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Will U accept pre-translated job?
Thread poster: Mark Xiang

Mark Xiang
Local time: 16:55
English to Chinese
+ ...
Jul 13, 2005

Dear Peers,

I often received pre-translated text. Client translated the text with their own TM and highlighted the text as "do not need proofing", "need proofing" and "need translating" with colored format. When there was no match, original text was copied. You had to do the translation by replacing the need-translating text with the target language, a filling-the-blanket job. The original style must be kept . But price was calculated based on the word number of the need-translating text at the regular rate. Text (sentence/paragraph) order was sometime much confused with respect to the original PDF file (Pre-translated document was in word file).

The problems with this kind of job were:
1. The pre-translation was of poor quality;
2. You could not use your own TM;
3. It was very hard to maintain the consistency of the translation (numerous terminologies were involved);
4. Time needed to render a good translation was nearly doubled.

It is from one of my regular clients, and the company seems to be very good and very large one according to my four-month working experience with them. After finishing a repeated job with this format, I told the client that I would not accept this kind of job any more. As an alternative, I offered them my Trados discount rates.

What would you do if you were in my shoes? Or what would you suggest? I suppose some of you most possibly have met the same or similar problem.

Thank you for your input.


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paolamonaco  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
English to Italian
+ ...
proofreading rates Jul 13, 2005

I would accept the job. In that case I would ask for profreading rates (rates per hour)

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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
English to German
I would also accept the job... Jul 13, 2005

...but make a few suggestions to the client that might improve your experience with such projects.


In this day and age, being offered partly pretranslated projects is becoming a lot more common because companies and their end customers want to save money and take advantage of existing translations created using CAT tools.

When I receive this type of translation project, I usually also receive the TM, either in Trados format or an export file. This means you can search for terminology in the TM. You can also use the 100% matches you're not getting paid for as reference material for the style your customer wants.

So first of all, I would ask your customer to provide the TM and any glossaries they might have received from their end customer. IMO, providing the TM should be common practice.

Further, I would ask the customer, to untick the "Segment unknown sentences" in the Trados Workbench "Translate" dialog box (if they don't use Trados, their CAT program probably offers a similar option).

You could also ask them not to pretranslate fuzzies, i. e. suggesting they only translate "100% matches or higher value" (again this is from the Workbench Translate dialog). This will eliminate the use of multiple colours, though they could still colour the 100% matches you're not supposed to touch. Instead they could do a proper analysis and pay you for new words and various levels of fuzzies.

If you then find that the quality of the 100% matches is extremely poor to the point of being unacceptable, get in touch with your customer immediately to alert them to the fact providing a few choice examples of errors, bad style, inconsistent terminology. They might not have been involved in the previous translations but could alert the end customer and see how they want to handle the situation. If your customer and/or the end customer is not prepared to shell out for retranslation, then simply do your best with those parts you're supposed to take care of and either have them pay you according to your Trados rates or by the time you actually need. I wouldn't want to accept a customer telling me that a particular job can be done in x amount of time. If they insist and I have spent that amount of time, I usually let them know that I'm only half way, 60%, whatever way through and that I can either stop at that point or they'll have to pay for the additional time. In many cases, I know after a short time, 2-3 hours perhaps, if the set timeframe is realistic. If it isn't, I let my customers know as soon as possible.

I've written this from the point of view of a translator who works for translation companies but the same approach can be adopted (maybe even more successfully) if you're working for direct clients.

My two cents worth.


[Edited at 2005-07-13 19:01]

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Mark Xiang
Local time: 16:55
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thank you, Rebekka. Jul 14, 2005

I had asked the client not to pre-translate the no-match by copying the original text but did not get positive response. As I have pointed out that this client is a large and probably very good company, they have their own operation standards and procedures. Changes are hard to make within its system. Pretranslated text is only one of their document formats. Other formats I had worked on are OK with me.

Another issue is that after pre-translation, the word number is nearly halfed. Much work is needed on the fuzzy match and 100% match. But you only get paid for the no-match.

Enduser is the world No. 1 of the industry. I am worried about the quality of the translation. If I want to make the translation meet my standard of translation, I need to spend much more time than it allocated and thus I am much underpaid.

I may lose this client totally after I declined to accept the pre-translated jobs. It is a dilemma.


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Myron Netchypor  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...

***** Jul 14, 2005

Hi, Mark!

If you think this company is worth working for, then keep to it. But it is also your right to negotiate such matters as you mentioned above. Though it is strange a bit that this company does not pay for fuzzy matches. By the way it is normal to pay full rates for 50-75% matches, because sometimes it is easier to translate the sentence anew, than to correct the fuzzy match.
I also suggest you to start improving of the wrong translation/terminology gradually, in case that you are proposed the long term cooperation with this agency.

so it is up to you to decide

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Mark Xiang
Local time: 16:55
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thanks Myron Jul 14, 2005

For your advice.

Actually I had told the client that I will not accept pretranslated job and they said they would see what they could do.

I have finished quite a few jobs on the same subject for them. But their TM was built on the previous translator(s) work. I declined this kind of jobs because they really take me much more time than they are supposed to.


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