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Translations email archives - January 29


Karel, I will pay you for the 11 languages. We have a very large volume of language proofreading (valued at least about $75,000 to $100,000 US a year). The whole point of our contact with you was to have you set up for a steady stream of this work in all languages and for translation as well. (My mistake, I thought you might be interested.)

I'd rather just give you my point of view, because I do not believe it is making its way to you accurately through your staff. When we first started working together on that large Dupont project into English, it was easy for me to quickly test translators, being a native English speaker myself, and the fact that the English did not have to be native quality. Up to that time I have not had that much work as a project manager and spent about half my time translating, the other half on project management and setting up my agency better. I have always wanted to test translators into other languages but never had so much work to warrant this. Recently I got approached by Panasonic and yourselves, so that between the two of you I have been testing translators into 37 languages. For this I had already developed a system which basically automates the process, but which still takes time, because first the translators must respond and upload their translation sample and translator information to the online system, then I must analyse each CV and look for translators who look like good quality, then ask them to assess the samples, then based on the results choose a second assessor, continuing this process until I have at least three assessors in each language. Up to date more than 800 translators have submitted their sample and I have the assessment process complete in many of the languages (I am not focusing on all of them because the process can get expensive and I am responding based on the languages/work actually offered me - but the samples are there and the rest can be tested fairly quickly). You can imagine this process can take a while. It is not a matter of testing translators every time I am offered work from you but an entire process I have been wanting to do for a very very long time, but never had the opportunity. So when I felt I was ready in some of the languages, I mentioned this to Ivane, but no work came in any of those languages. Generally I find that it is communication with your staff that has been difficult, not the other way around, and since the very beginning. Often my letters got lost or purposefully ignored. It has improved since the beginning, but still can improve. With your present staff, here are some examples. Concerning the 11 languages you mentioned above, Ivane sends me a file showing a bunch of languages, and then writes "also Bulgarian" in the email. When I later complained about this, she explains to me that her Romanian translator did not have problems with this. This argument follows zero logic. Obviously a Romanian translator does not offer 37 languages, does not have such an agreement to provide you with such a service, and would obviously assume that he should only be concerned with Rumanian. Then I was discussing some more complicated issues with Charles, suggesting how we might go about this proofreading work (which I will explain again below), and basically got a response "Thank you for your lengthy email. Acknowledge receipt." I believe this was your Friday afternoon before closing. Well, acknowledging receipt is not communication, I never got a response, and not even sure he read it. Or if he read it, perhaps he did not understand it (because I find the technical understanding of your office quite weak, right from the beginning), or felt it was not within his executive power to respond to it. Or mentioned something briefly to you and just followed your averse reaction. Who knows, but this is not communication. I've been assessed as having high intelligence, I realise I have an engineer's and very logical mind, but these are precisely the qualities that allow me to organise very large projects and create these systems which greatly increase my capacity. But I often find it difficult when communicating with these other translating agencies, because the little people I'm communicating with simply do not understand what I'm talking about, perhaps lack the executive power to make an appropriate decision, or simply do not want to deal with it and go home once the 5pm bell dings. Hence my frustration with working with translation agencies in general. On the other hand, I have set up a very elaborate online system, precisely by writing complex instructions to programmers. I have zero problems communicating with them, nor with any of my translators. That is because I write simple, clear and very explicit instructions to my translators, and because my programmers are engineers and have the mental capacity to understand my complex instructions. So I absolutely decline your staffīs accusation that there is a problem communicating with me. And now to suggest to you what I was trying to get through to Charles but apparently hit a brick wall. For the last larger proofread Charles offered me (into Dutch and Turkish), I performed an analysis and found 28% of the documents with internal repetitions. This means that, by using a translation memory software, 28% of the document would not have to be proofread, because it was already proofread once during those documents and the translation memory would remember that, and hence jump over those sentences when they appeared again (but obviously proofreading them automatically based on how they were already proofread once). Now if I were to receive a steady stream of work in this/these same language combination/s, where the translation memory would remember all the sentences in previous projects, I am fairly confident that this figure would rise to 50%, perhaps to 80% in the longer term. Who knows. If 80%, the translator would only have to proofread 20% of the document, because the program would remember that 80% has already been proofread, and would just skip over it. This seems a much better and more intelligent strategy than informing your translator that much of the document and material is repetitive, so they should assume that most of it has already been proofread, and hence good quality, so they should just perform a "light proofread", kind of just brazing over everything with speed. Actually, this seems a rather retarded approach, not to mention that your stated budget of 34$ an hour (if I am not mistaken) does not leave much room for me, and I have to ask my translators to whip through 8 solid pages an hour at 20 to 25$/hour. Most of my translators I like to use are high quality and would not feel comfortable about such a shoddy approach (although I can certainly find shoddy translators). Anyway, I suggested to Charles my TM approach, yet said I can do it his way if he wants. I was showing my flexibility, and even mapped out an easy to read numbering system for him: option (1) - my way, and option (2) - your way. Yet his response was that our systems are not compatible or something. Anyway, I have to admit that option 2 (your approach) is not that interesting to me. It does not give me much profit, and I donīt feel comfortable asking my translators, but I can consider trying. Anyway, I donīt want to go on and on about this. Generally I donīt enjoy gumby work, and I always enjoy seeking a better way to do something. If I could do it my way option 1, the translators would perform a much better job, because they would know that what they are reading would be new text, and would focus on it more. They would perform a normal, quality proofread. And earn something substantial, because I could offer them more. And I would make enough, if I were handed a steady stream and could build up the translation memory over several projects. And the customer would receive better quality. So a win-win-win situation. But the inflexibility is rather on your end. Either because your staff doesnīt understand anything, or are following your instructions, which is an automatic averse response to using such software. This is the future way of the translation industry, and it is up to you how you organise your office. But I know that I am ahead of the game. I have a lot of experience with this software now, I have experts to help me, and I have progressed immeasurably since when I first used it on your project, when the company selling it to me gave me the wrong advice. They are just another cracker box operation and I certainly do not refer to them again. Anyway, if you have a real project for me, and your staff is capable of giving clear and explicit instructions what to do (not say "Bulgarian also" but actually spell out the task), we can work together. Iīve been busy testing out people and finished in many of these other languages. Others I may need to round up more assessors, because I neglected those languages because I wasnīt getting any work from you. I donīt want to bog you down with my emails, but maybe sometimes, when things get a bit more complicated or intelligent, I should just write directly to you, because there is obviously a major missing link between us. For part of my expansion I have spent several years seeking and testing other project managers, and I can tell you that 95% of the people I have been communicating with are simply incapable of understanding something more complicated. Iīve also had inhouse staff, and I know there is a difference between teaching someone something while showing it on the computer, with their mouse, rather than trying to explain things to them by email. You can consider me a total expert communicator. I have lots of experience with this and have finally found a girl who performs this task well. And will continue to look for more such people. But I absolutely reject your staffīs statement that I am inflexible and not possible to communicate with. On the contrary. Anyway, sorry for getting frustrated with your people but no work has come as promised and there are several other reasons. Mostly frustration with communication. And I donīt like doing gumby work at beggarīs wages. Perhaps we can continue working together if we set up some simple guidelines for your staff. Like translations between X and X languages, and some simple procedure.


