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Too much work for a minimum fee
Thread poster: Burrell

Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:21
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Feb 7, 2006

A couple of days ago I did a small job for a government founded agency. The agency insisted on faxing the documents due to safety reasons. The only other option they have is mailing a floppy disk but my laptop does not have a floppy drive, while desktop floppy drive does not seem to work any more as it has not been used for a couple of years, if ever.
As the job was really small I did not insist on surcharge for faxed copy. However when I started translating, it turned out there was more text than the agency had stated (it was a document I did before with some changes, except that there was some text added which I was not told about before). The total word count was 500 - this is when the minimum fee and per word fee meet, so there was not much sense in insisting on increasing the fee. However as the document was in paper format, I spent a lot more time working on it becuase of the additional text. Plus the agency wanted me to mail them the translation on a disk which would mean spending another half an hour to get to the post office.
When I told the PM that there was more text he never offered to pay more and did not even enquire how much more there was, he just assumed they are going to get it for the same fee. However when I said that next time I will have to charge more for faxed documents, he hit the roof saying that I have the texts in my copmuter anyhow and that they can send me a floppy but apparently I cannot support the format (which sounded like a huge crime).
This time I just kept quiet - not much I can do when translation is already delivered.
However next time I plan charging them 30% on top of the fee, if they send me a the documents via fax again, plus half of my hourly rate for mailing the translation.
Do you think I am right, or maybe I have wrong ideas on this subject? I usually do not let people walk over me but maybe I am overly sensistive here?

Ines


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:21
German to English
+ ...
Too much work for a minimum fee Feb 7, 2006

Why not simply buy and fit a new floppy drive? New ones can be had for less than 3 (three) euro.

Marc


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LuciaC
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:21
English to Italian
+ ...
(If I understand the problem) Feb 7, 2006

I'd have taken the floppy disk to one of my neighbours and ask him/her to email the text to me or put it on a CD. Even if it is confidential you can do this straight from the A:/ drive.


Forgot to add: unless you can solve the problem with the floppy drive, I would charge a bit more after agreeing the terms in advance.

[Edited at 2006-02-07 13:02]


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#41698 (LSF)
Malaysia
Local time: 18:21
Japanese to English
+ ...
Email encrypted file Feb 7, 2006

Well, of course someone may still crack open the encrypted file with sufficient computing power but the chances would have been reduced substantially.

Use 256-bit encryption and password with your ZIP program (such as Winzip)then Email the file but fax/phone over the password.


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JackieMcC
Local time: 11:21
French to English
the old-fashioned way! Feb 7, 2006

Hi,

your message made me smile as ten or so years ago, before the era of e-mail, this was the standard way of working - clients faxed documents, translators put their translations onto floppy disks and trotted off to the post office to send them back to their clients.
In fact, I still have a box of disk-sized padded envelopes somewhere in my loft, that I have absolutely no use for now !

I never met anyone who considered lowering their rates when documents started arriving my e-mail (thinking about it, I'm quite surprised certain clients didn't suggest it!), even though it is obviously much quicker to overtype the source document than it is to create a new document from scratch, and likewise I wouldn't consider charging more now for faxed documents - although I might refuse the order in the first place !
Some translations take longer than others, but often extra time spent on one is offset by time saved on another...

Best regards,
Jackie


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:21
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Floppy drive Feb 7, 2006

To be honest it never crossed my mind to get a floppy drive. I have not used them for several years (3-4), this is the only client that uses them and this client does not even provide me with a lot of work - in total 4 smallish projects mostly for minimum fee.
It looks like cheapest floppy drive I can find is 15 pounds, not too expensive really. But I do not even have the guarantee that this client will ever contact me for more work, so I would be buying this drive for nothing.
Would be interesting to find out how many translators still use floppys.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:21
German to English
+ ...
Too much work for a minimum fee Feb 7, 2006

Go to:

www.ebay.co.uk

> computing > floppy drives

On the left, check the "Buy it now items" and "Item condition" boxes, and click on "Show items". Then click "Price" to list the cheapest first.

You will see plenty of offers for *new* disk drives for around GBP 6, including postage which accounts for about half of the total. Given the cost of postage, it's probably worth buying two or three. USB floppy drives are not much more expensive; used units are even cheaper.

I seldom use floppies, but I do miss having a floppy drive on my laptop as a quick way of transferring small files between it and my desktop or making a quick external backup of a day's work (which, if you use OmegaT and save the TMX file, will usually fit on a floppy), and would seriously consider buying a USB unit for it.

