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sorry for the belated response. Been busy with my recent move to Greece, and things are slowly getting back to normal.

 

I hope you have had a nice Easter, preferably in some warm place by the sea- Nicosia perhaps?

 

Spent the last three months parked in Nicosia, in the interior. Not the greatest pleasure and rather glad to get off the island. The Greeks on the south side are a bit hostile, while the Turks in the north are generally great. Was quite the experience getting off the island but managed to do it.

 

Sorry for taking a while to get back to you- I have several irons in the fire right now, including finishing up a TCM doctoral program in Victoria (graduation is on the 26th April). I have been taking it to upgrade my acupuncture skills (And maintain a student visa while the immigration process drags on). I have also spent some time following the links on your online universe- I have really enjoyed reading about your experiences, and very well written: you truly are the content-meister.

 

Thanks, have been trying to improve it over time. Hope to get some cash out of it somehow in the future. I like spreading my fingers in all sorts of directions - makes work more interesting, hope it eventually leads interesting results, and I generally just like variety. Not to mention that it could be a better net than just relying on one basket. Seems you're in a similar 'boat'.

 

Here is a link to a blog entry of my account of a sailing course I instructed in the San Juans in 2007: http://oneworldservices.org/Blogworld2/?p=4 I have just heard from the sailing school , San Juan Sailing, that they have declared me "Instructor of the Year" for last year, which means I should get as many courses as I want for what might otherwise be a slow year. Practically that amounts to about 1 Saturday-Frday Learn'n Cruise week with a 2 day weekender immediately following per month, with the occasional back to back LNCs. Kudos to you the hardcore tree planter I worked in the woods as a choker setter and pulled Green Chain at the local lumber mill in the early seventies when I was living the life of a country hippy in northern California. I was still in my 20s then, I can still remember the muscle pain and exhaustion, specially after a week of clambering over huge redwoods on steep hillsides dragging the choker cables and the 1 inch plus diameter bull line cable with its 10 pound hook off the winch on the the back of the cat. I have often benefited from the hunter-gatherer mode of working hard for a short period and making a significant amount of dough to finance the next phase. Sometimes it has worked out better than others. I was set to take a job as watch captain (grand name for a net puller with a skipper's license) on a salmon gillnetter for the season in Bristol Bay Alaska two years ago, but sprained my knee climbing over some down trees on the hillside behind my home at Youbou on Lake Cowichan in the late snow of that year and had to cry off at the last minute. Then I got hired at very short notice to skipper a 41 foot "Nordic Tug" yacht trawler up the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay and back for a couple of retired doctors. What a trip! I got to realize my dream of going to Alaska and at $US250 a day every day for six weeks it certainly helped the bank account.

 

Love such experiences, except guess I may be getting a bit too old for such intense labour. But people were saying I maintained a better posture than the others. The kids were going all-out hilt, some pulling their arms out of the shoulder socket, while I spent a lot of time stretching. Found that my muscles were barely healing fast enough compared to how I was ripping them during the day. Don't even want to mention joints. But I do love the nature. And I also think I'm done with such mindless repetitive work. Hopefully next time I'll have something more intelligent to do.

 

You wrote: "For example, I can make a mirror contact page on my site, or you can make a mirror of my site on your server, such that when I get an email from the mirror contact webpage, whether on my server or on yours, it is special and my email program creates a special popup message or something. I've done this in the past. *** Sounds very workable- Either way is fine with me- I I will be guided by you- I like the idea of mirroring your site on my server- I just need to figure out how to do it- Any coaching from you will be much appreciated. Also in setting up local sites for Victoria and San Diego (which ultimately should be translated into French and Spanish, respectively). It's been many years (almost 40) since I wrote code in Assembly language and RPG, migrating an oil service company's accounting software from a card reading IBM 1420 to the then state-of-the art system 360 with its brand new DOS, although I've owned PCs, clones, then laptops continually since 1984- Drupal is a very nice open source content management system, written in Php with SQL databases. I have it set up on my local system and will be uploading it to my server as soon as time permits.

