This happens on a more or less regular basis:
I applied to a job posted on various different translator sites. Partial job description:
"We’re now looking for Japanese to English translators to work in a project about factory automation. The volume is about 250K chars. .. To know more about the subject, please refer to the sample text below."
Requirements from the poster included to work ONLY during the daytime, approximately 6 hours. I wrote, I can do that and gave them my usual rate.
Two days later, I get the following message (partial):
"This project contains 3 parts—Factory Automation, Factory Supplies and Electronics—and has 3,000,000 chars. The first part, Factory Automation, has technical terms stored in TM. You can also refer to the English websites we provide. So it should be quite simple to translate this part. For Factory Supplies and Electronics, there are Japanese websites for you to check the context. We need to deliver 60K chars to our client everyday. Therefore, you’re free to take as many chars as you like (max. 60K) daily.
In view of this, could you possibly lower your rate to at least USD$ 0.04 per Japanese char? The other candidates have a more competitive rate as USD$0.03 per char."
Well, just for the fun of it, I replied as follows:
Good evening from Japan
And thank you for your message, but I was already wondering when this would happen.
This = "lower your rate".
On 2/24 you wrote in your mail: "However, we will pay you according to your rate, if the translation is approved." (HAS it been "approved"?)
which came as a pleasant surprise to me. Now, things turn out the "usual" way.
Believe me, I have seen / experienced this kind of work before and therefore speak from (30 years of) experience!
Usual = unreasonable requests for unreasonably low rates.
I take the liberty of assuming, that this is what the (Japanese?) client requires, so that you are not guilty of anything.
Maybe people can survive in China or Taiwan working for 0.03 USD/char., but that is NOT realistic here in Japan.
"So it should be quite simple to translate this part. ... there are Japanese websites for you to check the context."
THAT is precisely what makes this work VERY labor intensive.
* no context to refer to
* highly technical terms (I VERY much doubt that terms like "高周波焼入れ / 浸炭焼き" are FA related!) that needs to be checked
* "websites to check ..." means, you have to search through many pages of online material = requires time! (unless they have well organized glossaries -> unlikely)
Let's take for example "高周波焼入" -> if you KNOW the translation already -> just the time for entering it into the software;
if you need to look up something / everything or even check "reference" material -> let's assume quick, smooth work to do all that in TWO minutes.
Then it would take 24 seconds per character (this number may of course vary widely).
Then: 24 x 60,000=1,440,000 seconds= 400 hours of work daily.
no eating, sleeping, telephone calls, toilet breaks ... nothing.
Since you require translators who work ONLY during the daytime, let's say 8 hours without once removing their fingers from the keyboard = 50 translators.
(the sample you gave me as a trial contained practically 0 repetitions -> the use of CAT tools is unlikely to help!)
To make it happen in reality, you would need more.
Getting THAT many translators, who all work for peanuts can happen only in China or India.
Naturally, the quality (for reasons I outlined before) cannot be quaranteed or even maintained among that many translators.
The client could put the whole thing through Google translate and get the same result: incomprehensible mumble jumble.
So, if the client INSISTS on a cheap product, cheap Chinese quality is what it will get.
I may not be the best in the field, BUT as a professional translator I prefer to TAKE PRIDE in my work.
As such, I can not live with the idea that it is completely irrelevant, whether my translation is correct or not,
as long as I put ANYTHING into the empty cells of the Excel sheet.
If your "other candidates" have no problem with working for 0.03 USD and no doubts about the nature of this work ... fine.
Please rely on those gentlepersons.
Under the given conditions I prefer not volunteer for more material than I could do comfortably during an afteroon tea break.
The chief virtue that language can have is clearness,
and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words.