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Translation Project Management email archives - January 23 - 25

 

Development I had Skype for a little while, but then stopped using it, because I was not comfortable with people ringing me and then getting mad if I did not want to talk to them. Of course, in the case of translation project management work the situation is different. In my opinion, may God bless Kenax so that it can blossom, if you introduce a monitoring system it would also mean schedule organization for the remote workers with exact breaks, etc.

Well, I don't like to be rigid like that. One of my dreams of all this is to offer others the freedom I myself enjoy. My hope is to have enough translation project management work and enough people so that everyone could "basically" say how many hours and when they want to work. I fantasize a project managersī website which keeps track of the hours a person is logged into a project, I might input some basic variable indicating their actual concrete contribution in general to a particular projects, and everything would get somehow automatically calculated, with another variable being the percentage of profits from individual projects and earmarked for distribution among the projects managers involved in the project, the percentage itself being split up according to the previous variables (not necessarily an even distribution). And we can take this a step further, where project managers could log in and "nab" or "seize" a task. So if there is enough work, if someone has time, they can log in and check for projects, just like on ProZ. And if they see one which is available, they seize it and process it, blocking someone else from logging in and managing it. This would create incentive, keep people on their toes, while offering total capitalistic freedom for those who are involved. If someone wants to make more money, they get more involved. These are just some of the ideas that go through my head, but the general direction I was thinking of. Still a long ways from that though. But the point of being able to see what people are doing on their computer is I feel I am good at making things more efficient. So if I see how people are doing things, it gives me ideas for improvement, and I might give them tips. I would probably only want to do something like that when the person knows it. I do not want to invade people's privacy, which is part of the freedom I enjoy and want to spread to others. I detest working in an office environment, with someone breathing down my neck and constantly telling me what to do, especially if in a condescending manner. This is something I hope I will never be guilty of. Concerning Skype, perhaps you could set up a separate account for work and be able to use two accounts at the same time. Anyway, for the little bit that I used it, it seemed you could set it so that people do not bother you (press "I am away from the computer", for example), or only certain people are allowed to bother you. Or you can just turn it off and we can use it when I feel it will be better. Like I would write you an email and we would set a rough time to "chat", because certain things can save me a lot of time if I just said them and we spoke quickly rather than try to write endless long emails. For example, the thing I like about Skype is, through the chat window, I can send you weblinks. Or I can send you attached files by regular email. In this way, I can combine a verbal explanation with a visual presentation, and combine things to attain maximum efficiency. But I will only know how much time it saves me once I try. Generally I have a good idea when something would be better said than written. For example, I could prepare a list of things to discuss, rather than explain them in writing. I might be building up this list over a few days. As I respond to your emails, I might erase a paragraph and add a brief comment to my verbal list, answering some parts of your email in writing, and reserving other parts for a verbal explanation. At some point I decide I want to talk, so I send an email, we work out a "Skype date", and then I hammer through my list very quickly. I could even send you the list by email in advance, and wait for your response "I read your list, pondered it a bit, and am ready to discuss it at around 5pm, or right now, in fact". I'd call you and we would hammer through the points very quickly, where you might make your own notes within my list based on my verbal explanations. In this way I think I can attain greater efficiency. Otherwise, long ago I already realised that I cannot have too many project managers if I have to explain everything in writing like this. I'm a fast typer, but it really does consume too much time. And once I establish the most efficient means of communication, it could eventually be used as a template between project managers themselves, where a few lead PMs would be responsible for communicating with me, and then explain that further to others. Probably how every company operates, except I am trying to organise this on a remote level. Just more fantasies and brainstorming, but I'd like to start experimenting with it. So let's hook up! Try to find me. Shouldn't be so difficult.


> Okay, thanks Karel!

just to be certain, what do you mean by okay? Okay go ahead and approach them, or okay thank you for the information? It would be good to be clear with our communication. I am having problems with a long standing translation project customer for whom I did 12 languages over this past weekend and it does not want to pay. It was a misunderstanding in communication and they do not want to admit the vagueness/wrong wording of their original communication. This is also important because we do not always have a long gap of time to communicate each day, so it is good to understand everything the times we are communicating.


