CAT Tools and Translation Rate
Thread poster: Ritu Bhanot
| | Thomas Pfann
Local time: 16:13
English to German
| You were right not to reduce your rates below the minimum || Oct 16, 2006 |
As had been said on these forums many times before, a discount for a large number of words does not make sense, because it does not take any less time, in proportion, than translating a much smaller number of words.
Agencies just ask for a discount on a large number of words as an excuse for them to make an even bigger profit on the job, because they think that the translator will be pleased to be able to issue a large invoice anyway, even if the corresponding word rate is greatly reduced. However, since we are not stupid, we do not do that, as we know that we still need to earn the same amount per hour, day, week and month. Working on a job for a month, for example, means that we have to receive a month's earnings for it, not two weeks' earnings!
P.S. Concerning the CAT tool, if we buy Trados it is very expensive, and in fact all CAT tools cost good money. As has been pointed out before, and I agree with wholeheartedly, if a doctor or dentist buys special equipment for his job he wants to be the person to benefit from it. Therefore, why should we buy equipment so that only others benefit from it (in our case, agencies)? There is absolutely no other profession where the people practising that profession buy the equipment so that others can earn money from it, instead of themselves.
[Edited at 2006-10-16 19:49]
[Edited at 2006-10-16 19:50]
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| | Peter Linton
Local time: 16:13
Swedish to English
| You may have been short-sighted not to reduce your rates below the minimum || Oct 16, 2006 |
Let me throw out a contentious statement -- I think minimum translation rates per word make no business sense any more. In fact is rather like playing poker and showing everyone your hand before you start playing.
Let me explain why. Minimum rates made a lot of sense in the days of typewriters, when every word required typing effort. But these days, CAT tools can increase your productivity, so much so that what appear to be a low rate per word can actually be quite a profitable rate per day.
Some people argue that big jobs do not take less time in proportion than small jobs. Not my experience -- with big jobs you develop a better understanding of the text, and benefit from adding more words and sentences to the TM. It is a virtuous circle.
Some people argue that only agencies benefit from TMs. Not my experience -- I find it increases my productivity, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. I benefit as much as the agency -- a good win-win situation.
What I am saying is that what really matters is how much you earn per day, not per word. If an agency offers you a low rate per word, but you believe you can do it faster than usual thanks to the TM and reach your target earnings per day, the job is worth taking even if it is below your so-called minimum rate per word.
I was once offered a job at two Eurocents a word. It was admittedly a special case -- an update to a user guide that I had previously translated, and therefore had a high level of repetition. It was way below my normal (secret) minimum per word, but I easily earned my minimum per day (also secret), the agency got a good deal and the customer was pleased.
There may also be non-financial reasons for accepting a job at a lower than normal rate. It may be useful experience, it may be particularly interesting, the TM may be valuable to you.
In short, pricing flexibility is the answer. Work out what the job is worth to you, per word, per hour, per day, and decide on that basis, not just an inflexible minimum rate. And best of all, that way you may get profitable work that other shortsighted people reject.
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| | Heike Behl, Ph.D.
Local time: 08:13
English to German
| No problem with tm discounts... || Oct 17, 2006 |
The TM they were offering you contains the somebody else's work. If you would ask to be paid the full rate for translations already done, in fact you'd be asking to be paid for somebody else's work. I wouldn't consider this a good business approach. And as long as you receive a reduced rate, you're not being taken advantage of, either.
Having said that, however, it definitely depends a lot on the quality of the provided tm. What I have done in the past in cases like this is to agree on a rate if the quality is very good to excellent; I reserve the right to adjust that rate if the quality turns out to be not quite up to par or even unacceptable.
I usually find situations with discounts for TMs a win-win situation. I make more money in a shorter period of time, the agency saves money and is happy. The end client saves money they can invest in new projects that will need to be localized in the future. And since they were happy with the agency, they go back to the agency, who in turn will come back to you.
As long as the bottom line is attractive enough... That's what's counts at the end of the day.
