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Unusual pricing structure
Thread poster: Tina Colquhoun

Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:19
Danish to English
+ ...
Mar 28, 2008

I was recently offered work on an on-going project for a large company which contained the following:

>Payment structure:

Different from the standard industry practice of paying per word or line, freelance work for X is paid for on an hourly basis. There are minimum output requirements: 320 words per hour for languages like Danish.

If a linguist can translate more than the minimum output, the remuneration will increase. For example, if a translator translates 362 words per hour instead of the normal requirement of 320, the translator can bill for 1.13 hours of work even if it only took one hour to perform.

Note: X calculates every word up to 94% as a new word, and they don't count anything between 95 and 100 percent. If it is really a lot, then they ask that actual time spent will be reported. Usually, translators don’t have to review 100% matches, unless they are asked to.<

Has anyone come across this 'method' before?

Tina


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Sharon Sarah Schmitz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:19
English to German
There's madness to the method Mar 28, 2008

No, I didn't come across this...err...method before, and I surely hope I won't have to face anything similar in the future.

Basically, it turns translators into pieceworkers. Of course, they don't mention that if you fall short of 320 words/hour - which, depending on the type of source text, is far too much anyway - remuneration will be cut accordingly. So, if you translate 1600 words of a highly technical text in 10 hours, you can only charge for 5 hours work.

Next: Due to increased productivity requirements, we need to raise the minimum output per hour to [some arbitrary number].

Please move on, nothing to see here.


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Hester Eymers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:19
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Amounts to the same thing, or not? Mar 28, 2008

Hi Tina,

No, I haven't come across this before. But doesn't it amount to the same thing? They expect you to translate 320 words/hour. They pay xx/hour. So they pay xx divided by 320 per word. If you work faster, you earn more, if you're slow, you earn less.

Kind regards,
Hester


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:19
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Just a complicated way of setting a per word rate Mar 28, 2008

Hester Eymers wrote:

No, I haven't come across this before. But doesn't it amount to the same thing? They expect you to translate 320 words/hour. They pay xx/hour. So they pay xx divided by 320 per word.


Exactly. It's just a very complicated way of setting a per word rate, unless there's hidden rub in it... Maybe others can spot one?


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 06:19
French to Dutch
+ ...
And what if it is very complicated Mar 28, 2008

a very technical text, for instance, and if he only translates only 200 words per hour? Will he be able to invoice only 40 minutes? And a slogan of twenty words?
Sorry I don't like this way of setting the prices of the independent service provider. This is called price binding.


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Riens Middelhof  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:19
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
any discounts? Mar 28, 2008

Why give a "minimum output", unless they plan to punish you unduly for not meeting it?

So if would end up translating 90% of the minimum output, you´d receive something like 80%... Maybe that's the catch?


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:19
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Interesting Mar 29, 2008

So how many hours do you have to work for them daily? If the hourly rate is acceptable I wouldn't mind.
You could do 3200 words in 5 hours and invoice 10 hours. But for 40 Euro per hour this would amount only to my minimum word-rate of 0.125 Euro (English source). I doubt they would accept 40 Euro per hour.

Cheers
Heinrich


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
It comes out the same Mar 29, 2008

efreitag wrote:
It's just a very complicated way of setting a per word rate.


It's very like the old story of the lobster fisherman who was asked, "How much are your lobsters by the pound?"
He answered, "We doesn't sell them by the pound, we sells them by the each."
"OK," asked the patron, "How much are they each?"
The reply was, "They’re five dollars a pound each."


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Michael GREEN  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:19
English to French
A rose by any other name ... Mar 29, 2008

I think GoodWords sums it up very well - it's just a complicated way of presenting a rate per word.

But if you don't like the rate/terms/style of a client, be it an agency or a direct account, why not make an alternative offer ?!

And anyway, you don't have to accept the job if you don't want to !


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:19
Dutch to English
+ ...
Clever Move Mar 29, 2008

No big deal - the stated word rate per hour isn't particularly high and there would be scope in many cases to increase your hourly rate.

A professional translator working in his/her field(s) of expertise should be able to hit that target comfortably. I can translate at least double that per hour if the text is legal. Why? I'm a lawyer, I have an excellent knowledge of my source languages, I am trained in legal writing (it is fortunately like second nature to me), I don't have that much research to do when I'm translating, I use my CAT tool to my advantage, and I use voice recognition software.

Whether I'm charging by the word or by the hour, I wouldn't accept the job if I see I'd only be able to translate 320 words an hour because (a) I actually like making money and nobody is going to pay double my existing word rate to make it profitable, and (b) it would be a indication to me that I'm not the right person for the job.

If you review the text and can comfortably achieve that word rate per hour, accept the job. Otherwise it's clearly outside your field of expertise in the particular case and you should decline.

I believe it's quite a clever move by the client/agency as it will dissuade translators from taking on jobs they are not trained for or qualified to accept, basically forcing them to accept only those in which they can meet the target output.





[Edited at 2008-03-29 11:01]


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:19
German to Italian
+ ...
It seems fishy to me Mar 29, 2008

Riens Middelhof wrote:

Why give a "minimum output", unless they plan to punish you unduly for not meeting it?

So if would end up translating 90% of the minimum output, you´d receive something like 80%... Maybe that's the catch?


Yeah, I may be missing something but that seems to me the only possible explanation for such an unnecessary complication of a simple rate per word. Why don't you make a take-it-or-leave-it proposal of a word rate? (if you are not desperate for work, of course). There could be something fishy if they don't accept it. Or why don't you simply ask them why they don't apply the standard industry practice? I'd be very suspicious if they don't give a convincing answer.

[Edited at 2008-03-29 12:43]


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:19
Spanish to English
Surely Mar 29, 2008

Just divide the "hourly" rate by 320 and you come up with their per word rate and if that resembles your standard per word rate, take the job. Then it doesn't matter how fast you really translate as long as you can meet the deadline.

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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:19
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Catch Mar 30, 2008

Yes, it smelt of a 'catch' somewhere and the word rate was low so I actually declined this before I posted here. I just wanted to hear what others thought of this kind of pricing structure.

Thanks for your input!

Tina


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