I gave you 0.02 proofreading for the entire project, 0.05 for all your files, and then extra for the bad files, depending how much I ended up paying the translators. Which is, for example, zero for Vaclav, Kalkant and Hercik (hovno). Note though that Vaclav owes you 624 dollars because you first said his translation was fine, so I paid him for his translation work, and then you said his required a full retranslation. I imagine it will not be easy to get that money out of him. I guess the problem is I took on a big project and did not have the resources to do things better, like take the time to check quality at an early stage. Also there was the problem with the poor quality of the pretranslation. I used a quality translator I have used for years, but without my knowing, he farmed out the work to someone else. I assumed his was good quality, and everyone used his crap quality to produce crap, I guess. But I argued to them that this is no excuse. They all knew I was overloaded with work and hence would not have the usual time to double check and be on top of everything. So I have been merciless to the poor quality checks. I was doing the Hungarian and Polish at the same time, so they were under the same conditions, and the results of those two jobs was basically normal. So I am tempted not to blame everything on the poor quality pre Czech to English translations, but rather the shit attitude of Czechs in general. Anyway, you saved me, and I only wish that I had a higher budget to pay you more. I charged a very competitive price because of the size of the project, but probably based on what translators used to charge. Also the dollar is a lot weaker. Anyway, I charge more for these translation project management languages now.

But the Vaclav thing I can't pay for because I remember I stressed this issue to you, to really check his quality. I guess you were tired from all of it as well, and didn't look hard enough. Perhaps you are also too much of a perfectionist and not an ideal proofreader, always wanting to dabble and perfect things, ending up spending as much time as a translator, and then feeling you should get paid that much.

So my final tabs on everything is I should owe you 1452 USD and 2200 CZK. Sound okay? Plus some interest I guess.


The situation is the following: nobody wants to grant relay for SMTP that is not associated with a particular email address on a specified server. That is, my internet provider told me that what they can do is set up an email address for me (which service is extra, not included in my service pack) that will look like email@hotnet.ro and so they grant me pop3 and smtp for it. But just as in the case of gmail, the settings will require authentification and in any outgoing mail email@hotnet.ro would appear as the sender. They also told me that if identification info does not appear it would mean giving free access to spamming. So, taking into account the fact that I do not have a server myself so I could have my own SMTP and configure it in whatever way I want, I propose the following solution which seems the only one for me: I can create another gmail account: kenax.management.alexandra, my screen name will of course be KENAX RW1 Alexandra, and default reply address @kenax.cz. That way nobody can see my real name, because of default reply email address I surely get the replies, the only weak point is that gmail appears at a certain point.

you are saying the strangest things. Are you saying gmail allows you to use their smtp server from your computer, to send directly from Pegasus? Please try a sample as you suggested, opening a new account, and lets try that. Otherwise, I've never heard of a company offering you an internet connection without the possibility to send email through their system. Anyway, let's experiment and try various things, but you must be able to send directly from Pegasus and not through some online form. The identity should be according to Pegasus and not the smtp server.


