Bohemicus 1.068 released!

What’s new:

  • improved machine-translation-marks remover, now removes also the AMT marks (adaptive machine translation, notably the ModernMT engine)
  • the machine-translation feature now sets the segments to draft status so that Trados Studio does not overwrite the machine-translated results
  • improved note-taking feature, added import-export for Evernote notes
  • fixed bug in invoicing – client and user data can now be updated directly from the Invoice window
  • improved invoicing – all invoices are now automatically saved into PDF
  • improved invoicing – a new grid view with all issued invoices is available on the Invoicing tab (you can now see all issued invoices at first glance)
  • improved invoicing – any issued invoice can now be clicked in the grid view to quickly show its contents and target folder where this invoice is stored
  • offline dictionaries can now be connected permanently
  • added explaining notes on individual cards
  • minor bug fixes

How to make money as a translator

If you are a translator, I am sure, you want to make more money. Just like everyone. But well, the-milion-dollar-question is: how?

Well, there are basically 3 approaches to this problem. Let’s tackle them one after another.

1. More money per source word or source page

The trouble with the pesky competition

Yes, this is the most straightforward approach. The problem you are facing as soon as you ask for more money per word, is your competition. There are just far too many translators who would happily “cut your throat” to get your job. Just take a look at Proz.com, the sheer numbers of e.g. English-Czech translators …. there are at least some 2500 of them there…

And your clients know this. As soon as you ask for a higher price, they will just ask someone else.

Everyone can translate

It is what it is. As we say in Czech: “Everyone with a hole in their butt can do translations”. And that’s just about right. Yes, I know this surely offends your translator’s pride, but let’s face the facts: Today’s customers are mostly not looking for a linguistically beautiful and perfect translation, they are looking for something that’s fairly understandable, reflects the source and has a reasonable price.

And of course, to be able to reasonably translate, you practically need just a B2 foreign language level…. and to be able to write in some reasonable quality in your own native language. Just the most important grammar rules, that’s enough, you don’t need to be an absolute linguistic expert in your own native language either. If you had good grades in your native language in primary/high school, you will do just fine.

And yes, I hear you screaming! What a bunch of bulls*it! Translators must be at the top, providing exceptional linguistic quality! Well, I am here to tell you, this is simply not the case. Sorry, guys.

A different perspective

Take it from yet another point of view: Among the car manufacturers, who do your think are the richest companies? The manufacturers of ultraluxury quality cars or exotic hypersports? Is it perhaps the Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Ferrari?

No! It’s the freaking VW, Toyota, or Renault! I.e. those who manufacture cars in reasonable quality for a reasonable price!

Do clients want a high quality translation?

So forget about offering high quality …. for a higher price. That’s not what clients want. At least the majority of them. They want a reasonably understandable translation for a reasonable price. And often, they want the price as low as possible.

Because who do you think reads those freaking coffee machine manuals?! Have YOU ever read it? Perhaps you read the part with button descriptions – to know what to press if you want to make a cup of coffee. But have you ever read the guarantee conditions? The EU conformity statement?

Seriously, come on. The translation is there just because the EU wants it. Customers never read it. From the customer’s point of view, this part could literally just read “bulls*it, bulls*it, bulls*it”… and they would be OK with it.

So don’t be surprised, the manufacturers only want to pay what is absolutely necessary… and ideally nothing at all.

When can you ask a higher rate per word?

But, well, there are situations when you can certainly ask for more. For instance, in case you started with a really substandard price so that you can just level it up with other translators, to a standard price for your language combination.

Or, you can also ask for a higher price if you posses some really rare knowledge. Perhaps an expert in nuclear energy? Particle physics? Highly specialized medicine? So, yes, you can ask for a higher price, because there are not that many translators with such a specialization…. all those experts obviously prefer working in their own fields, they don’t really want to do translations… or they do not know languages well enough to be able to do that.

2. Working with direct clients

Yes, this is definitely one way how to make more money. Cut out the middle man!

But of course, there are problems, too.

This is what I have observed on the Czech translation market:

Yes, here in CZ, you can get some 10 – 20 % higher rate on direct clients. But the problem is that direct clients do not understand (or better: they don’t care) translator’s work. So they do not prepare their documents in any way. Often, it is just: “Hey Jan, we have these PDFs here. Could you please translate them into Word and make the layout look more or less like on those PDFs? And yes, we pay you for the translation… formatting the target layout is included in your rate per word, right?”.

