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Our joint friend Simon @RussianTranslatorPro Akhrameev has recently published an article called "Sad truth about the translation industry”. Here are some snippets I wanted to quote and discuss at the same time: I agree for the most part. Translation agency business seems so easy to start: You buy cheap, sell high, and swim in money. Needless to say, it rarely ends up this way. Most of such agencies fail very soon, but in the process they manage to “convince” several customers that “translators are scam,” and several translators that “agencies are scam.” On the other hand, they do fail, and I don’t really think we should “compete” with them. We just have to keep doing what we are good at, whether it’s translating, managing projects, or running a proper agency. While of course educating clients who can be educating and sieving out those that cannot — in the longer or shorter run, such clients will fail due to their attitudes, too, so they shouldn’t bother us much. That’s not really sad, to me. What is sad that in some localities mean income is so low that even good translators are willing to work for peanuts. Say, in remote Russian provinces $500/month can be considered a solid income. So if you are okay living there, you can translate 50,000 words a month (which is a sufficiently small wordcount to be able deliver a good translation) at $0.01/word and live happily. The same can be said if you are a retiree/student/someone who just does translation for fun. The way out? I think, good translators earning $500/month will soon understand that they are in a great demand and will be able to increase their rates — first to $0.02, then to $0.04, and so on. This is the way I’ve gone all the way from $0.02 to $0.10/word (which will hopefully grow as I continue building my reputation). This, indeed, is one of the biggest idiosyncrasies of the translation business. If you order a taxi, you can easily say if it was bad once you get out of that car with your legs shaking and your whole life having passed before your eyes a few times during that wild ride. Few industries can “boast” this feature where the client cannot judge whether what he gets is worth the money. My recipe here is to prove value, not quality. For instance, if I translate an email marketing campaign that was “translated” before, I will ask the customer to then make an A/B testing of my and previous translation. Usually the conversion rates for mine are times higher — which customer can easily see, even if they know nothing about “quality” or cannot even speak the target language. Personally, I think that the biggest plight here is not that they use machine translation post-editing, but that they have wrong expectations about it. PEMT is great when it is used with a clear purpose and a clear understanding of what it is by a translator. Too often, when I order PEMT from a “real” translator, I see that they are doing it wrong: Instead of ensuring a factually correct, if stylistically awkward, text, they spend precious minutes on rephrasing sentences to make them sound natural, while admitting unforgivable factual mistakes. Which is especially dangerous given that Neural Machine Translation is awesome at providing naturally sounding output that is, well, wrong. IMHO, yes and no here. Sometimes it is impossible to manage a 50-million-word project unless you are as big as, say, Lionbridge. On the other hand, if Lionbridge joined Smartcat they would see that they don’t need a plethora of subcontractors and subsubcontractors to work with — they could easily work either directly with freelancers, or with a small number of single-language vendors who would be in turn working directly with freelancers. So I would say disintermediation is one of the trends in the translation industry, as in many others, and it will soon become less of a plague. What about you guys? What do you think are the saddest truths of the translation industry?
Hi everyone, LocJAM is a non-profit videogame translation contest organized by team GLOC and the Localization SIG of the IGDA, with the support of the IGDA Foundation. Free, takes less than a day to localize, and you've got two weeks to hone it. It's quite a chance to test and improve your skills. Here, in the smartcat forum, we are promoting an online study group. You are welcome to join and share your thoughts! This will be our main thread for talking about how to best solve the challenges in the LocJAM4 game localization process. We should tackle one challenge at a time, but feel free to add your concerns at any moment. For a list of helpful resources, check this thread: https://forum.smartcat.ai/topic/306-locjam4-resources/ For help, go to this thread: https://forum.smartcat.ai/topic/305-locjam4-help/ ------------------ Challenges to Discuss ------------------ -- Is the mage female? -- The Narrator's Style -- The Game's Initial State -- Item Translation: DIE-ary of the Brave. -- How to trigger the "That name is not available" message. -- Pun: The Archfiend is a True Friend -- Classification Translation: RPG-like command battle style-ish clue solving game! ------------------ Solutions Provided ------------------ -- The Game's Initial State - @Gabriel Ninô You are the Mage, within the Archfiend's mind, within the Brave's body. The Brave's mind is within the Archfiend's body. He's the one to talk to you in the beginning. Prior to the first scene, the Mage arrived in the battle, the Archfiend took an Esther potion, and then the