Showing posts with label translation services company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label translation services company. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Time management for Freelance translators

freelance translator

Those unfamiliar to the freelance translation profession usually think that freelance translators have more freedom with regard to their working hours and that they can work when and if they want! People seem to be under the impression that working from home without a boss is a wonderful existence!

Time and Time Management are key for the Freelance translator

Now let’s suppose that the freelance translator’s career is well on track with an established client base. Time management now becomes the key to the working life of the freelancer. If time is not managed correctly the life of the freelancer can become a living hell.

Working as a freelancer does not mean disrespecting normal working hours. On the contrary it requires a lot more discipline to organize the working day. If not, it could mean a disorganized working schedule with no personal life.

It often happens that freelancers at the start of their careers, place too much importance on the amount of work they need to do which of course is justified. OK, they have chosen this profession to do what they love, don’t have to go to the office, depend on others, work in other places etc. but there have to be boundaries, limits and rules to this working freedom by establishing concrete working hours that need to be adhered to rigidly. The following are a number of time management tips:

What are the working peaks and troughs of a freelance translator's day?

Often the freelance translator works better a certain times of the day. For instance in the mornings between 9 and 12 the translator may work more efficiently so we refer to this period as a peak work time. After lunch, for instance between 2 and 4 we find ourselves more lethargic and lacking energy. How do we organize our working time around these physical peak and trough working times? There are a number of workarounds but a suggestion is to do the more mentally taxing tasks such as translation at peak working times and then other less mentally taxing tasks such as administration and emails between 2pm and 4pm! Its only a suggestion and everyone works differently but its important to find your own rhythm for more efficiency!

How many times should the freelance translator check email?

Its important for the freelance translator to revise emails frequently especially if not doing so runs the risk of missing an important deadline or urgent text to translate, but a tough human habit to avoid is reading mails every time that the email dialogue pops up. Throughout the day this can be very time consuming and much better managed time wise if we revise the emails we receive periodically, say for instance, every two hours in one swoop, so to say. This avoids breaks in concentration and allows the translator to get into "email mode" which in essence is a different thought process than say, translation. I say two hours as a general rule of thumb and I think it’s an acceptable period within which to get back to a client. Alternatively, if the old habit is too hard to break why not program your inbox to “Send/Receive” every two hours.

Freelance translators working with different zones?

Given the nature of freelance Translation work many clients or Translation services companies are located in different time zones throughout the world: it’s important to establish this with the client at the onset of a working relationship. It can work to our advantage but in other cases for instance a Spanish Translator working for an Asian client, the freelancer has to be very clear at the start of the Project about the deadline and take the time difference loss into consideration when establishing it. Another suggestion is for the freelancer to program the email messenger to auto respond to the client or perspective client with the working hours and when to expect a response. This makes the client aware that there is a time zone issue

Freelance Translators should try Not to Work at Weekends?

I understand that this is easier said than done as most freelance translator deadlines tend to be yesterday and are always urgent but detaching from work is imperative to refresh the mind and body leaving us motivated and rearing to go on Monday morning. Granted, there are times where we haven’t planned correctly or a deadline’s urgency is unavoidable and we have to work on a Sunday. However, if this is the case it’s important to re-balance the work play barometer and take some time off on the Monday morning.

Its important to budget our time correctly and dedicate the appropriate amount of time to the multiple facets of Translation freelancer life for instance, Translation, administration, attending seminars, marketing, learning the latest tools etc…... What may help is keeping a task diary. Simply sit down on the Sunday evening and map out the task Schedule for the week while also taking into consideration peak and trough working times. Ensure that the task schedule is not over-ambitious and realistic, leaving enough time for a healthy personal life.

Workloads may also influence the task Schedule for instance, there may be extremely busy periods and tight deadlines for the freelance translator when there is no time for self-learning or attending seminars. Its important to take advantage of the less busy working periods and of course, managing them efficiently will lead to a greater sense of fulfillment, more opportunities and better professional development. During these periods we can revise Glossaries, do more marketing or study for exams. It’s important not to switch off during the less busy periods and keep the impetus and good working habits we have now established going. Apart from the bread and butter translation and administration work we have, we need to set professional objectives and gear our weekly tasks to achieving the objectives!

Managing Freelance translator Administration and Time

When working as a freelance translator, organization of administration tasks is very important. One has to establish an operative protocol that defines the delivery dates, invoicing, filing, procedures, query files, software maintenance, etc.

In general a rule of thumb is to send Translation invoices at the end of each month, in a way you can group small as well as large projects together and avoid minimal fees that tend to jeopardize the client relationship. But this is not the case very often as it may depend on each client and their requirements: some require invoices at the end of each Project, others at the end of the month, others when a certain sum of money is reached and so and so. If you are just starting out try using our Translation invoice template here. Simply fill in your details and you should be covered from all angles. It covers the client side contact details and fiscal details, your details such as address, fiscal details and bank account details and the project details such as the invoice date and due date, Word counts, Language combinations, taxes…etc… If you are dealing with an international transfer be sure to include your IBAN number and Swift code!

Given that invoicing is so important it’s important to simplify the process as much as possible. What we often recommend is that you request a Purchase order from the client. This is a great record of the project details agreed between the freelancer and client before translation commenced such as the rate agreed, the Language combination, delivery date, translation memory word counts and translation rates etc… If the project budget deviates significantly from the PO during the project its good to inform the client and request an updated PO which ensures that both are in total agreement with the extra works and the client will not get a nasty shock when they receive the final bill.

Some times administration can be boring as it is not a creative process but it is necessary. One has to invest the time in developing the efficiency of the administration processes to save time and also instill more confidence in the client!

I hope that this advice has been useful and saves you at least, some time that allows you a more active personal life. Of course any comments are welcome!

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Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain that hires translators on a freelance basis. We offer economically unbeatable translation quotes in most common language combinations of the world and fields of industry.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Translation Quotes: Charging by time or words

translation quote

Lately our Translation agency has been receiving requests to quote per hour as opposed to word. In this case we are expected to revise approximately 1,000 words per hour in order to be profitable. Translation Quotes based on time are definitely the safest option from the Translation services company point of view in that it covers unforeseen translation issues such as formatting. From a client point of view it involves bestowing a lot of trust on the translation agency, a trust of course, built up over time. For this reason in this article I would like to write in detail about the pros and cons of quoting per hour.

