on whatever you want to keep track on.
  • Keep in mind that in the chat you can send private messages. It is like passing secret notes in class and it is a lot of fun!
  • You are on candid camera, so pay attention to how you look. You are now part of the gallery show. You can, of course, turn your camera off or choose speaker view. Keep in mind that if you choose speaker view, the rest of the world can still see you so picking your nose is still a no-no! By the way, artificial backgrounds make your head look strange when you move at all.
  • In the chat, at least in the case of the Chamber of Commerce, the first thing we all do is write our name and email address so folks can get in touch with us later. Every online session is a networking session. That is how we collect cards today. Go for it! Add your phone and a short blurb about yourself. For example: Peter Pan, peterpan@youthful.com, keeping the world happy. Now we know who Peter Pan is, how to reach him, and what he does! Just remember, nobody likes an essay in that section…

There is a dizzying amount of online conferences, online networking sessions… Take advantage of a few of them. However, don’t forget to pick up the phone and call a friend, send a card to a client, call someone to ask how they are doing, write an email to your contacts and tell them how you are coping. Today, being human is expected. All calls start with “How are you doing?” and people actually want to know.

What do I want to keep from this era?

  • The flexibility in extending deadlines when my internet crashed, and everything took longer because of COVID. Nobody broke a sweat.
  • How nice everyone is, since everyone starts phone calls by asking how we are doing. I like being treated as a human being.
  • FaceTime stories with my two-year-old grandson every day! That lightens up my day.
  • The sense that we are in this together. The whole community is acting that way in so many ways. When one person is successful, the whole Chamber rejoices. When one interpreter gets quarantined because they were with someone who got COVID-19, everyone is sad. There is a huge sense of community.
  • The respect for people who are ill. “No, stay home, please.” It used to be, “Well, can’t you go interpret anyway?” (and probably catch whatever bug is floating around with a weakened immune system if you are not well, to add insult to injury.) Now, if only some interpreters didn’t have to pay a penalty for missing appointments… I would be even happier.

So, stay well. Take care of business every day. Remember, taking care of business includes:

  • Taking care of yourself. You are your most important asset. Never skip this.
  • Doing paid work, if that is on your schedule for the day.
  • Contacting sources of work. Always save some time for this!
  • Doing other things that will set you up to be a stronger professional. This should always be on your weekly schedule.

By the way, some say we will be interpreting remotely for the long haul and that remote meetings are the norm for the rest of our lives. As I interact with my neighbors at the Chamber, I am not so sure. We are tired of Zoom. We want to connect in person. We celebrate every meeting that moves from Zoom to in-person!

How we stay in touch might change based on the circumstances. We are still people and work with people we know, like and trust.

Stay connected. Be human.

What makes a good agency?

This post was originally published in the July-August 2009 edition of the ITI Bulletin. It is reposted with permission from the author.

Herbert Eppel offers advice for ensuring the relationship between freelance translator and client remains harmonious, productive and pleasant for both sides

In the 15 years since I started diversifying into translation I have worked with around 100 different clients and have encountered dozens of others, many of them translation agencies. Based on this experience it is worth reflecting on what distinguishes these agencies in terms of their interaction with the translator.

Initial contact

Let’s start with the initial contact. It is good practice for translation agencies seeking new freelance suppliers to spend some time researching individual translators’ backgrounds – eg from their respective websites or from online directories such as the main ITI Directory, the Scottish Network Directory at http://www.itiscotland.org.uk, or the new ITI German Network Directory at http://www.itigermannetwork. org.uk – and then send out personalised invitations that are relevant to the circumstances. A less desirable approach is to send out impersonal mass mailings.

Application forms

Some agencies adopt a rather informal approach, while others use more or less complex translator information forms as a basis for their supplier databases. Before asking translators to complete lengthy forms, it is a good idea to negotiate a mutually satisfactory rate as a basis for future collaboration.

Free test translations

The issue of free test translations has been discussed at some length in various forums over the years. In my view, while anyone is entitled to request a test translation, professional translators should not be expected to provide these free of charge. In other words, test translations should be treated just like any other job. In this context, anyone who has not seen it yet and can understand German will no doubt find the ‘Gratisschnitzel’ article published by the Austrian translators’ association Universitas quite entertaining. It can be found on page 4 of the document available from http://www.universitas.org/download.html?FILE_ID=112.

Confidentiality agreements

As members of professional institutions such as ITI, professional translators sign up to a code of conduct that includes confidentiality clauses. I am not a legal expert, but lengthy and complex additional confidentiality agreements as requested by some agencies would therefore seem rather unnecessary.

Deadlines

In certain circumstances, urgent deadlines requiring a translator to work outside normal office hours are unavoidable. While many freelance translators tend to work irregular hours and may well be quite happy to adjust their schedule to accommodate urgent assignments, out-of-hours or weekend work should not be taken for granted. A good agency is a freelancer’s ally, and should be prepared to negotiate appropriate surcharges with the end-client where appropriate.