Marc


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:21
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Why not burn a cd-rom? Feb 7, 2006

I still have a 3.5 inch disk-drive, but haven't used it for years. Memory sticks I use for own purposes, and cds are so much easier to mail.
But charge for the way to the mail-box at least, that's non-standard nowadays.
Regards
Heinrich


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:21
I still use floppies... Feb 7, 2006

... from time to time. But somehow, it seems to me that the floppy is not the core point behind the issue.

I have the sensation that, for some reason, you dislike the client. Maybe he is too demanding, too picky about the price, and gives you more trouble than work. If this is the case, and you believe you can do without him, do not even worry. Next time he calls, tell him that your rate has gone up, and see what happens. He will probably feel insulted and hang up, and you will be free from one of those clients that very few people want.

Also, I do not think your are letting the client walk over you, you were being professional, and polite.


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:21
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Project manager Feb 7, 2006

I suppose, Rosa, you might me right. I had never worked with this particular PM before and I do not want to repeat the experience. When I told him there was more work than he initially stated he said that is not possible and then just accepted with this attitude - oh, right, the translator is just being difficult! The thing is I was tempted not to translate the additional text - after all I was told the changes are circled and the rest of the document is identical with the previous one. Well, it was not. But I decided to be a nice girl and expected the same from the client. In my dreams!
Then he was basically yelling every time I mentioned that I prefer computer vesion - you do not need it, there is no advantage, paper version is just as easy to translate etc. It was just unprofessional, childish and rude behaviour. He did not even let me explain that next time I will have to charge more for the same work, he did not even appreciate me not charging more already now!
So I suppose, if the same PM calls again, I will have to decline, with the different one I can discuss the rates or indeed offer ZIP encription, as advised.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
People haven't put their rates up either... Feb 7, 2006

I had one of those 'old fashioned' jobs a week ago. It was really frustrating, because the faxed text had a path to a file on every page - dated a few years ago an deleted to save disk space!!!

It had masses of figures and repetitions that should have been fed into a CAT, which would have reduced the 30-odd pages to about ten plus repetitions...

The terminology took me all week and I was saying no to other jobs. I was barely translating and typing 1500 words a day, and was really fed up. It dawned on me that I just used to take this sort of thing in my stride when I started translating eight years ago!

I made out a word list, and it seemed silly feeding it into Multiterm, but I have had other jobs from this end client (via my favourite agency...), usually on file.

I did charge extra however, for the terminology: it took me a long time to proofread and correct all the figures that Trados would have put in faultlessly. Though I'm not a great Trados fan, there are jobs where it definitely is worth setting up.

Sometimes we come more easily to our rates per word, even if we haven't put them up in recent years. Still, Trados, courses, PDF-programmes... all add up too. It's a never-ending spiral!

My father had a typewriter for English, but not for Greek or Marathi, so he always wrote his translations out by hand forty or fifty years ago. He used a red fountain pen, I remember.

He reproduced his work with carbon paper or hand-cut stencils on a duplicator driven by a handle, running on muscle-power, not electricity. There was no such thing as a photocopy, and a printer was an establishment with machines basically the same as those used by Gutenberg and Caxton.

It does make you stop and think

Happy translating!

[Edited at 2006-02-07 17:19]

[Edited at 2006-03-22 08:03]


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 03:21
English to French
+ ...
Welcome to the 21st century! Feb 7, 2006

Burrell,

Did you tell your client that his email program will accept attachments from *any* medium? If the files are on a floppy, then they're probably word files -or pdf, or whatever. Why not attach them to an email?

Come to think of it, a client who still uses floppies may not be aware that the Internet even exists...


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gad
United States
Local time: 06:21
Member
French to English
I think you are right Feb 11, 2006

Burrell wrote:

Do you think I am right, or maybe I have wrong ideas on this subject? I usually do not let people walk over me but maybe I am overly sensistive here?

Ines


I agree that you should have a floppy drive, but that's not the main issue here as I see it. The main issue here is how disrespectful that reaction was, in contrast to your professionalism. You also were rather accomodating in not just tacking on any extra fee, yet being nice and telling them that in the future you will have to do so. To me, that is no reason for them to hit the roof, and furthermore I find it a bit suspicious that they didn't even offer anything more in the first place, nor apologize for the misunderstanding or whatever it was regarding the additional text.

Unfortunately, I don't have any suggestions or specific advice, I guess I'm just empathizing.:)


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