Charging a Translation Quote per hour

In my opinion this method has certain advantages and disadvantages. On the one had if we charge per hour and we need more time than usual we can charge for this. For example with a revision, if the text is unusually sub-standard and we need extra revision time to bring the text up to standard we can charge accordingly and avoid the stress of explaining to the client the issue involved and renegotiating a higher rate per word. On other hand most clients like to have the translation quote cost closed before the work commences and the renegotiation process is applicable anyway. This renegotiation process is very dependent on the knowledge of the client, their willingness to accommodate the extra work, their budget or their relationship with their immediate superior.

Also entering into play is another variable. In the case where the translation is excellent and the revision time is minimal we stand to loose substantially compared to a translation quote per word. In an ideal world for the translation vendor the optimal solution would be to receive all the translation files before the quotation process and analyze them accordingly. During the analysis the standard of the text or translation, level of difficulty and extra formatting issues could be taken into consideration and the most profitable or fairest translation metric for the quote decided upon. However, as we all know we don’t live in an ideal world and other factors come into play at the quote phase such as competitiveness, time pressure, client knowledge and consistency. By consistency, in this sense, we mean we are often constrained by the fact that the client will request the quote with a certain metric, for instance by word, which makes perfect sense in that it makes it easier for the client to compare quotes from different companies.

When to charge a translation quote per hour?

As previously mentioned this is dependent on a variety of factors. In most cases the translation quote should be charged per word but what are the cases where charging per hour is the best option. In some cases we have had to send our translators to the client offices for their work. In this case charging per hour is often the only option. The translator will be expected to work at a certain capacity. This form of charging the client can be very profitable in the case where the translator does not have a sufficient workload.

Another case is where there are unforeseen formatting issues. Recently we had a case where the client requested the translations in text boxes in a pdf and the text boxes superimposed over the corresponding target strings. The process of text box creation, superimposition and formatting accounted for more time than the translation itself. This of course added to deadline, extra resource and quality issues not accounted for in the original quote. As the original files were not received and the formatting issue not made aware to us during the original quote phase this lead to a complicated renegotiation of the deadline and cost for the extra formatting. Fortunately these types of issues are rare! From a translation company point of view it is always wise to be weary of extra formatting issues when the files are not received in a standard format such as word, especially where translation memories are expected to be used in the translation process. Even in word there are extra issues to be weary of that add to the translation process workload such as graphics and tables.

The final case to be noted is in the case of revision. Some translations can be of such poor standard that their revision is in effect a total re-translation of the entire text. Of course this leads to the ensuing renegotiation of the quote. The successful renegotiation will hinge upon the clients understanding of the problem, their budget and their relationship with their superiors.

In the above three cases it is clear to see that charging per hour avoids the issue of extra workloads not accounted for in the original translation rate per word quote however, we must consider that many clients may be unwilling to accept time as a cost metric due to the lack of control they have when it comes to costing, the trust they must bestow on the translation services company and the fact that other translation services companies are willing to accept the rate per word metric for quotation despite the unforeseen issues.

What should we charge per hour on a translation quote?

Many Translation services companies have difficulty deciding what to charge per hour and this is indeed a conundrum for many. This stems from the fact that some of the tasks during the translation process are more skilled than others. For instance translation is perceived as more skilled than formatting or desktop publishing, even some desktop publishing tasks are more complicated than others. Do we charge a different hourly rate for the various types of tasks. In this case we found that the best solution is the least complicated solution as it ensures consistency and a lack of confusion from both the translation company and client's perspective. This is why we decided to charge a common hourly rate for all tasks in the Translation process whether the task be linguistic, engineering or publishing. In some cases we may miss out economically and in other cases we may gain economically but if a good average rate per hour is selected the costing tends to even out over time.

To conclude, a translation quote per word ensures that the quote process is consistent and measurable both from a client and translation vendor perspective however the hourly metric for quotation is considered better when there are unforeseen or even foreseen issues during the translation process such as formatting, difficult source texts or poor translations. It is always best to analyze carefully the source files before submitting the translation quote!

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Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. Click here for a quote based on hours or a quote per word or compare our rates to our competitors.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Translation Quote Request: Metrics and Averages

translation quote
When requesting a translation quote the result we get can be a total mind field. Translation quotes can be quoted per word, per hour, per character and per page. Rates per word differ from language to language and translation company to translation company, some companies use translation memories and within this we get differing metrics for matching and repetitions, some rates include revision by a third party, rates differ from subject matter to subject while some companies charge project management rates. The list goes on and on and can often leave the client in a very confusing predicament. However, in this article we hope to clarify some of the issues of translation quotes especially in the area of translation metrics.

Requesting a Translation Quote

The standard measurement of translation cost is by word or translation rate per word. This has many advantages in that it`s easy to measure and suits most world languages with the exception of some of the Asian languages. A translation quote per page is very unreliable as the word count per page differs depending on size of page, font size, graphics etc… A translation quote per hour also tends to be unreliable as some translators tend to be faster than others and a metric based on words has to be established to plan the work anyway. Also, both quotes per page and per hour do not fit into the analytical reports of translation memory tools. Most reports are based on raw analysis and manipulation of word counts. If a quote is based on time there is a huge and unnecessary degree of trust placed on the sub-contractor. In some cases a translation quote will be based on the character count. This is a reliable method to quote on translations but leads to more complications due to higher character counts and more complicated calculations. However, in some cases especially in the case of Asian languages it is more logical to base the quote on the character counts due to the nature of some of the Asian languages.

So far so good, we are reached our first concrete decision, the measurement value of our quote will be in words or in the case of Asian languages, characters. We now have to request an itemized quote from the translation services companies based on the word counts. After doing this we notice that some documents are translated at a higher rate than others. A general rule of thumb is that specialized fields such as legal, medical and technical tend to be 20% more expensive than general and business fields.

How so, you may ask and the answer is that there are fewer suitably qualified translators for the subject matter which tends to drive translation prices up. Other factors that contribute to a higher rate per word are as follows:

• Unusual language combinations with few translators
• Language combinations where the pool of translators have high living costs
• Highly specialized subject matter

Great! so we can now compare the word count and the rate from translation agency to translation agency but we then start to notice that some translation agencies are offering lesser rates for previously translated text or repeated text, while the rate for untranslated text may be slightly higher. These translation agencies are offering Translation memory services which stores previously translated text. It may be a first job with the agency so there is no previously translated text however, there may be what we call in the industry repeated text which only needs to be translated once. This type of text may be offered to the client at say 30% of the normal rate. Translation Memory systems complicate the translation process and require investment of the part of the translation agency but they ensure consistency and cut costs in the long run. This is why translation services companies offering these services often have higher rates but in the long term the investment in higher rates is worth it. Here is a summary of the key decisions we have to decide on when analyzing translation quotes:
1. Translation Quote measurement (Words)
2. Understanding differing word counts
3. Understanding translation rates and why
- Degree of difficulty and expertise
- Language combination
Hopefully this article helps you to facilitate the translation quote process. Remember to ask the translation agencies to provide their quote in the same format. Ask them for a quotation per word with each document/text itemized. This will ensure you get an easy to compare breakdown of rates and word counts which should make the decision process easier! Happy outsourcing!

