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Agency's request to send .tmx or .txt file
Thread poster: Marina Anderson

Marina Anderson  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:38
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Apr 25, 2007

After completing a project for a translation agency (using TRADOS) I received a request to provide the agency with .tmx or .txt file of the TM. I used to view my TM as my "intellectual property" and I am not confortable sending these files. Please share your opinions on how legitimate is this request.

P. S. Please excuse me if this topic has already been discussed - I have not found it.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:38
English to French
+ ...
Extensively discussed Apr 25, 2007

This comes up time after time.

To recap what most of us seem to say: it's OK to give them the TM because they can extract it anyway (they basically have it already if you sent a bilingual file) and because the source text can't possibly be your intellectual property as it was not created by you. Also, the translation itself is your intellectual property, but only until you get paid for it (unless the contract has a clause for this which will then take precedence).

I agree with you, but then again, agencies who use CAT will probably refuse to work with you if you deny them the TM. What most agencies do is leverage the TMs of all their translators so they can introduce those units as fuzzy and 100% matches to save money on the amount they will pay younext time. Sadly, this is a kind of robbery, because the end client usually pays equally for each word and doesn't benefit from the TM. So, in many cases, we are helping our clients to give themselves a rebate on our next job.

This is a nagging problem and nobody has yet succeeded in proposing a satisfactory solution. It is best you give your client the TM, if only to make them hapy and ensure you will get more work from them - as sad as this may sound... :'(


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peiling  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:38
Partial member (2006)
Chinese to English
+ ...
Not exactly the same price Apr 26, 2007

Actually, I just ran into an agency who asks for a premium for utilizing CAT tools. I guess it makes sense as it ensures that the translation is consistent and is thus beneficial to the end client.
Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
Sadly, this is a kind of robbery, because the end client usually pays equally for each word and doesn't benefit from the TM.


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pascie  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:38
English to French
+ ...
That is not true Apr 26, 2007

agencies who use CAT will probably refuse to work with you if you deny them the TM. What most agencies do is leverage the TMs of all their translators so they can introduce those units as fuzzy and 100% matches to save money on the amount they will pay you next time.

Every time new agencies try to approach me with the fuzzy, matches and the like, I tell them RIGHT AWAY I am not fooling around with these asumptions or estimates. I maintain my rates (not low) but offer a 10 per cent off on the total count. I can tell you that 9 out of 10 go for it.
The remaining 1 is not even worth my time as usually they belong to the cheap category and unfortunately to the late payers.
If every translator stand for what they know they are worth, there wouldn't be so many agencies trying to raise their mark-up on their back.
Thoses accepting my conditions do not ask for my TM, or even if I have one.

[Edited at 2007-04-26 04:37]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:38
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Send only the translation related tm Apr 26, 2007

Of course you should not send the TM you have been using, if it contains other translations for other clients. Simply create a new TM and clean the bilingual file in it and send all the stuff to the client.
The funny thing about agencies using CAT is that they try to save by using already translated segments, but the writers of the source texts tend to vary style and phrasing between documents. So the stuff has to be translated anew, even if the content is almost the same. A few weeks ago I translated two documents, which were almost identical, but because the author had split long sentences from the first document and combined other sentences, Trados found 30% new segments.

Cheers
Heinrich


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Boris Sigalov
Local time: 22:38
English to Russian
I don't play those games Apr 26, 2007

pascie wrote:

Every time new agencies try to approach me with the fuzzy, matches and the like, I tell them RIGHT AWAY I am not fooling around with these asumptions or estimates.


I do the same.

As for the TMs: it's not not our job and responsibility. If customers need them they can create TMs themselves. Our job is to translate.


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:38
English to Swedish
+ ...
Agencies do give rebates to the end clients! Apr 26, 2007

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

What most agencies do is leverage the TMs of all their translators so they can introduce those units as fuzzy and 100% matches to save money on the amount they will pay younext time. Sadly, this is a kind of robbery, because the end client usually pays equally for each word and doesn't benefit from the TM. So, in many cases, we are helping our clients to give themselves a rebate on our next job.



