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Monday, April 21, 2008

Respect for people, the translator's edition

In the spirit of Lean my colleague and friend
Mika Pehkonen writes how they are able to respect people, get them to do what they are best at and most motived to do. I'd say that's a win-win-win situation!

we pay our translators by the hour, not by word count. This means that the translator gets fair pay for their work, they do not need to spend time on proofing computer propagated translation matches that are by default out of context and they get to concentrate on their key expertise, translating concepts from one language and culture to the other. This, combined with assisting scripts and tools, allows the translator more ownership over their own work in ways that are more meaningful than just reviewing and translating words in a software.


That's a message that is often missed in the frenzy of Agile or Lean adoption. An example of that is the testing work, espcially regression testing, that is mostly done manualy and where the question "how many test cases can you execute an hour?" is the most asked question. That kind of approach clearly leads to what Mika has managed to avoid: spending most of your money in low-value added work that does not motivate and by it's very nature reduces the quality of the output. I usually compare this to the person in an old-school factory whose job is to make sure that the Coke bottles do not have too much coke in it while reviewing hundreds of bottles against a white screen...

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