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Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. We offer economically unbeatable translation quotes in most common language combinations of the world and fields of industry. if you just want to browse over our rates, click here

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Translation

In the past 20 years Globalization and the internet have revolutionized the way we do business. Companies are now aware of the importance of an online presence to succeed in the international market place. The scope for development in the sector is amazing. As of 2011 over 80% of the internet was in English yet approximately 26% of internet Users are native English speakers. This figure gives an idea of the amount of development that is required over the coming years to translate the internet.
Yet its all very well translating your website into multiple languages but if it shows nowhere in the search rankings for that language a business is defeating the purpose of translating the website in the first place. A lot of companies make the serious error of website translation without SEO in mind rendering most of their translated content ineffective. That’s a sizable investment in something that could have been easily avoided if the translation and SEO projects were run in conjunction from the start.
Content creation and website design are two of the most important components of SEO. Once the optimal SEO design of the source website is created and the optimized source content uploaded we are ready for the translation and optimization of the of the language versions of the website. A lot of translation services companies offer SEO and translation services together but what exactly does this entail.
Firstly, the keywords must be established in the translated language. This is a critical part of the project and depends very much on the budget of the company. Being such a new and pioneering field most companies have to outsource their SEO needs and it tends to be very expensive. One must bear in mind that a lot of key words have already been invested in heavily and the bottom line is that if you don’t have the budget for a significant linking campaign for a competitive keyword there is no point in going for that keyword. Most good SEO consultants will advise a client as to the keywords they can achieve within their budget with the hope that the client can find a niche within their market. The profitability or competitiveness of certain keywords can be judged by certain barometers.
Once the keywords have been established for each page it’s very important the translation must be carried out with SEO in mind. This means that a certain keyword must appear in certain places on a web page without being mentioned too often which could result in penalization by search engines (key word stuffing). Some suggest that the keyword should appear in the title, description, heading ones, body twice and the alt tags. This is by no means a protocol as one also has to bear in mind that search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and search criteria. The appearance of the keyword in certain areas can often lead to very cumbersome translations however producing a seamless translation that reads well with the keyword in place is a skill in itself and the reason a lot of translation companies that handle SEO can afford to charge that little bit extra for SEO translation.
Once we have achieved the optimal design and the optimized translated content has been uploaded the SEO process begins in earnest. The key is to get internal links from other spaces on the World Wide Web. This process can be very expensive and very hard to measure. It is achieved in a number of ways such as reciprocal links, articles, press releases, social networking, links directories, associate websites, free utilities and many more. The translation vendor still has a role to play here and should be responsible for the following in the various languages:
• Search Engine Optimized articles • SEO’ed press releases • SEO’ed new website content • SEO’ed social networking content • SEO’ed link templates
The translation company really needs to be hands on throughout the link building process otherwise results will not be achieved.
To summarize, an SEO and translation project is huge commitment financially. One must also bear in mind that all internal resources especially the publishing resources must be aware of the project and write with SEO in mind to get the best results. Translating with SEO in mind requires a very conscious mindset. One also has to consider that SEO is an ongoing project that the client always has to remain in top of. At the end of the day if the SEO investment is justifying itself then it’s worth maintaining this investment.

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Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain that offers cut rate SEO translations rates, click here to review them or get an SEO translation quote here.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Understanding Translation Quotes

translation quote
Time and time again clients are left baffled by the translation quote process. The fact that there is no formal method for translation quotes means that quotes can be interpreted in many different ways. A client may think he is choosing the cheapest quote while in fact this may be the opposite.
The following article describes some of the headaches and remedies to confront the quoting process. Normally, someone looking for translation services will shop around and receive at least three quotes. Firstly the needs of the client must be taken into consideration.

Is the client is only looking for a single language to be translated with no additional translation services such as software localization, desk top publishing or software localization?

In this case it is often recommended to go straight to the translator and avoid the middle man, the translation services company, as they of course take a percentage of the translation which in some cases can be up to 50% of the translation quote. This is justified by the additional value they add to a translation.

Does the client need multiple languages translated?

In this case the client may have the in-house resources and knowledge to deal with a multiple translation language project however this is often not the case as a lot of projects tend to be one off or a lot of the multilingual projects require a lot of specific translation expertise and skills which are only available within a translation company. For instance, the use of translation memories, the availability of a large database of specialized translators, Desktop publishing specialists or software localization engineers. For many companies this expertise and resources would be a sizable investment and not worth it in the long run so they tend to outsource their translation needs.
On the plus side a lot of translation tasks are very measurable, for instance word counts to measure the cost of translation, page counts to measure the costs of desktop publishing, string counts to measure the costs of software localization. Even though all these tasks within the translation process are very measurable translation quotes can differ to the extent that clients may even wonder if they are looking at the quote for the same project.
Here are some pointers to bear in mind when requesting a translation quote: With regard to the cost of translation some translation services companies may charge by: • Word count which tends to be the most reliable • Character count which can be especially the case with Asian languages • Page count which can be unreliable as there are often great variations in the number of words per page
Word counts and translation rates can vary greatly too due to the following factors: Some companies use Translation Memory technology. This technology can reduce the word count greatly even with new translations as there may be a lot of repetitions within a file. For instance, in the case of software a lot of the User Interface strings are repeated throughout the software. A lot of companies will offer a discount on these repeated strings or offer the repeated terms at a reduced word count. One thing to bear in mind however is that the cost of translation memory technology will be factored into the translation price. At the beginning the prices may seem a little more expensive but once the translations are in progress and the translation memories of previous work built up, the benefits of reduced word counts and more consistent translations are clearly evident. Paying that little bit extra will increases quality and in the long run reduce cost provided the translation memories are managed correctly. The aforementioned gives an insight as to why some translation prices and word counts can vary from one translation quote to another.

Does the translation quote include revision?

Some translation services companies factor the cost of revision into their translation rate making them more expensive. This has an obvious advantage in that translators are only human and a third eye to revise texts enhances quality. To summarize the use of translation memory technology and revision greatly enhance quality and give us an insight into why translation rates can vary so much between translation services companies. One must also bear in mind that a client can be more focused on cost as opposed to quality as in many cases they will have local offices doing the revisions.

