Friday, February 25, 2011

Xbench presentation

Yesterday I gave a presentation to the Colorado Translators Association on Xbench, ApSIC’s excellent terminology management and translation QA freeware tool.
You can download the presentation from the Xbench Training tab of this blog.
To download the tool itself, just go to ApSIC’s webiste

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blogging directly from Office 2010

I didn't know it was possible to blog directly from Office 2010, but apparently it is – this post, in fact, was written and posted directly from MS Word 2010. You just need to go File > New, and select "Blog Post" from the available templates.

I will probably keep Windows live as my primary blogging word processor (for one thing, I don't see a way to add categories from the MS Word blog template), but this new feature of Word may prove useful for other bloggers.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Good advice on selling (your services)

I don’t remember who suggested to me that I subscribe to Jeffrey Gitomer’s newsletter, Sales Caffeine. Whomever it was, I’m grateful. Selling is certainly my strong suit, yet it is something all of us who freelance or have our own company have to do.

Gitomer has written several books on selling, and markets them through his web site and newsletter. But the free articles in his newsletter are already great value, with good, no-nonsense advice.

A case in point from a recent article:

The secret of selling is four words: perceived value and perceived difference. Two of the four words are the same: perceived.

If your prospective customer perceives no difference between you and the competition, and perceives no value (better stated, a greater value) in what you're offering, then all that's left is price - and you will most likely lose the sale. Or if you win the sale, it will be at the expense of your profit.

Excellent advice: if we can offer better value to our customers and prospects, the fact that our rates are higher than most, won’t matter. It’s only if we cannot offer better value (or if we cannot explain why what we offer is better value) that we’ll suffer from price pressure on translation rates.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Forthcoming XBench presentation

Thursday, February 24, between 6 and 8:30 PM, I’ll give a presentation at the Colorado Translators Association on how to use XBench for terminology and translation QA.
This session is suitable for most language combinations and translation platforms (XBench is a Windows program; it works well together with a variety of different CAT tools) and technical levels.
The cost at the door is $10 for CTA members and $15 for non-members.
The presentation will be at the Lafayette Public Library, which is located at 775 W. Baseline Rd. in Lafayette:
We will be in the lower level meeting room. The reservation is under Colorado Translators Association.
Here below is a brief description of the main points I’ll touch during the presentation.

XBench for terminology and QA

XBench is a Windows software tool for Terminology management and QA. It is developed by ApSic, a Spanish translation and localization company. It offers a wealth of useful features, at an unbeatable price: the program is freeware.

1 Terminology search and management

You can use XBench to search your glossaries, translation memories and other bilingual resources using simple or more powerful search functions.
In XBench you can include glossaries in multiple formats, various kinds of translation memories and several types of bilingual files.
XBench can be called from most application via simple (and configurable) keyboard shortcuts.
Finally, you can update on the fly the glossaries or other bilingual resources you use.

2 Quality Assurance

In addition to using XBench for terminology search and management, you can use it to check and improve the quality of your translation projects. If you use XBench for team projects, you can write your instructions directly within XBench, then distribute your XBench projects to your translators.

3 Saving projects

You can save each XBench project with the set of glossaries and settings you specify. This way, the next time you work on a similar assignment, you can use the same XBench project, with the same set of files and QA checks.

4 Documentation


5 Other tools to use with XBench


6 Future developments and support of other CAT tools

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another exciting offer from AmateurZ

Another exciting offer from that bottomless source of poor translations at rock-bottom rates:
[…] has a very high volume contract in which we need a vendor (NOT INDIVIDUAL LINGUIST) to provide translation and edit from […] Italian to English, […] and English to Italian. We […] are only looking for vendors who can provide both translation and edit.
Vendor must:

  • Have US citizen translators and state in your email that you have US citizen translators.
  • Be able to provide a 1 day turnaround time for small documents.
  • Have experience with legal documents […]
[…] please email me your company […] rates and confirm you are a US citizen. If you are not a US citizen or a vendor, your emails will not be read.
So they want to find a company able to provide fast turnaround on translation and editing projects done by US citizens only in a specialized field. I sent them our rates. They e-mailed me their counter-offer. How much are they willing to pay?
The highest we can go is $0.10 per word, for translation editing and proofing.
My answer:
Then you are not going to find any decent translator. No point in going further with this.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I wonder how much they can pay translators, if they charge that rate

Just received this offer from a so-called “translation company” from abroad:

We are service providers to global translation and publishing companies, […]

The three-step TEP (Translation Edit Proof) procedure: Your document is first translated (Translation) by a bilingual specialist; it is then reviewed (Edit) for accuracy by a second translator who is familiar with the characteristics of your target audience and it is finally proofread (Proof) by the original translator or a third translator who approves eventual changes made and checks for flow.

We […] build relevant translation memories to help you achieve highest quality and homogeneity possible at minimum cost. We also help you create glossaries for your projects should you not have one to ensure consistency throughout the difference phases of the translation process.


                  FRENCH, GERMAN, SPANISH AND ITALIAN <> ENGLISH                     

=> EUR 0,075 / per word

Texts are edited, revised, proofread and spell-checked before delivery.

Now, if they charge their customers Euro 0.075/word for T+E+P, and even if the margin they keep for themselves is a paper-thin 20%, how much can they afford to pay their translators, editors and proofreaders?

A quick estimate gives me the following:

Eur 0.075 – 20% = Eur 0.06 (available to pay for work outsourced)

if we divide this half for translation, 30% for editing and 20% for proofing, we get the following rates:

Translation, Eur 0.03/word

Editing, Eur 0.018/word

Proofreading, Eur 0.012/word

That’s in Euro. at today’s exchange rate, in dollars the above rates are:

USD 0.10 – 20% = USD 0.08 (available to pay for work outsourced)

Translation, USD 0.04/word

Editing, USD 0.024/word

Proofreading, 0.016/word

Do you think that is enough to pay for good “bilingual specialists”?

Me neither.

The sad thing is that these guys are from the UK. You’d think they should know better.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How not to find translators

Today I received an e-mail from a new prospect from France asking me (at around 4 PM Rocky Mountain Time), if I would be interested in a 3,000 project for them, to be delivered on Monday morning (Central European Time).

When I answered with our rates (plus a hefty weekend surcharge), I received an automated message, written in neither my native tongue nor in English, asking me to verify that I was indeed a real human being, by entering some “captcha” letters.

Guys, if you are in such a tearing hurry to find a translator on Friday night, you shouldn’t make people jump through hoops just for the dubious privilege of answering your message: chances are your prospective respondent, at this point, would decide not to bother answering your message at all.