Hi Viktoria and all,

This is an urban legend. Large, serious, established agencies DO give rebates to the end client based on fuzzies and repetitions. Call up Lionbridge, SDL et al, pretend that you're a client and ask them for yourself.

It's a simple matter of demand/supply on the market. If there are some agencies that give the client substantial rebates, why would clients (who make their homework and research the market) go to cutthroat agencies who charge the full word price.

This argument about "robbery" makes me sick every time I hear it.
I used to work as an agency inhouse translator, doing manuals for large software firms like Apple and IBM.
Each month, they would produce 50,000 - 100,000 word manuals, where 70% of the content was reused. Would you expect Apple and IBM to pay us the full word price for those 50,000 words, over and over again?! Not very likely.

So if we don't pay the freelancers the full word price under those circumstances (where they can substantially benefit from what we inhouse translators already put in) - does that make us robbers? Go figure...

/Jan


[Edited at 2007-04-26 07:46]


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:38
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Robbery? Not exactly... Apr 26, 2007

I agree with Jan here, although I am a freelancer myself...

I remember times when there were no CAT tools and many translators were just switching from electric typewriters to computers. Even then the clients said: "Could we have a discount on this one? There are many similar passages in both manuals...".

I always try to see a bigger picture, that is why I find the image of big bad agencies exploiting their translators up to near slavery, while they wallow in luxury, to be somewhat ridiculous. They need to be competitive too, if they do not give the end client a rebate for repetitions, there is always someone that will.

On the other hand, I think that the balance in the issue of intellectual rights is tipped much too far in disfavor of translators. Write a popular song and you could get paid for it for a lifetime (or longer). Translate a software window which will appear in more than half of computers in the world and you get paid as much as for a translation of a family letter...

Which leads to the answer to the original question: yes, I give away my TMs, but I am not particularly happy about it...


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 21:38
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
What are we actually offering for money Apr 26, 2007

is our time TIMES experience - I started to think this way due to Ralf hinting this way some time ago.

Selling (and/or keeping to our chests) the translated stuff is sort of a rent - past capital giving me some interest. 100% repeats are definitely not translation - it's interest. I dont think one can get 100% for such a pound of this flesh. Except the Shylock-y kind. And oh yes, those, who find TRADOS etc so impure and un-translatory, that they'd never even think of using any CAT software. For them it's so ..."nyet kulturny".

Back to what I wanted to say - so what I have been doing now for some time, is timing my work and getting the idea, how much does an average word cost me and the client. After all I still have to deliver words, not my time. But I'm providing time for those words, dripping into the computer.

It makes most sense to me.

Regards



[Edited at 2007-04-26 13:31]


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Isabelle F. BRUCHER  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 21:38
English to French
+ ...
Reviving an old discussion, but still valid point. What is a "FULL word rate", for heaven's sake?... Apr 16, 2012

This argument about "robbery" makes me sick every time I hear it.

So if we don't pay the freelancers ***the full word price*** under those circumstances (...) - does that make us robbers? Go figure...

/Jan


[Edited at 2007-04-26 07:46] [/quote]

What is a "FULL word rate" exactly ? We already charge intermediaries a base rate that's at best HALF PRICE of what we'd charge an end-customer. And very often our base rate is much (much) less than that survival rate.

So the word "FULL" word price makes ME sick...

Now, legally speaking, this type of request from intermediaries is at best a robbery ATTEMPT, or a SWINDLE, a FRAUD. Taking advantage of a translator's inexperience. But if the translator gives it freely and knowingly, that's not illegal. But it's dishonest, and not only towards the said translator, but also towards the whole profession, since it creates a PRECEDENT, which intermediaries use afterwards to present this system as a due to translators who are new on the market... So if you say NO, you also help your colleagues. Thank you.


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