RE: Translation Memory System

Subject: RE: Translation Memory System
From: susan larsson <slarsson -at- cnw -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 01:36:46 -0700

On 04:06 PM 5/23/2001 -0600, Glenn Maxey wrote the following:

If you can reduce the amount of text that the translators have to look at
even with a tool, you'll bring down the costs of subsequent update
translations. Typically, translators will charge 20% of the full translation
just to open a file and run translation memory against a file that they
previously translated. In other words, they aren't doing anything except
running a tool that could very well "100% match" everything, yet you'll be
billed 20% of the full translation cost.

Just curious - as a tech writer, if there is existing documentation and you are asked to update it - do you charge nothing to review what already exists? Do you only look at the part that has changed, without seeing it in the context of what went before, and what follows?

Translators do not work with words in a vacuum either; if we do not examine the context, we cannot make the style consistent; we cannot guarantee that the changes will fit. The fact is that even with 100% matches, the match may not be correct - and work will be required to correct it.

Frank, you're in Germany and your posting was English. I suspect you're
bilingual and probably do small English/German translations. You'll find
Trados a big help even for small projects not related to the big French

Being bilingual is far from the main requirement for being a good translator. The translator needs every one of the skills of a technical writer - plus a thorough understanding of the source language combined with the ability to adapt concepts so they work in the target language as well. The goal is to produce a document that looks like it was written by a native technical writer from the start, without ever having been in another language.

If you were to apply your ideas of cutting corners using CAT to your own profession of tech writing, I'm sure you'd see what I mean. Translators use CAT - but not for the purpose of saving money for end clients, but to ensure optimal quality and consistency - for the end client.

Again, I encourage the person who placed this inquiry to contact a good translator or team of translators or agency, make sure they use the latest in CAT for the best quality, not to cut corners and reap savings. As technical writers, you wouldn't want that approach taken to your profession either.

translators' site du jour:
swedish>english medicine * business * technology
mailto:slarsson -at- cnw -dot- com * mailto:s_larsson -at- post -dot- utfors -dot- se
phone/fax: +1 360 466 3304 cell phone: +1 360 202 9402
laconner washington usa * bokenäs uddevalla sweden


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RE: Translation Memory System: From: Rick Kirkham
RE: Translation Memory System: From: Glenn Maxey

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