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Extra additions to text, how to handle?
Thread poster: Vibeke Koehler

Vibeke Koehler
Local time: 22:00
Member (2006)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Oct 7, 2006

Hi all,

Sometimes clients send me what they call "additions" to an already completed project, and ask to have them translated at the same rate as the previous text, and then added to the total in my invoice.

These are usually quite short texts, normally never more than 100 words.

Now, if the text is directly related to the previous project, or obviously connected in some kind of way, I don't mind doing that.

But sometimes they send short translations completely off-topic and clearly part of something differet altogether. Wanting it just added to the invoice for the same rate. Then what to do? It makes me feel like someone's trying to trick me

Do any of you have similar experiences? How do you handle them?

My thought is to request minimum short-text-charge for these incidents.

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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
You set the parameters Oct 8, 2006

You could do that. In fact you can request anything you like. That doesn't create an obligation on your client's part to provide it. And you don't have an obligation to translate this small text at all.

I recommend writing out a set of rules along these lines:

I accept additions under the following circumstances:
a. They are provided to me no later than ...
b. The are no longer than ...
(anything else you want to put in there).

If additions don't meet these parameters, I will consider them new projects.

If it's a good client, however, you may want to treat these "additions" as goodwill/advertising. That's your call.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
If they're good clients... Oct 8, 2006

...then I would do it at normal rates as they are asking.

Do you have trouble with these extra texts because you have to do a lot of research on them?

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:00
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I do not normally charge differing rates to the same agency Oct 8, 2006

Usually I establish a fair rate with an agency and stick to it for at least a year (not for ever, obviously).

I do have a minimum charge for short texts, but I generally only apply the minimum charge if the agency has not recently given me a larger project, or only comes to me once a year at holiday time with a half-page text. I also apply the minimum rate when I start to notice that a particular agency never gives me a normal-sized job, preferring to distribute the normal jobs to translators on their books who charge less, but comes to me every time the text is extremely short, expecting that, unlike their regulars (who are normally cheaper), I will not charge a minimum rate and therefore I will be cheaper on that particular word count. An agency did this to me consistently at one time, so I then quickly established a minimum rate of about EUR 20 and the miniature jobs ceased as abruptly as they started.

I do not understand why it should be of significance whether the same project is concerned or not. I would advise never to charge an agency a higher price for a small job if they have recently given you a larger one.


[Edited at 2006-10-08 14:55]

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Vibeke Koehler
Local time: 22:00
Member (2006)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Thanks for sharing Oct 8, 2006

Thanks for all your replies. It's been helpful to know your thoughts.

The reason why content (sometimes) makes a diffference is that the texts can be on very different levels of technicality etc.
I generally charge less for texts of general content, and after a translation like that, if the so-called addition is... let's say a technical description of a surgical instrument, it feels rather unfair, because, yes, it might take a lot of research to put that short piece in context, and I normally would have charged a higher rate for it anyway.

But I agree when you say that if it's a good client etc. it's worth taking on.

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