Jost Zetzsche Tool Kit

Saturday, March 18, 2006

IT can help in nabbing terrorists

My dear friend Mr. Ravi Balasubramanian sent me this email, which I converted into Tamil and put up a post in my Tamil blog. Now with his blanket permission, I hasten to put it my English blog as well. I am talking about the same Ravi Subramanian, whose another email inspired me to put up my post "Loss of friend".

The problem of terrorists is looming everywhere in the country. Experts from all over domains are thinking hard to solve the problem. Half the problem will be solved when there is a simple way of nabbing them. It is here that our hero Mr.Vijayakanth from the Tamil silver screen comes to our rescue. He has taken a vow to develop software for nabbing the terrorists. Here is how he proceeds. His various steps are shown easy to follow images that figure in his film "Vijayakanth, IT Super Star!" Here goes:

Now an urgent request. Never reveal to our Vijayakanth that it was I, who put up this post. I am putting on a disguise just in case.

Dondu N.Raghavan

Computer illiterates around the world

Computer illiterates around the world making you appear cleverer by comparison

For people moaning about their helplessness with computers, here are some examples showing the state of knowledge in others. You are definitely better off than they are, given the fact that you have succeeded in coming to read this page! Here goes:

True telephone conversations recorded from various Help Desks around the U.K

Helpdesk: What kind of computer do you have ?

Customer: A white one...

> > ====

Customer: Hi, this is Celine. I can't get my diskette out.

Helpdesk: Have you tried pushing the button ?

Customer: Yes, but it's really stuck.

Helpdesk: That doesn't sound good; I'll make a note ..

Customer: No ... wait a minute... I hadn't inserted it yet... it's still on my desk... sorry .

> > ====

Helpdesk: Click on the 'my computer' icon on to the left of the screen.

Customer: Your left or my left ?

> > ====

Helpdesk: Good day. How may I help you ?

Male customer: Hello... I can't print.

Helpdesk: Would you click on start for me and ...

Customer: Listen pal; don't start getting technical on me ! I'm not Bill Gates damn it !

> > ====

Hi good afternoon, this is Martha, I can't print. Every time I try it says

'Can't find printer'. I've even lifted the printer and placed it in front

of the monitor, but the computer still says he can't find it...

> > ====

Customer: I have problems printing in red...

Helpdesk: Do you have a colour printer ?

Customer: No.

> > ====

Helpdesk: What's on your monitor now ma'am ?

Customer: A teddy bear my boyfriend bought for me in the supermarket.

> > ====

Helpdesk: And now hit F8.

Customer: It's not working.

Helpdesk: What did you do, exactly ?

Customer: I hit the F-key 8-times as you told me, but nothing's happening.

> > ====

Customer: My keyboard is not working anymore.

Helpdesk: Are you sure it's plugged into the computer ?

Customer: No. I can't get behind the computer.

Helpdesk: Pick up your keyboard and walk 10 paces back.

Customer: OK

Helpdesk: Did the keyboard come with you ?

Customer: Yes

Helpdesk: That means the keyboard is not plugged in. Is there another keyboard ?

Customer: Yes, there's another one here. Ah...that one does work !

> > ====

Helpdesk: Your password is the small letter a as in apple, a capital letter V as in Victor, the number 7.

Customer: Is that 7 in capital letters?

> > ====

A customer couldn't get on the internet.

Helpdesk: Are you sure you used the right password ?

Customer: Yes I'm sure. I saw my colleague do it.

Helpdesk: Can you tell me what the password was ?

Customer: Five stars.

> > ====

Helpdesk: What antivirus program do you use ?

Customer: Netscape.

Helpdesk: That's not an antivirus program.

Customer: Oh, sorry...Internet Explorer.

> > ====

Customer: I have a huge problem. A friend has placed a screensaver on my

computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears !

> > ====

Helpdesk: Microsoft Tech. Support, may I help you ?

Customer: Good afternoon! I have waited over 4 hours for you. Can you

please tell me how long it will take before you can help me ?

