How We Failed to Win a 100,000,000 Word Contract

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A major player in the publishing industry wanted to capitalize on the emerging Brazilian middle class. Headquarters decided to translate 1000 technical books into Brazilian Portuguese on a limited budget and short turnaround times. Ccaps and tauyou responded to the prospect with a solid proposal, while at the same time educating the client on other ways to enter a new market without incurring high costs. After much discussion, analysis, and quotes, the client disappeared with no commitment. Was it a real opportunity or an adventure not worth the time of our sales team? In this highly interactive session, Fabiano Cid, Managing Director of Ccaps Translation and Localization, and Diego Bartolomé, CEO of tauyou <language>, presented at the GALA Conference in Istanbul the scope of the client's request, how they structured the offer, and the risk analysis they did internally afterwards. Then they asked audience members, "How would you have dealt with this prospect?" and responses were varied but highly enlightening. The conclusion? Do not be afraid to share your failures as you may learn a lot from others.

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How We Failed to Win a 100,000,000 Word Contract

  1. 1. HOW WE FAILED TO WIN A 100,000,000 WORD CONTRACT... Fabiano Cid & Diego Bartolomé
  2. 2. AGENDA 1. Fabiano talks 2. You interrupt him 3. Diego talks 4. You interrupt him 5. Fabiano talks again 6. You talk 7. We interrupt you 8. Diego interrupts Fabiano 9. We all shout at each other (NOT NECESSARILY IN THIS ORDER)
  3. 3. FIRST CONTACT, FIRST MEETING
  4. 4. FIRST CONTACT, FIRST MEETING - Contacted by prospect on April 10, 2013 - They had a project of "mass translation" and wanted to arrange a meeting for that same day - Meeting held at prospect's office. - Project scope was explained and prospect seemed to be familiar with the need for machine translation. - Rough numbers provided and Fabiano promised to get back to him the following day with some ideas.
  5. 5. THE CHALLENGE • 1000 titles @ 300 pages per title (average; 300,000 pages total) • 2160 characters per page (without spaces) • 7 characters per word (average) • 300,000 pages x 2160 / 7 = 92.571.428,57 words • An assumption for repeat words quantity • Language: Brazilian Portuguese • Content: Science & Technology Books • XML input and XML output • 6 to 8 months
  6. 6. THE CHALLENGE, TRANSLATED
  7. 7. THE CHALLENGE, LOCALIZED
  8. 8. WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE Now that I am looking back, I should have qualified the lead: • Publishing is not our target industry • We have no experience whatsoever in this market • Areas of expertise varied immensely
  9. 9. WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE
  10. 10. WHAT I DID INSTEAD
  11. 11. HERE’S AN IDEA! • Using MT (Machine Translation) for books is prone to result in bad quality • Readers would complain and company’s reputation would suffer • How about release all titles for free download with a BIG disclaimer; the most popular would be properly translated
  12. 12. HERE’S AN IDEA!
  13. 13. PM + MT + PE
  14. 14. FIRST PROPOSAL
  15. 15. FIRST PROPOSAL • Ccaps suggested a combination of machine translation (MT) and human post-editing (PE) • Since the material would be available to the general public as high-quality publication, extensive human interference by professional linguists was needed. • Nevertheless, we provided a three-tiered proposal, reflecting the three possible levels of human post-editing.
  16. 16. MT ENGINE
  17. 17. MT ENGINE We would have to build one engine from scratch for each domain. This preparation process requires: • bulk analysis of the source text • detection of untranslatable terms • compilation of a glossary for each domain to improve MT output
  18. 18. MT ENGINE We would also have to understand the way the XML tags have been used to make sure the output respects the original placement. • Domain-Specific Engine Setup:X per domain • MT Maintenance: included • MT Storage: included • Machine Translation Output: included
  19. 19. NO POST-EDITING
  20. 20. NO POST-EDITING “With no post-editing, customer receives from Ccaps the whole set of books translated into Brazilian Portuguese with a raw output generated by the MT engine. The format specified would respect the number of XML tags, but these would be positioned in the same location as the source text, requiring repositioning. “
