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Discount for large volumes of work - yes, no, maybe???
Thread poster: Rebecca Holmes

Rebecca Holmes
United States
Local time: 20:45
German to English
May 7, 2003

A potential customer just sent a large document and asked for a cost estimate. He also stated he had a number of similar documents (interview protocols) and asked at what volume of work (in my case in Germany number of lines) I would be willing to give a volume discount.

Does anybody out there have a tried-and-

proven rule of thumb for volume discounts?

Or would you recommend giving them at all?


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:45
Latvian to English
+ ...
Maybe....... May 7, 2003

There have been a number of discussions on this subject in the forums ...(just type \'discounts\' into the search function on the bottom LH corner of the page). All I can say is that opinions are divided!

[ This Message was edited by: jteteris on 2003-05-07 12:47]


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:45
Member (2004)
English to French
It depends... May 7, 2003

Hello Rebecca,

I am currently working for a good customer who recently sent me a rather large contract. I offered him a discount based on the following factors :

- He\'s a good payer and trustworthy

- I\'ve known him for years and the company he\'s working for is well known in Canada

- I\'ve calculated that asking for a little less would not make me loose too much money, as the final amount is still pretty interesting.



Whatever your reasons, there must me advantages for each party.



Nina


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:45
Flemish to English
+ ...
Other professionals do not give discount. May 7, 2003

If you go to your doctor for the umpteenth time, does he offer you a discount?

If you to the dentist for the second or third time in a week, does he give you a discount?

If you have to buy the same medicines on a regular basis, does the \"Apotheker\" gives you a discount?

If you consult a lawyer many times, does he give you a discount?

If you have your car repaired five times in a month, do you get a discount at the garage?

Most professionals do NOT give discounts even for repetitive use of their services.

Only translators are expected to give a discounts on voluminous assignments (or

to buy CAT-software and give discounts for using this software).



This says a lot on how other professionals view this profession: \"as something you do because you do not have anything better to do\" (quote from banking professional on translation/interpreting)


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:45
German to English
+ ...
Proven rule of thumb May 7, 2003

Quote:


Does anybody out there have a tried-and-

proven rule of thumb for volume discounts?





Yes, there is a proven rule of thumb for volume discounts. It is: whatever YOU consider the appropriate discount is the appropriate discount.



Nina K. is therefore right to give discounts and Williamson not to do so. It is their prerogative - and not their customers\'.



For a very astute view of CAT-related discounts, see the second link quoted by Maria Eugenia Farre in the posting \"A localizer\'s wishlist of computing features\".



Marc





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Terry Thatcher Waltz, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:45
Chinese to English
+ ...
Totally agree... May 7, 2003

Yes, I completely agree with Williamson. Same deal we get constantly with \"free samples\" too. When\'s the last time you got that small filling done for free, to see if you wanted to use that dentist for your root canal work?

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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
No May 7, 2003

An option would be to tell the client to just send you the new segments and/or to pay you per hour (US$40 in my case) to make sure the repetitions actually make sense in all documents.



Either way, it makes no sense at all to lower your rate because of volume.



Words are not sprockets.


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mora339
Local time: 10:45
Japanese to English
+ ...
No rule but I do when I want to do... May 7, 2003

If I were in manufacturing, where volume actually pays, I would set a rule for volume discount. If I were a reseller, I would also so that because I know I can get the same discount from my vendor (manufacturer). And customers know that too. Therefore you can\'t really decline. Well you can, but sometimes it costs your business down the road.



But now we\'re in translation. Volume does not really pay. Customers have to know that too. So, I think it\'s just a matter of whether you want to do it or not. Just like Nina stated, I would give a volume discount when I am willing to do it in order to make more rocky relationship between the customer, or if the total amount is fairly large, giving up a bit just to make the customer happy and I still benefit from that job. That\'s my opinion.



Another rule that I have is \"I never give any discount when the customer tries to threat me for it.\"



I guess what I\'m saying is when both parties can feel happy about, then discount is worth.



Is this sort of making sense?



