Re: Translation costs

Subject: Re: Translation costs
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- alltel -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2004 08:46:09 -0400

The boss will want it fast, accurate and cheap. Remember that
you can get, at most, two of those qualities. Beware of the
amazing tendency of people to believe that when a document has
been rendered into terms that they do not understand it is
then finished.

Here are some thoughts:

- Is the translator a native speaker of the target language?
Do you have a good reason to consider someone who is not?

- What criteria will you use to judge the translated document?
Who will perform this testing?

- Does the target language have more than one commonly accepted
dialect? (For example, the English of Britain and the US, or
the Spanish of Mexico, Argentina, and Spain.) Which dialect
do you want? Why?

- Computerized word-for-word translations are particularly fast
and cheap. They are usually laughable.

- A computer is not required for the generation of bad
translations. This phrase supposedly came with an alarm
clock from Hong Kong, 40 years ago: "Thank you to
perfection of alarming mechanism you never awake when
you sleeping."

- How do you plan to maintain the translation in parallel
with the original documentation? Preparing an initial
document usually involves generating a customized dictionary
to resolve technical terminology. You'll want this dictionary
as part of the translation product if you want to avoid
feeling tied to a particular translation vendor for later


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Translation costs: From: David Tinsley

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