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Issues with word count of documents
Thread poster: Nandini Vivek

Nandini Vivek
German to English
Mar 18, 2006

One agency, whom I recently approached for work, has specified that for technical documents translated into English, they will not pay for common words such as "and", "or", is" "with" etc. that occur in the translated document, i.e the word count for payment purposes will exclude all such words. I just wanted to find out whether such an issue has been faced by any other fellow translator on Proz and your opinion on the same.
Thanks.


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 19:03
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
Unless you're in dire straits, and even then... Mar 18, 2006

I would simply decline working for such 'agency'.
Or would simply ask if you'd then be entitled to leave out the words they indicated.

In short, a laughable practice, to which you shouldn't give in.


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Translation Link
United States
Local time: 13:03
English to Indonesian
+ ...
I agree... Mar 18, 2006

You should refuse doing work for such an agency...
"and", "is", "or" are considered words too in word count.

Best,
Kate
Vendor Manager


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Issues with word count of documents Mar 18, 2006

Danilo Nogueira posted this on TCR-D:

“You do not have to translate spaces. So we do not pay for them.”
“Very good. I will deliver the job without spaces.”


“What do you do?”
“I am a translator.”
“Oh really? How nice, but I meant what you do FOR A LIVING.”
“You mean WORK? I don't work. I make so much money from my translations that I do not need to work.”

“Can I have this back within three days? I am really pressed here.”
“Sure.”
“How much will that be?”
“LSD$ 1500.”
“Isn’t that too much for a three-day job?”
“I can do it in one week if it will make you feel better”.

“Can I have a discount on that?”
“Why?”

“You make more money than I do!”
“You might consider becoming a translator, then.”

“We have a better quote. Lots of translators are willing to accept the job at more sensible rates, you know.”
“Well, lots of clients are willing to pay me the rates I quoted.”


“We have a quote that is lower than yours by a good 20 percent.”
“… [Silence]”
“Hello! I said we have a quote that is lower than yours by a good 20 percent.”
“Yes, I heard you the first time.”
“Isn't there anything you wish to say?”
“No.”


“What is your best rate?” “USD X.”
“Too high for Brazil.”
“Yes, I know. That is why I never work for Brazilian clients. I just live in the place. The better of two worlds, you know: work in the U.S., live in Brazil.”


“What is your best rate?”
“USD X.”
“Jesus, how did you arrive at that astronomical sum?”
“Supply and demand.”
“What is your best rate?”
“USD X.”
“That much for a piece of paper?”
“No, sorry, I don't charge for the paper. That goes free with the translation. The price is for putting words on paper.”


“You do not have to translate spaces. So we do not pay for them.”
“Very good. I will deliver the job without spaces.”


“I know someone who charges less than you.”
“I know a lot of people who charge less than me.”
“Are they good?”
“Wouldn't know. Never seen their work.”
“Oh, well, I know someone who IS very good and charges less.”
“Then you have a problem, that is, decide who this job is going to.”


“X charges less.”
“You are talking to me, now.”
“You are raving mad!”
“Yes, I aware of that and my shrink charges a fortune. That is why my rates are so high.”


“Sorry, we cannot pay more than that. It is a very large project. We are bidding for 25 languages.”
“I am bidding for Portuguese only.”


“Sorry, we cannot pay more than that. We are taking a loss at this project.”
“Call me again when you get a profitable contract.”
“There will be more work in the future.”
“So you'd better get used to my rates.”


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:03
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Easy... Mar 18, 2006

Nandini Vivek wrote:
the word count for payment purposes will exclude all such words.


Tell them that you agree to such conditions, but that your rates have just doubled.


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E.LA
Spanish to German
+ ...
Great Mar 18, 2006

The stories from TampaTranslator are great! I laughed a lot.

Nandini: You should answer that there is no problem in not counting certain words, but that means that you have to do the counting, as there is no automatical way to do it, and for this you charge extra 30 US $.

Can you imagine how much time you spend for discounting these words?


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:03
German to English
+ ...
When is an is not an is? Mar 18, 2006

Nandini Vivek wrote:
One agency, whom I recently approached for work, has specified that for technical documents translated into English, they will not pay for common words such as "and", "or", is" "with" etc. that occur in the translated document,


You give your language pair as German to English.
The dictionaries tell use that "oder" is "or", but sometimes it is best translated as "and" (or even left out).
The word "und" is often doubled with "sowie" in lists and you have to untangle that little lot.
Words like "is" and "with" can result from a number of different contexts - verb phrases can often come out differently in the wash, and prepositions are chaos in person.

So even to get the bare meaning, you will have to put your expertise into the use of this agency's throw-away words. And as for getting your sentences to read properly, so that native speakers can understand them, that is a whole different kettle of fish.

I'd be tempted to send them a good old-fashioned British response:

"Pull the other leg, it's got bells on".

(And tell them that it only consists of two billable words, because all the others are so short and common that they are on the wordfreebie list )


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María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 12:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's got to be a joke... Mar 18, 2006

I just can't believe that. I shudder to think there are translators out there who'd fall for that, and sadly because they need the work

But, as many colleagues have said before, it's up to us to let agencies know under what terms we are willing to work or not. Otherwise, the abuses will continue to build up.



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María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 12:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
...and by the way Mar 18, 2006

How the heck are we supposed to count the words then and leave those "common words" out, eh?

First count all words and THEN count those common ones to deduct them from the first amount?

And what if they decide to add more "common" words to the list in the future?

Grrrr!!!

Sorry, it just makes me mad, mad, mad!!!


