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Volume discounts: yes or no?
Thread poster: Sandra van Bijsterveld
Sandra van Bijsterveld  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
Jan 8, 2002

Dear colleagues,



One of my clients is asking me if I am prepared to offer volume discounts. They are asking me to give seperate rates (per word) for different volumes, e.g. 1-1000 words, 1000-10000 words etc.



Programs for computer aided translation are not mentioned in the request.



I would be interested to kow you opinion. Is it reasonable to ask/give a discount with bigger volumes, even though a job of 10.000 words might cost me as much time as 5 jobs of 2000 words?



Thanks in advance,



Sandra van Bijsterveld

The Netherlands


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Elena Ruiz

Local time: 21:07
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
discounts Jan 14, 2002

Beste Sandra,



For beginners it could seem atractive to agree on this, but I don\'t support this practice implicitly. On the one hand, you work on the whole document, process all words evenly and dedicate your time, knowloedge and accuracy from the beginning till the end. As well as we do not low the quality, the price shouldn\'t mark down.

Besides, not everybody is so happy with such a large projects, since they take up lot of time.

But on the other hand, so it\'s the mark on every business and if you manage to offer a price which satisfies your client and your profits, it\'s all up you.



Regards,

Elena Ruiz


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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:07
English to Spanish
Depends on your work flow... Jan 14, 2002

Quote:


As well as we do not low the quality, the price shouldn\'t mark down.





True, but volume discounts are usually offered because large jobs are more attractive for translators since they imply security. If you have several regular clients and never ran out of work, then discounts are probably not necessary for you. On the other hand, if you want to secure one or two months of work, then discounts are the way to get them. Mind you, I am talking about reasonable discounts that will make your offer competitive, not free work!



I prefer to work on large projects since they offer estability, reasonable deadlines and usually involve a team and a respectable company/agency behind. Moreover, al my bad experiences (non-paying customers) were on 200-word urgent translations or so...



Discounts are a common practice that may or may not fit your modus operandi

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Sonya Gerisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:07
Member (2004)
German to English
Discounts and large projects Jan 16, 2002

Hi, I have given discounts for larger projects before, but in my experience, it takes just as long, if not longer to manage a larger project. I see the point of view of the customer on this, and like I said, I sometimes do it, but larger projects have inherent difficulties like managing terminology. If you do it, I wouldn\'t make it too much of a discount. I would maybe do a cent or two per word. Of course, it is always your decision.

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xxxvlelecta
English to French
+ ...
volume discounts - NEVER! Jan 29, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-01-08 19:00, sandravb wrote:

Dear colleagues,



One of my clients is asking me if I am prepared to offer volume discounts. They are asking me to give seperate rates (per word) for different volumes, e.g. 1-1000 words, 1000-10000 words etc.



Programs for computer aided translation are not mentioned in the request.



I would be interested to kow you opinion. Is it reasonable to ask/give a discount with bigger volumes, even though a job of 10.000 words might cost me as much time as 5 jobs of 2000 words?



Thanks in advance,



Sandra van Bijsterveld

The Netherlands



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xxxvlelecta
English to French
+ ...
volume discounts - NEVER Jan 29, 2002

Once upon a time when I was a young beginner I accepted a 450,000 words (about 300 pages) translation from English into Serbian - marketing. The text was extremenlhy difficult since it was written by a Japanese author in English - and without any proof-reading.

I was paid half the agreed price (which was miserable in itself)in advance, and then when I brought the whole translation, the clinet said: \"Well, you know, I need just a half of the whole thing, and I don\'t wanna pay for the second half\".

Only God and a friend of mine (who knew the client in person) rescued me from the loss.

So, volume discount - NEVER, or only to the people and agencies you do know or if you know in advance how to get out from the problems that may arise from such stupid ideas.

You know, when I go to a butcher\'s and say: \"If I buy 10 kg of meat istead of 3, will you give me some discount\" - here, in Serbia he will answer \"No!\" So, why should translators be more stupid than butchers?!

I\'ve god a billion of examples when we translators in Serbia have been humiliated, robbed, underrated, so many examples do I have that I might write a novel on that.

P.S. Don\'t think that with the famous \"political democratic changes in Serbia\" something has changed for translators. No, on the contrary! I know a translator who works for the Yugoslav Federal Government for 9,000 dinars a month (some 150 euros). I don\'e accept this! I and my ELECTA agency want our translations to be paid 0,10 euros per word and that\'s it -

Sandra, thank you to have opened such a serious topic, which is crucially important to us who live in East-European (properous and transitional!) countries

Vladan MILIC

\"ELECTA\"

BELGRADE - Yugoslavia.


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 15:07
German to English
+ ...
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER Jan 29, 2002

Unless hell freezes over.



You have to keep in mind that each page of a translation project is as difficult or easy as the previous one(s). Every sentence is unique and requires your special attention. Granting volume discounts is tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot.


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jccantrell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:07
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
NEVER is a long time Jan 29, 2002

I would tend first to build a relationship with the client.

THEN, and only then, would I be willing to discuss reducing the rate. Even then, I would be willing to do this only under certain circumstances AND on a case-by-case basis:



The new job is either a follow-on or \"copy\" of a previous job that *I* did.

(By copy, I mean one that is essentially unchanged, but needs to be read, new modifications made, etc.)



