New tranfree on credit control for freelancers, check it out Reply

If you are not already following the publications of tranfree, written by member and moderator Alex Eames, check out this latest issue, which discusses credit control policies for freelancers (you will see a link to his blog here on the right). Be sure to have a look at Alex’s book in the book section as well.


January in translation Reply

January is coming to a close already. The newsletter for this month is on its way out, and if you have not received it already you should be getting it shortly.

Some highlights worth mentioning from this newsletter:

By the way, you can view the full archive of newsletters at

The first month of this year also brought some interesting industry news. Here are some highlights of translation-related news for January:

You can follow these and other translation industry stories through the Translation news service.

Have I forgotten something? Let me know!


Some results of recent surveys on the term help system 4

For those not familiar with it, the KudoZ term help system is a network through which translators can receive and provide term help mutually. You can see more about terminology resources here:

A couple of surveys on the term help system were run recently; a general survey on KudoZ, and a survey on the quality assessment of the system by participants. Here is a summary of results:

There were over 500 respondents to the general survey.

Over 50% of respondents stated that answering questions was their most frequent term help system activity. Term searches came in second, and asking questions was a distant third, at 8%.

Nearly 50% rated their experience with KudoZ as positive, only 10% rating it as either “somewhat negative” or negative.

Common aspects that respondents found negative about their experience were poor answers, and conflicts among answerers and peer commenters (this was also reflected in the responses to the survey on the assessment of KudoZ quality).

On the subject of the provision of context when asking questions:

  • 64% found the issue of context “very relevant” to the overall quality of the KudoZ system.
  • Nearly 80% agreed that term context is necessary to provide good answers to a term help question, 20% saying that it depended on the term/question.

Of the proposed solutions for ensuring that more or sufficient context is provided in term questions by askers,

  • “Improving the ‘explanation/context’ field to incite more and better context when a question is submitted” ranked first, at just under 35%
  • “Educating/orienting less experienced term help askers on the relation between good context and good answers” ranked second, at 26%
  • “Providing better ways for answerers to request more context when they find it insufficient” came in third, at 25%
  • “A voting system whereby answerers may hide incoming questions from public view until ‘enough context’ has been entered by the asker” ranked fourth, at 13%

Only 5% stated that they had not been aware that the principal purpose of the KudoZ term help system is to provide term help to askers, and that the resulting glossary entries are an additional benefit of the system.

A survey on the quality assessment of the term help system was also run simultaneously with the general survey. The same survey had been run in 2007, and, interestingly, the results of the two surveys do not vary in any significant way. It should be noted that respondents were asked to apply their own definitions of “quality” when responding to the surveys:

  • Overall participation: About 50% rated the overall “quality” of participation in the network as high; 40% rated it as average.
  • Questions: 32% rated the overall “quality” of KudoZ questions as high, with 52% rating it as average.
  • Answers: 44% rated the “quality” of answers as high, 45% rated it as average.
  • Peer comments: 37% rated peer comment “quality” high, 47% rated it average.
  • Glossary entries: 34% said the “quality” was high, 46% rated it average.

When asked to indicate the degree to which they agreed with the statement “Most KudoZ questions are legitimate questions, worthy of the time and effort needed to reply”, 76% agreed with the statement, 17% disagreed somewhat, and 5% disagreed strongly. These percentages remained the same for the statement “There are more high quality questions and answers in KudoZ than there are low quality questions and answers.”

Respondents were asked to select one “wish” with regards to KudoZ quality:

  • “More high-quality answers” ranked first.
  • “A better environment/tone among KudoZ users” and “Higher quality in the glossary/archive” tied for second place.
  • “Fewer low-quality questions” came in third.

Overall, some excellent feedback and comments were also provided in both surveys. Thanks to everyone who participated in the surveys, and to all the translators using the term help system and providing help to colleagues.


How does where you work affect how you work? Reply

Freelance translators spend a lot of their day working, many of them from home. Some have the space and ability to work in a separate room or office at home, others work from their living rooms, the bedroom, some even seem to “migrate” from room to room with their work.

A workspace that works for you is one of the keys to working more efficiently. What approaches and work setups have worked for translators? What doesn’t work? If you could define the perfect workspace for you, what would it be?

Last month, a new site area was released with the aim of allowing translators to collaborate on issues like these. The Share your workspace area includes a collection of previous discussions about workspaces and setups, a forum dedicated to discussing related issues, and a collection of photos of freelance translator workspaces and comments shared with the community (if you haven’t already, grab a camera, take some pics of your work area and send them in!).

Two Wiki articles tie into the concept of using your workspace to work more productively from home (or from wherever you happen to be): Productivity for translators: an overview and Using a home office. I invite you to have a look at these articles; there may be information there which you can apply. And if you can, please add to these articles to make them even better. The Wiki is a resource which allows language professionals to collaborate and share information on translation, business issues, and other matters related to the profession.

Workspace photo courtesy of Jan Willem van Dormolen,

What do you think? Are the key points of a freelancer’s workspace covered in those articles? How is a translator’s workspace different from others’ workspaces? What else goes towards making a comfortable, productive workspace, in your experience?