Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Pricing for PDF files
Thread poster: Thomas Johansson

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 08:48
Member (2005)
English to Swedish
+ ...
May 30, 2006

I wonder how I should price translations of pdf files.

The background is that I've recently had a lot of personal documentation coming in for translation, such as diplomas, university and school transcripts, employment records, certificates, birth certificates, etc. (All as scanned documents saved in PDF format.) (The clients are two agencies.)

Usually, I try to replicate the overall structure and layout of the original documents in the translation (word files) as well as I can. This is usually a very time-consuming process. Especially table structures take a lot of time. (Right now, for instance, I am sitting with a Brazilian university transcript in front of me, where the grades, units, etc. for various subjects are shown in a table of at least 30 rows and 30 columns.)

As a result, I've found that my hourly income from these jobs often drops down to about half of that of "regular jobs" (i.e. where the source file is a Word document), and sometimes even much lower to ridiculous amounts.

To balance this, I have been trying to come up with a better pricing system for PDF files. (Previously, I have just applied the same per word rate as I use for Word documents.)

The tentative system I've come up with so far involves a per word rate plus a possible additional rate per page:

i) The per word rate is 20% higher than that of my regular per word rate.

ii) An extra fee of 0-25 euro per page is added depending on the estimated additional processing time required for each page.

However, neither of my clients seem to like this system.

They seem to basically mean - or at least this is the impression I get - that translating PDF files should not take much more time than translating other types of documents, perhaps a little, but not much. Also, they don't like the idea of an added per page fee.

I wonder how other people handle or would handle a situation like this.

Thanks for any input,

Thomas Johansson

[Edited at 2006-05-30 16:50]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:48
German to English
+ ...
Pricing for PDF files May 30, 2006

I don't translate this kind of text, but I recall a colleague who does describing his method. At the top of the page, he wrote something like:

This document contains the following information:

He then reproduced the information on the document in unformatted form.

You could offer to do this for your usual fee, and to format the information for a suitable additional fee. If the customer believes that formatting isn't time-consuming, he has the option of doing it himself.

Marc


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:48
German to English
+ ...
Surcharge - too right! May 30, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:

You could offer to do this for your usual fee, and to format the information for a suitable additional fee. If the customer believes that formatting isn't time-consuming, he has the option of doing it himself.

Marc


Spot on.

I remember some agency saying "What's the fuss - you're still typing the same amount of words?"

Even with text extractable PDFs (not what you are talking about) I ask the agency/client to get hold of the original Word docs. If that doesn't work, I then follow the advice of a distinguished Prozian and say O.K. - 20% surcharge. It is surprising how often the originals will then be found after all, or the agency will format the PDF into Word for you.

I politely refuse to accept PDFs that are scanned or in any other way not processable. It just ain't worth the grief and hassle.

Best
Chris

[Edited at 2006-05-30 17:48]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:48
I charge for the formatting separately... May 30, 2006

...an my rate is by the hour (or fraction thereof).

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:48
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Avoiding them is definitely the best way May 30, 2006

I can't avoid them, because I work for lawyers, and every second document is a .pdf. In other words, the lawyer dictates a letter in the Court case, and the secretary sends me the Word document. The reply comes back from the other party, and the secretary has to scan it in and send me a .pdf. In this case, it is naturally never possible to access the Word document!

However, there are .pdf's and .pdf's. A letter from the other party, in my case, consists of straightforward pages of text, that the OCR software converts perfectly and that doesn't need much formatting. A birth certificate from an agency, with a demand to match the original, is quite another matter. The best plan is to refuse them, and the agencies soon stop offering them and give them to someone else (just starting out). Try to get decent orders from good agencies, instead of what nobody else wants to do.

If I were you, I would swap these two agencies for two better ones.

Astrid


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Certified translation May 30, 2006

Thomas Johansson wrote:
The background is that I've recently had a lot of personal documentation coming in for translation, such as diplomas, university and school transcripts, employment records, certificates, birth certificates, etc...

