Payment by the hour for rough translation

44 posts in this topic

Posted

Classified ad posted this morning.

 

One-off translation by native German speaker

 

 

You should be a native German speaker who can produce a text which is German English but understandable...

 

Normally I pay 15 Euro per hour instead of following word/character/line counts. We can talk about it. ...

 

I'll "massage" the English into readability. My German is pretty good so I can decipher German English...

Difficult to know what German English is. Zomezing laik zis? And he "normally" pays 15 euros per hour, presumably for this kind of work. Do professional translators usually take on this kind of work?

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Posted

 

And he "normally" pays 15 euros per hour, presumably for this kind of work. Do professional translators usually take on this kind of work?

 

Translation is part of my job description, and I certainly would not.

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Posted

No, it is far from standard. Aside from copy ready marketing texts and advertising slogans, payment by word or line is standard.

 

Actually, in almost 20 years in the translation and localization industry I have only come across this in very rare situations, and they have generally ended in tears on both sides.

 

And 15 euros an hour is a joke.

 

Sadly, he probably found someone.

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Posted

Payment according to word or line (55 character lines usually) is standard. If I was taking on a job paying 15 euros an hour, I would be charging 3 hours for every real hour of work, just to get a sensible rate.

 

And that's the problem with using hours, a customer can't check how long the translator spent doing the work. Not unless it is sent at three and returned at four and the translator charges 1 hour - but even then, the customer doesn't know whether the translator spent half that hour drinking coffee.

 

Proofreading is different, that's usually by hours, and frequently a fixed price, based on a guesstimate by the translator.

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Posted

His ad makes absolutely no sense in any way, but particularly because it takes (much) longer to translate into a non-native language even if the end result is rubbish.

 

Or is he expecting someone to run it through Google Translate line by line and save him the trouble?

 

I charge by the hour for any formats involving fiddly stuff, e.g. PowerPoint presentations, and for short texts which are heavy on research and/or creativity, i.e. where the effort expended is in no relation to the number of lines. But I sure as hell don't charge EUR 15.

 

 

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Posted

See my post #16 in the related thread.

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Posted

Damn it, and we're still none the wiser about his modus operandi. I won't be able to sleep tonight for wondering.

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Posted

So apparently people do those poor translations on websites and in brochures on purpose??

 

Who knew... :ph34r:

 

(Maybe so their potential clients can imagine them being read with a German accent so they get to feel all warm and fuzzy?? Idontgetit.)

 

I can see why it would be hard to find a professional translator who would be willing to do a really poor job and translate into "English as written by a German". So poster was not looking for a professional, but a willing amateur who wouldn't mind sounding stupid. Mind-boggling concept!

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Posted

For a rough translation, surely Google translate would do the job - why even bother to pay somebody to do it?!

 

For anything else, you basically get what you pay for, so if you place any value on getting something translated, then you really do have to be prepared to pay for it!

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Posted

But does Google translate into "German-English"? :D

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Posted

- dunno!

all I know is that it mostly translates into something in between english and German - could be Dutch or something, but definitely a mixture!

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Posted

So I just ran the weather forecast (what else!) through Google translator and while the words that come out, are English words, the text definitely still reads German. All it needs is indeed some tweaking!! (But I'm saddened it's not as funny anymore as it used to be.)

Here:

 

For it but now see the last days of February of fair weather and mild. The frost in the nights is weakening. And on the day we arrive in the West already in the vicinity of the two-digit values​​.

 

In the first days of March it will then not always sunny. The South is clearly preferable in terms of the hours of sunshine and warmth. In the southwest are plus 10, 11 or 12 degrees in there. To the north it remains cloudy and cooler.

 

The long-term forecast, over the next 28 days looks further ahead than average temperatures. The spring seems to take your time. Even the second third in March shows in forecasting partly temperatures that are one to three degrees below the long term average. At least not as much as in the forecast from last Friday!

 

Read more about weather trend, weather forecast, weather - wetter.de at www.wetter.de

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Posted

The best machine translation I got was "ich bin ein fan von Schalke04" it came out as I am a ventilator from Schilke04.

