Archive for November, 2010

Machine translation… revisited



This week I received my very first machine translation project (10,000 words) – and I had to decline because of the envisaged deadline.

Specifically, I decided a couple of weeks ago that it is not entirely normal to work every single weekend, and that clients, especially agencies, should not automatically assume that you’re available just because you’re a freelancer i.e. a sucker. I noticed something strange: I am less stressed and more concentrated on my 9-5 projects now. I also have extra time for home life, coffees, reading, etc.

The interesting thing is that I could have pretty much named my price. So I offered what I felt an appropriate rate for weekend/rush work and am waiting to hear back (i.e. whether there is some other sucker out there willing to take the job at the lower rate).

I wonder if I did the right thing. I would have loved to accept it in order to gain experience with post-editing and also to test the MT waters. It was for a well-known computer game, and games are my favorite thing to translate. But, one has to have (new-found) principles. Indian Summer walks without so much as a telephone, here I come.

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Time warp

I have a client for whom I handle customer correspondence. Not exactly translation work, but work requiring good writing skills in my target language nonetheless.

Customers are located in Germany for the most part (timezone CET), while I usually work from Virginia (timezone EST). Can you see where this is going? When I get up on a beautiful East Coast morning they’re already more than half-way through their work day. Consequently, I need to check emails at night in case anything requires early morning attention.

I’ve been travelling in Germany for a couple of weeks now, taking my mobile office with me, and it’s the strangest and most wonderful thing to take long lunch breaks and finish my work day (for this client, that is) around 5. I can’t remember the last time I had several relaxing evenings off in a row. Wonderful!

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