Translators are an indispensable resource in today’s world.
I felt reminded of the days when I stared for days at the “very big” client file thinking how we can possibly translate this. One of the problems was to figure what was there to be translated and what was not (we had to find the 1.2 million words in a 3 million word documents). Anyway – this Excel file today was a bit like that. A list of God-knows-what – about 140,000 words are there besides all the admin data. Obviously a lot of repetition. After creating a DV project (which took a while) I learned that there are 56290 words to translate in order to do this job. Unfortunately other tools didn't deal with the file, so there was no comparison. However, there were a few problems with the source file: I found some English, French and German source text scattered in the file and (more importantly) the text seemed somewhat incomplete.
It took reimporting the text without segmentation and actually exporting the external view without duplicates to get behind the incompleteness issue. After more intense stareing my best guess now is that there is a word wrapping problem at the client's end (no – not 256 characters – this time the max was 72!).
Of course that means that this is not what the client wants us to quote for – and therefore our wordcount cannot be accurate. And poor Carolyn? I suggested to get back to the client and explain the problems with the file he sent. We'd for now just tell him our rate per 1000 words and ask for any reference material or web pages for reference. The text is a bitch and a real case for CAT tools (and more likely DV than Trados) – lots of numbers, sizes and brand names for screws and hinges… it'll take ages to research – but on the other hand there are huge amounts of internal fuzziness, so that could make the job interesting for a DV translator using auto-assmble.
Let's see what happens next – and never take a source text for granted.