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Posted

 

thanks everyone!!!

 

So, it looks like he found someone here. Sad.

 

With the time he's "paying" someone to write it in German-English, and then the time he's going to need to "massage" it into his version of English, it would have been faster (and with better bang for the buck) to have it translated properly.

 

I know, preaching to the choir here... :rolleyes:

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Posted

I think people are a little too hard on the Google translator. The tool works largely via statistical analysis- the more generic and widely used the text, the better it'll do. A weather report on the other hand is a rather particular, if not peculiar style of writing. It's almost as stylized as the local traffic traffic you hear on the radio ("twenty minutes inbound on the Kennedy, fifteen on the flip trip" - btw. I love that phrase, "flip trip"). It requires a fair deal of contextual and often also local knowledge to make sense of it. In more representative cases, I think the Google translator does pretty well, even with stylized, literary texts:

 

Take this, for example:

 

"Vier Gäste und sieben Jahren gründeten unsere Väter auf diesem Kontinent eine neue Nation, konzipiert in Freiheit, und widmet sich der These, dass alle Menschen gleich geschaffen sind." Not surprisingly, "four score and seven" tripped it up but otherwise not too shabby. Too bad it couldn't get the number to correspond in "unsere Väter.. widmet sich".

 

Or this:

 

"Es ist eine allgemein anerkannte Wahrheit, dass ein Junggeselle im Besitz eines schönen Vermögens nichts dringender braucht als eine Frau." - Not bad, despite the chiasma in the original.

 

Or this:

 

"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. " - You gotta love "monstrous vermin"!

 

I'm sure we could all find lots of horrific and entertaining counter-examples but by and large I think it does a decent job. And it's fast :-) I can understand why people think "Google Translate + some light touch-up" is a winning formula, even if they are sadly mistaken (and of course, their knowledge of both languages only extends to recognizing that Google isn't perfect, but not to actually being able analyze, let alone fix the problem by themselves).

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Posted

I have a question: Is it not standard practice to only translate in the direction of your native language? For instance, as a native english speaker, I would never attempt to translate something official into german from english, but the other way around is okay. I am not a professionally trained translator, but sometimes help our firm in translating german text into english, or proofread english text that a german native speaker has translated from german into english. I am afraid of liability issues (we compose operating manuals for manufacturers of machines that package medication), but have informed the company of those concerns, so the onus is on them (or that is how I understand it). Am I opening myself up for a lawsuit by doing this? Whenever I mention this "translate only into your native language" theme, I get lots of raised eyebrows, because they often do it the other way around.

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Posted

It certainly should be standard practice for all but the truly bilingual, but as you've found there are plenty of people who think that "good English" means "good enough to translate into English".

One of our meetup translators was asked to "just run your eye over" a website, i.e. texts that are posted on the Internet for all the world to see, that had been translated into English by a German confident about the quality of his English. She spent longer correcting the English than she would have done translating the German from scratch, and the "translator" got quite huffy about the extent of her corrections.

I'd say something similar has happened to most of us. It's not enough just to throw some English words at a page - they also have to be in the right order...

 

I would say that in the example of the operating manuals (and any contracts, T&Cs or similar, the onus is squarely on the company to get the manuals checked by specialists in the requisite language and/or legal professionals. Technical manuals may be simpler to translate into the non-native language but should still be checked.

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Posted

Interesting examples, @rno, but how in heck did Google Translate get "Gäste" from "score"?

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Posted

Lord only knows..

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Posted

 

I have a question: Is it not standard practice to only translate in the direction of your native language?

 

In English-speaking countries, yes. Elsewhere things look different. One reason for this is that companies like to employ people living in the same country as them, in case there is any difficulty with payment, etc. Most Germans learn English in school and often attain an even higher level later, before going to live in the UK, so it is comparatively easy to find a German speaker in the UK who is able to translate into German. However, it is less easy to find an English speaker in Germany who can translate into English - and at the same time there is a very high demand in Germany for translations into English. So it is simply a matter of practicality that it is considered usual in Germany (and many other countries) to translate out of your mother tongue. A statistic I read from 1986 said that 65% of German translators work into their second language.

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