Do you charge by word count in the original language text?
Thread poster: azalea
azalea
Local time: 01:48
English to Italian
+ ...
Dec 9, 2004

My question is: do you charge by word count from the original text or by word count into the final translated text. In other words: if I translate from English into Portuguese, do I count the words in the English text or the words in the final Portuguese text?

Thanks a lot for any input!!!
Azalea


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Nina Burkard
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:48
English to German
+ ...
Source text Dec 9, 2004

Hi Azalea!

I usually count the words in the source text and it seems to be more common here in Italy.

Have a nice evening.
Nina


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:48
Dutch to English
+ ...
Both source and target text depending on country Dec 9, 2004

In the UK and the Netherlands I charge per source word but in Spain I charge per target word. It all depends on what I have agreed with the customer.

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azalea
Local time: 01:48
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Nina! Dec 9, 2004

Thank you Nina for your prompt reply. I thought the same and that's what I have always done, but as one translator just told me the opposite I started having doubts.

If anyone else has a different experience, please share it with me.

regards,
Azalea


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:48
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Depends on language combination Dec 9, 2004

Hi Azalea,

I think it also really depends on which languages you work with. In German for example, some words are so long that we charge per line, and not per word. I can only afford to charge per word if I translate from English into German. The other way around, it would really not be worth it.

The calculation in lines is normally done with 55 key strokes or 60 key strokes (at least in Germany).

Some clients also prefer to charge per 'standard page'.

Best,
Stefanie


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 04:48
German to English
Number of factors Dec 10, 2004

I quote a source word rate for documents that are in electronically-editable format (MS Office, etc) since the number of source words can be easily counted. For other documents (hard-copy only, pdf files created from scans), I charge per target word, since that can be counted accurately in the final product. I have different rates for source or target word count. Many of my German clients pay based on a standard line (55 characters, including spaces).

For files composed of graphics that need to be translated, I charge on an hourly basis.

As you can see, there are a number of different ways to charge, but you must settle the method of counting words/lines *before* starting the job.

Kevin


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translatol
Local time: 09:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Word count from source text Dec 10, 2004

The custom in Canada, where I worked for many years, is to count by the word from the source text. I've been doing that in Spain too and nobody has objected.

There's an advantage to doing it that way which one client lets me take advantage of in order to speed payment. You can calculate the invoice before you finish the translation.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Also depends on the kind of service Dec 10, 2004

For translation I usually charge per source word (or line),
for proofreading per target word,
and for glossary creation per term (may consist of several words).

But this is only a preference, in case a client prefers an other base, I take the time to calculate the according rate. The only constant is the rate per hour, from which I derive the other rates.


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
suggestions Dec 10, 2004

Hi Azalea, it's funny there is a thread about this very same topic in Spanish right now.
I also live in the US, and all the translators I know charge using the word count of the source document. The reason for that, is that everyone wants to know how much the translation is going to cost beforehand. I translate from Spanish into English and viceversa, and for translators who work with this language pair, we make more money when we translate from Spanish into English, because as a rule, everything takes more words to say in Spanish.
I have no idea how people handle doing a proposal or an estimate on a translation when they charge by the word on the translated text.


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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:48
German to English
+ ...
Says who? Dec 10, 2004

sundari wrote:
In German for example, some words are so long that we charge per line, and not per word. I can only afford to charge per word if I translate from English into German.


Who says you have to charge the same amount per word in both directions?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Normally Source Dec 10, 2004

Normally I charge by the word count from the source text. This is especially appropriate when dealing with computer files, the word count is instantaneous. When dealing with hard copies and the client wants a quote up front then I have to count it out, which I can do efficiently.

With some jobs I use the target count, and those usually involve jobs where I am fairly sure both will be about even anyway. I work the English and Spanish pair both ways.

The source count is the norm.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 11:48
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Short worded languages Dec 10, 2004

Not long ago a customer asked for a bidding based on target word count (Finnish). He must have fallen from his chair when he read the result, though I mentioned even less then usual. Word prices in English are optically so much more exceptable. That's one reason why they are so popular.
The trouble with word counts in source languages like French or Finnish is also the way different software counts words, Wordfast gets 30 % higher results than Word.
Often oursourcers even cheat using word counts: you agree on basis of their numbers and notice later that you have to do much more than what you expected.
The German custom of charging per 55 characters in the target is the most fair for the translator.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 04:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Do you think that some outsourcers cheat? Dec 10, 2004

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
Often oursourcers even cheat using word counts: you agree on basis of their numbers and notice later that you have to do much more than what you expected.


It has already happened to me that I don't find the same wordcount than the client, and if it's a big difference I send him my results explaining that I count with PractiCount, and usually there's no problem, he accepts it.
But it happened recently that a colleague outsourced a job to me, it was a short document with no header or footnote, something for what Word and PractiCount usually give the same result, and there was an big difference. As I didn't know the client nor how he used to count, I took off all the numbers, and finished taking off the address, everything that I imagined they could have considered that I wouldn't have to translate, but I could never reach their wordcount. I told my friend, and she was embarrassed because she has a good relationship with her client. I told her that she had to decide whether to mention it or not, but that I would do it if it was my client. Finally she did and the client accepted the Word total, but I still wondering whether some outsourcers try that trick from time to time. I don't want to believe that and prefer to think that it's a software problem.

Sorry for the off topic, but it seems that azalea already got her answer.

Claudia

[Edited at 2004-12-10 04:43]


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MonikaB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:48
English to German
+ ...
Depends on country Dec 12, 2004

I think this mainly depends on the country your customer is located in.
In Germany it's quite common to quote per line of target text. When I worked in-house for a Belgian agency we once got an application from a German freelancer quoting her prices that way. One of my (German!) colleagues within the agency immediately dismissed that CV. According to her nowadays quoting prices per word of source language was the only acceptable/commonly used method and anything else was just proof that that person didn't know anything about professional translation. In more than five years of working in Belgium she had never come across this, even though she was mainly working with Germany-based freelancers.
While I think this is mainly a proof of my colleague's ignorance about translating in Germany it also shows how important it is to be aware of the business customs in your customer's country.

[Edited at 2004-12-12 12:26]


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xxxtnkw
Local time: 09:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Source text Dec 12, 2004

Given a choice, whatever the language-pairing, it seems fairest to base the fee on the source text.

The point about amalgamation of words in German is, nonetheless, well made and I have sometimes felt a little short-changed when being paid at the same rate for German as I am for French and Spanish, but since the agencies tend to call the shots, it is generally prudent to go along with their terms.

Happily, all the agencies with which I work are run by fair-minded people who are always prepared to discuss terms applicable to individual jobs.

Kind regards to all

Nicholas


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