What do you do when you receive a job which includes DTP and your client doesn't pay?
Thread poster: Yasutomo Kanazawa

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:47
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
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Sep 10, 2007

What do you do when you receive a job which includes DTP and the DTP typesetting instrcutions are completely Greek to you because you are only a translator and doesn't pay? Please give me some advice excluding contacting the client directly, filing a complaint with the IC3 or using a debt collection agency.

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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:47
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English to Hungarian
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These details must be discussed before confirming the job. Sep 10, 2007

These details must be discussed before confirming the job. In such a case I would immediately inform them that I do not offer DTP services, and propose a different format of delivery (e.g., Word file) if necessary.
Reasonable expectations of DTP services include:
- delivery of a Word file in identical format - if there is no heavy formatting
- delivery of a pdf file in similar (and easily identifiable) word format
Unreasonable expectations of DTP services include:
- Requiring using InDesign, PageMaker, Quark, etc., unless this has been agreed beforehand
etc.
Attila


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
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I completely agree with you Sep 10, 2007

Dear Attila,

Thank you very much for your constructive comments. I appreciate them very much.

The DTP part was included in the job requirements from the beginning.

The instructions were as follow:

Attention le texte doit être livré en bloc en tenant compte de la taille réelle d’impression et en format Jpeg 300dpi.
Voici les formats par bloc texte :
Bloc titre: les palets origines... 87x15 mm
Bloc New Guinea: 31x90 mm
Bloc Mexico: 33x90 mm
Bloc Tanzania: 31x98 mm
Bloc Peru: 28x98 mm

What kind of a translator would understand the above instructions? I don't even know if it is possible to convert part of Word file into jpeg or not. I don't know if this is heavy formatting or not. Please tell me.

Yasutomo


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
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English to Hungarian
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Ask them Sep 10, 2007

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

Dear Attila,

Thank you very much for your constructive comments. I appreciate them very much.

The DTP part was included in the job requirements from the beginning.

The instructions were as follow:

Attention le texte doit être livré en bloc en tenant compte de la taille réelle d’impression et en format Jpeg 300dpi.
Voici les formats par bloc texte :
Bloc titre: les palets origines... 87x15 mm
Bloc New Guinea: 31x90 mm
Bloc Mexico: 33x90 mm
Bloc Tanzania: 31x98 mm
Bloc Peru: 28x98 mm

What kind of a translator would understand the above instructions? I don't even know if it is possible to convert part of Word file into jpeg or not. I don't know if this is heavy formatting or not. Please tell me.

Yasutomo


It seems to me that there are quite a few choices to make here - and I suppose you should discuss that with the client.
Apparently, there is a space limitation. This happens every now and then: display texts often cannot exceed a certain number of characters (eg, the LCD display of a copier can display only three lines with 20 characters each). In such a case the customer can specify the maximum number of characters, and the translator has to shorten his/her translation and/or use abbreviations. This is not the same amount of work as a normal translation, and so it should be charged accordingly.
Here you have a maximum area to fill. You must discuss with your client whether the font size can be changed in such cases.
If it cannot, you'll have to modify your translation by taking into account the limitations.
I would propose them a two-step process:
1.) You send the best translation of the text. They do the dtp; if they can make the text fit in an aesthetic way then that's it. If not:
2.) They send you back the dtp'd file (jpeg). The text in it exceeds the limits, but you can see approximately how much, so you can adjust your translation. Don't forget to point out that the second version is already a compromise: space limitations do not let you convey the intended meaning in the best possible way (that was sent in the first step).

In the easiest cases you can also use the ruler of MS Word to see how much space your translation fills, and choose the page layout appropriately by selecting the page width/height according to the constraints. But when it comes to including figures/images, this approach may not lead to optimal results.

Attila

[Edited at 2007-09-10 14:12]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:47
English to Spanish
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Good Advice Sep 11, 2007

Attila offers some good advice.

I look at it this way; I am a good translator and I am no good at DTP, and to learn all those constantly changing programs would be a waste of my time.

Conclusion: I do not do DTP. The client can surely find someone (or already has someone) who can do it and whose rate of pay is much less than mine.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
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I look at it the same way as you do Sep 11, 2007

Dear Henry,

I too, look at it the same way as you do and completely agree with you. Learning DTP is a waste of time for me too.
But some clients are stingy enough to ask only one person to do the whole process from translation to DTP, and the agency called a-traduire in Spain which I came across this time is just a broker who wouldn't even think of outsourcing the typesetting to a professional DTP operator nor help the translator with instructions even when asked. The client couldn't format the text himself, since he didn't have a Japanese font for the project. Therefore, he should have asked the agency for one translator and one DTP operator.


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:47
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
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If you don't, then who? Sep 11, 2007

Paraphrasing Dr. McCoy: "Dammit Jim, I'm a translator, not a DTP specialist".

Agencies mostly know what such a work entails, but the final client doesn't. For most direct clients, a job completed means exactly that: a job completed, with the least hassle possible, with no more steps to deliver a final product.

- Give the job
- Receive the job
- Pay the job

The final client doesn't care how you do it. Since most of us want the direct client, that's a reality we face every day.

What to do, then? In my case, I always ask for the original file (mostly InDesign), not only the final PDF or hard copy. This way, I extract all the text, translate it and then it's just cut-and-paste.

If there is no original file, I already have a DTP professional lined up. This guy normally has the software -e.g., Quark- and is experienced enough to give me an accurate budget for the job. So when setting the terms of the job, I always include the DTP extra rate.