continuing from an email which I just labouriously wrote to you from my mobile, I would like to emphasise the urgency of certain tasks that I require from you, and to get into some system with you so that you can differentiate between emails which need immediate processing and emails which can wait. As I wrote, I have customers on different time zones, also translators, and I have grown accustomed to working scattered hours. This is especially true for very large projects. For example, for my biggest project, the 5 million word one in 11 languages which needed to be done in one month, I had a lot of Spanish translators in Argentina. A big part of the project, perhaps 3.5 million words, was in Spanish. I was using a lot of translators in Argentina, on the other side of the globe, and when a translator has a problem and needs to resolve something, they often might not even start translating until they are certain about something. So if I was casually going to respond to their emails during a pleasant cup of coffee during my morning, only to find another email from them the next morning because they still didn't understand something, you can imagine that it could take several days by the time they start translating. By which time they might get frustrated and find some other work. Then, two days later, I might realise I cannot rely on them like I hoped, start looking for another translator, and you can imagine that, in this manner, projects like this would simply not be accomplished. For such large projects I would sleep next to my laptop and answer emails sporadically over a 24 hour period. Actually, one of the reasons I like my job so much is because I'm a great lover of naps. If I feel sleepy, I simply take one of my beloved day naps with the sun shining on my face, because I know that time does not really matter, as long as I keep answering emails sporadically over a 24 hour period. My Argentinian translators truly wondered whether I even slept, because I usually managed to answer their emails immediately. Anyway, it has happened a few times that I needed you to process something and you didn't until much later. If we will start working on projects together, I need you to process certain things IMMEDIATELY. Especially if I forward you a file from my mobile. When I am in the internet cafe (about two hours a day), I can download an attached file and process something myself. Otherwise, I have to forward it to you from my mobile and wait for your feedback before taking the next step. Like whether I decide I should take the project, or who to assign it to. So how can we resolve this? I assumed you would be able to deduce from the email that it needs to be done right away. And when I am on my mobile, I usually check my email once every 1.5 hours. So it does not help me to read some question from you and not find the task processed. Meaning that I write back with a response, you might read it an hour later, and it wont get processed until a total of four hours later, by which time I might be at lunch, and the customer cannot wait anymore. Either you need to deduce what is required and do it, or we need to figure out a different system. Like I can keep my mobile on (I usually turn it off between checking emails because it unnecessarily drains the battery) and you send me an sms if you need an urgent response, or I can give you a special email address which converts into an sms text message if you want to save money and not send an sms directly from your mobile. However, there are several issues with the email to sms conversion method. First of all, it is not so reliable, and sometimes I get the text message much later, if at all. Second of all, as I am travelling around, I occasionally cross a border and have to switch to a different telephone number, and it may take me a while before I get to fast internet and set it up differently so that it forwards to the correct mobile number. If we get into a habit of using this system, I might forget to instruct you that I am going to cross a border or switch numbers, in which case you could be sending to the same email address but it is not getting to me. Causing lost communication, and inevitably leading to problems. And lastly, I am perfectly willing to pay for your sms expenses. Of course, you should only use this when necessary. Simply put the costs in the Excel labour sheet I sent you. This is a negligible cost concerning the importance of resolving certain issues immediately. So I basically need to know from you at what times I can depend on you. If I send you an sms late on a Friday evening and you are getting drunk in a bar, and the chance of you running home to process some translation file is negligible, I would need you to send me an sms instructing me of this, so I can either instruct my client accordingly and who might be waiting for a response, or I can run to the internet cafe myself. But we need to work out some reliable system. Anyway, I hope we can sort out this issue, because it is a burning one and one of your most important jobs.


thank you for staying up so late last night. I really did not think it would take so long to prepare. I hope to get into a good routine with you. I guess the biggest problem is that I can only rely on you so far. The Bulgarian can do a lot of tasks, but there are already many pieces you know that he doesn't, such as the repetitions analysis, and I only know it is a traumatic experience for me to teach him anything new. But perhaps he can handle this. I'll think about training him in case you are not available some time. In the meantime, I am at the last stage of preparing the Panasonic tender: in the proofreading and vetting stage. More opportunity for you to practice the vetting job. I will upload the big sample translations after this letter gets sent off, so after half an hour after that you should be able to find them through download.kenax.cz. They will also be downloaded, proofread and/or just checked by other translators, so consider this a vetting job which will run at the same time as the proofreading, so adjust yourself accordingly (should be explained in the vetting instructions in the RW html instructions). Some of the files are rather large and turning on the Revisions feature with so many graphics can cause problems, so perhaps it would be better to just make comments in < > brackets, so that you can make the necessary changes later after the files are proofread. I hope to finally send these to Panasonic within the next couple of days, so consider this high priority. Concerning the formatting, because this is only a test, right now what is important is that no text is missing, that it makes sense what belongs where, and that it is presentable to the customer. If we start to get work, weīll think of a unified system for the formatting. And considering my statement about high priority, I once had an inhouse secretary and we broke up things according to A, B and C priority. Whenever I gave her a task, I would assign it a priority, where A was top priority, B was secondary but still important, and C was for when she had time or felt like doing something different. She would always keep the list of things to do and do them variously. I am sure you can slip in a C before a B occasionally for the purpose of variety. Anyway, I feel that you should be able to get a good sense of what needs to be done in which order, but if you want, I can try to use this grading scale whenever I send you work. We can also use AA, or "burning issue", which would refer to stuff that needs to be done asap pronto and which will cause a bottleneck in launching a project or something if not done right away, and something I am waiting for. I think that this would mostly apply to the preparation stages of projects. For example, I have downloaded to my mobile/ppc an Excel file of all the translators I have used in the past, with their email addresses, so with certain jobs I can forward them attached files from my mobile and do a lot of project allocation and other work with my mobile. I just cannot see the actual files I am forwarding, which is why I need your eyes at these times. I can even hook up my mobile to my computer if need be to get internet access to my computer, but it is way to expensive to download big files. So stuff like last night might be AA stuff, because I have no clue what I am handing out. For example the translation into Bulgarian and all the other languages. The customer says "also Bulgarian" in the email but without looking at the file it would not occur to me that it should be translated into all the other languages. So I need you to use your senses and help guide me when I am allocating work in this blind manner.


