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How should I quote for this project?
Thread poster: Fabrice -
Fabrice -
Local time: 13:36
English to French
+ ...
Feb 15, 2007

I have to provide a quote for a job of 60.000 words to a company. (english -> French)

I have never sent a quote for such a high amount of words and I am not entirely sure of the best way to quote it.

I was thinking of charging .10 USD per word and do -15% for repetitions and non translatable terms (it's a sailboat manual with lot's of references)

Does that sound reasonable?

[Edited at 2007-02-15 08:23]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:36
English to German
+ ...
Fabrice, why on earth do you want to give a discount? Feb 15, 2007

Why?

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:36
English to Dutch
+ ...
Non-translatable terms? Feb 15, 2007

Hi Fabrice,

I do give discounts on repetitions, but never for non-translatable terms. The reason for this is that it may take a lot of time to find out whether or not there really isn't a translation available.

As a general rule, I calculate a quote for big projects simply by multiplying my usual rate.

After all, this may be 60.000 words, but you can't take on other projects while you are working on this one. If you get offers for ten 6.000-word jobs in the meantime and you decline, you lose money. That's not good for business!

Don''t get overwhelmed by the size of the project. It's a project like any other, just a bit bigger. You may think it's a lot of money to ask for, but it's a lot of work too. If your work is worth it, let them pay. The difference is probably peanuts to them, anyway.

Good luck!
Margreet


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Fabrice -
Local time: 13:36
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
customer is the author Feb 15, 2007

Thanks for the replies.
My concern is the customer is also the author of the manual so he is aware of the amount of repetition in it and after speaking with him I expect a word count conflict if I just provide a quote based on the total number of words times my rate.

So I want my quote to show I am taking into account repetitions.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:36
English to German
+ ...
Rule Nr. 1 Feb 15, 2007

Never give discounts unless you have been asked for it.

Personally, I don't use any CAT-tools and I don't need and want them in my field of work. What is annoying is the fact that I lately receive word counts from agencies ex Trados and I have to do a recount because we are 6k or 10k off. Quite a bit of money, isn't it? This is very time consuming, too.


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:36
French to English
+ ...
keep your interest in mind too Feb 15, 2007

Fabrice,

It is nice of you to worry about your client, but think about the following points:

1. Repetitions need to be treated: typed, checked for appropriateness within a given context, and proofread several times. Why offer to do free work?
2. you are responsible for those repetitions, if you just "plunk" them in because they are repetitions and it happens that in particular place in the text it is not an appropriate word, your client is not going to be happy. It takes time to double check.
3. This is a large project. This is good in a way but during that time (unless the deadline is such that you can take on other work) you may well have to turn down other clients. This legitimizes a higher rate, not a discount!

Good luck.

Patricia


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xxxcmwilliams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:36
French to English
+ ...
Agree with Nicole Feb 15, 2007

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Never give discounts unless you have been asked for it.



Have you read this article which was recently posted in another forum?

http://accurapid.com/journal/39payments.htm


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 03:36
English to Indonesian
+ ...
No discounts Feb 15, 2007

Hi Fabrice,

What have been suggested by our fellow translators above are absolutely right.

We do not sell commodities; we sell services. Discounts are feasible for commodities, not for services.

Just charge your usual rate per source word.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:36
English to German
+ ...
Well told, Patricia! Feb 15, 2007

Thank you!

Fabrice, the fact that you invested a huge amount of money in software and several weeks of training yourself in this particular software is not quite reason enough to do a good part of a big translation at no or lesser charge.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 22:36
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Depends on the customer... Feb 15, 2007

I was thinking of charging .10 USD per word and do -15% for repetitions and non translatable terms (it's a sailboat manual with lot's of references
It's high on the repeat side - the median is rather at 15% and not 100-15=85%.

I feel unconfortable with the expression "discount": what we are talking about here, are words in segments that keep repeating themselves.

For instance "Close the window by pressing OK" (coming up let's say 400x in some user manual): if I get paid 100% for the one and only translation I need to make with CAT and then trust the machine to fill in the rest I get paid a total of - assuming your prices - 0.185 (! - that quite handsome) per word = 1.11$ for that sentence.