Usually, I try to replicate the overall structure and layout of the original documents in the translation (word files) as well as I can. This is usually a very time-consuming process.


Yes, time consuming, and I'm not even sure it's necessary to do that. It depends on the type of translation, I suppose. But this sounds a lot like certified translation, you know. And a certified translation can be done in plaintext. You translate the text and you describe the graphics and the text position briefly. Remember, the person for whom the translation is intended, will not only have your translation but also a copy of the original, to check if the original actually exists.

Here is my rendition (translated from English into English so you can see what I'm doing) of the fake degree at:
http://www.coralrealm.com/cru/images/crudegree1.jpg

==

[start of document]

[centred]
CoralRealm University
@
CoralRealm.com
THIS DIPLOMA MAKES KNOW THAT THE BOARD OF FISH PEOPLE AT CORALREALM UNIVERSITY UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE GENERAL PARTNERS OF "WE LOVE BIG SMELLY FISH!"
HERETO CONFERRED THE DEGREE
BSF
(Basic Smelly Fish)
UPON
JOHN HOOVER
WHO IS ENTITLED TO ENJOY ALL THE RIGHTS, HONORS AND PRIVILEGES PERTAINING TO THIS DEGREE

[bottom left: picture of fish on table]
[bottom left: slogan]
We Love Big Smelly Fish

[bottom centre]
THE OFFICIAL SEAL OF THIS BIG SMELLY INSTITUTION IS HEREBY AFFIXED THIS DAY, DECEMBER 28, 2002

[printed signature]
Big Smelly

Chancellor, CoralRealm University

[bottom right: lettered logo]
CRU
ONLINE
CoralRealm.com

[end of document]

==

Then I add a certification (for American clients) or a declaration (for other clients) that I the translator hereby declares this to the best of my knowledge and skill bla-bla-bla a true and accurate translation of XYZ (mention title of original). Double-check and triple-check to see if I haven't missed anything, and off it goes.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Of course it works the other way May 30, 2006

Back in the old days we had no computers, we worked with paper documents, and I worked with paper and pencil and someone else did the typing.

Now I often get MSWord files, just go into them, transform them and out they go, it's easy.

However, working with those PDF scans is no different than those paper documents, they are exactly the same thing, you print them out. If they are in a difficult format, then the client must accept certain concessions and realize that you cannot duplicate it. All you can do is set forth the information in a convenient, understandable and efficient format.

Being very used to working with such documents I have found that I can produce translations efficiently both ways (from both paper documents and MSWord files), so I have not instituted any price changes, it's the same price either way.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:48
German to English
+ ...
Birth certificates etc. May 30, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

A birth certificate from an agency, with a demand to match the original, is quite another matter.


I don't do this kind of text, for various reasons. But what I don't understand is why those who do don't have standard templates for them. There can only be so many birth, death and marriage certificate formats, surely?

Marc


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ka-ching May 30, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:
I don't do this kind of text, for various reasons. But what I don't understand is why those who do don't have standard templates for them. There can only be so many birth, death and marriage certificate formats, surely?


That depends on the country.

I only translate documents from Mexico, and through the years have created 38 different templates. I doubt I've seen them all, though.

This is due to design/format changes through the years, plus different formats used by each state.

I charge per target word, plus per hour for formatting, btw.

--
Dyran


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:48
German to English
+ ...
Hundreds of templates? May 30, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:
I don't do this kind of text, for various reasons. But what I don't understand is why those who do don't have standard templates for them. There can only be so many birth, death and marriage certificate formats, surely?
Marc


Not true, I'm afraid. There are lots of different formats.
My own birth certificate (UK) is a horizontal format in table format (and a heroic colleague in the pre-digital era emulated the layout on a typewriter when I needed the thing in German). But I have seen birth certificates of a similar vintage from other parts of the UK - they share the horizontal format, but the number and arrangement of columns differs. More modern UK birth certificates are vertical format A4, but there are different types of certificate (e.g. short and long form certificates). That's just birth certificates, and only from one country, but I get certificates of different types from various English-speaking countries. Have you ever seen birth certificates in English from the Philippines? Very small type, an immense amount of text crammed onto the page in tables with constantly changing column widths and numbers of columns. (Here again, other certificates from the same country may be different from the ones I have seen).
By comparison, German certificates are a doddle, but even there I have seen various certificate formats.
Very occasionally I have been able to re-use a previous certificate format and just overtype the content, but usually there are significant differences from everything I have seen before.