Why do translation rates vary so much from language to language?

There is a simple rule of thumb here in that the rates tend to be reflected by the country of a particular language. For developing countries the local language tends to be translated more cheaply than in developed countries. For instance Chinese translation services tend to be cheaper than German translation services.
To summarize, three main factors that influence the cost of translation are: • Use of translation Memory technology • Language combination being translated • Whether there is revision
So far we have only considered the cost of translation but what about the other translation services: Software localization tends to be charged on an hourly basis but again the hourly rates can vary greatly from one translation Services Company to another. Again a major factor can be the location of the translation services company. For instance a translation vendor in a developing country tends to have much lower hourly software localization rates as opposed a vendor in a developed country where the costs of labor are much more expensive. The same principle also applies to the cost of desktop publishing.
All in all, if you are wondering why one quote is so cheap you have to probe that particular translation services company exactly what their process is, how they manage to cut their costs so much and be sure to ask for references of previous work completed. Picking the best translation quote is definitely a mind field but if all your priorities are clear there is a vendor out there to suit your needs.

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. If you just want to browse over our translation rates, click here or get a great value personalised translation quote here.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Translation Company Recruitment and Human Resource Management

Translation Company Recruitment
In this article we describe, referencing the standard Translation Project Management process, internal and external human resource aspects of the translation company recruitment strategy, from the main aspects of linguistic production to the selection and formation of personnel, production flow and human resources and selection process and contraction.


Translation companies offer their clients full management of their localization and Translation needs from any Language to another with all the technological expertise necessary to make the final product. This often involves the replication of products per geographical region. Multilingual language company clients often lack the necessary resources to redistribute their product in regions or markets, against the single language company model where the client has many local offices for the distribution. Put simply, the translation and localization process can be handled at local office level or the central office as is the case of the multilingual translation services company model. With the Multilingual translation services company model the client depends on its supplier to manage all aspects of the process with very high expectations due to the Multilingual translation services company's expertise: The benefits of this model are minimal technical and linguistic complications and maximum standardization of their localized product within a very small time frame. We are no longer in the times where multinationals released their products on different regional markets on a gradual basis. Now the client can expect SIM ship releases of their products which means a simultaneous release of their product onto various regional markets.
To confront this challenge the multilingual Translation companies incorporate a team of professionals with different skill sets for example sales agents, Project managers, project analysts, translators of various languages, Desk top publishing specialists, localization engineers, etc. Depending on the production and management model chosen by a Multilingual translation services company the group must guarantee the standardization of the localized product across the whole production process, in other words all the team must be speaking on the same page. Added to this challenge is the time differences across which the different Multilingual translation services company resources are working in.
To guarantee efficiency and quality across all these production processes by different resources located across the globe there are two main problems the multilingual translation company has to crack:

On the one hand the Multilingual translation services company has to identify a streamlined and integrated production and management process through the use of global management tools and the implementation of advanced information and communication technologies.
Due to the above, and the second problem, this implies that there has to be continuous re-training and formation of the various personnel located across the globe in diverse teams from Europe and America to Asia. It also implies a coherent and optimal recruitment of personal in the diverse specialized areas with minimum disruption to the production cycle. This also involves the complicated process of external resource recruitment and monitoring their performance.

Along with the new demand from clients for more visibility and traceability of their products during the localization cycle and more control over their localized content the Multilingual translation services company has had to face yet another challenge, the use of Translation assisted tools such as machine Translation tools, Translation memory environments and automatic Project management tools. Without doubt the ability of the Multilingual translation services company to compete is influenced by the amount of investment and the degree of success to which they have implemented these ever changing tools.

In this article we will describe, making reference to the standard Project management process, the most relevant internal and external human resource factors, from their selection to their training and development.

Translation Company Recruitment - the key players in the workflow

Once the client has chosen his supplier and the Project is in process, he uses the following principal resources: Project manager, Translation Manager, Lead translator and Translator:

The role of the translation project manager can differ from one multilingual translation company to another but their main function is to be the connection point between the various resources of a Project. On one side they liaise with the client to find out their specifications and expectations, budget and delivery schedule. They then have to guide the project through the various tasks liaising with the various resources responsible for those tasks, right through to completion while all the while ensuring that the workloads have been realistic and the project is delivered meeting the client’s quality, budget and deadline expectations.
It often happens that the client may change the budget or specifications of the project while in the production phase. It is the responsibility of the PM to ensure that these changes are implemented with minimal fuss without affecting the production cycle or the translation quote constraints within reason. It is also their responsibility to coordinate the resources that have been chosen for the project. Typically this may involve a translation team, engineering team, publishing team, testers and evaluation team, etc. The main task of the PM is to make the end product of each production phase available for the next phase. This may involve transmitting vital information to the relevant resource at the best time during the production cycle. The PM ensures that each resource completes his process or task on time and to budget thus ensuring the overall success of the project.. The PM also filtrates information back to the client in the most efficient and timely manner for example queries from translators or technical problems encountered by the engineers which need input from the client.

The Translation is the boss of the Translation department. He has overall responsibility of the translators in the translation company and guarantees the linguistic quality of the work produced by the department, including texts that are sub-contracted to freelancers external to the company. He is also responsibility for the feasibility of projects undertaken from within and outside the department. He is involved in the planning of all projects and ensures that all projects run smoothly using the most efficient and economical methodology and processes. It is important to ensure that all department members are working at their optimal capacity and that control and quality measures are working correctly. He or she must also monitor each department member efficiently to ensure their performance is optimal, they are up to speed with the company processes and also their personal development and motivation flourishes. The updating of department processes and technologies should be a collective department process guided by the translation manager.

There is a lead translator for every project Language assigned on leadership skills and experience. When there is regular work from a client it is advised to have a stable translation team with the same lead translator. This saves time when recurrent linguistic issues arise. The lead translator is responsible for the final linguistic quality of the project, all the components such as the glossary, software, help, documentation, establishing stylistic norms and standard terminology. Normally he revises the work of the other project translators to ensure that this goal is achieved and resolves technical problems (translation Memory and terminology issues, etc.). He is the bridging point between the translators and the Project Manager, the lead desk top Publisher and lead engineer and selects and analyses the freelancers chosen for the project if one is hired.

