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Often, the top JA > EN translator for the month has translated >100,000 units, sometimes >200,000. For those of you who have achieved such lofty figures, I'm curious to know:

 

(1) How do you have access to such a high volume? For instance, are you the preferred translator for many customers? Are you on several project teams?

(2) How do you translate so much? For example, do you have a mind-blowing CAT program configuration or highly regimented workflow? Do you only take on certain types of jobs?

 

I realize there's no much incentive to share the information I'm requesting, but I hope you'll at least throw a few pearls of wisdom to us early-career translators :)

4 comments

  • 0
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    Robert.Gray.Edison

    I think Vox Nipponica would have a good answer to this, since he/she seems to be the one who is consistently at the top of the list. I'm on the dashboard a lot, and even if I did every job I saw, it would be very hard to reach the numbers you speak of. I'm not entirely sure how the system works, but I did notice that the proofreading test is unavailable. It could be that the people getting the highest word counts are proofreaders, and all of the positions are full. Or like you mentioned, they could have a lot of preferred customers. I think the people who got in early at Gengo have a pretty big advantage in this regard. If you haven't passed the Pro test yet, I highly suggest you work toward that, because there seems to be a lot more Pro level jobs than standard level.

    Edited by Robert.Gray.Edison
  • 5
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    Vox Nipponica

    Not exactly thrilled to be summoned out of my lair by name, but with that being said...

     

    Remember the Mark Twain line: "Lies, damned lies, and statistics."

    Volume numbers can mean wildly different things depending on the content. Is 1,000 characters of an academic treatise the same thing as 1,000 characters of the names of hamburgers on a menu? What about 10,000 characters of cosmetics labels at a lower rate versus 10,000 characters of a discussion of microchips at a higher rate? Pick your poison.

    I would suggest doing group jobs. The top FR>EN translator previously discussed how it has worked out well for her to focus almost exclusively on Standard level group jobs for e-commerce of merchandise. It comes to her easily and she can do a high volume.


    I am a career translator and have been doing this for 15 years. I am a professional typist, copyrighter, and small business owner. The combined text output I do across all of my translation clients, copywriting, e-mails, business prospectuses, and programming on a daily basis is a figure that will make your hair stand on end. If it doesn't involve typing, I don't touch it.
     
    You will have to make a lot of sacrifices to be a career translator or typist. People generally have other priorities and goals like main careers, family, children, schooling, a dream home. I do not share these interests. But I don't think it's desirable for most to eschew these things. In fact, I would highly caution against it for the uninitiated. I have no spouse and live alone, and I shun most creature comforts. Balzac and Simenon legendarily wrote constantly, the former fueled on coffee and the lattter on sex. Both also managed to find time to have thousands of amorous escapades, something that I have not yet mastered. Amorous escapades only account for 5 percent of my time.

    Here is the real advice you need, but it's also what you don't want to hear: beware repetitive stress injury. Your fingers and tendons will only last for so long -- and not long at that. Many of my professional colleagues have had bad RSI and had to have metal implants put in the hands. The below will not prevent that, but at least forestall it.

    Buy a professional ergonomic keyboard with split key rests and concave keywells. Specifically, the Kinesis Advantage 2. This reduces key travel, and the use of industry-grade mechanical switches means the keys actually depress onto buttons, not plastic membranes. It will take you at least one year to feel somewhat comfortable with the remapped key scheme on QWERTY.

    Next, remap your keys to the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard. This will take you six months to feel comfortable with, perhaps longer.

    Buy a trackball mouse, preferably the Kensington SlimBlade. Again, you will have a learning curve. You want to reduce idle movements in the hands.

    Teach yourself a *nix (Unix-like) operating system variant. The goal is to stop interacting with a primitive window manager that makes use of graphical windows, and control everything with the keyboard. It will take 3-5 years to feel vaguely familiar with Unix, probably eight to know what the hell you are doing. At this point, you can switch to a fullscreen tiling window manager and interact with everything onscreen with the keyboard. Basically, you are doing what all programmers do.

    Outside of the Web, this is what you will be looking at all day.

    Configure your monitor color temperature to reduce eye fatigue.
    Lastly, a great, not good, ergonomic chair will run you at least $1,000.

    Finally, if you are still learning either of the languages in your pair (hopefully not the target), you have a huge bottleneck because you are doing double duty, trying to perform one skill that requires the other. If that is the case, perhaps devote more years to study.

    Anyway, I don't want to tell you my life story, so I hope these remarks will give you food for thought, not discussion. Part of why we go into being authors/translators is so we can be left to our own creative devices :-)

    Think of it less as a competitive race like the Tour de France and more like the long jump-- it's just you and the long, simmering pavement out there.

    Edited by Vox Nipponica
  • 0
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    Robert.Gray.Edison

    さすがVox Nipponica.

    Fantastic information. You could probably make a lot of money running webinars to teach people how to work like you do. Have you ever thought about writing an e-book?

    Thanks for taking the time to post.

     

  • 0
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    Cheryl

    Are all of these group jobs found through the RSS feeder?

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