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More Trados billing issues
Thread poster: Jessjean
Jessjean  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 11, 2008

Hi there,
I've posted before about this (I can't remember which section I posted in!).

My issues with the same client continue. I reluctantly agreed to accept jobs and not bill for 100% matches if I was told to ignore them.

Yesterday, I was contacted by the same client, asking me to do a job which was a mixture of translation and proofreading. He asked if I could bill on an hourly basis for the job (translation + proofreading).

We never got as far as discussing how much was translation, and how much was proofreading, but he did want the 100% matches to be proofread/edited.

I turned down the job on this basis. I said I would be happy to accept the job on my standard Trados billing terms (ie. 100%, 60%, 30%) but why would I accept a job on an hourly basis which leaves me significantly more out of pocket, despite doing the same work!

I hope I worded it diplomatically, but I did mention that everyone's feeling the squeeze at the moment and it wouldn't make financial sense for me to take the job. His reply was that billing on this basis wasn't with financial goals in mind, it was more a matter of optimising time and effort(?) This I find hard to understand. Why not just allow me to bill as normal then?

He has been a fantastic client over the last few years, but perhaps it's time to start severing ties. I don't have these issues with anyone else I work with, and the 'billing hourly' really was taking the goalpost-moving a little too far for my liking.

Does anyone have any views on this? Do you think I did the right thing in turning down the job. If I accept this basis once, it will happen again. (For information, I agreed to not charging for 100% matches for 1 end-client, but this has since been extended to 3). My unhappiness with not checking 100% matches was from a professional point-of-view, but this issue is purely from a financial one.

Thanks for reading!


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 20:57
German to English
+ ...
billing rate ... Jun 11, 2008

maybe your hourly billing rate is too low ...

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Laerte da Silva  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Using trados charge rates Jun 11, 2008

My view on that is quite simple.

If they do not want it done, eliminate it. If they want automatic repeat translations, use machine translation. A repeat does not mean the word will be translated exactly the same way at every occurrence and you will only know that after reading and analyzing, which requires work and time.

I only agree with Trados rates if specific TM is provided. Otherwise, CATs are great tools, but they do not do the job themselves and they are only valuable as such after you have done a good share of the work, that is, towards the end of the job.

I see these Trados rates issue as a marketing ploy gone awry.

I follow the same reasoning for proofing. If it is worth being done well by a competent professional, why would I give up my full rate for a jab that I would rather have translated myself than proof?

If supposedly proofing would be done by a more experience and competent professional, why receive less for it? I would rather translate than proof anyone else's work.

Translation business is a two-way lane, each need each other to the same extent, and professional respect must be mutual and agreements, well balanced.

These are my two cents.


Laerte J Silva


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Your hourly rate must be out of whack Jun 11, 2008

Jessjean wrote:
Yesterday, I was contacted by the same client, asking me to do a job which was a mixture of translation and proofreading. He asked if I could bill on an hourly basis for the job (translation + proofreading).

We never got as far as discussing how much was translation, and how much was proofreading, but he did want the 100% matches to be proofread/edited.

I turned down the job on this basis.



Your hourly rates should reflect your average earnings in an hour of average translation work. Then there would be no loss of income to expect. If you are a fast translator who makes an average of 100 euros per hour in your routine work, your hourly rate for proofreading and translation should be about 100 euros. "Average" rates for other people are irrelevant here: if the outsourcer wants to deviate from your piece work rates, that is OK in principle, but the final result should be equivalent.

You could always just calculate your hours based on what you would have charged anyway. That way you are sure of getting it right You can state "estimated hours" on this basis in advance just to cover yourself.


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Jessjean  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hourly rate... Jun 11, 2008

Thanks for everyone's input.

With this particular client, my hourly rate is actually well below what it should be, which is why I would be left out-of-pocket if I agreed to this billing method. An increase is actually what I was planning to arrange before this job turned up. I felt it wasn't the right time to raise the issue then and there.

On a more general note, what would people think is acceptable to propose for an hourly rate? 100 euros / hour sounds like a lot! I wondered if there was an 'average' or whether it depends on years of experience. (I've been translating for 6 years now).

Thanks again


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:57
English to Dutch
+ ...
Like Kevin said... Jun 11, 2008

Jessjean wrote:


On a more general note, what would people think is acceptable to propose for an hourly rate?


My hourly rate is : number of words I can translate per hour (on average) multiplied by my per-word rate.
I feel this reflects my experience, since the number of words I translate per hour increases with experience.

Also, this keeps my income reasonably steady, since I earn about the same amount of money each working day, regardless of what I do.

Like Kevin said:
Kevin Lossner wrote:
Your hourly rates should reflect your average earnings in an hour of average translation work. Then there would be no loss of income to expect. If you are a fast translator who makes an average of 100 euros per hour in your routine work, your hourly rate for proofreading and translation should be about 100 euros. "Average" rates for other people are irrelevant here: if the outsourcer wants to deviate from your piece work rates, that is OK in principle, but the final result should be equivalent.