 

SOunds like you're quite the whiz yourself. I can send you whatever files you need, and you can change the text to suit yourself. I can make an unlimited number of email addresses (like [email protected], for example), make a mirror online contact form, program my email program to popup notify me when an email comes in which is your customer, etc. etc. All is possible.

 

a large percentage of people who need to see someone face to face, in a suit, and would never trust some Indian or farming out work cheaply over the net... ***I agree- (my suit is in remarkably good shape, since really worn), and with my business background I am comfortable talking to business owners and execs. What do you recommend as a strategy for identifying potential users of translation services in a local market?

 

I used to do a lot of door-to-door, retail and phone sales but must admit I rather detest that sort of work. I prefer putting on the blue jean coveralls and getting grease under my fingers on the production floor. I was an average good salesman, and whip that out of the box occasionally when I actually have a good bite on the line, putting on my best sales pitch etc. So not sure if I could really help you with suggestions, as I assume you would already know all this basic stuff, but I can give it a shot anyway if you like:

 

- approach a bunch of companies by email/fax. I can help you with mass emails, as I have a good server set up for that, and faxes. For example a cover letter which replaces fields in the text to "Dear <name>" and within the body of the text same with the emailing too. In which case it is good, if possible, to collect this information ahead of time. Captures their attention more than an unsolicited approach. With the fax a program could be set up to send out the faxes through your pc modem, perhaps overnight when all the faxes are not being used, so that the secretary gets it when she comes early in the morning and puts it on the head dude's desk, when everyone is awake and fresh in the morning. Apparently best time for such "campaigns". Can help you with the text too. The fax thing would be sending out automatically for all the punched in numbers overnight, and I guess the phone costs would be cheaper at that time. Apparently faxes can be a lot more effective because everyone is so used to email spam they practically ignore it now, and it is a pleasure to receive something printed into the hand and on your desk, so they give it much more attention.

- one that is blasted off (perhaps in small doses so that you have the time and schedule for this next step), important for a "follow-up", when you phone them a certain number of days or week later, asking if they saw your proposal. Then you give the phone push and see if you can set up a meeting for a "free" formal presentation. People like "free" and to be dazzled and entertained. Perhaps you could offer a free set of steak knives, heh heh. Or perhaps we could think up something free to give them, to help with the promo push or just to get in the door.

- one in the door then have some flashy presentation. I think below you were asking about that, so I'll leave an example there. I've had enough experience with Flash that I think I could whip up stuff quickly. At this point I guess have your nice suit on and smile. Not sure if I could think of any other suggestions than this, but with some mutual brainstorming other things may come to mind.

 

All sorts of strategies can be taken. Or show up in your suit at their office or corporate headquarters and give them a fancy demonstration on your laptop. and give them a presentation how the KENAX machine works. *** How to access this?

 

Here's some stuff I've whipped up so far in Flash:

- there's the youtube video at the bottom right of my main page: http://001yourtranslationservice.com/. I set it up so that I could easily change it for any city etc. Would just need to change the first few seconds of the voice track (for which reason there are two voice tracks), and then the background pics. Cheesey stuff, but important for Search Engine Optimization (another service you could push).

- then there's this older one which explains the production engine:

Translation Process

Unfortunately I did not finish it before going planting last year, after which my harddrive fried and I lost all the originals, so I cannot even continue with. Would probably make additional Flash files. Or perhaps it is possible to convert the Flash file back to the original somehow. Anyway, I can make more of these no problem.

 

consider homeless and starving children my big family. So it really doesn't matter to me and it is all part of serving God. *** I respect and understand that- I spent 9 months in India traveling around to the tibetan refugee settlements and providing free acupuncture services to the tibetans. My wife is tibetan and trained as a nurse, so she was able to translate and assist. It was the most rewarding work I have ever done- didn't make any money, but we were welcome everywhere and always ate well and had a place to stay.

