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How to Update Existing Translations?

We have a number of clients that want to use our system to manage translations on their existing translated websites. They want to use our system to translate new content and to also update existing translated content.

When the original content is changed the existing translation needs to be updated. We are trying to work out the best way to do this and what to charge for this type of work.

Translation Per Sentence

The core of the problem is that we need to match translations to sentences. Translation Assistant work by sentence. It wants to know how each sentence is translated. This way, when there are updates, we can detect exactly what’s changed, bill the client accurately and show the exact changes to the translator.

When we translate documents from scratch, we first break them up into sentences. Then, we ask the translator to translate each sentence. This way, we know exactly what text is the translation of which sentence.

The problem with updating translations that we didn’t start is that we don’t have this information. We get a complete original document and the complete translation. Now what?

Updating Existing Translations

If you are translating from scratch then you just need to translate every sentence. If you have to update an existing translation then the work is different. You need to go through both the original and the translated document and work out what is different and then update the translation so it is a true translation of the original.

Obviously, updating someone else’s translation can be more work than continuing your own. This work could involve deleting, moving, updating or adding sentences. Translation Assistant might not be able to point out exactly which part of the translation needs to update.

If you were presented with this type of work:

  1. How would work out what to charge?
  2. What tools would you use to assist you?
  3. What suggestions do you have for how we could include this in Translation Assistant?

We’re looking forward to your answers and will build the new version of TA with your needs in mind!

9 responses to “How to Update Existing Translations?”

  1. apk

    for the given rate right now from some of us unfortunately no answer at all possible. wish ICL and other translators that a fruitful discussion beginning at this point anew will be possible earlier or later.

    best regards,

  2. Sergei

    In response to your questions, please find me suggestions below:

    1. How would work out what to charge?

    Editing is usually charged at 50% of the translation rate. If the job needs to be re-translated, then advise the client and wait to hear from them if they’d be willing to pay at the usual translation rate.

    2. What tools would you use to assist you?

    Given the situation you described, I would request the client to send the old version and the new version of their document, and then use a feature that allows to compare the two files (e.g. “compare two files” as available from MS Word Menu, or any similar command in a text editor application). This would highlight the changes made and would give one an idea of the amount of changes involved, too.

    3. What suggestions do you have for how we could include this in Translation Assistant?

    Perhaps, TA could include the “compare two files” feature? That will only work if the client is able to provide the old and the updated files, of course.

    These are my ideas off the cuff, for all they’re worth…

  3. Silvia

    Hi Amir,

    I guess what you should add to your TA is a feature for fuzzy matches. That implies the creation of TMs. That’s the only way to allow discounts.

    As an alternative, in the meantime, you can add a list of CAT tools in our profiles. Translators will be able to state what CAT tools they can use and have available, and then the client will be able sort out translators and/or reviewers using certain CAT tools, so that professionals can work in team. The first time, the client will pay for translation in full (because no TM exists), the following times he will have a right to discounts according to fuzzy matches and word counts.

    This can turn out to be very interesting, positive and profitable for all of us.

    I charge 50% of the rate for fuzzy matches (70% and above).



  4. Rodica

    Trados allows breaking two texts in source and translated segments, allowing the translator to verify the correspondence manually. Maybe it is possible to implement something similar in the Translations Assistant.
    One option for billing would be payment/time spent, but one would need to monitor the actual time spent by the translator, so that the client be sure the time was really spent on his/her translation and not on smth else.

  5. Michael J McCann


    Thank you for your email.

    With a text which needs to revised, three results can finally happen when the revising translator receives the “translated” text in the target language and the original text in the source language.

    1. The entire text is so bad a new translation is necessary. [This actually happened to me this week where I received a text for revision, and I returned it to the client saying that 7 ex 8 words were wrongly translated and a full new translation was needed].

    If a new translation is needed, a full regular price has to be paid, and the old “translated” text entirely ignored.

    2. A light partial translation needs to be done with some proofing of spelling, punctuation, some restructuring of the sentences paragraphs, etc.

    800 words in such circumstances is an hour’s work, and should be billed as an “hour” even if only one or two words are “re-translated” and the rest is the use of other skills. Please remember that the “two words” to be be re-translated may well be in the final lines of the text and one has to read through the entire text to arrive there.

    3. The translation is good, but needs to be proofed under half a dozen headings. Here a proofing rate must apply, with a maximum of 8,000 words per day for revision to ensure proper Quality Control. A rate per hour can apply or a rate per word.

    My two eurocent worth for the day.
    Kind regards,

    Michael J McCann

  6. Ahnan Alex

    Hi Mr Amir

    Let me give you my simple opinion.

    1. How would work out what to charge?
    I think it will be like editing or proofreading. If it is, why don’t we charge every single work on the hour basis, e.g. USD 17 hourly OR on source word basis, e.g. 50% up to 75% of the basic rate (rate for translation per source word agreed upon)?
    2. What tools would you use to assist you?
    I think Ms. word is good enough to make it. Let the clients make the form in Ms word consisting of the source words, the translated words and the words to be edited altogether. Other CAT tools will be possible, but it will be more representing than others.
    3. What suggestions do you have for how we could include this in Translation Assistant?
    I have no idea about it, but let ICL make another BOX (BOX NO. 2) RIGHT BELOW the box (box no. 1) the translators do for translating. This new BOX should include the functions of:
    1. Editing allowing the translators to edit the translated texts done by others.
    2. Providing comments; The new translators (the appointed ones) can post their comments on the translated texts to the NEW BOX, so the clients know how far the mistakes have been made by the previous translators by detecting what the new translators have said or done with the translated words.
    3. Displaying the editing results right below the new box.

    PS. For rate (apk) It will be a great rate and I think that it is affordable for both clients and translators.

  7. Rafael Bordabehere

    Whenever I am contacted by a new client with this kind of work I try to negotiate the following procedure:

    1) first step: I try to convince the client that this initial work is necessary. At least, I charge full review rate. I never ask for more because the client is supposed to send more work in the future. It is my risk.

    2) second step: I use Trados WinAlign and create my two versions necessary for the job.

    3) third step: I keep track of changes using TM.

    The only thing left to build within TA is WinAlign-like function.

    I believe that making complicated procedures for the client to understand
    is dangerous. The problem seems to be with TA and not with the client.

    Hope is useful.