Well, no, it isn’t. Formatting the final docs to make them look similar to PDFs can take as much time as the translation itself. Sure, you can use some PDFtoWord converters…. they do work pretty well these days. But still – if you have lots of tables, complicated formatting, images…. there still will be some (considerable) work to be done on those resulting Word files.

And do the direct clients pay for this additional work? No, of course they don’t! Why do you think they started working with you in the first place? To save money! What a surprise…. You didn’t think they wanted you for the excellent quality of your work, right?

The effectivity of collaboration with direct clients

So you get 10 – 20 % more on your rate per word, but you spend e.g. 30-100 % more time on document preparation and finalization. The only thing that might save the day is that direct clients might not know anything on CAT tools. So you could possibly charge all those context and 100% matches and fuzzies for a full price. That could work … sometimes. That is actually the very original idea of all CAT tools and that’s what all CAT tool manufacturers will try to sell you these days: Buy our overpriced CAT (Trados and memoQ both always for some EUR 450… permanently discounted from some EUR 650… I hate these cheap marketing tricks) and it will save you your time! You will be much more productive so you make more money in the end! Yes, that might work well…. if your direct clients didn’t use any CATs themselves.

So, what’s the point of working for direct clients? Like it or not, translation agencies (mostly) do their part of work. They do prepare the documents for you in some translatable format, ideally a CAT format – and that saves you lots of work.

Partner with other translators

The only way to work with direct clients and to make substantially more money is to partner with other translators with various language combinations so that you can offer a complex linguistic package, translation into multiple languages at once. Thus, becoming a translation agency yourself. Then, you can ask for a higher price, because your clients will understand that it takes some effort to successfully manage several translators working on the same project at the same time.

3. Doing the volumes – the healthy approach for an independent translator

The Kaizen philosophy

The last option is all about the Japanese Kaizen philosophy. Optimize your processes to the maximum, remove all unnecessery steps, achieve maximum productivity.

That means you translate as effectively as you can to produce maximum translation output per hour… with reasonable quality. You make money on volumes.

Inspired by Henry Ford

This is the healthy approach most companies take these days. After all, that’s exactly what Henry Ford did to produce his Model T – the assembly line put into practice…. to produce as many cars with as low production costs as humanly possible.

And that’s what you should do, too.

But how?

Kaizen ruined by some CAT tools

Using just the CAT tools does not make too much sense these days, because translation agencies use them themselves, thereby removing the primary advantage such CAT tool can offer – the context/100% matches and fuzzies. They will only pay you some 10% for the context matches…. or worse, they won’t pay anything at all, saying those matches are already translated.

Rather than advantage, using CAT tools has became a necessity – you don’t use Trados? Well, sorry, we don’t have work for you.

Of course, to say the truth, using CATs still makes you more productive, even if agencies utilize the so-called “grid-payment-scheme”, i.e. paying different rates for different segment types (100% matches, fuzzies, nomatches…). It is still more comfortable and faster to translate a text in a CAT tool than in 2 Word windows positioned next to each other on your PC screen.

On the other hand, there are some tools, e.g. an infamous German tool that just causes more headaches than what it actually offers on productivity. For instance, try spellchecking a 50 page document in it…. Everything you might have gained on productivity so far will be lost during this spell check – due to its hilarious user-unfriendliness, it just takes a ridiculous amount of time to spell check the whole document. I can only speculate why they did not use the well-tried system know from MS Word or LibreOffice. It just seems that EVERYTHING in this German tool is made to be DIFFERENT, preferably more complicated and slower than what you might be used to.

Well, using such CAT tool does not bring any advantage whatsoever. On the contrary: due to decreased productivity, you are actually losing money.

Are agencies willing to pay you more to work in this German CAT? Ha ha ha ha ha…. don’t make me laugh please.

The solution

So what know? How to achieve high translation volumes?

Well, you have to outsmart the whole system. Or as we say in Czech, in a bit vulgar way: “You have to pi*s the system over.”

You have to use something that the direct clients or translation agencies cannot use themselves, because it actually makes no sense for them. It’s just like Henry’s assembly line – could his end customers use the assembly line to get the cars cheaper? No… how would they do it? Why would they do it? It would have made no sense. His customers actually did not give a da*n about his assembly processes, they just wanted an affordable car.

And that’s exactly where Bohemicus comes in. It’s a productivity tool that can make the translation work extremely productive for a translator…. but the end clients or agencies actually cannot use it to rip off their translators even more. Just like they cannot require a lower price because you just bought a new super fast SSD that makes your computer run 2× faster.