 

I've been trying to get involved with homeless children shelters while traveling, but I guess everyone looks at me suspiciously as a single male living in a caravan truck. Anyway, am trying to get involved and away from this computer. Need some people contact in between that. Hope to accomplish more with charity. I don't really have much aspirations for myself. The caravan truck is almost completed and I'm quite content with that.

 

PS: Here is a dire but darkly entertaining take on what may be going on with our world economy and where we may be heading: Called :Clusterfuck Nation" it is at http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/ Jim Kunstler is a career journalist and one time Rolling Stone magazine Editor. Two years ago he published his book "The long Emergency" where he presents a case for the likelihood of a series of shocks to complex social systems, like sectors of the economy such as the real estate market and banking, leading to severe dislocations in societies etc etc. I hope the possible future depicted in his just published novel "A World Made By Hand" doesn't manifest, but his reasoning is well supported by the facts he presents.

 

Cool, have saved the link in my "next time on internet" list and will read it once offline later. I've been trying to get a good grip on what's been happening and suspect it could be just another ploy by the big executives to scam the little people out of their savings. One of the reasons why I don't believe in government or other pension schemes and prefer to consider my business as my pension. Just takes one of those horrible world wars and everything is whipped slate clean (hyper-inflation or whatever other tools they can think of using).

 

Good talking to ya!

 

Karel

 

sounds exciting and looking forward to any cooperation. Seems we are on the same "boat" concerning lifestyle and stuff. Actually, I'd say I'm sort of from Vancouver. I actually planted about 600,000 trees in BC over seven years, my last year actually last summer and for which I made the website: tree planters The last time I planted was some 20 years ago. At 44 I must say it was more painful than I expected, but I think I faired quite well against the young guns, averaging about 250bucks a day.  For cooperation we can think of various ways. We need to devise some way so I know who are your clients. For example, I can make a mirror contact page on my site, or you can make a mirror of my site on your server, such that when I get an email from the mirror contact webpage, whether on my server or on yours, it is special and my email program creates a special popup message or something. I've done this in the past. Then all I would do is copy that email into a special folder marking your clients, and slap on 2 cents (your mentioned markup below) on top of whatever I would usually charge in my response to their email enquiries. For your info my markup is 3 cents and I don't think I'd need to increase this, even if hiring project managers. Have this all figured out a long time ago. The more turnover I have (which would require additional project managers - PMs) I may even be able to decrease my markup, but perhaps not necessary. Lot of tough competition coming out of India, but I'm good at offline and online databases, php and programming, and I can use the same cheap labour for project managers as the Indians do. Except I find Ukrainians and Russians can be so much more reliable and on the ball than Indians. So there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to compete against their translation prices, although, like you said, people have told me my prices may be too low. Perhaps you could do some research and if you suggest I raise my price, we can both increase our markups. I plan to dedicate everything to charity anyway, since I live in a caravan truck, don't aspire to start a Kosman family, and consider homeless and starving children my big family. So it really doesn't matter to me and it is all part of serving God. If I should increase my price to wow customers more, no problem for me. I think you would be in a better position to judge that. I find that there is a large percentage of people who need to see someone face to face, in a suit, and would never trust some Indian or farming out work cheaply over the net, no matter how much sense it has. So you can make up different prices for different people, depending on the situation. You can set up an office in a room in your house, with a fax machine, and a large lcd screen to your computer and give them a presentation how the KENAX machine works. All sorts of strategies can be taken. Or show up in your suit at their office or corporate headquarters and give them a fancy demonstration on your laptop. I can help you with all this. Since I've recently moved into php programming I've learned how to set up an online presence which works off a usb memory stick, so anything is possible.  I find that global or local recessions or credit crunches do not really affect the translation industry, necessarily. Actually, since the crunch I've been receiving a LOT more work. Globalisation is moving forward (which requires increased translations) and no crunch will stop that.  I actually now also translate from French (grew up in Canada, where I studied for 12 years, including one in university), so perhaps I could help you sometime with some of your translation projects. Otherwise I've been translating for more than 15 years, although only from Czech to English translations. But this shouldn't prevent me from translating from French, because I can apply the same skills.  You can check out my travel blog through kenax.net/travel. If you checked out my caravan pages you should have seen a link to it. There is a big Euro TRIP link somewhere, and another one near the top.  Well, nice talking to you and looking forward!