Translation Company Recruitment - SELECTION AND CONTRACTION PROCESS

The multilingual translation service company always offer the translators the opportunity to work in different positions giving them the opportunity to specialize in their preferred area thus motivating them more. This may be a field of specialization for their particular Language combination or an unrelated Translation position such as:
Management of Translation projects
Linguistic and functional testing on various platforms
Audio recording positions
Line manager
Terminology Management (creation and maintenance of multilingual glossaries)
Pre-Project Evaluations
Sales Support

Selection of translators

The selection of translators during the translation company recruitment process needs to be standardized. From receipt of C.Vs and aptitude tests to the interview stage and training after hire the Translation Company must maintain standardized recruitment processes while at the same time adapting to the local laws and legislation where the staff are being hired.
Standardization can be guaranteed in the following aspects:
• The information the candidate receives
• The aptitude tests (Translation and revision tests) and the evaluation. This includes the methodology of the tests and the formulas used to calculate the results.
• Ensuring the candidate is anonymous for the aptitude test thus ensuring results are objective
• Results feedback to the candidates

The following people are involved in the translation company recruitment process:

Recruitment manager: This person publishes adds and gathers the relevant C.Vs according to the specifications per language. Universities are a very good source of recruitment and its important for the translation company to maintain good relations with the various education centers where there may be potential candidates. This close relationship is also beneficial in that it can enhance and develop new technologies and methodologies in the localization sector.
The distribution of translation company offices often complicates the registration of candidates and for this it is better to have a centralized Database.

Translation manager: The Translation manager who conducts the evaluation of the tests selects the best candidates and is also involved in the interview process.

Line manager: also assists at the interviews and is involved in the final selection process.

Translation Company recruitment tests

The revision and Translation tests are the same throughout all the world wide offices of the multilingual Translation Company. During the selection process it is handy to do two tests: 1 external by email and if this is passed the second at the company offices. Both tests are evaluated by senior translators or a line manager in that language. During the test it is important to establish the following:
• The linguistic quality of the candidate: written quality of the target translation, terminology knowledge and translation methodology.
• Comprehension of the source language, both in general and specific terms of the company fields.
• Capacity to resolve problems in the translation, documentation and deadlines.

Translation Company Recruitment External tests
The objective of the test is to ensure that the translator is familiar with certain materials. It is done at home. The focus of the test is on quality as opposed to speed.

Translation Company Recruitment In-house Tests
Once the first test is passed there is an in-house test. Again the format of the test is the same across all the translation company branches. Here the focus of the test is not only on linguistic quality but also on the adherence to deadlines and instructions.
The evaluation or correction format is based on a standard formula


The interview process be it face to face or telephone should be supported by a series of processes and documentation:
• There should be a standard list of questions
• There should also be a formula for objectively evaluating the answers of the candidate.
• There should be a formal description of the post with clear guidelines of the specifications of the job plus the skills and expectations required from the candidate


There are three important prerequisites that the translator should have:
1. Linguistic Excellence
2. Capacity to work in a team
3. Adaptivity

Translation Company Recruitment Training

The Translation teams must work in harmony to ensure linguistic quality and smooth production flow. The training efforts of the company should be directed in this area and try to ensure that the new translators comply with the quality and production standards established by the company within a year.

Training should include the following:
• Organizational structure of the company and different roles of each department
• General Procedures such as dress code and time management, right and obligations of the employees
• Processes specific to the department such as workflows, Project management software, process documents related to the Translation procedure and the interaction process between the different departments
• Technology: Translation Memory and internal translation tool Use.
• Style and Quality: Style Guide of the company and the main clients. Quality controls, query process and correction process

Once the training has been complete there should be an appraisal system in place to not only monitor the progress of the employee but also their development. This may include:
• Identifying other training needs
• Monitoring performance
• Establishing objectives and renovating objectives once achieved


During very busy periods when the workload is too much for internal staff the Translation company needs a data Base of quality external translators.
The evaluation of the freelancers follows the same format as the evaluation of the internal employees, although there may be extra criteria for correction of the aptitude tests bearing in mind there will be no training: the freelancer must be fully trained already in the field they will be translating, for instance a Spanish translator with Spanish legal translation experience. This evaluation is conducted by a Senior translator.
All the selected freelancers must be logged in a central database under the field and specialty they have been chosen for. The database should contain the following information on the freelancer
• Contact details, prices, qualifications and aptitude tests.
• Current projects and availability.

It is very important to record the progress of the freelancer in the database. This includes information such as the adherence to deadlines, linguistic quality and capability of resolving issues. This helps to avoid problems on future projects.


The whole recruitment, training and monitoring of staff in a multilingual Translation company is the core of the business. As new markets open and technological advances continue at a fast pace it is of the ultimate importance for the MLV to keep up with these advances with regard to recruitment in order to stay competitive.

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. If you just want to browse over our translation services recruitment opportunities, click here. One Stop Shop Translations realises the importance of translation company recruitment!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crowd Sourcing and free translation

Crowd Sourcing and free translation I have just finished watching a conference by Luis von Ahn and its sent my head spinning, the main reason being I am the owner of a translation services company. I have briefly looked into the topic and the implications are astounding.
We saw the fist example of Ahn´s work in the area of crowd sourcing with the security utility reCATPTCHA which digitizes documents by getting users to transcribe words that the OCR software is not sure of.

Now the crowd sourcing guru plans to use the same concept to translate the World Wide Web via a free language learning portal. Here are some interesting statistics about language learning, there are 1.2 billion people learning a foreign language around the world and in the US alone over 5 million paid over $500 for language learning software last year.

These statistics alone present a very valid case for the success of the language portal and thus ensuring the success of the crowd sourcing translation project but the consequences are severe for the translation and Language Learning sectors. Just on a side note, won’t the final system translations have to be proofed anyway?

Most IT companies with significant interactive crowd sourcing resources at their disposal tend to be very successful and argue that such a system is free, doesn’t discriminate the poor while adding value to the time, otherwise wasted. They invest in language learning which all sounds very good but let´s face it folks, most successful IT companies must have an ulterior motive. Apart from this crowd sourcing translation portal destroying the e-learning language sector overnight one has to ask the question whether they will begin to use the resource commercially and destroy the translation services sector as well.

For instance let's take a look at Google's track record. Up to five years ago there were no more than three to four Google adds per organic search, displaying on the side of the page. Now we have more adds than organic searches displaying on the side, bottom and top of the page. Of course, Google addwords is the main source of revenue for Google, it’s a business so we shouldn't complain!

In the case of the digitization project Google has a serious argument in that it would make millions of out-of-print books broadly available online but the counter argument was that it would give Google exclusive rights to profit from millions of orphan works and a complete library nobody else could compete with giving Google a monopoly status to name it´s price while also tightening it´s stranglehold on the online search market. Thankfully a New York judge ruled against the settlement google had proposed on the grounds of the good old 300 year old legal concept copyright.

