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How do you charge for large numerical data in your translation?
Thread poster: Larissa Dinsley

Larissa Dinsley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
Apr 6, 2005

I am sorry if this subject has been already discussed before but I have done a quick search and could not found an answer to my question.

I have been asked for a quote regarding translation of a booklet. The text is familiar and easy but there is a lot of numerical data, mainly huge tables, in it. I will have to recreate the tables by myself as the text is in pdf format.

I am afraid I can't charge per hour as I have not got a clue how many hours it will take me. And I do not normally use CAT tools.

I would be grateful if colleagues could share their experiences regarding what they charge for large volumes of numerical data in their translations.

I certainly want to charge for it but do not think I can charge the same as I do for translation as it is.

Would it be a good idea to give a discounted price for the numbers as compaired to words? What would be an appropriate discount?


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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 08:58
German to Romanian
+ ...
have you tried to convert the pdf? Apr 6, 2005

there have been topics on the conversion of PDF to editable text. Maybe it saves you a lot of work and it might be more accurate.
Search the forums and you'll find links to free software for conversion of PDFs


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Michaela Müller
Germany
Local time: 08:58
English to German
+ ...
No discount Apr 6, 2005

Hi Larissa,

I personally don't give any discount on numbers, I charge the same as for words. Just imagine what happens if you recreate the tables or convert them with OCR (which I would suggest in your case) and the numbers are mixed up? This can effect a whole business etc. Since you have to check very carefully if the numbers are right in the target text, this is worth a lot more than you probably think.

Hope this helps,
Michaela

Larissa Dinsley wrote:

I am afraid I can't charge per hour as I have not got a clue how many hours it will take me. And I do not normally use CAT tools.

I certainly want to charge for it but do not think I can charge the same as I do for translation as it is.

Would it be a good idea to give a discounted price for the numbers as compaired to words? What would be an appropriate discount?


Also, I don't quite understand your question: On the one hand, you are afraid you can't charge per hour, and on the other hand, you want to give a discount.


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Larissa Dinsley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you both! Apr 6, 2005

Thank you, Michaella. I can't charge per hour because I do not know how many hours it may take as I have to give the quote before the work is done. I can see your point about charging the same but it does not seem fair to me, as a lot of numbers are very simple, like 2, 3, 5 and a lot of them repeat.

Elvira, I have managed to convert the pdf file into a text file but formating was not preserved. I shall search the forums to see if I can find a better coverter - thank you for the hint.


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Michaela Müller
Germany
Local time: 08:58
English to German
+ ...
Abbyy Apr 6, 2005

Hi Larissa,

You can find Try&Buy Versions of different Abbyy programs (FineReader, PDF transformer etc.)here:
http://download.abbyy.com/content/default.aspx

By the way, I don't know of a colleague or an agency who doesn't charge/charges less for numbers. But if you are really willing to give a discount, then why not charge your usual proofreading rate/word? You can emphasize that you give a special rate for the numbers this time because it is a good customer, a new customer ("Special discount for new customers") etc.

Michaela


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 09:58
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
No discount Apr 6, 2005

Dear Larissa, if you do not normally use a CAT tool and if the source is PDF, you will need either to spend time on its conversion into an editable format, or to retype the numbers manually. In both cases, it's quite time-consuming, so me personally, I would not give any discounts in this case. In other cases, a discount is, however, quite possible.

Anyway, were you asked to give a discount on numbers by your client or this is your own idea? If the client doesn't ask for discounts, why bother at all?


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Larissa Dinsley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Kirill Apr 6, 2005

Thank you for your reply, Kirill.
It may sound silly but it is just me. The client has not asked for any discounts. And it is a very good client. My problem is that I find it difficult to charge the same rate for a translated word and simply typing a number like "2" or "3". I know it is time consuming and therefore I do want to charge - but I think that different rates should apply to translating and to typing.

I know that there is an argument about how much my time cost. But there is no universal hourly rate, as I already charge different rates, say, my hourly rate for interpreting is higher than for translating or proofreading. I think Michaela has a good point about charging my proofreading rate.


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 09:58
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
I know what you mean... :) Apr 6, 2005

Larissa Dinsley wrote:
It may sound silly but it is just me. The client has not asked for any discounts. And it is a very good client. My problem is that I find it difficult to charge the same rate for a translated word and simply typing a number like "2" or "3".