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Sheila Hardie  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:45
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Dentists May 7, 2003

[quote]

On 2003-05-07 13:04, Williamson wrote:



If you to the dentist for the second or third time in a week, does he give you a discount?





Not only that - I once went to the dentist and he cut my tongue open with the drill (by mistake, I hope). He then had to sew up the hole with 6 stitches (ouch!)



Guess what? No discounts for cut tongues -I had to pay for the privilege of being the second person in 10 years whose tongue he had drilled open







Sheila (who is now very wary of dentists)



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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
symbolic discount May 7, 2003

If the interviews consist of multiple choice questions there will be a useful repetitivity. But in the answers to open questions you can barely expect any significant decrease in effort per word, so I would offer a discount of 3% to 5% to make the customer happy.

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:45
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
They always say they're similar! May 7, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-05-07 10:28, Holmes wrote:

A potential customer just sent a large document and asked for a cost estimate. He also stated he had a number of similar documents (interview protocols) and asked at what volume of work (in my case in Germany number of lines) I would be willing to give a volume discount.

Does anybody out there have a tried-and-

proven rule of thumb for volume discounts?

Or would you recommend giving them at all?





Beware - they always say the documents will be similar, but I wouldn\'t believe it until you\'ve seen it yourself! What he defines as similar may not be useful in a translation sense - for example, the same ideas could be rendered in different ways, which would not help at all if you were planning on using TM tools, which rely on the same \"words\" (not the same \"concepts\") being used. Otherwise you could set yourself up for accepting a lower rate for something you wouldn\'t otherwise.



PS I don\'t give volume discounts generally, but if I am raising my rates, I am sometimes willing to differentiate rates for text types (e.g. old rate for internal documents, new rate for documents for publication). That gives me a little negotiating space if I seem like I am pricing myself out of a client\'s reach (of course, it has to be a client I want to keep!)

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Maureen Holm, J.D., LL.M.
United States
Local time: 20:45
German to English
+ ...
Discounts May 8, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-05-07 10:28, Holmes wrote:

A potential customer just sent a large document and asked for a cost estimate. He also stated he had a number of similar documents (interview protocols) and asked at what volume of work (in my case in Germany number of lines) I would be willing to give a volume discount.

Does anybody out there have a tried-and-

proven rule of thumb for volume discounts?

Or would you recommend giving them at all?





One of the commitments required by the writers union I belong to is that members will not do any work for free. If I discount on a translation, I give something for free. I\'ve found my clients are happiest when they receive a document ahead of schedule. If time is saved, money is saved, too.

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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:45
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
What if the other documents don't materialise? May 8, 2003

In the past I have been asked to lower prices because the client promised more of the same - and then the rest of the documents just never materialised. Promising more work could (in some cases) just be a trick to get a cheap price for the assignment that has to be done now.



I do not give discounts these days. But that\'s also because I now get offered more work than I can handle (especially with the baby!). Sometimes you lose the job, and other times they come back prepared to pay the price you originally quoted. I suppose that giving a discount all depends on how much you really want the translation and the client.


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Kate Hudson  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:45
Dutch to English
+ ...
Discounts and large volumes May 9, 2003

There are major problems associated with large volumes and discounts for freelance translators. The first is that commitment to one customer for a long period leaves your other customers looking for someone else to do their work and you without them as customers at the end of the large project.

I was once asked to commit to a project for nine months. If I accepted the large project I was going to have to work longer hours in order to keep any of my usual customers satisfied. The end result of trying to juggle too many balls is poor quality - a matter that I consider of prime importance. I know that a large project offers a degree of security - but only for as long as it lasts - and where are you left at the end of it? Either with no customers or with fewer customers due to losses over the long term.



On principle I do not give discounts for volume because it all has to be translated with as much care and attention to detail as if the translation was small, and perhaps with even more care and attention because the project is more difficult to manage in terms of terminology than a small translation.



As was pointed out above volume discounts are only useful in a manufacturing setting. As long as we still translate and don\'t leave it all to the machines there should be no discounts.



Kate Hudson



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