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Should I bill for desktop publishing charges?
Thread poster: Quinze
Quinze
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jan 12, 2008

Hello,

A client has sent me a multiple-page document consisting of several certificates, which are identical except for maybe ten words in each certificate.

This is a fairly easy translation, but a desktop publishing nightmare.

My question is: The client wants to pay me by word count for translating the first certificate. For the subsequent certificates, they only want to pay me for the "new" words. They would also like me to incorporate the "new" words into the text in the subsequent certificates (which requires additional formatting).

Should I:
a) charge an hourly rate for the desktop publishing, on top of the per-word rate;
b) charge a per-word rate for all the text, "new" or otherwise; or
c) only charge for the first certificate and for the "new" text in the subsequent ones?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Quinze


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Vladimir Shelukhin  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:36
English to Russian
+ ...
Of course Jan 12, 2008

Quinze wrote:
Should I:
a) charge an hourly rate for the desktop publishing, on top of the per-word rate;…
Why not? You do some job that reqires a strong DTP qualification and experience to be done reasonably well (I mean the decent result of normal DTP workflow, and not a ‘PDF-to-Word layout job’ perversion). Such job should be paid for, and paid well, for it has nothing in common with translation.
By the way, what are the source and the target file formats?

[Edited at 2008-01-12 17:00]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:36
English to German
+ ...
Hello Quinze Jan 12, 2008

Are you talking about personal documents?

And did the client explicitly ask for meticulous formatting? Because that's not the way it's supposed to be done with official documents. We are supposed to structure our translations in a comprehensible manner, we are not supposed to attempt "forgery".

How many words does each of the certificates contain?


Edit: The reason why I am asking: Most certificates contain way too few words to be paid by source or target word and a flat fee applies, example: $30.00 or $40.00 per birth certificate or diploma. That's a file set-up fee. Since individual certificates MUST be translated on individual pages, the set-up fee applies each and every time. If it's two or twenty-two different certificates.

[Edited at 2008-01-12 17:17]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:36
English to French
+ ...
Are you using a CAT tool? Jan 12, 2008

The only reason I see for not paying the "repetitions" is if you are using a CAT tool, upon the client's request - and even then, they should only get a rebate on them and not get them free. If you are not using a CAT tool, they should pay the full rate for the second certificate as well. If their excuse is that "oh, but it's so easy, it's just cut-and-paste", then why not tell them that you are a translator, not a cut-and-paster, and that if you have to cut-and-paste, you will still charge translation rates for it. If it is so easy, they can also do the cut-and-paste job themselves, no?

Of course you should charge for the DTP. Any work you do must be charged - otherwise, you would end up working three hours for three dollars in this case.

I have a gut feeling this client of yours is trying to not pay you what you are worth...


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Sandro C  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:36
English to Georgian
+ ...
Positively should charge Jan 12, 2008

Agree with Vladimir and Viktoria, any additional work performed should be charged - and probably according to the time spent on it.

I was just wondering if you have already submitted the work or is it a preliminary agreement stage?


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:36
Dutch to English
+ ...
My thoughts exactly Jan 12, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:

And did the client explicitly ask for meticulous formatting? Because that's not the way it's supposed to be done with official documents. We are supposed to structure our translations in a comprehensible manner, we are not supposed to attempt "forgery".



Speak to the client, Nicole is right.

You're probably making a mountain out of a molehill without realising it.



[Edited at 2008-01-12 19:18]


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Quinze
Portuguese to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Thank you everyone Jan 13, 2008

Your replies have been very helpful and I really appreciate that.

Vladimir, The source text is a PDF and yes, it has to go into Word.

Nicole, yes, they are personal documents. The # of target words per certificate is about 200.

Viktoria, I am not using a CAT tool. You are right--it may be just "cut-and-paste," but it takes brains to know where to paste what!

Sandro C, it is sort of a tough situation because I am in Australia at the moment and this job is for a U.S. company, so the time zones are way off. The net result is that I agreed to do it, THEN they sent the PO sometime while I was asleep. By the time I got the PO it was Saturday am in the U.S. and there was no one to talk to. The deadline is Monday am (U.S. time).

So, I am in a bit of a pickle and will be talking to the company after the fact, but, I still hope something good comes out of it. You're right, I don't want to get sold short. I guarantee you the client isn't paying only for the "new" words.

NB: The only reason I agreed to do this assignment in the first place is because this is a company I haven't heard from in a while, and I am trying to break back into the business after a hiatus of a couple of years...

Thanks again everyone!

[Edited at 2008-01-13 11:53]
By the way, does anyone have any advice for bringing this up with the client?

[Edited at 2008-01-13 11:54]


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Vladimir Shelukhin  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:36
English to Russian
+ ...
Much simpler Jan 13, 2008

Quinze wrote:
Vladimir, The source text is a PDF and yes, it has to go into Word.
Well, then the task appears to be much simpler (if you mean exactly what you've told). AFAIU, those certifacates are not the scanned documents, but have their authoring authoring application. Probably they haven't been secured from editing and text extraction. The target format is a text processor file.
So what I can not understand is the nightmarish DTP you're talking about. The operations you need to perform are:

  • text body extraction
  • first document text body translation
  • first document text body duplication (1 keyboard shortcut + several mouse D'n'Ds)
  • editing the ‘new’ words in those duplicate certificates
  • final revision of the translation
  • deliverable Word file saving.

No word has ever been uttered of a decent style formatting (the mandatory post-extraction text processing operation even for a more or less qualified office secretary, but not necessarily the translator's obligation), of a camera-ready mechanical layout. Well, one may call those bulleted list a DTP nightmare, if s/he wants to, but is it indeed the case? I have always called this text processing.
The net result is that I agreed to do it,…
What namely did you agreed to do? Which operations?
So, I am in a bit of a pickle and will be talking to the company after the fact, but, I still hope something good comes out of it.
Surely you're dam right. At least such things are always worth trying.
By the way, does anyone have any advice for bringing this up with the client?
But do you really need an advise? You know the client much better than others do, so you is the person who may choose the most proper words. Simply comment at the positions in your bill, that's all.

[Edited at 2008-01-14 12:51]


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