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Is it standard practice to insert translated text into pre-formatted doc
Thread poster: nexxus
nexxus
German to English
+ ...
Dec 22, 2008

usually when i translate a text, i send the client a word document and they insert it into their formatted text. this has been the case whether the translation is for a brochure or a press release. i handed my client a 60 page translation and then was told that they always get their translations inserted into the formatted document. now this was quite an extensive document with images, tables, formulas, and equations. no one has ever asked me to do this except with power point presentations but then this was specified in advance. otherwise, i would've jacked up my rate.

i'm just wondering if such a demand is standard practice or not.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:29
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Standard practice Dec 22, 2008

I would think it's standard practice, indeed contractually understood, that unless specific other arrangements are agreed in advance, a translation is *always* delivered in exactly the same format as the source text. For no additional charge.

There's a good reason for this: the client commissioning the translation wants to be able to use it straight away, and *somebody* is going to have to format it. The best person to do this would be the translator.

[Edited at 2008-12-22 20:54 GMT]


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 03:29
German to English
Common practice Dec 22, 2008

This is called "overwriting" the document. It's easier than recreating the document formatting yourself.

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FarkasAndras
Local time: 09:29
English to Hungarian
+ ...
normal indeed Dec 22, 2008

Why would you expect your client to identify which bit is wich and insert the translation correctly when they probably don't speak one of the languages involved, instead of just delivering them a document they can actually use as is?

If the original was a Word file, by default the translation has to be an identically formatted Word document with all the images and other nontranslated elements left in place.
I myself refuse to create pdf files but the general rule is always to match the original as closely as possible.

In my opinion the client's assumption about what they would get was entirely reasonable and you should correct this for them free of charge if they ask you to.
It's an annoying job to do but having to correct your mistake would be even more annoying for them.


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nexxus
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
IMO, it is 2 separate tasks Dec 22, 2008

thanks for the answers so far. i have been translating for 3 years. no one has ever asked me to do this. they usually just give the word file to their designer and they transfer it to the document.

in my opinion, it is 2 separate tasks. one is a text translation. the other is administrative and design related. that is just my opinion. but it is good to have other opinions on this topic.


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 03:29
German to English
+ ...
normal Dec 22, 2008

except for PDF's where I can't rip the file, I translate into the orginal excel, word, power point, etc.
it goes without saying & i agree with the other contributors.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 09:29
English to Hungarian
+ ...
- Dec 22, 2008

nexxus wrote:

in my opinion, it is 2 separate tasks. one is a text translation. the other is administrative and design related. that is just my opinion. but it is good to have other opinions on this topic.

Perhaps you have been translating pdf of other tricky file formats where formatting is indeed a separate job and translators cannot generally be expected to do it themselves, and the companies involved had their own DTP guys to do it. Or you have been translating books and brochures where layout is important and again, there were separate people for that.
Normally, that is not the case.

Honestly, overwriting the text in a word file is so easy that there is just no point in doing it any other way. In my personal opinion, using a CAT tool is the best way to translate, and then the whole issue doesn't even come up...


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Mario Gonzalez  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:29
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I don't think so Dec 23, 2008

I have been asked to translate pdf files where my extraction program works fine on the text but the graphics part must be redone in my DTP program.

Those are two different jobs.

Most times it fits OK easily, no charge....
Not so easy? then send me the original file for the program it was created on (corel, photoshop, etc), I can do it, but for free? I don't think so.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 14:29
Partial member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
CAT tools Dec 23, 2008

In my jobs, I maintain the original formats as are well done through CAT tools (Trados, SDLX, WordFast etc.).
For more complicate formatting e.g. texts in graphic, I give brief formatting. I am not good at graphic design which more time is needed.
I tell clients in advance of job assignments.
For PDF files, I request for original file format e.g. InDesign, Word, Illustrator. Or I will translate into Word files (my simplest formats/layouts).

Soonthon L.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:29
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Get to know your clients Dec 23, 2008

nexxus wrote:
i handed my client a 60 page translation and then was told that they always get their translations inserted into the formatted document. ... i'm just wondering if such a demand is standard practice or not.


I regard it as standard practice to format the translation of a word processing file the same way as the original, at no extra cost, but I have met several very good translators who deliver their translations in plaintext, with apparently no complaints from their clients. And I've also had clients who specifically preferred plaintext. So I guess the "standard practice" is to get to know your clients better. Of course, with a new client it is always difficult to tell what they believe are included in the deal, but you live and learn.

It had never ocurred to you that some clients might want the translation formatted like the source text, but now you know.


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 09:29
French to Dutch
+ ...
Normal for Word, PPT and Excel files Dec 23, 2008

For me it is normal too, just save the file under another name and work on the copy, and I always do so, I thought that this was normal and always found the instructions of an agency a bit ridiculous.
But: for some translators, it isn't legal to take the same file and to work on it, they are convinced that for legal reasons they have to create an original file. In the past, I saw lots of these translations, and I am not talking about birth certificates or PDF files.
And: some other translators are convinced that they aren't paid for doing DTP.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:29
Member (2008)
Italian to English
A good investment Dec 23, 2008

Peter Manda wrote:

except for PDF's where I can't rip the file, I translate into the orginal excel, word, power point, etc.
it goes without saying & i agree with the other contributors.


Hi Peter !

Adobe Acrobat Professional may be a good investment for some people. I recently used it to export a long, complex PDF as a Word file. AAP first of all scans the pdf and converts all the text via OCR. It does this pretty well, and doesn't make too many mistakes. Then it exports the pdf to Word, preserving all the formatting etc.

I know it costs $US 450.00, but being in possession of this particular piece of software makes it possible to accept jobs you wouldn't otherwise be able to do, and to keep clients happy by giving them a translation formatted in the same way as the pdf they sent you.


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Diarmuid Kennan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 08:29
Member (2006)
Danish to English
+ ...
Charge extra for formatting Dec 23, 2008

I charge a standard rate for translation. That charge covers the translation work and nothing else. As a matter of 'courtesy' and good service to my client, I tidy it up a bit where necessary so that the format is the same as the original (usually not a problem when the original is in Word format).

However, if there is a lot of work involved to present the translated document in the same format as the original (e.g. some pdf documents), I either charge extra (e.g. 25%) or explain to the client that the document will be delivered in plain text.

I'm not good at formatting, I'm good at translation so that's what I do. In my experience, 99% of agencies and 90% of private clients accept this.

The most important thing is to clarify with the client exactly what they are paying for in advance.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:29
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Just curious Dec 26, 2008

Do you charge extra for using a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence and for I?

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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 09:29
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Er... oh well ... I just try to steal myself out of the argument Dec 27, 2008

Do you charge extra for using a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence and for I?

Anyhow, it is included in my price calculation (g). Under the "let-the-lions-sleep" account.


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