Bearing in mind that machine translations of Google still have a long way to go I think that the free language portal won´t be the last in a line of crowd sourcing gimmicks to translate the web and also strongly believe that they will get there sooner rather than later. However, we are safe for now given we can fall back on copyright, God only knows how many copyright infringements there are already in the google corpus of translations when we also consider that most translations are derivative works! In 2011 Twitter successfully translated its portal into 65 languages, however, this differs from the aforementioned case in that the corpus of twitter text is their own and does not infringe copyright rules!

I am looking forward to a lot of legal wrangles between google and the courts worldwide, the whole crowd sourcing translation issue appears to me to be a legal ticking time bomb!

If you like this post please "like" or "share" for more content

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

For our latest translation rates click on this link or get an economically unbeatable translation quote here.

Remember that translation is not just simple straight forward translation but a complicated process that involves many stages and specialized expertise!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Website Localization: Background and Methodology

Website Localization

To the average person the word Localization, (L10N), means nothing, but when we say it is the adaption of a product to a specific locale and mention the word translation, they can identify with this. However, there is much more to Localization than simple translation and in this article we will explain in detail website localization.

Website Localization is the process of translating a website (menus, help, tool bars, etc.) from one language to another without altering the code and adapting the translated website linguistically and functionally to a specific locale. This is done with the use of specialized software (CAT Tools). For all those companies who wish to publish their website in more than one language, translation companies offer a broad range of website translation services better known in the industry as “Localization services for websites”. Bearing in mind the complexity of localizing a website, some Translation companies take care of the whole process and where necessary coordinate with the designers and engineers of the client company to make the translated website function in the market it is destined for. One must also bear in mind the degree of ownership the client and the translation company have during the process when sourcing the original translation quote. The typical process involves the extraction of the translatable text from the website into a compatible Translation Memory environment format, translation and revision of the text within the Translation Memory environment by the translation company, re-engineering of the target text back into the original website format, linguistic and functional testing and bug fixing which can be done by either the client or translation agency. The project process will have a bearing on the price of the translation project and it is important at the onset of the project to clearly define who is doing each task.

What are the Services included in Localization of websites?

The following is a more detailed breakdown of the different stages of website localization and the ownership of each process. For instance, during the implementation of multilingual websites one must also bear in mind that the target Language is culturally suited to the particular region the site is destined for, for example the idiomatic differences between the Brazilian Portuguese market and the Portuguese Market.

The translation of websites includes:

Extraction of Translatable text

HTML and CSS (Static Text): Most websites are in hyper text mark-up language with the abbreviated extension .html and the cross website style governed by Cascading style sheets (.CSS). Most the translatable text is located in the .html files however, there are exceptions where there is some translatable text in the .css. The translatable text maybe extracted into word format, excel format etc. which are compatible with most translation memory environments or the html files maybe translated directly in tools that have translation memory and localization capability. In this case the translator must have the capability to work with the localization tool chosen by the client and will do a lot of the localization such as string re-sizing as he is translating. In the first case the translated files are re-engineered back into the .html website format by an engineer on the client or translation company side. The process and the owner of each task must be defined at the start of the project as it has an obvious effect on cost.

Graphics:Translatable text within graphics needs to be localized. A lot of graphics such as .png, .gif, .bnp contain text such as slogans that need to be extracted and localized. In most cases the translatable text in these graphics is not comprehensive and they are simply transcribed on a word or excel sheet

Audio: Many websites contain an audio component such as a presentation or Help tutor. If the source script for this is unavailable then the script for the audio needs to be transcribed for translation.

Dynamic Components of the website:Dynamic websites add a great deal of complexity to the localization of websites. A dynamic website allows the user to interact with the website for example performing calculations, compiling reports etc... It allows the input of variables from the user and an operation and output from the server system based on the variables received. The most commonly used coding languages for interactive websites are VBScript, JScript, PerlScript, ASP, PHP and various Database languages. Extracting the translatable text from this code is often a complicated process and is often translated in excel sheets with screen shots for reference.

Multimedia Components of the website: Apart from audio which is dealt with previously in this article there are other multimedia components of the website used to enhance interactivity enabled by plug-ins such as applets and Adobe flash. The text in these multimedia components need to be extracted.

Translation and revision of Website

Once the all the text has been extracted it is converted into its translatable format. Again the types of format of the files, the role of the translation company and client in each task and the use of TMs have a huge bearing on the process and should be decided at the out-set of the project.

HTML and CSS (Static Text): In many TM environments the HTML files can be translated directly, saved in the Translation Memory and many of the localization bugs fixed as the translator translates, however, in a lot of cases the translation company receives the html files in word or another format where the translation is carried out. The translations are then revised using a third party, the client or translation company depending on how the process was already defined.

Graphics: With the graphics a screen shot of the original localizable graphic and a space for the translation is prepared say for instance, in an excel sheet.

Dynamic Components of the website:With regard to the dynamic translatable text, again there are various localization tools with translation Memory capabilities that can handle all the aforementioned code and database files. Again the localization process decided upon and the role of each stakeholder has a huge bearing on how the files are received by the translator.

Audio:In cases where there is an audio component of the website the original script may available for translation, otherwise the original script has to be transcribed into a word or excel file. The target script is then recorded in a recording studio according to certain parameters such as sex, character...etc.

Multimedia Components of the website: The translators can use the original website version of the multimedia component for reference while translating in excel.

Localization Engineering of translated and revised target files

HTML and CSS (Static Text): If the translator delivers the html files directly then this process is a lot simpler as the engineer on the client or translation company merely has to upload the files on the server for the next stage of the website localization process. However, the process becomes a little more tricky if the files are delivered for instance in word. This means that the engineer, be it on the client or translation company side, has to do a lot of re-tweaking to dump the translated text back into the source text for the next localization phase. It complicates the engineering phase with an extra process that involves, depending on the format, text editors, WYSIWYG offline and online editors such as Dreamweaver and iWeb respectively.

Graphics: The translated text for the graphics must be re-engineered into the graphics via a graphics editor such as Adobe photoshop, Corel Draw etc......In most cases we need the original art work of the graphic to manipulate it.

Dynamic Components of the website: Again there are a number of approaches to this step. The engineer may just copy and paste the target texts back into the dynamic code using a simple website editor such as dreamer weaver or a development environment such VB studio.

Audio: Once the audio has been recorded it has to be post edited or tidied up by removing glyphs, static, long silences etc...

Multimedia Components of the website:The translated text is re-engineered back into the multimedia file using various software available on the market.