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| | Heinrich Pesch
Local time: 18:13
Finnish to German
| It depends if your use CAT regularly || Oct 17, 2006 |
CAT can speed up your work, but other things may slow it down or require additional work, depending on the customer.
I assume that every translator will use some CAT tool anyway, even if the customer does not provide a TM. So your word rate reflects already the speed gain a CAT-tool offers.
If the customer provides a TM he is allowed to reduce the part of the text that is priorly translated and part of the TM, but this has usually not much influence on the translation of the new parts.
If your minimal wordrate is X, you apply this wordrate on the new segments and tell your customer, that you will not check the 100% matches, if they do not pay for them. But why should you lower your word rate?
Cooperation with customers, who insist on use of a special CAT-tool, is often more cumbersome than with customers, who do not care how you achieve the translation. Many times you will notice, that the TM you get is not very good, and you have to negotiate on changes and how they pay for that.
Nowadays many customers talk about CAT, but do nothing about it. There is still a job offer here on Proz for a book translation they want to be done with Trados. In the next sentence they state that the book is only on paper.
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| CAT tools and India || Oct 17, 2006 |
Well, I use CAT regularly and I have my own TMs... and of course, I don't know the quality of their TM. Or their payment practices for that matter... I think it's some new agency on the block.
Anyways, as far as I'm concerned, why'd I give them another discount ('coz as it is agencies always pay less than direct clients)? And believe me when I say: Most Indian agencies pay peanuts. (I didn't say all) So, I don't think that it's justified.
I guess it's a matter of personal business practices... and of course there may be someone who does offer a lower rate... I know of some agencies who offer a rate of 0.75 INR per word i.e. 0.013 Euros/ word. And as they are still in business, so evidently there are still some people who agree to work at such low prices. Unfortunately for them, I've no intention of agreeing to work at such low rates... TM or No TM.
And of course, I know people who work for them are the ones who don't have any formal qualification or experience... and of course there is always someone who studies a language for less than a year and says that he/she can translate!!!
In fact, PM of an agency tried to justify low prices and ridiculous deadlines informing me that he had already done it and that he was also a translator... and when questioned about his qualifications after much discussion he admitted that he'd studied that particular foreign language for six months and had worked as a translator before turning into a Project Manager in a Translation agency.
Seriously, I'm speechless.
Anyways, of course I'd probably give a discount to someone who offered the correct price but considering that my rate for Indian agencies is already a discounted one... and believe me it's not a piece of cake for a full time freelance translator in India to buy a CAT tool... especially considering that at times working in Back Office Operations or Call Centres of any International organization pays much more... so...
Just my point of view...
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| | ViktoriaG
Local time: 11:13
English to French
| I would accept to lower the rate for 100% matches from their TM... || Oct 17, 2006 |
...but I would put in writing that I am not responsible for errors or poor quality arising of the units in the supplied TM (if I'm hardly getting paid for somebody else's work because they already got paid for it, then the responsibility also belongs to them, and if they need me to proof those, I will charge for it, as I will have worked on them).
Otherwise, I will only provide lower rates for 100% matches and repetitions. Fuzzy matches, even if they're 95%, need reworking, and often they require as much time, effort and typing as a whole new translation unit. Therefore, I never go that route.
| | Samuel Murray
Local time: 17:13
English to Afrikaans
| Must learn to calculate viable discounts || Oct 18, 2006 |
Peter Linton wrote:
But these days, CAT tools can increase your productivity, so much so that what appear to be a low rate per word can actually be quite a profitable rate per day.
I agree with Peter. Its your decision if you want to accept lower rates, but your refusal to accept lower rates will undoubtedly price you out of certain brackets of the market. Let's face it... we are modern translators and one of the quirks of modern living is that calculating a rate is no longer a simple matter. We have to learn how to calculate whether a job at a lower rate will result in a higher profit at the literal end of the day.
I'm often amazed to find that new translators can't tell you how much work they can do in a day. They just don't know. They fly by ear, and apparently they just hope to end that day's work by the end of the day. We should know how much work we can do, I think, and this includes how much work if that work is fast work (ie work for which CAT will speed us up).