Mage cast Possession on the Archfiend. The Brave then arrives, casts Switch on the Archfiend, and you (together with the Archfiend's mind) are transferred to the Brave's body, and that becomes the first scene. The game is within a loop until you break free of the loop by fueling the Brave with Ether, instead of fueling the Archfiend's mana pool. -- How to trigger the "That name is not available" message. The game reserves the names of the Brave and the Archfiend, the characters you can control, so you don't get confused while playing, but it only does so in the game's original language, Japanese! - @Gabriel Ninô Insert まおう or ゆうしゃ to trigger the message. They mean Archfiend and Brave respectively. The game supports Copy and Paste. You can also use maou or yuusha instead. -- The Narrator's Style A biblical tone. Use of rhymes and poetic speech. A specific dialect which only he employs, sounding ancient or wise. Riddles. Check the Resources thread for inspirations. -- Item Translation: DIE-ary of the Brave. The pun is nor merely on the pronunciation of Diary, but also in the idea that by reading it, you will die. - @Renan Felipe dos Santos This is an item in which you'll most likely not have an equivalent pun in your language, so this may be the time to transcreate. Even at the cost of the pun, you may still attach the meaning to death and create something original. -- Game's Classification Translation: "RPG-like command battle style-ish clue solving game!" If your language can aggregate words together, such as German, this may be an opportunity to do so. If your language does not support this, but supports the attachment of suffixes, that may be an alternative. If your language doesn't support either, you can still add idioms and words to present the feeling of being overwhelmed.
You gave me a lot to think about with this post. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around a few things. If all of this is as you said it is, then perhaps we should nickname the True Brave as the True Imbecil, because some things make no sense at all. Sure, he's stupid and the game makes that clear enough, but still... If we begin the game with the Brave being inside the Archfiend, and we being controlling the Archfiend's mind, inside the Brave's body, why would the Brave fail to recognize his own body by looking through the Archfiend's eyes? The Brave, as pointed by others, doesn't know how to speak or write properly, so why does his speech at the beginning contain no flaws? Even further, why does he use words such as "utterly" and "pathetic"? Does he even knows what that means? Is he using knowledge from the Archfiend's body? After we Timewarp and meet the Brave again, he casts Switch. Then he should know he's in the Archfiend's body (or in his confusion, that he is Possessing the Archfiend). Why, then, would he cast Switch AGAIN (A second time), given chance, if he can't tell which body he's in? He should only do it once. Even more, if the Brave casts Switch (and believes he cast Possession), and is now in control of the Archfiend, why would he attack HIMSELF (His own body) as the Archfiend? When we Timewarp, we meet the Brave alone, because we are in the Archfiend, but on the very first encounter, the one that happens before the game takes place, why aren't we beside the Brave? And if we were beside the Brave, as we should, the Brave would know he doesn't have to cast Possession, because we are there to do it. And if he knew that, that situation where you described shouldn't happen, I think. There are other questions, but I'm not sure they are relevant. Is that overthinking? Prior to your analysis, my theory was this: We begin the game in Possession of the Brave (We, as the Mage, Possessing the Brave). That's why we see the world from his perspective, why we don't say anything (and neither does the Brave), and why we can't use Possession on the Archfiend - We can only cast the spells that our host knows already (otherwise we would have Possession available no matter what). We have to find a way to fix the situation we (as the party) got into, and that's the game's challenge. We fix everything by separating our minds again, and fueling the Brave with enough mana to cast Holy on the Archfiend, with the Brave being in his own body, his mind separated from ours, and us on the Archfiend, to prevent him from acting against the party, and to go back to our body once he is defeated. It didn't seem to raise that many questions for me. How we got into that situation doesn't really matter to the game, but we could speculate that it came to be due to the fight against the Evil Elites, where a similar situation came to be, and the Mage ended up in the Brave's body, as we begin in the game. When we cast Timewarp, we change history, by traveling back in time in the Archfiend's body our Mage mind gets in possession of the Archfiend, and when the Brave casts Switch, the only one switching is the Mage, into possessing the Brave, which explains why the Archfiend would begin his speech, being back in control of his own body, "unawares" of what is happening. This whole thing goes by the principle that Switch and Possession are conflicting spells, and it does open up a few other questions, but questions that could be answered simply by "because it fits the game." Then again, this answer would also fit in the questions I had when thinking about your theory. I'm not sure, I'm as confused as the Brave right now. Let's discuss this further. I'd love to hear the opinion of others.