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Charging for repetitions?
Thread poster: Clara Rivera

Clara Rivera  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 25, 2005

Hi!
I have been contacted by an angency using Trados. I do not use it, so I received the text in MsWord, together with a PO in which it was stated that the number of words was 6416. However, I counted the words with MsWord and the result was 6733. The difference is not that considerable, but I told the agency that I believed there was a mistake, and their answer was that Trados does not count repetitions and that therefore, the number of words was lower. Since I do not use Trados (and they know), my immediate reaction was to think, "ok, if I am not getting paid for translating repetitions, I should not translate them and leave them in the original language", but I do not know whether this is common among agencies working with Trados. Could someone advice me on this?
Many thanks in advance,
Clara


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:36
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
You have to translate the repetitions Aug 25, 2005

Hi Clara,

You have to translate the repetitions, if you are not using any CAT tool, in order to provide a complete translation of an acceptable standard. If you leave any words in the original language, because you think you are not being paid to translate them, you will only be destroying your own reputation plus that of the profession as a whole.

Why don't you get yourself a CAT tool? It is much easier to translate with a CAT tool, and it need not cost you the earth. You can download Wordfast without paying anything. Just type "Wordfast" into the Google box, for example, and you will soon find your way to it, or you will probably find a link on this site, in the CAT tools section. You can use it free for small to medium jobs. If you want to create a translation memory of over a certain size (I think it is 500 translation units), you will have to buy a licence. I suggest that you do this, as an investment, through the present TGB sale. You'll get your licence for very little just now if you do that.

Wordfast is compatible with Trados, so you can use it if the agency uses Trados, and Wordfast will automatically translate the repetitions for you.

As for your negotiations with the agency regarding the job and the number of words, they are in effect saying to you that it is to your disadvantage if you do not use any CAT tool. You have to decide whether to accept the job on those terms. You do not have to accept it at all. However, I would advise you to accept it, with a deadline of about Monday, and then start downloading Wordfast and learning how to use it. If you have any trouble with the installation, we will help you further, through the appropriate forum.

Best of luck!

Astrid


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The agency expects too much of you Aug 25, 2005

Clara Rivera wrote:
...and their answer was that Trados does not count repetitions and that therefore, the number of words was lower. Since I do not use Trados (and they know), my immediate reaction was to think, "ok, if I am not getting paid for translating repetitions, I should not translate them and leave them in the original language".


If the agency is well aware that you do not own or use Product X, yet expects you to deliver the job in Product X format or utilising the price reduction facilities of Product X, then I believe the agency is asking too much.

Besides, I'm surprised that "Trados does not count repetitions". I was under the impression that Trados does in fact count them, but allows for the display of word count without repetitions. If I receive a Trados-type job, then I would expect the entire word count to be on the PO, together with the number of repetitions.

If you have told them that you do not own Trados, then they can't expect a discount from you with regard to Trados counted repetitions. I wouldn't proceed with the job if I were you... it would appear that they think you have Trados or the ability to handle repetitions with some other program.


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Clara Rivera  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Astrid! Aug 25, 2005

Thanks Astrid!
Of course I would never leave the repetitions in the original language, but it was the first thought that came to my mind... I have been considering to get a CAT tool for some time now, and I have heard all kind of comments, so I have not made up mind yet. Maybe it is about time! Thanks again for your answer!
Clara


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:36
German to English
+ ...
Charging for repetitions? Aug 25, 2005

Clara Rivera wrote:

I told the agency that I believed there was a mistake, and their answer was that Trados does not count repetitions and that therefore, the number of words was lower.


If the agency reduced the wordcount on the PO without indicating that it had done so and why, then it is acting dishonestly, and you might want to consider whether you want to work for this agency in the first place. Or would you pay for one newspaper in the store, but quietly take two with you, because "the second one was identical"?

You are running your own business and can decide for yourself whether to give discounts for repeititions. Don't let agencies tell you that certain discounts are "standard practice". They are not. (They are widespread, but then so is forgetting to settle translators' invoices, judging from some people's comments.) Think about whether a discount is appropriate, and decide for yourself.

I agree with Astrid that CAT tools are worth trying. The Wordfast demonstration is a good one to try; you might also try OmegaT, which is free (no restrictions) and quite easy to learn. I'm the OmegaT project co-ordinator, so I am totally and completely biased in favour of it, but it's free, so what have you got to lose. Give yourself plenty of time to try out these products, on jobs with a long deadline - don't start using them on an urgent job.

Marc


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Clara Rivera  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Samuel! Aug 25, 2005

[quote]

If you have told them that you do not own Trados, then they can't expect a discount from you with regard to Trados counted repetitions.quote]

Thank you Samuel!
This is what I thought, but since i do not work with CAT tools I do not know what is common practice... I will think about it!
Thanks again,
Clara


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craigs
Local time: 20:36
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A comment on "repetitions" Aug 25, 2005

Just because the word itself is repeated, it doesn't necessarily that it will translate to the exact same word every time in the context of a complete phrase. I imagine (not sure) that repetitions are better applied to technical or unique terms and jargon specific to a certain project. Can those of you who use CAT tools frequently educate the uninitiated among us on this matter?

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:36
German to English
+ ...
Charging for repetitions? Aug 25, 2005

craigs wrote:

Just because the word itself is repeated, it doesn't necessarily that it will translate to the exact same word every time in the context of a complete phrase.


... or for that matter that a complete phrase will be translated the same way each time.

Can those of you who use CAT tools frequently educate the uninitiated among us on this matter?