  21. 21. LIGHT POST-EDITING
  22. 22. LIGHT POST-EDITING • MT output would undergo a light revision to make sure that the text is readable and grammatically correct • No guarantee that it reflects the source text in its entirety, both in semantic and stylistic terms • Depending on customer’s expectations, this may not be a suitable solution as it could create liabilities not only in terms of the quality of the published material, but also more complicated risks of a legal nature.
  23. 23. FULL POST-EDITING
  24. 24. FULL POST-EDITING • Ideal scenario since it combines the best of automated and human translation • It will take longer and be costly than the other two scenarios, but would greatly minimize the risks involved. • Post-editors are not necessarily experts in each domain of the translated books, additional technical review by an SME • Resource to customer’s experts, who are already familiarized with the subject matters
  25. 25. SOME ENGINEERING, DTP, ETC.
  26. 26. SOME ENGINEERING, DTP, ETC. Engineering: • Preparation and post-processing of translatable files, • Extraction and placement of editable graphics in correct order and location • XML tag processing • Charged by the hour; not possible to assess time needed Desktop Publishing: • Preparation of graphic files for translation • Making necessary adjustments to graphic elements once the translated text has been reverted back • Charged by the hour; not possible to assess time needed
  27. 27. WE ARE READY!
  28. 28. WE ARE READY! • Not possible to predict the time to complete the whole project • Need to have a fairly large sample of data and more testing time to evaluate quality and ascertain the effort involved in the MT setup • Based on initial analysis of samples provided, we expected the following throughputs: • Light Post-Editing: 7.500 words/editor/day • Heavy Post-Editing: 4.000 words/editor/day • We needed to know the scenario of choice to predict the time and effort involved
  29. 29. CHANGE OF SCOPE
  30. 30. CHANGE OF SCOPE • Down to 100 books (rather than 1,000) • Consider 10 domains • Still 10,000,000 words • Ccaps proposal still valid, as it does not contemplate full amount • Nope! Customer needs total cost
  31. 31. UPDATED PROPOSAL
  32. 32. MASSIVE CHANGE OF SCOPE
  33. 33. MASSIVE CHANGE OF SCOPE “One of the options concerns a workflow in which the content will be Machine Translated by another vendor first who will also offer an online accessible infrastructure for you providing Translation Memory, an environment for technical and final review of the translation and tracking functionality. Secondly I like to have a separate session with you. The agenda points I then like to cover are: • Brief introduction to your company • Overview of your own approach to TM, MT, Terminology Management, Staff selection and Quality Management • Your opinion on advantages and challenges of a workflow with other vendor
  34. 34. OUR HONEST OPINION?
  35. 35. THIRD PROPOSAL Specific amount: • Domain-Specific Engine Setup: X • Light Post-Editing: 2X • Heavy Post-Editing: 5X Turnaround time: • Six months to complete
  36. 36. THIRD PROPOSAL
  37. 37. NO ANSWER
  38. 38. EITHER WAY?
  39. 39. EITHER WAY? • We may have not won the contract but is it not likely that we would have lost money? • Could they have been so unsatisfied as to not be willing to pay the agreed price? • How bad could we have looked if things went wrong, which was extremely likely to happen?
  40. 40. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?
  41. 41. HOW I MAY HAVE SOUNDED...
  42. 42. HOW I HOPE YOU WOULD SEE ME
  43. 43. WHY? "LSPs see themselves as the keepers of a proven method to produce translations and often push back on what they see as unreasonable customer requests. They strive for stability and predictability instead of providing solutions that will rock the client’s world. Their customers want to outsource their global communications to a trusted partner that has their interests at heart. They don’t want to hear about difficulties; they want to hear about solutions that will allow them to beat their own competition." Hélène Pielmeier, Common Sense Advisory
  44. 44. THANK YOU Diego Bartolomé CEO diego.bartolome@tauyou.com Tel: +34 (93) 711 2996 Fax: +34 (670) 331 0225 www.tauyou.com
  45. 45. THANK YOU Fabiano Cid Managing Director fcid@ccaps.net Tel: +55 (21) 2507-5989 Cel: +55 (21) 98222-9988 www.ccaps.net

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