Helpdesk: Uhh..? Pardon, I don't understand your problem ?

Customer: I was working in Word and clicked the help button more than 4

hours ago. Can you tell me when you will finally be helping me ?

> > ====

Helpdesk: How may I help you ?

Customer: I'm writing my first e-mail.

Helpdesk: OK, and, what seems to be the problem ?

Customer: Well, I have the letter a, but how do I get the circle around it?

Taken from this URL:

The abovementioned is from a posting that was initiated by me. My fellow translator Parrot added this gem:

Customer: Hello, I need to replace a broken part of my computer.

Help desk: Which one?

Customer: The glass holder.

Help desk: The WHAT???

Customer: You know, that tray with the hole in the middle that pops out when you push the small button...

Friday, March 17, 2006

My 2 cents about dealing with the clients - 4

I spoke thus in the first part of this series dealing with client relations: "Be clear about the rates. Many translators lose out on this aspect. It may be true that the job is easy for you and you love this work. But there is no need for you to tell this to the client. If you do so, he will start behaving as if he is doing you a favor.

You have a skill to market, that is to say translation. The client does not have it. Period. Even if he were to have it, he just cannot afford the time taken to do the translation himself. That's why you are there. This is the true position. Now all that remains to be done is the pricing of your services. Some clients may try this ploy: "This is a job after your heart and it is actually an art. Trying to haggle is just cheapening this art, don't you think so?" Allow no one to pull the wool over your eyes. The client is solely interested in reducing his costs. To such clients I gently say, "Sir, you are a sensitive soul and it does credit to you, I am content to be an admirer of mammon". Beyond this no client had proceeded, as in truth he is a keener merchant than I am!

Let's come to another ploy by the client. A 10-page paper may contain some sentences repeated more than once. This happens mainly in patents, wherein the same idea may be repeated with different numerical values. Especially in the patent claims section, there will be full paras repeated from the earlier descriptions. When the client is aware of this, he will expect you to charge less for repetitions and at times even forgo payment for the same, for the simple reason, that the work is made easy for us. I never allow myself to fall for this line of reasoning and will reject their reasoning outright. Well, the repetitions are not my concern. I did not bring them about. What I have is a paper and if the client wants it translated, he better pay me the full amount. My price is based on the rate per word. There are softwares available for counting words in various types of files. I always use this mode of charging. This too is susceptible to many changes depending on circumstances but they are beyond the scope of this posting. In short, the client's reasoning on this account is not acceptable.

But do remember to be polite while mouthing all these things and keep smiling, while being firm at the same time. Even if the client were not to agree to these things, always make sure that you keep the door open for a later entry to the client's office. Who knows what the future will bring?

It is also important to shape your prices to suit the client's needs. For example, there was this client, who had a 100 page document containing around 30,000 words and just 3 days' time before he had to understand it and take action. If one were to translate it in toto, at least 20 days were required. He just did not have that much time. So he asked me whether I could go through the document and give him a true picture of its contents. This called for reading out the document and then giving the client an oral presentation of its contents. I went to his office for 2 days in succession and gave out oral summaries of various chapters to a team of 4 different domain people. For this I cannot charge in terms of words. I resorted to hourly rate plus taxi charges to and fro plus coffee, tea, lunch etc as applicable from time to time. Under this regime my minimum billing will be for 2 hours per assignment. I did the work to the client's satisfaction. As this was a first time for me, I gave one disclaimer at the outset, namely, the time period required for the work depended on the client's capacity to absorb things quickly. And this is beyond my control.

Some of you may frown on my mentioning tea, coffee, lunch etc. My friend had to face a lot of embarrassment just because he didn't talk these things out beforehand. He was taken to Trichy, where he had to stay in the same hotel as the client but had to pay his own bills. He ended up with a net loss of Rs.200 (that was in 1981).

How does one calculate the hourly rate? I have the following formula for this. I know how many words I can turn out per hour. This multiplied by my word rate will give my hourly rate. That's all.

Rest in coming installments.