The translation management database

The translation management database helps me to manage my translation projects, create statistics on my productivity and drive invoicing. See here for more information on the design of the translation database.

I record the time spent working on translation projects, the volume handled and time spent on management activities. The following video demonstrates some of the measures that I calculate to monitor translation project activity, notably word rate, hourly rate and words per hour performance.

The above video is subtitled in English and in French. For more information, please see our video subtitling services. A summary transcript of the video is available in the video description.

urpose of the Translation Management Database

Numbers produced (combinations) in the translation management database

I produce some or all of these combinations of indicators and review them regularly in my GTD Review to ensure that I’m on track. Whether for individuals projects, or overall productivity.

AxisProduction wordsProduction timeHourly rate (GBP)Hourly word rate (WPH)Avg order price (GBP)Margin
Period (W,M,Q,Y)PW by periodPT by periodHR by projectWPHAvg order (AO)Margin (30d)
CustomerPW by customer   AO by customer 
Project  HR by project   
Project categoryPW by category     
Task type   WPH by task type  

Production overview (GTD)

The GTD review is an overview of performance and I measure it with some key data:

production kpi overview

I use the translation management database to do a GTD review every week. But because the data for each week is discrete, I can review and modify my objectives at any time. I don’t have to wait until the end of the week to see how things are going.

The main thing is that I look at are the hourly rate, the word rate, to reassure myself that the the hourly rate is high enough.

And also that the word rate is high enough to know that I’m doing things fast enough.

  • Statistics, particularly, hourly rate and word rate per hour
  • Overall statistics for a period, the year, broken down by category, domain,
  • A customer breakdown enables me to see which customers are sending me the work I’m most efficient at
  • Weekly performance, how many hours I’ve done in a week how many words

Monthly production (hours)

Overall, I can see how many words I’m doing per month and whether I’m putting in the hours.

Monthly production hours

Monthly production (words)

Project words is the number of words in the order. But if a project is 5,000 words, I might do 10,000 in all, 5,000 to draft and 5,000 to proofread. All this time and volume must be (and is) counted in the hourly rate.

Monthly production words

Word rate

A high hourly word rate means that I’m working as fast as possible (maintaining quality). A rising word rate may be a sign of finding better ways of doing things (continuous improvement).

project word rate wph

Hourly rate (GBP)

The hourly financial rate helps me tell whether the hours I’m putting in are profitable.

Hourly rate GBP

Measuring the key data

I therefore need to capture time spent on projects in the translation management database. I work on projects in batches of roughly half an hour, which I record using the timer screen. This video

  • Explains the key measures that the translation database helps to manage.
  • Demonstrates a test project and recording time spent.
  • Provides a short explanation of hourly rate.


I estimate a project for 1500 words at a word rate of 0.05, total price is 75 GBP. It will take me 1.5 hours, thus an hourly rate of 50 GBP. This is achieved in two half hour batches of 750 words one translating to draft and one half hour proofing 1500 words.

In this video, I use a new project,

  1. Number of words: 1500
  2. Price: 75 EUR
  3. Time estimate: 1.5 hrs
  4. Estimated hourly rate: 50 EUR
Projects form

Timer screen in the translation management database

Start working on a project

Time the work done with the timer screen

  1. Enter 2 batches: 1 x 0.5 hours to 750 words and 1 x 0.5 to 1500 words
  2. Enter 1 batch: 1 x 0.5 hrs for 1500 words proofing (to OK)

1500 words in 1.5 hrs is a word rate of 1000 words per hour and hourly rate of 50 GBP

  • The timer screen is where I show the time spent on projects
  • Applies the Pomodoro method.
Timer screen

Project progress

I can see my progress on the timer screen, how many days a job has taken me, my average hourly rate and word rate.

translation Project progress

Project terminology in the translation management database

Each project in the translation management database has its own specific terms which I record against the project ID, so I can come back and look at the vocabulary for specific projects.

terms in the translation management database

Search all terms in the translation management database

I can search through all the vocabulary to find the term I’m looking for. I can attach an existing term to the current project, enter new terms, and thus constitute the terms for a project. This is also an opportunity to improve terms I’ve come across already.

Import term bases

I import term bases into the translation management database, technical dictionaries (such as the engineering one) which are available when I’m doing a project.

Online resources

Word Reference

I also use online lots of online resources:

Online resources 1
Online resources 2

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