I'm against discount or anything. Moreover, I myself would propose discounts to my regular and good customers in such a case -- unless it is a PDF file. PDFs require much more efforts than, say, Word files. With a CAT tool, numbers may be substituted automatically, so you do not spend your time at all. With PDF, you have a headache, which has to be paid for, that's all.

[Edited at 2005-04-06 10:50]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:58
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Count the text amount and convert it according to your rates Apr 6, 2005

First of all you should make sure if the file is REALLY not available as editable text file (doc, rtf). Offer a discount if they can send you such a file or ask for higher price if you have to use the pdf.
You can select All in the pdf, copy the stuff into Word and let it count the number of characters or words (Word will count numbers as words). Then you know how much to charge for the job.
Numbers should be paid at least, if you have to convert them (comma vrs. point etc.). But many customers do not care what the text consists of, the main thing is your price fits them.

Regards

Heinrich

[Edited at 2005-04-06 11:05]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge per "word", or translate only headings Apr 6, 2005

Larissa Dinsley wrote:
I have been asked for a quote regarding translation of a booklet. The text is familiar and easy but there is a lot of numerical data, mainly huge tables, in it. I will have to recreate the tables by myself as the text is in pdf format.


You still have to type in those numbers. And its easier to make mistakes when typing in numbers. So it takes longer to double-check numbers. Ultimately, the amount of time spend on those numbers would equal or exceed the amount of time spend on a word of translation. I'd meet the client half-way and charge only the per-word translation rate for those numbers.

In my job as full-time translator at a newspaper's advertising department, we often get stuff from agencies with lots of numbers in it. In such cases, we simply translate the headings and leave it to the agency to recreate the numbers (this works only if there is a final proofreader and also I guess if the agency's DTP operator has at least third-language level comprehension of the target language). Alternatively, you can write the table's text like this:

Audited year to Dec 05 = Geouditeerde jaar tot Des 05
Unaudited six months to Jun 05 = Ongeouditeerde ses maande tot Jun 05
Reviewed to Dec 04 = Nagegaan tot Des 04

etc, and leave it to the client's DTP operator to recreate the table. Sort this out with the client first (tell him what he could save on you not charging for typing in those numbers).


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aldazabal
English to Spanish
Simply typing 3 or 5? What about .98734587? Apr 6, 2005

It may not be rocket science, and certainly I am no rocket scientist, but for me it came quite as a discovery to realize that, mentally, 20.5467 is twenty point fifty-four sixty-seven, ie six words, that, by the way, do not make any sense for me, and therefore are harder to remember than any translatable sentence.
Now I am happier charging my full fee for any number, and besides, I feel like offering an intrinsic discount [I could arguably charge six words for the above number].


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Kevin Kelly  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:58
Member (2005)
Russian to English
+ ...
Aldazabal is absolutely correct! Apr 6, 2005

Number = a symbol or series of symbols denoting meaning and requiring mental effort to understand and use.

Word = a symbol or series of symbols denoting meaning and requiring mental effort to understand and use.

End of story


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Bruno Magne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:58
English to French
+ ...
SolidconverterPDF Apr 6, 2005

Hi, Larissa

That very user-friendly software is the best there is to convert a "real" pdf file into a Word document with all the formatting preserved and reconstituted. Any table in the pdf file will be a table in the Word document.

It costs only about 50 US dollars, which is really cheap when you factor in the number of hours of work saved.

You can dowload it at: www.solidpdf.com

Cheers

Bruno

P.S.: please note that this software is not an OCR software and therefore DOES NOT work with scanned documents converted into PDF.


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Marianela Melleda  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 02:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
We should charge in a different way Apr 7, 2005

Larissa,
In my opinion we cannot charge the same for pages containing charts with numbers.

What I do is charge a fixed price per each page containing just charts with numbers (approx. one third of what I charge for a translated page).

As numbers frequently do not need any translation, excepting by the change of dots by commas, I am just charging for typing them and composing the charts, what is very time consuming. The translation of the headings is included in the word count.

In this way, the final result is better than if I had counted the figures just as translated words, since a page with charts never contains more than one third and often less than the average amount of words (figures) contained in one translated page.

Finally, when I quote I explain the customer why I charge a different rate for pages containing charts.

Regards,
Marianela


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Bruno Magne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:58
English to French
+ ...
The question is about recreating tables Apr 7, 2005

Hi, Marianela

Larissa is supposed to recreate all the tables in the booklet. Since the document is a pdf, there is no way she can use the overwriting function.

And (re)creating a table is a very time-consuming task. Consequently, in my view, it should be charged accordingly.

Cheers

Bruno



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