We're not talking about translating Primo Levi, Ullysses, Whitman here. The kind of texts, we are talking about here (or am I wrong?) has the same relationship to real texts/literature as the musak in some elevator has to Beethoven. We may all call ourselves translators, but if I look back at how my father and mother sweated it out, well, I'm in a kiddy league. I mean, I know both sides of the story and I have deep admiration and respect for people translating literature. But you can't compare their work and situation with Fabrice translating some boat manual. So what, if we dont/cant charge every repeat of the jingle at 100%? It's not Gustav Mahler we're talking about, for Chrissake...

Regarding prices: there's a discussion going on in German newspapers on what top translators are currently earning. The latest coming out (yesterday): the lady makes 570 euro a MONTH - and that goes on for months, at maximum two three pages per day, and then she's done, well done, for the day.

Regards to all

[Edited at 2007-02-15 12:46]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:36
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Varying rates according to difficulty Feb 15, 2007

I have a basic rate per thousand words that I quote for all enquiries. The cost of living is high where I live, so some clients are scared off straight away.

But then I differentiate. Some jobs I do are short, but contain a lot of complex terminology or have to be read and checked through and through. Contracts, medical jobs... complex technical instruction manuals...

Other jobs are sheer routine. Even instruction manuals have passages that slip through easily, once the terminology is established.

Others again - some marketing texts for clients I know well - are easy for me because I know their products and style.

I charge a higher rate per word for the complex jobs and less for the easy ones where I can translate fast without a lot of research. You can make allowances for the fact that once you have decided what terminology to use, you will not need to make new decisions for all the repetitions.

What I do aim at is roughly the same rate PER HOUR. It's impossible of course, but with experience I can even out by charging separately for fiddly formatting, or if I have to spend a lot of time reading up and searching for terminology before I can begin.

I think a flat 'one size fits all' rate sounds unprofessional. Far more effort goes into some jobs than others. Or Trados does actually find a very similar text you did last year, and the client provides a good glossary, so you can work fast the third time around and still keep track of other clients as well.

Just don't sell your work too cheaply!
Best of luck!

[Edited at 2007-02-15 13:08]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:36
German to English
+ ...
How should I quote for this project? Feb 15, 2007

Christine Andersen wrote:

I think a flat 'one size fits all' rate sounds unprofessional.


I agree with Christine. There's nothing wrong with giving discounts for the reasons you indicate, if you think they are appropriate (as distinct from giving them simply because your customer expects them); I take Vito's point on this. But once you grant discounts for a particular reason, customers expect them, and the reasons for which you originally granted a discount may only be half of the story. A repetitive job is not necessarily an easy job, for instance, but many customers automatically expect discounts for repetitive jobs. It is not quite as common for customers to automatically offer to pay surcharges for difficult jobs...

I would be tempted to offer a flat fee for the job, and not to relate the price to the number of repetitions. After all, the price is based on your estimate of what you think your time and effort are work, not the fact that you have identified X number of repetitions, even though that information may have influenced your quote.

Marc


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:36
English to German
+ ...
Christine didn't talk about discounts. Feb 15, 2007

MarcPrior wrote:

Christine Andersen wrote:

I think a flat 'one size fits all' rate sounds unprofessional.


I agree with Christine. There's nothing wrong with giving discounts for the reasons you indicate, if you think they are appropriate


Having different rates for different texts is professional. Why would anybody translate serious legal, financial, medical text at the same rate as an easy-to-read instruction manual about how to inflate a children's' swimming pool?

However - different rates are NOT the same as discounts and should not be mixed up.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:36
German to English
+ ...
Discounts and different rates Feb 15, 2007

Nicole Schnell wrote:

However - different rates are NOT the same as discounts and should not be mixed up.


Rate for "standard texts": 100 euro
Rate for "difficult texts": 120 euro
Rate for "easy texts": 80 euro

Alternatively:

Standard rate: 100 euro
Discount for easy texts: 20%
Surcharge for difficult texts: 20%

What's the difference?

Marc


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 22:36
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
what are we selling? Feb 15, 2007

...

What's the difference?

...


Ralf shook me up some time ago with a point of view (if not a fact) that we all are selling, is our time (X brain, of course). So I started to measure my work in terms of time.

It's been a great, valuable, eye-popping experience. Warmly suggested.


[Edited at 2007-02-15 15:04]


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