I recently accepted a large job embracing more than 100 different files, all on different subjects. They were all smallish files (say 300-500 Chinese characters), but covered things as different as Formula 1 racing and stem-cell implants.
I am wondering what a reasonable approach to such a job is. I would like to make the following points on large and varied jobs:
1. The range of vocabulary is much greater than with 3 longish files all on chemical engineering. In the latter case, there may be some awkward specialized terminology to master, but once a relatively small number of those words have been learned, the job then becomes straightforward. A job that includes 100+ topics is simply much more vocabulary-intensive.
2. Proper names are a nuisance, particularly when it comes to trying to find out if Chinese people outside mainland Chinese use a non-pinyin form for their names. It can take hours going round in circles on the Internet trying to find these things, and if you have 100+ files, there may be 200-300 proper names, and the time spent in looking for the correct versions of these may approach the time spent in doing the actual translation.
3. Having accepted a job that includes 100+ files, you feel you must finish it. But how could you have reviewed all the files? In many such cases, the files will only arrive in dribs and drabs, and so you have got into the situation where you have accepted the work, but don't know until you get and open the files what the subjects will be on.
4. Non-conventional use of language: Chinese words only used in Taiwan or Hong Kong, or slang words that are not in general usage and that educated people in China would not recognize, are indeed a problem. Some files contain decidedly substandard use of the source language.
Although it is possible to spoil a relationship with a client by raising rates, I am trying to think through how I should have handled the project. Should I have said the following?
1. My general rate is $X per 1,000 characters.
2. This is a large-volume work, so the rate goes up by 20%. [I have had to refuse work from regular clients to finish this job, and I find large-volume jobs a pain.]
3. In addition to the rate increase for large volume, a large number of small files have to attract a higher rate too, owing to the large number of proper nouns and the wider range of vocabulary they contain. Maybe this can be handled by a minimum rate per file. However, I am not clear how high a minimum rate per file should be. Should it be based on your rate for 500 characters, so that if the file contains 300 characters, the rate is still as for 500 characters? And then in this case, inflated by a further 20% as it is part of a large-volume job?
4. I suppose I should make clear at the outset that, not having any opportunity to preview all the files, I cannot guarantee to complete the job.
How can I take on a 50,000 character project divided into 100+ files on separate topics with a large number of proper nouns and plentiful sprinkling of non-standard language at my normal rate? What can I do to feel happier and less put upon while doing such jobs? Should I just refuse all such jobs in the future?
| || || |