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Word count leaving out trademarks
Thread poster: PCovs

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 13:17
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Nov 21, 2005

A client has just sent me a short translation stating how many words were to be invoiced.

I always recount the words to make sure we agree, and usually there's no problem, but this time there was a slight difference.

I immediately notified the client that the actual word count was a bit higher than they had told me.
The client replies that this is due to the fact that there are x number of trademarks in the text which would not have to be translated - thus these words were deducted from the word count.

These trademarks appear in the middle of text strings, and I informed the client that they could have the translation without the trademarks if they were not willing to pay for these words. I explained that I still have to include these words in the translation, which takes me about just as long as it would to translate them, and therefore I cannot accept leaving these words out of the total word count.

I'm still baffled that anyone would go to such extent to save a few cents. It reminds me of someone who wrote in the forums some months ago that a client had counted characters not including the spaces. He had responded that the client could then have the translation without the spaces

Has anyone else tried this?
Has anyone accepted such terms?


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:17
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Sometimes it's ok Nov 21, 2005

While it's hardly indicative of good work ethic on the part of the client, I would be willing to agree to that word count technique if:
1. If the rate for the job still makes it worthwhile.
2. AND this deferential treatment would appease the client so as to increase the likelihood of future collaboration (at good rates of course).


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 13:17
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I just won't risk it becoming a habit Nov 21, 2005

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

While it's hardly indicative of good work ethic on the part of the client, I would be willing to agree to that word count technique if:
1. If the rate for the job still makes it worthwhile.
2. AND this deferential treatment would appease the client so as to increase the likelihood of future collaboration (at good rates of course).


Yes, I do agree, but the rates are only so-so and I really don't think I should have to make further discounts.

Anyway, that's not exactly my point, because these few words would not make much difference to my overall income.

I'm just afraid that if I allow it this time, this could become a very nasty habit for my client (or other clients), so that I would constantly have to leave out such words when recounting the documents (not very easy to say the least), and I would not be able to use my CAT tool counts - I have learned from experience that it does pay off (also sometimes for the client) that I recount the client's word count.


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Daphne b  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:17
Member (2003)
Swedish to Greek
+ ...
I would not accept Nov 21, 2005

I have never encountered something like this, and would never accept any such terms, unless, as you said yourself, they are willing to take out all the non-translatable words and then insert them again themselves when you deliver the translation (but surely, that would be more costly and time-consuming than leaving them as they are!). The thing is, you still need to go through these trade marks, names or what have you and adjust them to your translation, even if you don't have to translate them. For instance, it is not guaranteed that these names will remain in the same place in your translation as in the original - you may have to adjust them according to the structure of the target sentence, the syntax, etc. So I'd say that such a requirement is a bit OTT.

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
German to English
+ ...
Word count leaving out trademarks Nov 21, 2005

PCovs wrote:

The client replies that this is due to the fact that there are x number of trademarks in the text which would not have to be translated - thus these words were deducted from the word count.


The answer to this is simple:

You are not translating the words. You are translating the message. The word count is simply a convenient quantifier. It applies to all the words because that is the basis upon which your rate is calculated.

Marc


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Not to be translated, but... Nov 21, 2005

... who's the expert who knows WHERE they go in the translation? You! Tell them you'll overwrite and they can decide where to add the trademark. Ridiculous what some people will do to save money!
Catherine


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 13:17
German
+ ...
Simple solution Nov 21, 2005

Just tell them you'll leave out the trademarks in your translation, then.

This topic has been discussed before, by the way. You're not the first translator to encounter this kind of "cost-saving cleverness" on the part of a client.

Regards,
Benjamin


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:17
Member (2005)
French to German
+ ...
They thought it worth the try, perhaps Nov 21, 2005

PCovs wrote:
I always recount the words to make sure we agree
is time there was a slight difference [...] The client replies that this is due to the fact that there are x number of trademarks in the text which would not have to be translated - thus these words were deducted from the word count.[/quote]

This might have been a ploy to see whether you do, in fact, check the word count given by your customers. Having found out that this is indeed the case, they will probably henceforth refrain from shortening the PO amount by little somethings.