However, the deadlines tend to be short at times to fit into the release dates for the material. You were never a "last resort". When we got the material from the client, we went straight to you. I personally asked Charles and Ivane to use you because I thought you would want the work. I think my mistake was thinking that you had translators all ready to proceed, but everytime we send an email you have to "test" translators. We do not have that kind of time on this end. I guess we work very differently than you. Time is always critical here. We don't just make up these deadlines.

responding to your email which I read on my mobile but haven't downloaded to my computer yet. Okay, please go ahead and translate the short approach letter I sent you (attaching it again). Then, for my website, I was thinking of translating the first part of, and some of the Services page. For the first part of, I was thinking up to and possibly including the first quote from the bible. Or should I take out that section for the Chinese market, perhaps replacing it with some Confucius quote or something? For the Services section, maybe it does not make sense to translate it because I would think the Chinese companies could find lots of such people within China. So my prices would be too high for them. I think that, for the Chinese market, I would be best at offering translations into all the countries they export to, and nothing else. What do you think? Also, I might make the link in the approach email not to but rather to which is a sister site where I moved the translator database since I learned that my previous was not accessible from within China. Where are you located? The Russian site above is simple and does not have any links outward, to make sure it does not get banned by the Chinese government. This site's main purpose is the online application form, which I want accessible from within China. To make it interesting, perhaps we can choose some interesting links to other sites within China. I also have people within China who can help me with this, if you are not interested. Which brings me to your other questions about other type of work. For the country representation, if I were to get a response in Chinese from one of these companies I approach, I would forward it to a Chinese translator to translate it. But it would not have to be a full translation, but just get the point across. Or the translator could become a project manager, communicating with the customer directly, assuming he already knows what I would probably say. Or possibly prepare files in advance before the translators and myself would wake up on my time zone so that they could begin with the translations. For this you might consider checking out Kenax Global which basically explains the system I have set up, where all my project managers are located on different time zones, and log into a central server to process translation files etc. So your work could expand in that area as well, but I need to know your price per hour for that type of work. Obviously a quality translator like yourself who gets lots of translation work would be a lot more expensive than regular administrative staff. For the project management work I am generally offering 3$ an hour, plus a percentage of the profits on projects you partake in, which could bring it up to around 4$ an hour, or more on larger projects. So I imagine that this would not have to be an interesting price for you, but I also know that it is an interesting price for may Chinese people. Although it might take me a while to find someone who is available and capable, in which case I would use you in the shorter term at your higher price until I find someone else. This area would require further communication between us, so that we can come to some agreement. For the looking for Chinese customers part, I generally offer for this a commission on all work a customer you find sends me in the future. Otherwise, my Rumanian girl is collecting email addresses, and if the responses I get are favourable, I can invest more to hire someone on the "inside" etc. For the communication part I need to know what you would charge. I have other Chinese translators who charge less, but who are not good quality like you. But for this type of simple communication I do not think the quality of their written Chinese needs to be so high. Who knows. I am just making a launch into China for the first time now, so I am always keen on any suggestions.