We have a medium size proofreading job. this time in Greek and Turkish. A zip file of each language is attached. There are approximately 15,000 English words. with a lot of repeats.

I am addressing your email concerning the Dutch and Turkish proofreads. Iīd also like to ask about the Korean. I have found people for you, but for these proofreading projects it is better if you just give me a price and number of hours yourself. Now, if there truly is a lot of repeating text, I really suggest a translation memory software is used. I know how to prepare this all for you, so that the end result will be a Word file showing the changes/revisions as you requested. If there are a lot of repetitions within the same file, the translators will only have to proofread them once, and if the file has repetitions from previous proofreads, those will automatically be skipped over so that the proofreader can focus on new text only. Otherwise, I think the approach you are taking now is rather impractical, asking the proofreader to sort of remember what they have already proofread and just sort of whip through the translation quickly and do a "light proofread", as you say. 15000 words in 8 hours is a lot, even for someone just reading the text and not making any changes. And if there are a lot of repetitions within a file, without this program, the proofreader will have to make the same changes every time. But itīs a lot of work manipulating with this translation memory program and Iīd have to know how many words total, meaning number of projects and languages, and what percentage of repeats you think it might work out to over the long term, to make it worthwhile for me to prepare this for you. Otherwise, just asking the translators to work fast and try to remember that they already proofread some parts in a previous project, so that they can ignore certain sections, will probably lead to meagre work. 15000 words is about 60 pages of full text, meaning about 8 pages an hour. Doing such a quick skim job will not result in quality work, in my mind.

And I know you donīt like my long letters, but something else occurred to me just now. Based on the files your customer is sending, it makes me think they are using translation memory software, but are using you as a secondary vendor to separate the proofreading process from the translation process in order to fulfil some ISO standard, or not be liable for prosecution if its important project medical translations are found faulty. If this is the case, perhaps you could ask them if they can produce a TMX export, or what software they are using, because these programs are often compatible. And if this is all the case, then I think I can think up a more intelligent approach (by using their translation memory, for example) than asking my translators to perform a "light" proofread under the assumption that most of the text has been proofread in the past, so they should assume that it "should be good enough quality". This really seems like gumby work to me, but I realise the predicament it has created seeing a lot of text repeats and the customer is trying to save money. But quality will suffer if the translator is supposed to just whip through like this, rather than know exactly where the new text is and focus on that only, thus performing a much better job. And it will be much easier to fit into your budget, while performing a better job. Just a suggestion.

So I just got the analysis back of the files you sent and it shows that 28% of the files are internal repetitions. If I use the program the proofreaders would not have to proofread the same text (28% of what you sent me). And if you give me more work from this customer, this number should increase as it will take into consideration repetitions from the previous files as well. Iīve also translated myself using the program, and if there are similar sentences, like for example 80% of the sentence is similar to what has already been proofread before, the 20% new and old stuff is coloured in a special way so that the translator can immediately see only the new part of the sentence. In that case he can focus only on the new stuff, even within sentences. This should increase the quality and allow me to offer you your competitive rate. So, in conclusion, since there is plenty of time until Tuesday, I need you to tell me which way I should go: 1) use the program under the assumption that you will send me more project management work, because it is a lot of time and effort to manipulate with this program and 15,000 words and your budget is pretty small; 2) I ask my translator whether or not they are interested and tell them to try and do your "light" proofread, keeping in mind the budget (while not using the TM software). I should be able to give you a response by your time tomorrow Friday morning whether someone was interested in either of these option. I assume they would be more interested in the first option because I can offer them more for their time.

 

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