Because Bohemicus helps you produce higher translation volumes. It does it by providing on-demand machine translation, voice dictation and a bunch of very useful productivity-improving features (e.g. automatic look-up in your connected offline/online dictionaries and translation memories, useful editing functions, clipboard manager, unit conversion… and much more)…. all of this in ANY Windows application.

And boy, work it DOES. When properly used, you can achieve up to 300% productivity boost or even more. You can watch e.g. this Youtube video where I translated some 780 words in just 30 mins!

 So if you want to make more money, I cannot recommend Bohemicus enough. I made this tool myself a couple of years ago to help me work more productively. And now, you can have it too.

Keeping track of translation business records

You can use Bohemicus to keep track of your business records, and to issue invoices.

Before you can start doing that, 2 things needs to be set up: a list of your customers, and your currencies.

Setting up the customer base

You can very easily set up your customer base. On the “Invoicing” tab, click “Add/Edit Customer”. The “Add/Edit Customer” window opens.

Click “New” to add a new customer. Enter your customer’s name, and optionally also your customer’s email, invoicing data, default message, etc.

Click “Save”.

You can enter as many other customers as you wish. After you have added your customers, click “Close”. You can add additional customers later, if you decide so.

Setting up currencies

You need to set up currencies you would use in your record keeping.

On the “Invoicing” tab, click “Add/Edit Currency”. The “Add/Edit Currency” window opens.

Click “New” and add a new currency designation. Optionally, you can add a note to your currency. Click “Save”.

You can enter as many other currencies as you wish. After you have added your currencies, click “Close”. You can add additional currencies later, if you decide so.

Congratulations! You are now ready to start keeping business records.

Keeping business records

To keep track of a new sale or purchase, click “New Sale/Purchase”.

Now, select the respective date of this sale/purchase, the price, customer, currency, and enter purchase order No. and, optionally, the wordcount.

Also, and this is very important, select from the combobox, whether this is a sale or a purchase.

Optionally, enter a note.

Click “Save”.

You have just made a business record of your sale/purchase.

The main overview

You can see all of your sales or purchases in the main table overview. Feel free to scroll through it and view your transactions. Use the “Customer”, “Currency”, and “Period” comboboxes to filter the table output.

You can delete a transaction by pressing the Del key or clicking the “Delete” button.

Also, you can mark you transactions as “Invoiced” or as “Paid”. Simply click the corresponding buttons. Also, you can cancel the marking by clicking “Mark as uninvoiced” or “Mark as unpaid”.

Invoicing

Invoices can be very simply created by clicking the “Invoice” button.  Because you can only create an invoice for one customer and in one currency, make sure you first select the respective customer and currency from the comboboxes.

As soon as you click the “Invoice” button, a PDF preview document with your invoice will appear. Here, you can change the invoice number, invoice designation, date, NET days and tax. Also, you can add a note, logo and your signature, simply drag & drop the PNG/JPEG images with your logo and signature.

If you change any of the settings, click the “Update Preview” option to view the updated PDF preview.

You can export your invoice into a PDF file and save it to your disk by clicking “Export to PDF”. Or you can print it by clicking “Print”.

Once you have finished your invoicing, click “Save&Close” to save the invoice settings to disk. Or click “Cancel” to continue without saving. If you click “Save&Close”, the invoice number will be saved too, and increased by 1 the next time you create an invoice.

You migh also wish to watch this video:

Quick content preview of Trados packages

This feature can be very helpful when you need to preview the content of a Trados package. For instance, when you receive a package from your translation agency asking you if you’d like to work on it. And you are just in the middle of something and you certainly don’t feel like closing your current project in order to unpack a new Trados package and see what’s inside.

So instead of opening it in Trados, creating a new project, etc., you can simply drag&drop your package onto Bohemicus and see what’s inside right away!

Bohemicus features a 2-column arrangement so that you can see source text as well as possible translations at the same time.

Also, you can view individual SDLXLIFF files.

See this video to watch this feature in action:

Removing the AT & NMT marks in Trados Studio

You can very easily remove those light-blue AT or NMT marks in machine-translated segments.

In Trados Studio right click your file(s) in target language and select “Explore containing folder“.