P.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Profesionalism Nov 21, 2005

I would not recommend saying something like, "if you don't count the spaces then I'll send it back to you without spaces". This is not a diplomatic thing to say and injures your own image. The same message could be phrased in a more diplomatic way.

I would recommend that translators be good salespeople when dealing with clients who are offering them work and money, even if you are still in the negotiations phase.


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 13:17
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Obviously you should reply professionally. Nov 21, 2005

Edward Potter wrote:

I would not recommend saying something like, "if you don't count the spaces then I'll send it back to you without spaces". This is not a diplomatic thing to say and injures your own image. The same message could be phrased in a more diplomatic way.

I would recommend that translators be good salespeople when dealing with clients who are offering them work and money, even if you are still in the negotiations phase.


Obviously, I would never reply in this way. I only meant to say that this situation reminded me of the situation where the client wanted to leave out the spaces in the character count.

I believe I replied very professionally, explaining why I could not accept such a count. My account of what I told the client is not to be taken literally! I have no interest in losing an otherwise good client over something like this.
On the other hand I think I had to draw the line here. Next time it could be a text where I would not be paid for words like TV, CD, DVD, computer etc. ;o)


[Edited at 2005-11-21 15:25]


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:17
Member (2005)
French to German
+ ...
Agree Nov 21, 2005

Edward Potter wrote:

I would not recommend saying something like, "if you don't count the spaces then I'll send it back to you without spaces".


I agree. I base my estimates on source word counts, so I've never had this come up, but what I'd do if that happened to me is the following:
  • go through some old jobs and count characters including/excluding spaces
    (This is very easy to do with Word)
  • calculate:
    x := (char count including spaces) / (char count excluding spaces)
    y := (normal rate based on characters) * x
  • tell the customer: I'm happy to quote you a rate based on characters without counting spaces; it is y.

What the price is based on at negotiating time is immaterial, after all; trouble only comes up when the rules are suddenly changed after the translation is done.

I've never come across a customer that did not want trademarks counted. I don't know any time effective way to count texts ignoring trademarks. I'd probably courteously refuse the PO and instead offer a flat fee without mentioning any count whatsoever ("I'm afraid I can't translate this text for € p; however, I would be happy to translate it for € q. If you are interested, please send a signed PO based on that amount. I will then start working on the translation right away").

P.

[Edited at 2005-11-21 16:18]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:17
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
My translations contain a trademark every other word Nov 21, 2005

I translate mostly about trademarks, and sometimes the name of either the client's trademark or the opponent's trademark occurs every few words in a document. I assume I would not be able to pay my rent if I added up these and excluded them from the wordcount.

Astrid


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:17
French to English
+ ...
A Slippery Slope Nov 22, 2005

The same rationale could apply to other things that "don't have to be translated," such as names, streets, cities, and so forth. If it's information that the translator has to process in some way -- figuring out where to place it in a sentence, for example -- than it seems appropriate for the translator to be compensated for that.

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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:17
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
The self-indulgence that is this topic Nov 22, 2005

It's become obvious that this topic was meant for people to vent out their frustration over how low the market rates are and how they are mistreated by their uneducated unethical penny-grabbing clients. Sorry to have posted the first time around.

ADDED: Sorry about the sarcasm, please see my next post.



[Edited at 2005-11-22 12:05]



[Edited at 2005-11-22 16:19]


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 13:17
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not at all! Nov 22, 2005

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

It's become obvious that this topic was meant for people to vent out their frustration over how low the market rates are and how they are mistreated by their uneducated unethical penny-grabbing clients. Sorry to have posted the first time around.

[Edited at 2005-11-22 12:05]


No, not at all.

I believe this is a serious topic to be discussed.

As I wrote earlier, I'm afraid that this could become a habit for not only this client, but also for other clients (yours as well as mine), and that was my reason for starting this thread in the first place.

First and foremost, I wanted to know if this was 'usual practice' for clients. If it was, then I would perhaps have told my client that it was okay, even though my first instinct was to not allow it.

In this way I have found the inputs very useful - including yours, because sure it makes sense what you say - and I now know that other translators usually do not or would not allow this kind of reduction. I do believe that that's exactly what this forum is for, and that's also what my posting is all about.

Sorry if you see it differently.


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