Question for any translators (re: recent job classified)

Anyone have any experience with this crowd? I checked their website, and it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence, nor does the actual ad. I mean, their main web page is still titled “index”, they misspell their own company name at the bottom of the page, and the English recommendations for viewing size etc. for the site are weirdly written. But I want more work :laughing:

You could start by offering to re-do their English version. What a joke!
I have no idea what this company is like, but judging from their website alone, they’re a bunch of fly-by-nighters.

Yes, I know who this is.

This is a guy named “Poem Hermit” who wants to start up a translation agency in Taichong. I’ve e-mailed him a couple of times. He sounds like he has his head on fairly straight, but obviously he has succumbed to the epidemic Taiwanese disease of “My English is just as good as those foreigners’, no need to have one of them do my Web site.” He also is not particularly interested in paying living rates to foreigner translators – in other words, probably uses the traditional “undercut the translator and fool the client into thinking it’s good English” business model. Certainly judging from the Web site…well… He’s posted to,, and several other translators’ web sites – evidently he’s not getting the rates he was hoping for??

I think the site says it all: “Translation is more like enthusiasm than a job to us”. Now, I would say it depends on whether or not they pay others for their, er, enthusiasm.

I haven’t dealt with these people for work. I doubt very much they will pay rates acceptable even to foreigners living in Taiwan (let alone internationally-competitive). If you’re working for less than NT$3 a word in Taiwan you’re selling yourself short as an experienced native English-speaking translator, IMHO.

One red flag, however – these guys are using some sort of CAT tool according to their site (probably OmegaT, MetaTexis, or something like that – can’t see them purchasing Trados at the prices it goes for these days but I could be wrong). The main point is that they are offering free translations for 100% matches TO CLIENTS. So they will be undercutting the translators severely for any kind of matches. They can’t make money like that and they will soon find that out, but they’ll squeeze their “professional qualified translators” (hah!) first.

Hmmm… according to their word count page, they ARE using Trados…interesting. Especially since there is no Trados rep in Taiwan anymore – the whole island is under the Beijing office. I’d LOVE to know if their copy of Trados is legal… :smiling_imp:

If you really want the work – and really want to be supporting someone who can’t write decent English but would like clients to believe that he can – go for it, but don’t let them get too far ahead of you on money at first. They might well be a great outfit to work for – if you don’t mind being squeezed for Trados matches. I PERSONALLY DO NOT ACCEPT REDUCED RATES FOR TRADOS MATCHES. Also, there is the tiny issue of who owns copyright in the translation memory you are producing – obviously they think THEY do, so for my money they should be providing you with Trados. Most translators feel THEY own the TM unless a specific agreement was negotiated up front. This is a gray area but I wouldn’t let them ride roughshod over you on it. Just something to think about.

[quote=“sandman”]You could start by offering to re-do their English version. What a joke!
They just had an ad up for someone to edit their English web site. Did someone here get hired? I applied, but they said my rates were too high.

Um . . . what’s a Trados match? What would a 100% match be? Thanks.

It’s a match in a “memory” (i.e. database) of previously translated segments.

Trados being a translation memory program which analyzes previously translated segments against what’s currently being translated. 100% match would indicate that the current segment matches 100% with stuff you’ve translated previously.

The thing is, you will often have “100% matches” for Chinese to English work, but the English segment that was a “perfect match” doesn’t make sense in the context of the sentence or phrase before and after the one that was “matched”. So you still have to read, consider and edit the “100% match” anyway.

The only time Trados matches make a difference in a job for me is when the client suddenly comes back a week after I’ve turned in a job and says, “Oh, so sorry, we’ve edited the file, can you just change those parts that we changed?” I reply, “Oh, so sorry, can you take out just the parts that you’ve changed?” They say no, and I say, I’ll re-do the whole file, and then I happily run it through MetaTexis (I don’t use Trados anymore, too expensive and MetaTexis does everything it does better anyway), translate the new bits and have MetaTexis remind me of how I translated the old bits the last time around. Works even if it iwas several years ago (assuming you were using a translation memory tool at tha time of course). I’ve got 6 years of work on my database and it’s great if only for the concordance searches that let you search for any word or phrase in either the source or target text. It’s wonderful for those “Oh gosh I’ve seen this before but I can’t remember where or how to find it again” moments.

Hmmm… does MetaTexis require MS Word? I’ve managed to wean myself completely off that and haven’t run it in a couple of years, but I guess for the sake of a TM which actually works with Chinese I might give it another chance.

Yes, sorry, it does. I’ve e-mailed with Hermann Brun, the developer, about porting it to StarOffice or OpenOffice, but apparently it’s either a problem or he doesn’t see the market or something. Anyway, at least I’m free of Trados at last and still have a good (actually better) TM tool to use. The support is great (personal from the developer and he’s very fast about it too) and the “statistics” function is interesting for those moments when you don’t want to actually, well, work. :smiley:

Is this NT$3 per Chinese character? I have accepted less than this, and have been happy about the payment not because it was worth it at my present level, but because I could see how it could be worth it (maybe in about another year).

Yeah, but note that she said “experienced native English-speaking translator.” Me, I by and large won’t go below NT$2.

I was trying to say that a lower fee would be more worth it for someone experienced (of course only up to a point). Anyway, I think it really depends on the material you’re working with. For example, it seems a newspaper editorial would be deserving of NT$3 per character. On the other side of the spectrum, the technical stuff that I did was very dry and so you didn’t need to rack your brain about better terms and phrases. Basically, I did this job for about NT$7,000. I could see how after some improvement in my Chinese I would be able to do something like this in a day. Not bad. But I’ve done the translation thing (in another language pair) and it’s not how I want to make a living (though I can definitely see the many benefits of such a profession- getting paid up front for a big job then immediately hopping on a plane to the 'Ppines to work next to the ocean is one of my favorite stories).

If you’re going to do good technical work, it takes a bit more input and you do have to “rack your brain” for “a better way to say it” – meaning it has to sound correct and stylistically appropriate as well as accurate. Otherwise, the sort of manuals you frequently get with Chinese products in “English” (sort of) would be acceptable. Manuals aren’t exactly art but if you take pride in your work you should be trying to put out the best product you possibly can, even if it’s “just” a manual. After all you never know when a piece will come back to haunt you or build (or ruin) your reputation as a professional.

And I see leaving the reply to you, IL, turned out just as good as I expected and far from the hash I’d have made of it.

The particular document I keep referring to in this string is a patent document. When claiming priority for a patent filed overseas (i.e., you get to claim the date when you filed in your home country), some nations require that you submit a translation of the original specs. So it is absolutely necessary that you translate literally. Chinese-English is never good, but assuming you understand the invention and you’re not tripped up by the original language, there really shouldn’t be any racking of the brain involved with better ways to say things. Even when preparing patent specs that are not involved with this issue of priority, it is legally dangerous to rack your brain for a better way to say things (you know, where you refer to the same thing using different terms for stylistic reasons) with regard to some aspects of the document as there could be what is referred to as in “indefinite” objection. I should have been more specific from the start.

Is this NT$3 per Chinese character? I have accepted less than this, and have been happy about the payment not because it was worth it at my present level, but because I could see how it could be worth it (maybe in about another year).[/quote]
Just for reference, considering Chinese-to-English translation, in my experience a 1000-character Chinese essay translates to an English essay with between 600 and 700 words.

So being paid NT$3 per Chinese character is better than being paid NT$3 per English word.

If you can get NT$3 per English word, you’re getting paid over three times the average here.