Localized Website Build

Once all the translated website files are ready they are uploaded into the correct directories on the server for the next phase of localization.

Functional Localization Testing

There are various functional tests that can be run on the files, conducted by the localization engineers: - Link testing: There are various tools that quickly tell us what links are broken and need to be fixed. A lot of editing tools have their own link check feature. e.g. Xenu and Dreamweaver.
- UI Testing: In the case where the translator has done no re-sizing of truncated and cut text or overlapping menus and dialogues, as he has not had the capability to do so with the file format he received, the engineer is responsible for this task.
- Cross Browser Testing: The engineer is responsible for ensuring that the site renders correctly across various browsers and has various tools at his disposal to carry out this task.

Linguistic Localization Testing

Now we have a fully functional website we have to have it tested online and in context by third party reviewer, a client reviewer or the translation company reviewer, whatever was decided upon. The linguistic bugs are documented and fixed by engineering. It is of the utmost importance that the linguistic bugs are updated too in the translation memory, otherwise the same bugs will keep popping up in later updates!

The same cycle of linguistic, functional testing and bug fixing continues until we have a GOLD version of the website that can now go live! As yo can see the process is very complicated and I have only scratched the surface. There are so many other questions to be asked during website localization such as will there be a partial localization or complete localization, is all the website worth localizing? For instance there maybe, out of date news which shouldn't be sent for localization to save time and cost. What SEO considerations have we taken into account for the localization of the website. Are the title, Headings, description, meta tags, alt tags translations effective key words. A literal translation of an English key word may be a very poor key word in another language. Carrying out SEO with translation in mind is opening up a whole new can of worms and there is a good article on this here with more details. Does the client have a style guide to follow on fonts and formatting? Is there a Glossary for particular words? To summarize when deciding on the optimal website localization process for us, other factors that influence our decision include the resources at our disposal, our budget, the tools we have and the deadline we have to meet.!

"Website Localization: Background and Methodology", is an article in the series "Localization: The definitive Guide" from One Stop Shop Translations. Other articles include:

- Software Localization: Background and Methodology
- Online Help Localization: Background and Methodology
- End User License Agreements Localization: Background and Methodology
- Software Documentation Localization(Quick User Guides and User Guides): Background and Methodology

If you like this post please "like" or "share" for more content

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

For our latest website translation rates click on this link or get an economically unbeatable software translation quote here.

Remember that translation of software is not just simple straight forward translation but a complicated process that involves many stages and specialized expertise!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Best value online translation Quote

online translation quoteIn a lot of cases it’s a hassle to fill out a Translation quote request, send it and wait for the response from the supplier if indeed, he does respond. This is especially the case if the client knows the word count, field and language combination they require.

This is why many most Translation services companies have their own online translation quote facility. In this article we aim to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Which company provides the best online quote?

There are a number of criteria we use when deciding on which translation company offers the best online which we will go through in detail.

Usability of Online Translation Quote

Which online quote has the quickest and is the most usable? The following important questions arise:
• Is the online quote easy to find from the home page?
• Does the quote show in the top search engine rankings? Of course this is of the ultimate importance as the User is very unlikely to go past the first page?
• How many steps does it take to get the online translation quote? The User often has to go through a number of unnecessary steps to get their quote
• Does the User have to provide information to get the online translation quote? In a lot of cases the User has to provide their email address and telephone number to get their online quote. This may lead to many unwanted sales emails and calls which can be annoying

Cost of Online Translation Quote

• Which company offers the cheapest online translation quote? In many cases this can be a difficult query to assess. Many translation prices vary per country, language and service. The simple analysis later in this article takes the four main language combinations (English to German, English to French, English to Spanish and English to Italian) and gets the price per word average for 5 different translation agencies
• Is the cost deceptive? For instance, is the goods tax included? What currency is the total in? While a quote in British pounds of 83 GBP may seem the same as a quote of 83 EUR it is really almost 20% more expensive at 100 EUR, so be aware of the exchange rates. For the sake of the analysis we have chosen EUROS.

Aesthetics of Online Translation Quote

• Is the interface enticing and visually appealing for the user? Does it have the latest graphics and look fresh and modern?
All the above queries are very relevant and we have used a scale for 1-10 across online translation quote facilities from five different translation agencies. Each facility is ranked on:
• Easiness to find, based on a ranking of 5 due to weighting (importance)
• Easiness to find in search engines, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance)
• Amount of steps, based on a ranking of 4 due to weighting (importance)
• User information, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance)
• Cheapest in EUROS per word, based on an average per word of the of the four main European languages, based on a ranking of 10 due to weighting (importance)
• Currency of the quote total, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance)
• Aesthetics, based on a ranking of 5 due to importance
Please note our findings below with a summary on each online quote facility:

Applied Language
Easiness to find, based on a ranking of 5 due to weighting (importance): 5 Easy to find on front page
Search Engine Ranking, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 7
Number 1 in most important search engines for key word “Online translation quote”
Amount of steps, based on a ranking of 4 due to weighting (importance): 0
3 steps
User information, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 2
Email and telephone requested
Cheapest in EUROS per word, based on an average of the four main European languages, based on a ranking of 10 due to weighting (importance): 2
€0,14 per word
Currency of the quote total, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 3
Proofreading not included in price
Aesthetics, based on a ranking of 5 due to importance; 4
TOTAL out of 45: 23

Exigo Translations
Easiness to find, based on a ranking of 5 due to weighting (importance): 5
Easy to find on front page
Search Engine Ranking, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 7
Number 3 in most important search engines for key word “Online translation quote”
Amount of steps, based on a ranking of 4 due to weighting (importance): 4
On Screen
User information, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 7
Email and telephone not requested
Cheapest in EUROS per word, based on an average of the four main European languages, based on a ranking of 10 due to weighting (importance): 5
€0,11 per word
Currency of the quote total, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 3
Proofreading not included in price
Aesthetics, based on a ranking of 5 due to importance: 4
TOTAL out of 45: 35
Easiness to find, based on a ranking of 5 due to weighting (importance): 5
Easy to find on front page
Search Engine Ranking, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 6
Number 5 in most important search engines for key word “Online translation quote”
Amount of steps, based on a ranking of 4 due to weighting (importance): 4
On Screen
User information, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 7
Email and telephone not requested
Cheapest in EUROS per word, based on an average of the four main European languages, based on a ranking of 10 due to weighting (importance): 6
€0,10 per word
Currency of the quote total, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 5
Proofreading included in price
Aesthetics, based on a ranking of 5 due to importance: 4
TOTAL out of 45: 37