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 19:03
English to German
+ ...
spaces and symbols play an equally big role Mar 18, 2006

Hi!
tell them to deliver the source without all these words, and that you would send the translation as compressed string, without spaces or symbols like comma, period etc., We sometimes make such arrogant offers on stupid enquiries. Believe me there is no great tool to do the rest of the phonetical separation and generating a document that makes sense. Leave out the terminology selection part.Best Brandis


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:03
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Remove the "offending" words from the SL text ... Mar 18, 2006

Maria Teresa Taylor Oliver wrote:

How the heck are we supposed to count the words then and leave those "common words" out, eh?

First count all words and THEN count those common ones to deduct them from the first amount?


That is actually easy....

1) Get the source text from the customer
2) Run a search a replace (matching "whole words only") for all the common words, replacing them with nothing:
a) Search for "and", replace with ""
b) Search for "is", replace with ""
c) Search for "with", replace with ""
d) etc., for *all* the common words (you can automae this with a macro)
3) Run a word count on the resulting "document"
4) Send the resulting SL document to the customer, asking if that is what they want you to translate: that since they are not paying for the various common words, you just removed them - and that you are sure that is what they wanted, right? You can assure them that the resulting translation would be of about the same quality.

(An example, running this procedure on the above text:)

1) source text customer
2) search replace (matching "whole words") common words, replacing nothing:
a) Search "", replace ""
b) Search "", replace ""
c) Search "", replace ""
d) etc., ** common words (automate macro)
3) word count resulting "document"
4) Send resulting SL document customer, asking translate: paying various common words, removed- wanted, right? assure resulting translation same quality.


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gad
United States
Local time: 13:03
Member
French to English
That's ridiculous Mar 19, 2006

Nandini Vivek wrote:

One agency, whom I recently approached for work, has specified that for technical documents translated into English, they will not pay for common words such as "and", "or", is" "with" etc. that occur in the translated document, i.e the word count for payment purposes will exclude all such words. I just wanted to find out whether such an issue has been faced by any other fellow translator on Proz and your opinion on the same.
Thanks.


Translating is not word-for-word, so although we charge per word count, that is just a measure of the volume of a job, but "common words" are an integral part of any document. For example, there are times when a preposition might not be translated in the same way ("with") as part of a prepositional phrase, so you should be paid for it. There are times when you re-work a sentence completely, so they can't even refuse to pay you for the word "is". Furthermore, why should you have to research every single last word - the words "and" and "or" should sort of 'freebies', so to speak, meaning who cares if you don't have to look them up and they remain unchanged in any document, they're still part of the text and you should be paid for them, even if the meaning is very basic.

Plus, YOU should decide and propose when it might be ok not to charge for something and/or give a discount if you wish. The agency has no right to set this and I think almost any translator would just refuse this type of job. I know that I would.

[Edited at 2006-03-19 00:56]


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ahmadwadan.com  Identity Verified
Kuwait
Local time: 20:03
English to Arabic
+ ...
Wonderful comment!!! Mar 19, 2006

TampaTranslator wrote:

Danilo Nogueira posted this on TCR-D:

“You do not have to translate spaces. So we do not pay for them.”
“Very good. I will deliver the job without spaces.”


“What do you do?”
“I am a translator.”
“Oh really? How nice, but I meant what you do FOR A LIVING.”
“You mean WORK? I don't work. I make so much money from my translations that I do not need to work.”

“Can I have this back within three days? I am really pressed here.”
“Sure.”
“How much will that be?”
“LSD$ 1500.”
“Isn’t that too much for a three-day job?”
“I can do it in one week if it will make you feel better”.

“Can I have a discount on that?”
“Why?”

“You make more money than I do!”
“You might consider becoming a translator, then.”

“We have a better quote. Lots of translators are willing to accept the job at more sensible rates, you know.”
“Well, lots of clients are willing to pay me the rates I quoted.”


“We have a quote that is lower than yours by a good 20 percent.”
“… [Silence]”
“Hello! I said we have a quote that is lower than yours by a good 20 percent.”
“Yes, I heard you the first time.”
“Isn't there anything you wish to say?”
“No.”


“What is your best rate?” “USD X.”
“Too high for Brazil.”
“Yes, I know. That is why I never work for Brazilian clients. I just live in the place. The better of two worlds, you know: work in the U.S., live in Brazil.”


“What is your best rate?”
“USD X.”
“Jesus, how did you arrive at that astronomical sum?”
“Supply and demand.”
“What is your best rate?”
“USD X.”
“That much for a piece of paper?”
“No, sorry, I don't charge for the paper. That goes free with the translation. The price is for putting words on paper.”


“You do not have to translate spaces. So we do not pay for them.”
“Very good. I will deliver the job without spaces.”


“I know someone who charges less than you.”
“I know a lot of people who charge less than me.”
“Are they good?”
“Wouldn't know. Never seen their work.”
“Oh, well, I know someone who IS very good and charges less.”
“Then you have a problem, that is, decide who this job is going to.”


“X charges less.”
“You are talking to me, now.”
“You are raving mad!”
“Yes, I aware of that and my shrink charges a fortune. That is why my rates are so high.”


“Sorry, we cannot pay more than that. It is a very large project. We are bidding for 25 languages.”
“I am bidding for Portuguese only.”


“Sorry, we cannot pay more than that. We are taking a loss at this project.”
“Call me again when you get a profitable contract.”
“There will be more work in the future.”
“So you'd better get used to my rates.”





I liked your commect to a degree that I was enjoing reading every word you wrote!!!


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Nandini Vivek
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Mar 19, 2006

Thanks for all the replies - I am going to just forward a link to this discussion to the concerned agency as part of my reply.

And yes, not accept such payment conditions.


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shaowe luo  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:03
English to Chinese
so, how about this Jan 17, 2008

tell your client.
"you can send me the doc without the common words and i will translate on the basis of it. so you don't need to pay for them and i don't use the common words either"


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