Eh. I'm trying, I'm trying!

Don Quixote


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:36
Dutch to English
+ ...
Trados and repetitions Aug 25, 2005

The repetitions are segments and not individual words (unless the segment is an individual word). So when you have a full match, this means that you have a repeated segment (=sentence).

An example would be a technical manual in which the sentence "Press OK to confirm." occurs 100 times. It is not the individual words that are repeated but the whole string with four words. So in theory after you have translated it and corrected it, you should be able to disregard it.

When the match is 85% then the above sentence could be:
Press OK to save

And so on.


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:36
French to German
+ ...
You may be right, but that's not the point Aug 25, 2005

craigs wrote:

Just because the word itself is repeated, it doesn't [follow] necessarily that it will translate to the exact same word every time in the context of a complete phrase.


One might also add that a translator cannot ignore even complete pre-translated 100% matched phrases, either, because they might show a certain use of vocabulary that must be continued in the new parts, if the text as a whole is to stay consistent.

On the other hand, s/he just might as well do just that and not worry too much about it. When applied in this context, "repetitions" is all about saving money, not about buying high-quality translations.

A case in point: about a year ago, I saw a text where the original said, "Learn about XXX when they happen"; and the translation was done as if the original had said, "Informs you on current XXX in a timely manner". The rest of the translations were done in a similar vein.

This was among the 100% matches, and the translator was told not to touch the pre-translated 100% matches since they wouldn't be changed again. So I suppose the customer must have thought these translations to be quite okay and above-board.

But then, this is all about saving money.

P.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Repetitions refer to segments, not words Aug 25, 2005

craigs wrote:
Just because the word itself is repeated, it doesn't necessarily that it will translate to the exact same word every time in the context of a complete phrase.


The repetitions are based on segments (sentences, usually), and not individual words.

That said, even though chances are that a repeated sentence will be translated in the same way, I don't think it's fair to pay *nothing* for repetitions. At the very least, the client should pay the proofreading rate for repetitions, because a translator worth his salt would still have to check the repetitions to see if they are truly repetitions, given the context of the new occurance. In another Proz post, a user suggested charging 20% of one's usual rate for repetitions. I'm not saying this is fair or not, but it certainly is a step in the right direction.

Some repetitions are truly repetitions (such as "Press OK to continue" hundreds of times), whereas others need to be checked. For example in my source language (English) an adverbial phrase may be written the same regardless of whether it is used predicatively or attributively, but in my source language (Afrikaans), some words would change, so an exact repetition in the source may not be an exact repetition in the target.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:36
Flemish to English
+ ...
Be a professional and give discounts for CAT-tools.... Aug 25, 2005

Trados forced the "matching system" upon translators.
A word is a word and should be paid for. Otherwise, just leave it out.

It has gone that far, that it is considered "professional" to give a rebate according to the matching-system proposed by Trados. However, agencies do not give rebates to their end-clients.
--
I wonder what is going to happen now that Sdlx bought Trados.
In that past, Sdlx conducted a marketing-strategy of "being cheaper (about 350$), better and easier to use than Trados".

---
What would happen if an interpreter did not repeat 100% repetitions or if being asked to give a reduction when a speaker repeats the same word time and again....?

Or what would happen if any other professional (e.g. a doctor) would have to give a rebate for conduction the same medical examination twice or three times a day...

Giving discounts for the use of CAT you pay for is not about professionalism, but all about the money...

[Edited at 2005-08-25 14:21]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:36
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
There are cases for giving discounts for 100% matches Aug 25, 2005

I actually voluntarily give discounts to lawyers for 100% matches, when I regularly get documents to translate in the same court case. If the lawyer, in answering the other party, has used significant chunks from an earlier brief filed, due to being asked to answer the same point again, I give a discount, since I already translated the chunk on the previous occasion, and it is in my translation memory. It is very unlikely, in this event, that anything will need to be translated differently the second time round, and I would see it as unjust to charge all over again for it.

However, since I had to buy the CAT tool in the first place, I do not give each new customer a discount for every instance of a standard phrase from a court document that comes up as a 100% match because it is in my TM. I bought the CAT tool so that I can benefit in that regard.

I also did not buy the CAT tool in order for the agencies to make a big profit out of it.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:36
Flemish to English
+ ...
And the lawyer... Aug 25, 2005

Would the lawyer reduce his (hourly)fee when had to defend you before a court and had to repeat the same piece of legislation time and again as the basis for his defence?

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Priscilla Whitaker  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:36
Member (2005)
French to English
You are responsible for the words! Charge! Aug 25, 2005

Heavens, just because Trados doesn't count it, doesn't mean it's the same word!
Lead - as in to be in front of a group
Lead - as in the metallic element
Lead - as in the primary role in a play
Lead - as in the main story on page one of a newspaper
Lead - as in the wire leading to a transmitter
Lead - as in what you find in a pencil!

You don't need to translate numbers, either, in most cases, but what is important is that you are RESPONSIBLE for those numbers in your final document, and so you charge for them because you are ensuring that they are accurately transferred to your version of the document.

I am a relative "newbie" to the field, but I learned fast that if it is made up of characters that can be counted, I charge for it because they are my responsibility in the final document... "the buck stops here!"

Good luck! (and I, too, am just learning to use CATs - I am usually not a supporter because I work more with eloquent, creative texts than straight translations, but I downloaded WordFast and the manual and intend to get a handle on it! I just tried Logoport for the first time, and it was pretty cool... but it was for a user's manual - not the most creative document in the world.)


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