I totally agree, only rephrased it.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Margreet expressed it best Jun 11, 2008

In other words,

if you translate an average of 300 words per hour and you charge an average of ten euro cents per word, your hourly rate should be 300 x 0.10 = 30 euros per hour

if you translate an average of 500 words per hour and charge an average of € 0.15 per word, your hourly rate should be 500 x 0.15 = 75 euros per hour

Very simple, really.

The nice thing about this, too, is that it adjusts automatically for harder texts. They take longer than average and you earn a higher equivalent word rate for them.


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Jessjean  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you both! Jun 11, 2008

That's really useful. I'm too ashamed to say how little I earn if I charge hourly for this client. My per word rates are much more standard. Now I must word another e-mail about my rates!

If I felt I was getting a fair hourly rate, then I wouldn't mind accepting jobs on this basis...

Thanks again!


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Jessjean  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proofreading / translation hourly rate... Jun 11, 2008

I meant to ask: you don't charge the same hourly rate for proofreading/editing as you do for translation do you?

Sorry for all the questions - I just want to make sure I'm getting in contact with thought-through proposals...

Thanks again


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:57
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
One hourly rate Jun 11, 2008

Jessjean wrote:

I meant to ask: you don't charge the same hourly rate for proofreading/editing as you do for translation do you?

Sorry for all the questions - I just want to make sure I'm getting in contact with thought-through proposals...

Thanks again


You should only have one hourly rate, no matter what you do. You'll complete a simple job in less time, a harder job will take more, so this balances out the complexity of the task.

Kind regards,
Erik


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Jessjean  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Erik Jun 11, 2008

I have a feeling my client might dispute this but if I know it's a reasonable proposal then I'm happy to stand my ground.

What a helpful bunch you all are on Proz - thanks!


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:57
Swedish to English
+ ...
How long is an hour? Jun 11, 2008

Jessjean wrote:

I meant to ask: you don't charge the same hourly rate for proofreading/editing as you do for translation do you?


Why not? The length of an hour doesn't change because you're proofreading. However, most people can proofread more words in any given hour than they can translate - this is reflected in different per word rates.

I have a feeling my client might dispute this but if I know it's a reasonable proposal then I'm happy to stand my ground.


Does your client have more than one clock? AFAIK, an hour is an hour is an hour, i.e. 60 minutes. If he/ she is employed by a company, I'm sure he/she get's paid the same for each hour regardless of what he/she is actually doing during any specific hour.

That's really useful. I'm too ashamed to say how little I earn if I charge hourly for this client. My per word rates are much more standard. Now I must word another e-mail about my rates!


I don't work in a major language pair like you do, but how on earth can you charge much less than the €0.10 in Kevin's first example? You live in the UK and, even if we are heading straight into a recession (with the possibility of stagflation), cost of living is moving in one direction only.

Don't forget who sets the rates. You do. If the client can't accept your quote, you have the option of either refusing the job or negotiating.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Don't forget the breaks! Jun 12, 2008

My old godmother, a former schoolteacher, used to quote an old Yorkshire saying:
If you want work done, a boy is a boy.
Two boys are half a boy.
Three boys are no boy at all!

Hours at work do not follow quite the same principle, but don't forget to include - and charge for - the necessary breaks away from the computer.
Otherwise you will be working more and more slowly and the quality will drop.

One hour is an hour at the most. Minimum charge or whatever.
Two hours should not be more than 1 hour 50 minutes, plus a break for light refreshment and a breath of air.

After four hours you need a longer break.

Anything over eight hours and you ought to consider stopping for the day at the next suitable point.

Of course one of the advantages of working freelance is that you can work twelve hours some days and not at all (or work for yourself, your kids, at your hobby ... ) on other days.

But if you can't afford to take breaks and have a life away from work, your rates are too low.

Happy translating, folks!


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Jessjean  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Higher rate in place Jun 12, 2008

Hi all,
I'm happy to say I've negotiated a much higher hourly rate, which has been accepted!
I think this has not arisen in the past as I've always done far more translating than anything else (so charging by the word, and not by the hour). Now this hourly billing is cropping up more frequently, the problems became apparent to me.

Thanks to the great advice on here, I made a sensible proposal, and hopefully everyone's happy!

Thanks a million


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:57
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
You are doing your maths wrong Jun 12, 2008

Jessjean wrote:
...
I turned down the job on this basis. I said I would be happy to accept the job on my standard Trados billing terms (ie. 100%, 60%, 30%) but why would I accept a job on an hourly basis which leaves me significantly more out of pocket, despite doing the same work!
...


Read this I must say that you are either overcharging your customers when paid per word or undercharging them when paid by hour.
Characters, match rates, words, pages and all that are only numbers in a certain sort of statistics. My job is always to put them together with correct weightings to get my price.
I do not want to sound rude or to harm anyone. It is only that I see these things as simple as that. In this case I would have rejected the job, because I try to avoid proof reading, but should I accept it, the hourly rate should be at least the same as when translating.
I must also admit not to heaving read the whole topic here due to lack of time, so sorry, if I'm repeating something already said here.

Regards
Jerzy


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