Easiness to find, based on a ranking of 5 due to weighting (importance): 1
Easy to find on front page
Search Engine Ranking, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 2
Number 9-10 in most important search engines for key word “Online translation quote”
Amount of steps, based on a ranking of 4 due to weighting (importance): 1
5 to 6 steps
User information, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 7
Email and telephone not requested
Cheapest in EUROS per word, based on an average of the four main European languages, based on a ranking of 10 due to weighting (importance): 2
€0,16 per word
Currency of the quote total, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 5
Proofreading included in price
Aesthetics, based on a ranking of 5 due to importance: 4
TOTAL out of 45: 22

One Stop Shop Translations
Easiness to find, based on a ranking of 5 due to weighting (importance): 5
Easy to find on front page
Search Engine Ranking, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 5
Number 5-7 in most important search engines for key word “Online translation quote”
Amount of steps, based on a ranking of 4 due to weighting (importance): 4
On Screen
User information, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 7
Email and telephone not requested
Cheapest in EUROS per word, based on an average of the four main European languages, based on a ranking of 10 due to weighting (importance): 10
€0,09 per word
Currency of the quote total, based on a ranking of 7 due to weighting (importance): 7
Proofreading included in price
Aesthetics, based on a ranking of 5 due to importance: 3
TOTAL out of 45: 41

*Four main European Languages are French, German, Italian and Spanish


- Applied language (Total 23 – Position 4) scored 23 out of 45 and has the lowest score of the five agencies surveyed due mainly to the expensive price per word (€0,14 per word), the amount of steps for the quote and the user details being requested
- Exigo Translations (Total 35 - Position 3) scored well at 35 out of 45 but was the third most expensive agency at €0,11 per word.
- (Total 37 - Position 2) scored well at 37 out of 45 and was the second cheapest agency at €0,10 per word.
- Click2translate Total (Total 22 – Position 5) scored poorly due to it being by far the most expensive agency at €0,16 per word and having too many steps.
- One Stop Shop Translations (Total 41 – Position 1) scored well being the cheapest translation agency at €0,09 per word

So there you have it. The report weightings and results are subjective but we think give a fair reflection of the available online translation quotes, so shop around when buying translation services.

If you like this post please "like" or "share" for more content

Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. If you want an online translation quote described in this article, click here, or get a more complicated great value personalised translation quote here.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Translation Memories, Blessing or Curse?

translation memories
A translation memory is a modern technology tool designed to help translators. It is essentially a database that saves previously translated segments of text. The main benefits of a translation memory are saved time and cost, more efficiency and consistency throughout translations.

Moreover, clients and translators must also analyze not only what are the benefits of the Translation memory are but also the the ethical questions posed by this tool. Firstly, it is important to note that the usual practice during the delivery of a translation to the client is for the translator to also deliver the translation memory database so it can be used in future translations, even if the client opts to use a different translator. It is clear to see how this process guarantees consistency. However, here is where a lot of problems can arise. It is true to say that in the majority of cases the the new text to be translated corresponds to the saved translation but there are cases where the corresponding saved translation does not make sense with the new source translation in its current context, especially in the case of literary translations or Marketing translations.

To navigate this problem it is important to understand the analytical nature of the Translation memory. A lot of Translation Memories match a previously translated segment to a new source segment on a percentage basis. For instance, if a translated target segment in the TM and its corresponding source segment match a new source segment to be translated word for word, this segment will be translated automatically and the analysis will return a statistic of 100% matching. But as outlined above, the contextual problem may occur. This is why the 100% segment needs to be checked by the translator. The whole process is not fool proof and we always need some degree of human intervention. This is why most translation services companies and translators will charge a fee even for segments that are 100% matching. The bottom line is that the 100% matching segments have to be checked.

Many clients are often surprised when they get their translation quote to find they are being charged for segments that have been previously translated word for word. Hopefully, the above explanation gives the client an insight into this dilemma. For information the 100% matches are usually charged at a lesser rate, for instance a revision translation rate per word so there is still a very evident cost saving. It is here that the client has to find the best translation rate per word to pay for 100% matching segments and repeated segments. This can lead to huge translation cost savings especially in the case of updates such as software or manuals.

Hopefully this article gives the reader an insight into the workings of the translation memory environment and with this technology, unlike most concepts in the technology world, the fundamental process will stay the same, we will always need some degree of human intervention!

If you like this post please "like" or "share" for more content

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

For more information on our translation memory pricing matrix click on this link.

Remember that translation memory rates may cost more in the short term due to the extra processes and management involved but are worth it in the long term especially in the case where the translation is an update or there is a lot of repeated text!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Translation rates and Prices

One of the main difficulties when choosing a Translation services company is understanding why the translation prices vary so much from vendor to vendor.

There are many factors that contribute to the price of translation apart from straight forward translation. Many translation companies include the revision cost within their translation rates whereas other translation company’s prices simply cover just translation within their translation rate.

With regard to the language combination it tends to be reliant on different factors:
• The supply of the language combination. The rarer the combination the more expensive it tends to be.
• The cost of living in that particular target language country. For instance the cost of Scandinavian languages tends to be a lot higher than other languages as the living costs and average wage costs in countries such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark tend to be much higher. Translation into Spanish is one of the cheapest rates per word as there is a high supply of Spanish translators and the cost of living in these countries tends to be much lower.

The level of expertise required for the subject matter. In addition to be being a qualified translator the translator may also need to be qualified in the subject matter being translated. For instance a general business text will cost a lot less to translate than a medical text that requires a medical qualification in addition to a translation qualification.

The type of translation requested has a bearing on the translation rate. For instance in the case of software localization the rate may be higher as the translation rate includes resizing of the translated strings. In other cases the translation rate is charged separately to the additional services. For instance, in the case of desk top publishing the typesetting of the translated pages is charged separately to the translation itself.

Finally, does the company use translation memories? This may increase the rate. Translation memories involve a complicated workflow where the files to be translated need to be converted into a compatible for the TM environment. However, this extra work and cost is beneficial in the long run as previously translated texts can be re-used thus saving time, ensuring consistency and quality and cost in the long run.

As one can see there are many factors that have a bearing on the translation rate. The best thing to do is to shop around when requesting a translation quote. Request an itemized translation quote per word, language combination and additional translation service required. If you have requested three to four different translation quotes and you receive an itemized quote in this format it should be easy to compare which agency is the cheapest. Alternatively, it may give us an idea of where to outsource different translation services. For instance we may outsource French, German and Italian to company A, Spanish to Firm B and Publishing to Firm C as they are the cheapest in these respective services.