 

Thank you for your positive response. I wanted to take a little time to explore your online presence more fully and consider the possibilities. I certainly admire the system you have created. I have the following thoughts as the possible basis for mutually beneficial cooperation: I would be interested in setting up an affiliate presence for Kenax in North America . I have fairly recently relocated to Vancouver Island, British Columbia (Canada) where I live by the shores of beautiful Lake Cowichan, from San Diego California on the Mexican border where I maintain an address. I would be interested in setting up affiliate/partner websites for both countries, plus undertaking business development activities in both areas. San Diego is well located for english-spanish-english translation opportunities, while in BC french-english would be the dominant (but obviously not only) language combinations because in Canada by law all official and commercial documents have to be in english and french .  I have not been interested in setting up a translation agency in the past because I do not wish to be in front of a computer all day every day- I might want to go sailing, for instance (I teach week-long cruising classes around the the San Juan Islands during the summer and have 6 weeks scheduled for this year so far), but an operation where I funnel work to you, taking on an occasional french-english translation (or project management) on the way would seem to be mutually beneficial. I already have submitted my CV etc for your translators' database.  If US agencies are charging $0.20-0.30 per word they must have huge overhead or profit, if not both, since my sense of the market for my language pair (french-english) at any rate is around $US 0.08-09 per word to the translator- although I haven't done any recent market research. I work with fairly technical content like legal contracts and medical texts that tend to be quite time-consuming to translate. As you know, with a contract for instance, you have to be absolutely clear on what the legalese is really saying before you can render it into the target language. I am getting Euros 0.0 65 per word from the french agency who I get most of my work from. Last year I translated a 150 page book on Auriculotherapy for Thieme Publishing Housein Germany, a direct contact through my PROZ profile page- this paid Euros 0.9 per 60 characters, which came to about US$0.13 at the time.  I don't think one has to be too far below the going rate to be competitive as long as the quality of the work is good. Too low might make companies nervous about the quality. I guess that the key is to know the going rate at any given time. What is your sense of the market at the moment? It has not dried up completely for me, but certainly seems to have slowed down with more last minute tight deadline type assignments.  In terms of numbers, I would like to take a US $0.02 per word referral fee on any work that manifested through these sites, which would have the Kenax look and feel and could be hosted on my server (Bluehost) or yours, and I would pay you the same for any work that I undertook myself. I work with Drupal Content Management System. I like it a lot, but have to admit that I am still struggling up the learning curve, so I would like to work closely with you on site development, content, and SEO. Perhaps we could apply any associated costs against income from business generated. Please let me know what you think about my ideas; It may take a while for the world economy to come out of the tank, but we could be set up with a solid North America presence for when it does.  By the way, your caravan looks great! I absolutely agree with the no side window configuration for a stealth type profile. I bought a VW bakery van in Stuttgart in 1970 for a year's travel in Europe and Morocco. It was handy to be inconspicuous in France, Germany and Spain, although in Morocco the campsites were cheap and well worth it for the security. I eventually sold the van for what I had paid for it in Amsterdam. I also enjoyed living on three different sailboats in Hawaii and Southern California over ten years or so. Now married again and with 2 small kids its good to have a house. Well, bon voyage, wherever you are- are you bloggingti? I'd love to follow your travels.

