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Queries on providing direct customers with quotes
Thread poster: Antony Addy
Antony Addy  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
French to English
Sep 18, 2003

Hi all,

I would just like to get your opinions on this situation.

I have a direct client who has asked for a quote for a translation that will be in Word, PowerPoint and Excel formats. The document is not ready yet, so unfortunately I can't have a look at it and the potential client is keen to get a quote in advance.

1. Is it feasible to give an accurate (ish) quote without seeing the doc? If so, how?

2. What would you consider as the 'going' rate for a 'common' European language into English per page (Word format)?

Thank you in advance for your input,


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 21:31
German to English
Can't quote sight unseen Sep 19, 2003

How long is a piece of string?

Without knowing the scope of the document there is no way to predict how many words will be involved, how much formatting you'll have to do (although I would assume that if they're in some Office product you can probably overtype the files).
My rule of thumb:
A normal 8 1/2 x 11" page 12-point type with one inch margins has about 300 words. Probably a little more with DIN A4). Take your target rate per word and multiple it times 300 and you'll have a rough rate. To be safe, assume it's in 10-point and raise your word count estimate by 10%.

Better to overestimate than to underestimate the job. If you come in under your estimate, the client will thank you, but if you underestimate, you'll kick yourself.

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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
English to Tamil
+ ...
Assume the worst case scenario and quote for the same Sep 19, 2003

Always hedge your bets. Assume the most difficult scenario. And quote on the source word basis. For the pair French-English there is not much difference between the wordcounts in the two languages. And do not give way to the client's browbeatings. One more thing: Give the validity period of the offer as well. It will not do if the client tries to quote you your rates given much earlier. Be firm. Good luck.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to German
+ ...
Don't commit yourself unless you have had a chance to see the document Sep 19, 2003

Hi Antony,
1. Is it feasible to give an accurate (ish) quote without seeing the doc? If so, how?

I don't think so, particularly if several file formats are involved. Try getting draft versions at least.

HTH - Ralf

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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
not without seeing a sample (at least ) Sep 19, 2003

The only thing you could say for sure, after seeing a sample and being sure of the subject, is your rates per word for the translation, and per hour in case it includes more complicated formatting.

If the client can only give you an idea of what the job will be, you can only give them an idea of the price. Nothing can be confirmed until you have the actual material in front of you.

Good luck!!

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:31
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Hourly for PowerPoint and Excel Sep 19, 2003

Don't forget to consider charging an hourly rate for Excel and PowerPoint - the formatting you have to do can take a lot of time.

Also, never believe a length estimate before the text is done. It'll almost always be about 30% longer!

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