QUERY: translation speed statistics - part 1

Subject: QUERY: translation speed statistics - part 1
From: "Jeff Allen" <jeffrey -dot- allen -at- mycom-int -dot- fr>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 May 2003 23:43:39 +0200

Hello TECHWR-Listers,

I am looking for published or publishable statements about the speed at
which human translators and translation reviewers conduct their tasks. I
have collected a few examples of such quotes from books, articles, and web
sites, yet am looking for as many examples from as many sources as possible.
Cross-validation will help verify statements that are made about translation

The types of statements I seek would be something like the following:
"On average, a translator is able to translate between X number of words per
hour/day" or "On average, the translation proofreading/review process takes
Y amount of time per amount of words"

Of course, some issues to take into account include: 1) type and technical
difficulty of the document; 2) language pair and translation direction; 3)
expertise level of the translator within the field; 4) amount of time
involved in terminology research; 5) amount of time involved in parallel
dictionary entry creation and editing; 6) time spent on project management
tasks (identifying what needs and does not need to be translated, file
organization, etc); 7) use of computer-assisted/aided translation tools
(including sentence alignment, conversion processes, etc); 8) Correction of
source text in agreement with authors; 9) multi-tasking; etc.

All of these factors are measurable. It just depends on whether
terminologists, translators, translation reviewers, and translation
coordinators/project managers measure the steps of the processes in terms of
"actual" time spent per step, and not simply the duration that the
translation task remains in the queue of each step of the workflow process.

I have already received information on this topic from the following
organizations: World Bank; Pan American Health Organization; French Republic
Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industry; French Republic Ministry of
Foreign Affairs; BMW Group; DaimlerChrysler; Deere & Co (John Deere); PWG
Global; Explicon. I am still trying to get responses from other
international organizations like the European Union, United Nations, UNESCO,
WTO, etc as well as other industrial groups and companies. Several
independent translators have also provided me with their own translation
speed statistics.

The reason for this request for such statistics is that I am currently
conducting an experiment on Machine Translation (MT) postediting (PE) speed
and would like to compare it with established translation statistics on
traditional human translation speed.

The results of this experiment will be published in an article/paper on
measuring MT PE speed as a sequel to my other articles on this same topic
that I will post in the following message on this topic (the reason for
posting two parts is to avoid a single long message from getting rejected
automatically by the server).

If you are willing to share quotes and references on translation speed,
please contact me directly at my e-mail below. I will compile the data and
present it in the upcoming article, and will acknowledge those who
participate in providing such information. I can also provide a summary
post to this list.

It is important to note that I have intentionally not created an online
survey form. The information that I have received from source thus far is so
varied, that it is better to let people respond with any information they
have or know of in the form that it is available.

Please feel free to forward this request on to anyone who could respond to
my request, and many thanks in advance for your assistance.

Jeff ALLEN (Paris, France)
Member of Editorial Advisory Board of Multilingual Computing and Technology
magazine (www.multilingual.com)
e-mail: jeff -dot- allen -at- free -dot- fr
Project Manager, Mycom France
e-mail (office): jeffrey -dot- allen -at- mycom-int -dot- fr


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