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Does word count include quotes available in target language?
Thread poster: lokilo

lokilo  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:08
French to English
Oct 27, 2005

I am in the process of drawing up a contract with a journal on an article translation (law, fre->english). I told them that my word count is based on the source text. But there is a question as to whether or not this source word count should include quotes available in target language?(either through existing translations or because the original is in English).

Since this is a law review journal, there are students who will sift through various quotes and citations and find the "official" translations. (It is unclear who will then paste into the translation: students or me. If they are doing all the work, it seems wrong to count these passages in the source word count. )

However, many of the quotes available in target language come from documents readily available online (goverment docs, charters, etc.), and I have (so far) taken the time to find these original sources and paste them into the translation. Not much work, but time and effort.

Given these two cases, how does one go about figuring out a total word count? (This is the first time I am drawing up a contract...)

I thought one way to go about this would be to take an average between source and target word count, but I'm really in the dark.

Any help much appreciated,

--L

[Edited at 2005-10-27 20:48]


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Jeff Skinner  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:08
Swedish to English
+ ...
Is the cutting and pasting of those citations part of the agreement? Oct 27, 2005

I think that's the basic question you ought to ask - when you took the job, was it stated (or will it be stated in the contract) that you are expected to do the work of finding these readily available citations and copying them into the document you're creating? If so, then you should probably work out a specific agreement covering those parts of the text.

If, on the other hand, the client thinks, as you do, that the students will do this work and only expect you to translate those parts of the text in the source language, then there's really no reason for you to do all the extra work and charge for it.

Unpleasant, I know; it'll result in a smaller payment, but it will eliminate complications down the road. I speak from experience - I performed some fairly complex work copying diagrams from a source document only to find at the end of the job that the client didn't expect me to do that and wasn't prepared to pay the hourly rate I had calculated out. I had to negotiate a discount.

In short: Check first and see if they expect you to copy and paste.

[Edited at 2005-10-27 20:57]


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lokilo  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:08
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Don't want to charge (even if it is part of the research...) Oct 28, 2005

Jeff Skinner wrote:

when you took the job, was it stated (or will it be stated in the contract) that you are expected to do the work of finding these readily available citations and copying them into the document you're creating? If so, then you should probably work out a specific agreement covering those parts of the text.


I've done this work (and had "unofficially" stated so) for some passages readily available online, and I guess this is my central question: how does one go about working out a specific agreement for these parts of the text? Target word count (for those passages that I've found/typed in) at a different rate (say, typist's)? Do they count? Do I?


If, on the other hand, the client thinks, as you do, that the students will do this work and only expect you to translate those parts of the text in the source language, then there's really no reason for you to do all the extra work and charge for it.


Makes sense, yes. Although for the sake of research and to respect the author's prose and word choice, more often than not I need to have/find the quoted material in the target language to nail the correct expression. I suppose that's all part of the research...

You'd think journals would have a protocol on translations with quoted material...

Thanks,

--L

[Edited at 2005-10-28 00:52]


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:08
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The project manager is responsible for being aware of the nature/contents of a document Oct 28, 2005

My own inclination would be to adhere to the terms of the agreement made at the time the job was offered and accepted. Thus, if the Word Count is 3000 and the rate is $0.10 per word, then, the final bill is $300, as agreed, even if 400 of the words have been cut and pasted from a previously created original or translated document. It is after all, still the translator's responsibility to locate such text, and to cut and paste it. I would say that the same applies in cases where an agency is requesting that a significant amount of material be simply re-keyed from the original. (I worked on a project recently that involved rekeying about 15% from the original; the agency was aware of this and did not even raise the issue of any "differential rate").

If the agency wants to have their own people cut-and-paste or re-key material, then they can handle this themselves or hire a typist to do it. If they want me to do it, that's not a problem, but I will charge them for translating the words because that is what I do.

I look at it as analagous to contracting with a master bricklayer and asking him to spend a couple hours collecting and dumping garbage after he's done with his masonry work. Should the bricklayer agree to get paid, say, five bucks an hour for clearing the garbage? Only if he wants to!

If, on the other hand, the agency has identified that a given project involves a certain amount cutting and pasting or re-keying and wants to work out a differential rate for that portion of the work, then this becomes a matter of negotiation between translator and agency before an agreement is reached.


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