Can you manage a Swedish into Finnish translation for a good price? My brother has a translation of som material relating to domestic violence that he needs translated (about 7000 words) and I'd like to reccomend your services.

I've only have two Swedish to Finnish translators in the new database, and I can approach my old database as well, but not sure how many of those email addresses are still active. For one I would have to charge 0.13 and the other 0.17 USD/word. I can ask for their CVs if you like, and they both seem reliable, the cheaper one even more, but other than that I have no experience with them yet, so I cannot testify as to their quality.

Although its wrong samples, but still I took me some time checking them, so I would love to charge the $ 0.02, actually this is how I deal with my clients.

I have considered this further and this will hopefully be my last argument. First of all, everyone would love to charge something for nothing, and get free money. Second of all, how you deal with your clients does not necessarily have to do anything with me, for what is important is what we have agreed on, or what is fair for our continued cooperation. I looked and you wrote in 12 cases that there were no translation samples at all. So how can you charge me for 0.02 times 90 words for these 12 cases when there were no words at all? Now I understand that you had to follow the link, and then take the time to put in a rating of 0.5 and write/paste in the text "no translation sample", and to be fair I would be willing to pay you something for this, but I think you are being unreasonable by charging me your full rate in these cases. You are charging double of what my most expensive assessor is charging, and it seems you are just trying to get as much as possible, and not thinking fairly. Not to mention that you initially tried to charge me for 80 samples when you only assessed 55. If you want to be strict and charge 0.02 per word, then I can be strict and say that in those 12 cases there were no words to charge. I hope you can be more reasonable about this, because we are talking more about long term cooperation here, and you are not creating a great atmosphere. I'd also like to point out that you gave your own translation sample the worst score (5) of anyone else, and the other assessor gave you a much better rating (8 - "too many wrong equivalents"). So I will have to pay for at least one other assessor because I am not even sure I can trust the accuracy of your assessments.

Thanks for your offer, I am interested in your offer both for the translation of email and website and the position of representative. As for the translation, just send me what you want to translate and time frame. As for the representative role, I need a detail description of the job responsibilities, if you just need me for communication between you and your clients in China, that would be easy, if want me to approach the clients or do sales, that would be involved a lot of other things to be discussed further. I am now a freelancer, so time should not be a problem. Waiting for you further instruction.

responding to your email I just read on my mobile, considering what you said, should we rewrite the Chinese approach email to focus on translations only, and emphasise that I am talking about native speakers? I also have less expensive translators located in Rumania etc. who can translate into these languages as a non-native and more competitive prices, so should I mention that in the letter as well? The approach letter you translated was written for the western market, and the most important point is its success and not whether the Chinese translation is accurate. Do you have a sense for marketing that you could help me formulate the ideal Chinese wording? If not, I can approach the other translators to help me with this. But it costs money to hire someone to collect email addresses, and it makes more sense to make sure the approach letter is written in the most successful way before blasting it off to thousands of companies. Do you think it makes sense to translate my website, considering the only possible service I might be competitive in for the Chinese market is the translations? In the future, when I have a heftier budget, I'd like to translate my website into many languages, just because it will make it look better, and me more solid as an agency. Perhaps in the Chinese approach letter it would be better to just refer to the webpage showing all the languages I offer (you will find a link to that in the paragraph on the entry page So I'd like to discuss this with you, and possibly others, further before I blast these emails off. Also, should the approach letter state that I do not have any Chinese inhouse staff and that, if they choose to write to me in Chinese, it will get translated externally? Should the Chinese approach letter also include the English original? Looking forward to your input.


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