 

your offer does indeed interest me. I have been running my translation and outsourcing agency on the global market for many years, but feel there is much more room to expand on the North American continent. A presence there would help this greatly. You can check out translating jobs for a brief overview, but I would be interested in any custom agreement you might propose. Generally I can charge between 8 to 12 cents a word for what US based agencies usually charge between 20 and 30 cents a word, so you can see there is ample room for a cut for yourself. I have also been expanding into web programming, online databases, website design and much more. For this you might also like to check out: translation services All at equally competitive prices. At the moment I am putting up some online databases and can send you the demo link once it is completed.  Looking forward to hearing from you,

 

I live in North America where the cost of living is relatively high.  I like  your approach and philosophy and I believe it might be possible to  work with  you doing project management and still make a reasonable return on  the time  invested. Would you consider allocating a percentage of the project  fee to  the project management function and paying that rather than on an  hourly  basis? I could then possibly engineer the work at my end to  increase my  income for the time spent.   Looking forward to hearing from you,

 

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as I said, I need to wait for a response from the translators. I do not translate this language combination myself. Therefore I have to wait for a response before I can assure you of anything. Already I've received several responses but from translators who are currently busy with other translation projects. You mentioned that I can take only a part of the project if I do not have enough resources to translate all of it. Once a quality translator responds that they are available, due to the lack of time, it would be good to immediately send them something to start working on, rather than inform you, wait to receive some agreement, sign it, and delay things unnecessarily. That is why I suggested to get this process out of the way so I am ready when/if someone responds that they are able and willing to start.

 

We will need brief confidentiality agreement when we place the order before sending whole document. I set two sample pages, yes around 21000 words.  Step one is confirm if you can do it to our timescale. Quality control is important and I'd expect working late will be required.

 

okay, I will approach my translators now and let you know over the next hour or two as the responses come in. Did you say it was about 21,000 words? Your average translator can translate about 2,500 words a day, so this would require almost 10 translators. Then at least one would have to work late into the evening until early Sunday morning to control quality and unify everything. That person would probably charge a premium rate. Can you send me the entire document?

 

payment can be by credit card or PayPal, but we would have to work out some agreement before I commence. For example, I could approach my translators and if I round up some high quality ones who are available today, they would give me their price and how much they could handle (I would coordinate the work whereby one or more would control the quality of the others, to ensure consistency of style, terminology and quality etc), I would inform you, and if you agree, you could make some small downpayment and I could deliver the files to you in sections as you pay in sections, or something like that. But since you are not an established customer of mine I cannot send you the entire translation before payment.

 

I can approach my translators on your goahead and find out who is  available, but we would need to discuss payment first. I imagine that  the price could cost around  0.11 Euro per word, but I would need to get feedback from the  translators before quoting you an exact price. It is possible that I  could do all of it, but I would need some assurance concerning  payment, since I am not in the UK at the moment and could not write up  a contract with you.

 

We have a technical document which urgently requires a high  quality  Greek-English translation.   I attach two sample pages.   The document is 56 pages long and I think around 21,000   We need this completed within 24 hours, can you deliver this?   We would be able to give you the instruction to start about 09.00  GMT  tomorrow, Saturday 11th July.   If you can't deliver in 24 hours what can you do.

 

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I was actually in Czech Republic for about a month before you wrote this letter, but since then I've been on the road and have now settled back in Bulgaria, where I will be for a few months. Perhaps when you are around this neck of the woods? May be able to provide free accommodation if you come for a visit:

construction chicks

Or we can chat about ideas by email.

 

About 2 months ago you sent the attached message to me at Berkeley Scientific Translation Service. I read much of your background information and enjoyed your photos of Prague and experiences in the translation business. I'm a translator and my company is a small agency (and it got even smaller in the last 2 years!) that specializes in patent translations and other technical and legal translations. Most of our translations are into english, and much of that originates in Japanese. Anyway, it sounds like your operation is quite different from mine, but it might be interesting to get together to trade thoughts on translations and the translation industry. I don't have any ulterior business motives, but just thought it might be interesting for us to get together over a coffee or a beer some day over the next 2 weeks when my wife and I will be staying in Prague. It seems like your Prague address is about 4 blocks from where we'll be staying on Rimsca (Vinohrady). I'll be bringing a laptop to keep in contact and will be reachable during that time. Let me know if you are interested and have an hour or so to spare. Thanks for your initial contact email.

 

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