Thankfully, these certificates are a very small proportion of my work.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Quite variable May 30, 2006

[quote]Dyran Altenburg wrote:

MarcPrior wrote:
I don't do this kind of text, for various reasons. But what I don't understand is why those who do don't have standard templates for them. There can only be so many birth, death and marriage certificate formats, surely?


That depends on the country.

I only translate documents from Mexico, and through the years have created 38 different templates. I doubt I've seen them all, though.


I also do Mexican birth certificates and I have no idea how many formats there might be, they are endless. I just do them as they are and get them out.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:48
German to English
+ ...
Pricing for PDF files May 31, 2006

Victor Dewsbery wrote:

Not true, I'm afraid. There are lots of different formats.


Certificates from the Spanish-speaking countries are probably a worst-case example. There are many more Spanish-speaking countries than German-speaking ones, for instance, and each country will have its own format (or 38 formats).

Birth certificates in German are likely to originate from one of only three countries, and I doubt these countries have 38 formats each. The main point though is that the number, however high, is finite. Why can't translators who do this kind of thing, once they've created the layout, pool their templates? With a birth certificate in particular, most of the information lies in the form, and a large part of the variable information is names.

Marc


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two types of translations May 31, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:
I don't do this kind of text, for various reasons. But what I don't understand is why those who do don't have standard templates for them. There can only be so many birth, death and marriage certificate formats, surely?


Well, I regularly get two types of legal translations:

1. Legal notices for publication in the papers.
2. Legal documents for immigration etc.

For the former, I use a template that turns the 100 different documents from 100 different lawyers into a single format, which contains only the relevant information and does not contain any of the other junk those lawyers choose to add.

For the latter, you can't use a template, because *everything* must be translated (or mentioned, in the translated document). You may be able to use a template to start of with, if you're certain that the current document was issued by the exact same authority that issued the one the template is based on, but you'd still have to check it line by line to see if anything was added or removed. The translation is then usually attached to the original, and both are used for whatever purpose, be it an application for a job, immigration, visa requirements, etc.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:48
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
spanish Jan 20, 2007

MarcPrior wrote:

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

A birth certificate from an agency, with a demand to match the original, is quite another matter.


I don't do this kind of text, for various reasons. But what I don't understand is why those who do don't have standard templates for them. There can only be so many birth, death and marriage certificate formats, surely?

Marc


Working in Spanish, French and Portuguese, I have seen Marriage and Birth Certifications from about 30 different countries...There are, of course, certain similarities, but a template has never even occurred to me.
These kinds of documents are probably less than 20% of my work, anyway.

What´s odd...I charge about 0.02/word more for materials faxed or mailed (hard copy), but only 0.01/word more for pdf.
And I always format target documents to emulate the originals as nearly as possible. Maybe I should be charging more. Especially for medical documents with doctor handwriting on them...that´s the worst.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:48
Portuguese to English
+ ...
How to count words? Jan 23, 2007

I have another problem - how to get a word count for a PDF file, as a client has asked me for an advance price and as I normally charge by target word I would need to know the number of source words to make a realistic estimate. Any help would be gratefully received. I could print it out but a) I don't have a printer so would need to use a cybercafé at added cost and b) it would be time-consuming.
Is there any SIMPLE way of transforming PDF into Microsoft Word, for example, so I can count the words of the document?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Pricing for PDF files

Advanced search


Translation news





Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs