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When pdf is actually fax-images
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:35
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Jun 7, 2006

Last week I bidded on a job offer here on Proz.com for my main language pair. The outsourcer mentioned the job consisting of five pdfs with 540 lines of text and offered a fixed amount.
I agreed to their conditions. Yesterday, three days later, they sent me the files. They were pdfs indeed, but in reality were fax-images, part of them in the wrong direction, part of them including hand-written additions.
Because in the meantime I had got enough work for the rest of the week I told the client that I could not start on their job before next week. They responded that the job is too urgent and would give it to someone else. I was relieved, because translation of faxes takes considerably more effort than normal pdf.
What do you think, would it have been possible to raise my price because the files were no normal pdfs, though I had agreed to the price suggested by the outsourcer?

Should there be a better definition on the job form? Now its up to the outsourcer what information they provide about the source document. I would suggest a radiobutton list with the alternatives:

editable file(s) (doc, rtf ...)
pdf, all text searchable
pdf, some images with text
pdf or other, all images
various different formats

What do you think?

Regards
Heinrich


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eatgold
Chinese to English
agree with u Jun 7, 2006



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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:35
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Question Jun 7, 2006

Hi Heinrich,

Why did you agree to the client's conditions without clarifying this issue with them?

Cheers


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 16:35
English to German
+ ...
I would adv. the customer Jun 7, 2006

of the extra work involved and list out all troubles and assessed extra time needed and charge that extra on hourly basis. I had worse situations. I took print of the .pdf and rescanned, but the resolution was so bad I had to literally retype everything on word basis.(those days when I didn´t understand all these catches with .pdf files). Few customers really see the point and agree, others that know the catch don´t agree (this would be your loss). It is better to let these projects go than damage your head and waste time without much income in it. Many customer think .pdf can be directly processed in a CAT tool and demand the translated document back in .pdf, so sometimes the source .pdf is a patch work of various parts and one may see some structure while in .pdf form, but after doing the ocr the structure gets damaged and you cannot give back in the same structure back to the customer (this leads to conflicts and mostly they do not pay) Well the job was translating and not doing the document structure. Keep your head straight. Best Brandis

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Worse Jun 7, 2006

Worse than that is when the scanned image is so bad that when you print it, it cannot be read, the text is illegible. Just now I had to tell a client that. But what else can I say? If I cannot read it, I cannot translate it.

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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 02:35
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Ask for a sample... Jun 7, 2006

...of the document before you finally commit yourself to a project and that way any issues can be dealt with before the price and deadline has been finalised.
Best wishes,
Mark


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 15:35
German to English
+ ...
... Jun 7, 2006

I change my pricing policy from source word count to target word count if there is no obvious and fair way of calculating the source count, or the number of DIN lines for those places antiquated enough to still use DIN lines. This works fine because 99% of the time you get expansion when working into German from English (well I do anyway), and compensates for the extra effort involved. Clients seem to understand this too, either that or don't know about expansion. In other language pairs it may not be so straightforward. If things are illegible then you can always use [illegible] within the text. Handwriting is another matter entirely, and I've only ever done very short handwriting translations. I think I would more than double my fees if I ever got a large handwritten job - think about it, you are also transcribing for them, so you should charge translation plus transcription, plus extra effort in reading someone's handwriting.

If the PM can't send you legible copy, then that is their problem, don't waste your time on it!


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 16:35
French to Dutch
+ ...
I don't understand Jun 7, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
I agreed to their conditions. Yesterday, three days later, they sent me the files. They were pdfs indeed, but in reality were fax-images, part of them in the wrong direction, part of them including hand-written additions.

I really don't understand 1) why you agree on something you haven't seen 2) why you accept the conditions of your client. You are a service provider, you have to quote a price (after having seen the original text, or at least a sample of it if it's big), and if your client doesn't agree, he is free to ask another translator. You left the door open to misuse.


[Edited at 2006-06-07 08:12]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:35
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm not complaining about this job, it just serves as an exemple Jun 7, 2006

I just would like to have your opinion, if such cases could be avoided if the job system would be more precise about the source format.
Many outsourcers do not even care what the format is and have no idea that translations take more time in one format than in others. So if they were forced to choose from a list it would make it easier for us to take the right decision.

I should have posted this of course in another forum.

I agree one should see the documents first, but what if the sample looks easy and then the whole job has different files with different formats?
And please notice, that one has to cite a price when bidding on a job at proz.com. How many of you really add a notice that your offer is only a provisional one, and the final price will be negotiated later?

Regards
Heinrich


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:35
French to English
+ ...
is this a problem with the job system? Jun 7, 2006

isn't this just a case of the job poster not being specific enough? Sensible clients that I would want to work for would be specific about the type of PDF we're dealing with here. And if they don't specify, then I'd be sure to ask to see it before commiting to the job. A radio button list might help, but job posters should have the nous to tell translators what they're dealing with.

But then I very rarely bid on jobs, so am not often faced with the problem of quoting a price without seeing the doc.


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 16:35
French to Dutch
+ ...
My opinion Jun 7, 2006


And please notice, that one has to cite a price when bidding on a job at proz.com. How many of you really add a notice that your offer is only a provisional one, and the final price will be negotiated later?


I never answer to offers on proz. com. But of course, if you do so, you state your price "in general, I do translations for xx per source word". When receiving the files or the document, you state your quote. I can't imagine another way. Besides perhaps for clients you know very well and who send you the same kind of files all the time.


[Edited at 2006-06-07 08:43]


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
I do Jun 7, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
How many of you really add a notice that your offer is only a provisional one, and the final price will be negotiated later?


I don't like the ProZ jobs bidding system, so I don't participate anymore, but everytime I issue a quote no matter to which prospective or established client, I make clear that the quote is an estimate and will be confirmed/adjusted when I see the whole material to translate.
People not always know what format their files are other than by the extension. They have no idea if they are editable or not, and I generally take pdfs as hardcopy for quoting.
If the job is to big and they only send a sample, the quote is set as long as the rest of the material is of similar nature.

Experience told me
Grace.

ps. how I wish we had a preview button like in most other fora on the web!


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Boris Sigalov
Local time: 17:35
English to Russian
NEVER quote without having a chance to see the WHOLE project Jun 7, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

What do you think, would it have been possible to raise my price because the files were no normal pdfs, though I had agreed to the price suggested by the outsourcer?

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

what if the sample looks easy and then the whole job has different files with different formats?


Very simple. Two points Heinrich:

1. I NEVER quote and/or accept any job without having a chance to see the WHOLE project.

All my clients get the following notice: "For accurate Translation pricing it's necessary to submit your text for evaluation."


2. I ALWAYS charge extra for translation of texts submitted in non-editable formats (PDF, graphics, etc.) nothing to say about hard-copies.

Even if I get high-quality PDFs I still charge extra as it always takes time and efforts to OCR them. My surcharge for translation of texts in non-editable formats may be up to 100%. When the clients become aware of that they often manage to "recollect" that they have got somewhere the same texts in MS Word and send them...


Heinrich Pesch wrote:

How many of you really add a notice that your offer is only a provisional one, and the final price will be negotiated later?


I always add the following notice:

"The actual price depends upon the field, complexity and file format of the source text."

[Edited at 2006-06-07 10:47]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:35
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You are all right of course Jun 7, 2006

Thanks you all for your advice!
The purpose of my original posting was to draw attention to a weekness in the job-system, which in my opinion could be mended easily.
I posted my suggestion again in the jobs-forum.
Regards
Heinrich


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Boris Sigalov
Local time: 17:35
English to Russian
Thanks. Jun 7, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

The purpose of my original posting was to draw attention to a weekness in the job-system, which in my opinion could be mended easily.


I agree, Heinrich. You've made a useful post. Thanks.

[Edited at 2006-06-07 12:21]


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