Drag and drop your file(s) onto Bohemicus, the XLIFF Pretranslate / Remove ATs tab (you can drag multiple files at once):

Click “Remove ATs”:

Wait for the removal process to complete…

Check your file in Trados Studio again… the AT marks have been removed:

You might also wish to watch this video:


Keeping track of translation jobs

This has happened a couple of times to me: I just forgot to do a job! This usually happens to me with very small tasks and it’s certainly very unpleasant, both for me as well as for my clients. And I usually end up delivering such tasks free of charge, because I simply want to keep good business relationships with my clients.

To prevent this from happening, I created a feature that helps me to keep track of all scheduled jobs.

Adding a job to a joblist

  1. To add a job, simply select the header line in your email and press Ctrl+Alt+J.

2. Then, a job dialog window will appear:

3. Select a customer, add a note and click “Save”.

4. Your job has been added to a joblist.

Editing, finishing and deleting jobs

  1. To edit an existing job, simple double click that job in the joblist. A dialog window will appear, see step 2.
  2. To mark a job as finished, click the “Mark as finished” option. Your job will be marked with a checkmark as finished.
  3. To delete a job from a joblist, simply select your job and press the Delete key on your keyboard or click the “Delete” button.

Please watch this video to see this feature in action:

Changing the language code of your SDL translation memory

This post can especially be useful to users of older SDL Studio versions. If you are using newer versions of SDL Studio, simply select the “Any TM” option from your list of translation memories.

There might be occasions when you need to change your SDL translation memory language code. Example: You are working on an U.S. English-based project, but your translation memory is in British English.

Normally, the SDL Studio will prevent you from using such a translation memory, saying that your project does not support it. This can be really unpleasant, as you are translating FROM English into your respective language, so you don’t really care if the flavor of English is American or British.

Bohemicus allows you to simply change the language code by right clicking your SDLTM memory file and choosing the “Change SDLTM Properties“. Then simply select your language and click “Change“.

You can also watch this feature in action here:

Bohemicus 1.059 released!

What’s new

  1. Support for online CAT tools (SmartCat, Crowdin, XTM, Coach…) has been significantly improved, the Ctrl+Space shortcut (machine translate a segment) can now be used in all of them without any problem. Simply select the “Custom” mode on “Language&Settings” and enter the insert-source-into-target keyboard combo for your specific online CAT tool.
  2. Support for DeepL and ModernMT machine translation engines added.
  3. Removed minor bugs

How to translate PDF files

The PDF format is truly ingenious – documents in the PDF format will appear exactly as originally created and intended across all platforms, be it various versions of Windows, MacOS, Linus, Android, you name it.

Their only disadvantage is that they are not editable, or difficult to edit at best. This was probably the intention of Adobe, i.e. the manufacturer of this software, so that nobody could change the contents of such a document. They achieved this by effectively removing all information regarding the document’s structure. So you cannot load a PDF into your MS Word or SDL Trados. Sure, the computer must still know what to display and how to format it, but in case of PDF, it seems that such a document is optimized for viewing and printing, not for editing. And it takes some pretty clever algorithms to convert it back into an editable format. Even Adobe doesn’t seem be able to fully reconstruct the documents back into an editable form – parts of text might still remain ebmedded as images.

And as you can imagine, as soon as you try to actually translate such a document, a PDF format can be a major pain in the ass.

So let’s take a look at how this can be actually done.

How to translate a PDF document – step by step

First things first: You certainly don’t want to be translating it by opening the PDF, looking into it and then writing all the text into a Word document, manually formatting it and copying all the images… that would be very exhausting and would take an eternity to translate….. with you ending up working for a ridiculous rate per hour. So you need to automate this process a little bit.

Convert into an editable format

  • The first step is to actually convert it into an editable MS Word format (doc/docx). There are numerous programs and websites available, but I would recommend this one: https://pdf2doc.com/

It’s free and has pretty good results. In case you need to deal with some complicated document formatting, you can also try Adobe’s https://www.adobe.com/uk/acrobat/online/pdf-to-word.html.

This will allow you to convert a few documents free of charge, so it’s ok if you translate just a few PDFs here and there. Unfortunately, PDF to Word conversion is highly in demand, so paid services are not too cheap.

  • Open the https://pdf2doc.com/ website and upload your PDF document.
  • Your document will be converted. Click the button to download.

Translate in a CAT tool

6. Depending on how difficult the PDF’s formatting is, you might need to check if all text on your PDF has actually been translated. Open the original PDF on one side of the screen, the translated MS Word on the other and carefully compare them if everything has been captured by the converter and then translated by you.

7. And that’s it! Congratulations, you have just translated your very first PDF document!

Please watch this video to see the whole process in action: