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Ethics problem
Thread poster: Nina Khmielnitzky

Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:41
Member (2004)
English to French
Jun 24, 2006

Hi,
I have a problem to submit to all my colleagues online.

I have been doing freelancing work for a big company for quite sometime. They don't use CAT tools, and neither do I (I just bought Trados, but I have not learned to use it yet). They have a training dept. and recently hired a new person to be responsible for the training. In 2003, there was another person responsible for that, which submitted me a rather big manual.
I didn't know until I flashed on a particular term I knew I saw somewhere. Please note I was quite advanced in the second edition of the project when I stumbled on this precise term. I lauched a search in all my previous files and... Tadaaaa the exact same project, word for word.
My guts tell me I should inform this new training person that the project already exist. But the thing is, I retyped half of it already (I really didn't realized I had already done it) and I would not like to see all that money go away... Should I tell them that I will charge them for half the price, which will include formatting according to new specifications and checking for changes and mistakes?

My conscience (my husband) is out golfing and none of my translator friends are online.

What would you do?


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Alejandra Villarroel  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 11:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
You can't charge for that Jun 24, 2006

Your guts are totally right in my opinion. You said it was exactly the same project, word by word. So there is nothing to be discussed.

As for all that "waisted" effort, please look at the bright side, and take it as a good opportunity to show the new training person how valuable you are...

And start learning how to use your brand new CAT tool right now!

ALEJANDRA


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Barbara Micheletto
Italy
Local time: 17:41
Russian to Italian
+ ...
To be sure it is exactly the same project... Jun 24, 2006

you have to read it through, so you should charge the checking in the first place.
I definitely think you should tell the customer and agree with them a reasonable compensation. It was their fault, not yours... how can you be expected to remember a job you did three years ago?
To please the customer, you could also agree on charging only the checking, but certainly you can't give away for free all the work you have alreay done!

B.


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xxxPRen  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:41
French to English
+ ...
Charge for your time Jun 25, 2006

Hi Nina, this has happened to me a few times. I have always informed the client immediately, telling them I'll charge them only for the work to date (on an hourly basis), and they have always agreed and thanked me for realizing what was going on and contacting them. No way should you accept zero compensation. You've save them money.

Paula


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:41
English to French
+ ...
Your conscience - and their project management Jun 25, 2006

I would find it fair to charge for the work already done and let the rest of the contract go. You are being honest and loyal toward the client by cutting this job short. In any case, you worked for an amount of time, so it's only normal you get paid.

As for the client's project management, well, it is their responsibility to make sure they don't have the same document translated twice. You shouldn't have to worry about that. Otherwise, it would come down to you paying for their errors.

All the best!


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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:41
French to English
Agree with others Jun 25, 2006

You should tell them immediately. I agree you should charge them for the time you have spent so far, although I am surprised you got halfway through it before realising you had already translated it!

I hav e had this experience before but as I always check to see whether I have already worked on that particular case or for that particular client I have always found out straight away.

If you continue and the client finds out, I doubt that the client will use you again.

Good luck with whatever you decide.


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:41
Member (2004)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 25, 2006

Your opinions sum mine. I'll wait until it's a decent hour to call my client (it's Sunday after all) and tell her about it.

Nina


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge for what you did, and give discount for the rest Jun 25, 2006

Nina Khmielnitzky wrote:
I didn't know until I flashed on a particular term I knew I saw somewhere. Please note I was quite advanced in the second edition of the project when I stumbled on this precise term. I lauched a search in all my previous files and... Tadaaaa the exact same project, word for word.


The fact is: you did a lot of work. You did the work because a client had asked you to do it. The client made the mistake because he is disorganised. There is no reason why you should suffer because of the client's error.

I work for a newspaper and we translate stuff for many other departments in our company. Often we see the same things being requested for translation that either the same department requested two weeks previously, or some other department requested two hours ago. It used to drive us crazy (because often we'd do the same translation several times (there are more than one of us in the translation office, you see)). But we've implemented some pretty industrial archival and indexing systems (without telling the IT department), so now we can find old translations more quickly. We can't use CAT often because usually we work off hardcopy. Just so you understand where I'm from and why my advice is different from the other advice here.

I say: charge your full rate for the work you've done so far, then copy and paste from the old text and give the client a generous discount for the copied text. After all, you still have to check it to see if there weren't perhaps some slight changes. Then tell the client the good news: "I have discovered that the text you sent me was quite similar to a translation I did previously, and I've decided to give you a discount for the passages that I have copied from the previous translation." No lies there...


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:41
Member (2004)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Good news indeed Jun 26, 2006

Hi Samuel,
That's exactly what I told my client: Guess what the good news is? You're saving big time! I charged an hourly rate for a no-brainer, so it's not too bad. That meant that instead of working on a 9k word project, I spent a few hours copying and pasting, and then had time to enjoy the nice weather going to eat on a terrace downtown and catching a movie. So it's not all lost!

Nina


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:41
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
With your CAT tool, it won't happen again Jun 26, 2006

Hi Nina,


At least the same thing will never happen again once you are using Trados. Don't forget to always automatically run the "Analyse" function before starting a project.

Good luck with learning to use your new CAT tool!

Astrid


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Abe4
English
Ethics problem Oct 31, 2006

Hello Nina
I agree with all others. Yes, i praise yours guts. You should inform him.


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