Auxiliary tasks

As the job title suggests, a translator’s main task is translation. Handling of auxiliary tasks such as PDF extraction or layout refinements in complex file formats such as PowerPoint should not be taken for granted. In this respect, a statement published by a well-known translation memory software provider back in 2002 speaks for itself: ‘Pricing is not just set on a per word basis when complex file types are involved. If you are translating in file types other than Word-like web pages, or desktop publishing formats, you will want to charge file maintenance fees to compensate you for the extra skill required to manage and translate within such file types. Typically, a 10%-20% surcharge (depending on project complexity) is customary.’

Discounts

Some clients ask for discounts on the grounds that a job is particularly large. I would suggest that such a priori discounts are inappropriate, because: a) a commitment to undertake a large job within a standard timescale may well prevent a translator from taking on work from other clients in the meantime; and b) it could be argued that translators who can offer the additional project management skills and resources required for handling such projects should in fact be rewarded, rather than penalised.

Similarly, translators are often asked to accept a sliding discount scale that was originally suggested by the aforementioned TM software provider, but is by no means cast in stone. Such a scale takes into account internal repetitions, so-called 100% TM matches and TM matches with varying degrees of fuzziness. In my experience, fuzzy matches may well require more time to adapt to a new text than translating the relevant sentence from scratch, and therefore I do not offer ‘fuzzy discounts’. On the other hand, like probably most colleagues I do give discounts in some cases for repetitions and 100% matches.

At this point, however, I feel it is worth pointing out that the origin and quality of 100% matches is a crucial factor that often seems to get overlooked in the ‘great discount debate’. In other words, the 100% matches for which the client may expect a discount could have been based on poor previous translations undertaken by third parties, in which case any revision can be more time-consuming than a new translation.

An inquisitive translator is good news

The brochure Translation – getting it right, written by Chris Durban of ITI, is aimed at end-clients and is available to download from the ITI website, http://www.iti.org.uk. Part of the text says: ‘No one reads your texts more carefully than your translator. Along the way, he or she is likely to identify fuzzy bits – sections where clarification is needed. This is good news for you, since it will allow you to improve your original. … Ideally, translators strip down your sentences entirely before creating new ones in the target language. Good translators ask questions along the way.’

A good translation agency will try to convey this philosophy to the end-client, for the benefit of all parties involved. Similarly, the agency will automatically enquire about reference material in cases where such material is not provided by the end-client.

Feedback

Feedback on completed translation assignments is important and should be encouraged. In my experience, many agencies seem to adopt a kind of ‘no news is good news’ principle, which is fine in some ways, but even better is the occasional positive feedback.

Any agencies and indeed end-clients who might be lost for words in this respect could take some guidance from the Comments section of my website at http://www.HETranslation. co.uk. Constructive corrective feedback is also to be encouraged, of course. Less helpful are general statements such as ‘the client was not happy’, issued several months after a translation job was delivered. Not only is this detrimental to morale, but I also feel that in many cases, such generic criticism fails to stand up to closer scrutiny.

‘Faffometer’

It is worth introducing the concept of a ‘Faffometer’ for measuring the satisfaction level of the working relationship between agency and freelance translator. Sadly I cannot claim to have invented the term – it appears to have been introduced by Business Productivity Expert Mike Pagan, although he uses it in a slightly different – potentially also very useful – manner. For him it is an Excel spreadsheet divided into equal time periods in the working day, each of which is allocated a productive task, and where the least possible amount of time is spent ‘faffing about’. See his video newsletter at http://video. mikepagan.com/Newsletter/Faffometer (it is less than two minutes long) for more. I am still in the process of refining my own Faffometer.

At the high end of my Faffometer scale are agencies who tend to be reluctant to ask the end-client whether source texts can be made available in a format that can readily be processed with a CAT tool and, faced with IT challenges that may be beyond the capabilities of their project managers, expect translators to deal with auxiliary IT aspects such as extracting text from PDF files and preparing nicely formatted documents or presentations in the target language.

Ideal scenario

At the other end of the Faffometer scale is an agency I have been working for on a very regular basis for around 10 years, with a total job count approaching 2,000. This rather high figure is partly explained by the fact that all jobs, however small, are assigned a separate job number. While this may seem tiresome, it avoids can-you-please-just-translate-these-few-words-for-free scenarios. The agency invariably deals with any and all file format conversion and translation memory aspects and handles any and all pre- and post-processing tasks that may be required.

Specifically, all their texts (regardless of the format of the original source document) arrive in the form of specially formatted MS Word files, where any pre-processed text (eg 100% translation memory matches or internal repetitions) is clearly identified. Such text can simply be formatted as hidden and automatically ignored on import into TM tools such as Déjà Vu and MemoQ.

The attraction of this approach is that discount negotiations and sliding discount scales are never an issue, while the pre-processed text contained in the original file can be helpful for reference. In addition, the agency tends to make translation memory and glossary extracts from their in-house TM and terminology management systems available, always tries to obtain reference material from the end-client, and happily responds to terminology clarification requests.

Header image source: Pixabay

Author bio

Herbert Eppel is a chartered engineer. Originally from Heidelberg, he has been living and working in the UK since 1988. Herbert diversified into translation in around 1995, and is a member of several ITI networks.

He deals with texts from a wide range of technical and scientific subjects. For more, see http://www.HETranslation.co.uk.