Translation Commentator is a weblog by Rosene Zaros that has been running for some time, mainly with comments on the translation industry in the USA.
A recurrent topic is the commodification of translation (it does appear that this term is more common than commoditization, both on UK and edu sites). To quote Bernie Bierman’s email given in her latest entry:
Translation (and) the translation process, is (are) not about words…big words, little words, short words, long words, whole words or particles of words. It is equally not about numbers or names or formulas or equations. Translation is about writing and communication. Indeed, before the so-called “wizards” of technology came long in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, translation was viewed by many as one branch of the communications arts. Indeed, from any clear point of view, whether objective or subjective, translation is about writing and communication. It is not about word-matching, as some if not many of today’s technologically-obsessed translators, CAT workers and CAT operators believe.
Two issues frequently discussed by translators:
1. How shall I charge?
by source text
by target text
What is a word?
What is a page?
What is a line?
NB German words are on average longer than English words
German words in legal texts are on average longer than German words in general texts
I have an Excel file someone gave me to adjust between styles of charging. There’s also a website somewhere that helps. I’ll add it if I remember it.
I can’t get very excited about this, and I think whichever method you use, you have to fix a rate that gives you enough per hour at the end of the day.
2. The use of CAT tools
in particular translation memory
in particular the way translation agencies/companies use TM programs to reduce payment to translators
the idea that using TM saves time
Again, I find TM excellent for quality control, and it doesn’t save me time.
There was an exciting exchange on Jill Sommer’s blog, Musings from an overworked translator, on this topic last November, Trados ad = tempest in a teapot. (That’s US for storm in a teacup – I thought they had done away with the tea).
This in turn went back to a discussion on ProZ. A Trados ad quoted a translator who translated over 34,000 words in 10 hours rather than 17 days, with a fairly empty TM. It sounds to me like a repetitive text.