I know, these are custom-made for translation memory, but the customer does not need to know that. I would give him a break on the price because I already had the glossary (in whatever form) and most of the preparation work done.



However, this does not appear to be your situation. Your client is asking for this upfront, before any jobs. I would tend to let this client find someone else who would be suckered into taking this bait.



You might be hungry for jobs now, but if you go for something like this, you will just be hungry later!


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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 21:07
Dutch to English
+ ...
Pennypinching Jan 30, 2002

In the universe of translation a lot of pennypinching is going on. I wonder whether a freelance programmer (another example of a job which requires creativity), who has to write a few 10000 lines of code extra because his customer wants extra functions to the program will give him a price-reduction for the time spent writing code. The answer is NO, because in the realm of programming, there is far less pennypinching than in the universe of translation. Usually, a fixed price-tag is attached to a programming project.

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Dora O'Malley  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:07
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Tell them Mar 1, 2002

Tell them...



Tell your dentist that your right-side teeth are a fuzzy match of your left-side.



Tell your x-ray technician that he has already taken an x-ray of your lungs and that he should only charge for the part with the spot.



Tell your doctor that after the first visit for your ulcer due to your translation profession you expect to be charged less and less for the follow up visit or even get some freebies since it is the same darn ulcer.



Tell your lawyer that this translation contract has many clauses that are perfect matches and fuzzy clauses from the previous contract so you only need to pay for the new clauses.



Tell the engineer and architect that you want to build a larger home, so they have to give you a discount.



Tell the MBA that his is a huge marketing job so...



Tell your accountant...



Tell them... just tell them.



You may get a professional answer.







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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 15:07
German to English
+ ...
Bravo, Dora Mar 1, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-03-01 03:19, EurUS wrote:

Tell them...



Tell your dentist that your right-side teeth are a fuzzy match of your left-side.



Tell your x-ray technician that he has already taken an x-ray of your lungs and that he should only charge for the part with the spot.



Tell your doctor that after the first visit for your ulcer due to your translation profession you expect to be charged less and less for the follow up visit or even get some freebies since it is the same darn ulcer.



Tell your lawyer that this translation contract has many clauses that are perfect matches and fuzzy clauses from the previous contract so you only need to pay for the new clauses.



Tell the engineer and architect that you want to build a larger home, so they have to give you a discount.



Tell the MBA that his is a huge marketing job so...



Tell your accountant...



Tell them... just tell them.



You may get a professional answer.











Yep, that pretty much sums up the \"curse of CAT\", and it does not paint a flattering picture of all those \"CAT worshippers\". Well done, Dora!

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Sandra van Bijsterveld  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your input Mar 1, 2002

I didn\'t think it would be a good idea to provide a volume discount, but was wondering if maybe it was generally agreed on to do so. Seems not...



As I don\'t consider myself to be a beginner anymore and I am not hungry for jobs (actually, struggling to keep all of my regular clients happy), I don\'t think offering a volume discount would be a good idea. Especially not one that will be applied to all future projects. I have negociated about rates for specific projects under specific circumstances, and in some cases I would be willing to do that again.



I specificly mentioned that they weren\'t talking about CAT tools when asking for a volume discount and the agency in question has never asked me to work with such a tool. However, I do use a CAT tool for other clients. When I get an update for a translation in which 70% of the text is an exact copy of a text I translated earlier, and the client provides the memory or pretranslates the text for me, I am willing to charge my usual rate for the new text and a reduced rate for the pretranslated text (which, of course, has to be proofread and paid for).



So in my opinion, these are two different topics (volume discounts without CAT tools and reduced rates for fuzzy\'\'s and 100% matches when working with CAT tools) and you have helped me to establish my opinion about both.



Thanks again!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:07
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ask: If you give me more work, will I translate faster to make a discount worth my while? Apr 12, 2002

And the answer is, with the added fatigue, I\'LL BE SLOWER. And so will the money. More work and less pay? Is that okay with you? Maybe an agency could afford to give volume discounts by maximizing its organization, but an individual translator should charge MORE, not less, for volume overloads.

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Gilberto Allesina  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Humans, not machines... Aug 5, 2010

Dear colleagues
My personal policy is not to accept volume discounts.
We are humans, with ordinary working day of 8-10 hours, not machine-tools that can work 24 hours everyday.
As other collegues stressed before, the time spending to translate one or one thousand pages is always proportional, and so your efforts.
I could only accept a discount on the basis of a constant volume of job on long terms.
I think that we must teach agencies/clients on this aspect, and impose these simple and objective reasons...


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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
Different sides Aug 5, 2010

Much as I respect the views of the other posters, I'd like to present a different one.

As a PM, I've negotiated volume discounts with our freelance translators. I don't think anyone felt used, penny-pinched or machine-like. There's more factors than project size and money.

I think discounts for large volumes can work if...

- the deadline is relaxed enough that you don't have to say no to other clients too often
- you are the type of translator who enjoys longer projects and the predictability they bring
- you agree on a partial delivery / partial invoice scheme to spread the cash flow and the risk

Of course more words take more time. But then freelancing is not all translating: the admin time needed for a 40k job is less than the admin time needed for 40 1k jobs.

Not saying that I defend volume discounts per se. Just trying to present a different view that I feel is worth considering.


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