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Agency wants me to match their customer TM discount - opinions?
Thread poster: Roddy Tannahill

Roddy Tannahill  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
French to English
+ ...
Jul 28, 2003

I came across something today, and I would like other ProZ professionals' opinions on it.

A client, with whom I have been working on a contracted basis for six months now, gave me two rather tricky medical texts to do, which I completed despite being unwell with a virus. The texts were similar, and fortunately I have TRADOS, so a lot of my work was made easier. However, the repetition rate between the two jobs was < 50%. I asked my client what she wanted to do about this - and she said that she would be happy for me to charge her customer twice, at full rate. So that's what I did.

However, I have just received an e-mail saying that she doesn't want to charge her customer full whack now, and wants to offer him a 20% discount because of the repetitions, in case the customer thinks she's being greedy and takes his business elsewhere. She asked whether I thought that was OK - clearly inferring that she wants me to charge 20% less too.

What do you think I should do? Knock 20% off to keep my client happy or insist on the full rate? After all, her business decisions aren't mine...

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Cheers guys.

R.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 11:19
German to English
Don't offer a discount if none is asked Jul 28, 2003

Although your query was incomplete, I got the gist of your question. If no discount was negotiated up front, then you are under no particular obligation to provide a discount. The reason you use a TM tool is to increase both your productivity *and* profit. If your conscience bothers you, you might offer a slight discount if a third such volume is offered for translation, but I wouldn't get involved in the fuzzy match, partially fuzzy, almost fuzzy, quasi fuzzy discount.
Kevin


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Martine Etienne  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 17:19
Member (2003)
English to French
+ ...
TM tool Jul 28, 2003

She has not paid for your TM tool - You have... So she may discount, you have not to do it.
When an agreement is made at the beginning of the job, then everyboby takes his/her responsabilities. But not afterwards.
That is how I would handle it.


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
you are right, you are not responsible for your client's business decisions Jul 28, 2003

Rodent wrote:
I asked my client what she wanted to do about this - and she said that she would be happy for me to charge her customer twice, at full rate. So that's what I did.


I agree this goes beyond the issue of whether or not to apply discounts for repetitions.

You acted professionally by asking your client how she wanted to deal with the project, and proceeding accordingly. I trust it would never occur to you to change the terms of an agreement after the job has been delivered. Likewise, your client should know better.

I would be careful about setting a precedent with this case. You don't want to encourage this kind of behavior on your client's part.

Good luck with your decisions.

Susana

[Edited at 2003-07-28 21:53]


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:49
English to Tamil
+ ...
Do not allow yourself to be dictated terms Jul 29, 2003

Why should the client be concerned about the repetitions in text? Nor are you responsible for the same. If the client wants to be in a position to take advantage of the repetitions, just gently ask him to do the work himself. He cannot. End of argument. From the readings of similar posts I have come to the reluctant conclusion that we translators are ourselves responsible to a great extent for this sorry state of affairs. In an anxiety to land an assignment the translator starts offering discounts for repetitions and the client does not need further encouragement. This is one reason, why I am not buying Trados.
Your case is quite clear. If your client wants to offer discount to her client, it is her decision. You need not be dragged into it. If I were in your position, I would have overruled any discount for repetition at the outset. Nor I would have asked her how she wanted me to charge. This course of action will not even occur to me.

[Edited at 2003-09-26 10:29]


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
I have to agree with Narasimhan Jul 29, 2003

Narasimhan Raghavan wrote:
If the client wants to be in a position to take advantage of the repetitions, just gently ask him to do the work himself. He cannot. End of argument.


I have to agree. I once had to explain to an agency why I did not automatically offer discounts for repetitions, and that in the future I would be willing to have some flexibility provided the agency highlighted the identical passages AND took responsibility for the information contained, essentially making it a copy and paste situation for me (i.e., I would not be verifying whether the passages in question were identical...I trust we are all aware how many so-called identical paragraphs contain inaccuracies and inconsistencies).

A few weeks later, the agency tried to save money by identifying identical passages on a previously translated document that needed updating. Soon the project coordinator called me and asked me to please do whatever I needed to do, since they could not figure it out. Not only were they delighted to pay the full translation rate for the document, but I believe the experiment gave them an appreciation for the complexity involved in handling updates and reviews.


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Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:19
Member (2002)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
SAY NO Aug 10, 2003

The matter of whether you accept or not discounts on repetitions is actually a matter of personal decision. Some accept it (which may be reasonable in a high-volume job) and others don't (Narasimhan has also a point).

However, once you agree to certain conditions, THAT'S IT. You have asked your client, you have agreed a set of conditions, and it's simply unfair that he comes back wanting to change the conditions. If he wants to make a discount, let him make it from his own margin (which is well over 20%, believe me).
I have sometimes accepted translations which required much more work than I initially expected - yet I did not ask for a change in the price. I regard myself as a professional, & when I have reached an agreement, I think I am bound by it. I expect the same professionalism from my clients... and if I cannot get it, then perhaps I should look for another one...


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