Sunday, April 04, 2010

Being Fast

Ken of the 1-800 Translate company is blogging about Speed.. not the kind that makes you unwell, but the kind that makes you productive.

"You’ve got to do it right, but you’ve got to do it fast too. How fast? It all depends. Most translators in most languages can do somewhere between 2500 and 3000 words per day. That works out to about 300 words per hour. That’s unique words, now, so if the materials to be translated have a lot of repetition (say 50%), then the translator is effectively translating 5000 words instead of 2500 (...) Terminology management, machine pre-translation, and lots of other stuff can push those numbers much higher (...) Edit and proof take more time, say around 1000 words per hour, each, depending on the quality of the original and the talents and diligence of the editors. Traffic becomes a concern, too, in that the document has to be scheduled and assigned to the appropriate linguist by the appropriate project manager or language manager. So all the expectations we have for words per hour get tossed out the window if the one-and-only language manager is backed up or simply having a bad day. "

When all else fails, Ken throws in more translators, but complains that we are like cats, that is, there is more than one way to skin us. Thanks, Ken. I agree that as a bunch of professionals, we find it difficult to agree on anything, starting from translation theory and ending with which style manual is best to use. Don't worry, though - if the automation market keeps growing at the speed it does currently, our own productivity will kill all cats in the linguistic neighbourhood. That achieved, your only worry will be software crashes.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at

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