Yes, we're translators. Yes, we translate. But what the client wants is not the translation of a document. He wants a translated document. With all the added value it implies. Because that added value is what will make that client call us next time.

There is a reason by which this thread is in the Business Issues section, instead of the Art of Translation section. Let's look at this issue as a business issue. "The client is always right" applies to us, too.

And the client is always right... for a price.





[Editado a las 2007-09-11 06:22]


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
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I didn't know where to post this topic Sep 11, 2007

plus, the client is always right as long as he pays, but I didn't get paid. So I guess he's dead wrong!

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:47
Member (2003)
Danish to English
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Refuse the job in advance! Sep 11, 2007

I might just ask a DTP-bureau I know to look at it and do the DTP, then send a separate bill to the client.

But I would of course tell the client in advance, and get their acceptance of this.

(I have worked with this DTP-expert a couple of times, but it depends whether he would take on any specific job.)

I'm a translator and don't have the time or the software for DTP, so clients must find a solution anyway.

Alternatively, I would refer the client to one of the agencies I work for, that has a DTP department, because I know I can work with them.

I don't mess with PDF. The result always ends up taking all night, and then it IS a mess anyway. If I get a PDF file, I deliver a Word file, and the client (or agency) has to do the DTP afterwards.

That is just my personal position.
Best of luck!


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 03:47
English to Lithuanian
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a (good) client is always right? Sep 11, 2007

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

plus, the client is always right as long as he pays, but I didn't get paid. So I guess he's dead wrong!


It seems that in this well-known phrase there is one very important word probably missing - it shall be "a good client is always right". The one who 1) appreciates your work and effort, 2) the one who is professional and easy to deal with, 3) the one who is fair and reliable, 4) who provides permanent and/or substantial workflow and 5) who pays a good rate and does it on time. These are the people to concentrate your energy onto, and these are the people who will understand that DTP is an extra job. For these people even some DTP "on a friendly" basis or like a courtesy should be no problem

With just "the client" (without "good"), in my opinion, the agreement shall be clear and exact and concluded before the job (and INCLUDED into the PO before the start of the work) - DTP is additional work and it shall be agreed and paid on a separate basis. And if they do not agree to pay extra, best is to take work from your "good clients" or have some rest (life is short and goes very fast - instead of doing a job for which you are not paid for you can have SO MANY other things to do). As simple as that...



[Redaguota 2007-09-12 00:00]


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 02:47
French to Dutch
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What do you do when you receive a job which includes DTP and your client doesn't pay? Sep 12, 2007

If the client doesn't want to pay for DTP (and this should be discussed before) I don't take the job, of course, there's no other solution!!! Even if I know how to do it (I own Quark and Pagemaker and worked as a DTP specialist). DTP is a special service, and should be paid as such, int he same way as all other things that take time (the newest one is project management). You must be firm: deliver a plain Word file with Japanese characters and let them pay the DTP.

[Bijgewerkt op 2007-09-12 12:07]


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
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Yes, I shouldn't have taken the job... Sep 12, 2007

Dear NMR,

Please read my reply to Attila, where I mentioned the instructions from my client. I forgot to tell you that the client was very uncooperative. I asked him what the instructions meant, but what he told me was only that his client wanted it that way. What kind of an answer is that? I guess he himself didn't have a clue to what his client was telling him to do, since he refused to explain what the meaning of the instructions was. I guess he thought that I would do the DTP part for free, i.e. the fee is included in the translation rate.

One more thing: my client is now trying to ask his thirty translators to remove my entry regarding this issue on another translation site and was turned down by the site manager. I think it's much easier to pay 147.90 Euro to me than to hassle with thirty translators to petition for removing my negative comments. And I promised him that I would remove my negative entries on all the translation sites which I entered and forget the whole incident if he pays me the full amount. Am I asking too much? It seems that he's very worried about his reputation on the Net. Then why doesn't he simply pay? Losing one's reputation for a mere 147 Euro!


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KathyT  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:47
Japanese to English
A request... Sep 13, 2007

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

And I promised him that I would remove my negative entries on all the translation sites which I entered and forget the whole incident if he pays me the full amount.


Hi Kanazawa-san,

Sorry to hear about your situation. Let's hope that you end up getting paid - and if this happens, I would suggest that instead of removing your negative entry on this and other sites, that you instead amend it to reflect that there was indeed an issue, but that you were able to get it resolved in the end.
It would still be useful to other translators to know that they may need to take extra care verifying this client's expectations for the job and to ensure that instructions are clear.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:47
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English to Japanese
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Yes, I've thought about that too Sep 13, 2007

KathyT wrote:

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

And I promised him that I would remove my negative entries on all the translation sites which I entered and forget the whole incident if he pays me the full amount.


Hi Kanazawa-san,

Sorry to hear about your situation. Let's hope that you end up getting paid - and if this happens, I would suggest that instead of removing your negative entry on this and other sites, that you instead amend it to reflect that there was indeed an issue, but that you were able to get it resolved in the end.
It would still be useful to other translators to know that they may need to take extra care verifying this client's expectations for the job and to ensure that instructions are clear.


Hi Kathy,

Thanks for your comments. I have had similar situations in the past, and after I got paid, I simply updated them and entered a higher rating than before. I guess this way, the outsourcer would be happier because his ratings would go up a bit. And like you say, it would be useful for other translators to know the facts.

Take care,

Yasutomo


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