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advice on 300 pages translation
Thread poster: Sabine Akabayov, PhD

Sabine Akabayov, PhD
Local time: 11:46
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Jan 24, 2008

I was asked to provide a quotation on a translation of 300 pages (about 170000 words).
I really would like to do this translation, since it is a very interesting subject.
Do you give discounts on large volumes? If yes, how much?
Until now I only did small projects up to 10000 words.
The agency told me, that the client wants the translation for private use, but should I make a contract including my rights as a translator in case they want to publish it?

Thanks for your input


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:46
Italian to English
+ ...
No discounts Jan 24, 2008

It's been discussed many times before, but there are strong arguments as to why you should not offer a discount for large volumes. These include
1) internal consistency issues often mean that large jobs are more demanding and, word-for-word, time-consuming than small ones
2) being tied up on a large project can damage your availability to other existing and potential clients, who may have to search elsewhere and may never come back to you
3) risk of having to reject smaller, better-paid jobs.

THe latter 2 can be avoided by negotiating a sufficiently long deadline, of course, but I'd still advise not offering a discount just because the job is a long one.

[Edited at 2008-01-24 15:33]

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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Negotiate Jan 24, 2008

Show friendliness and enthusiasm. Perhaps phone calls and visit. Show that you are the one for the job. Try giving them some sort of discount. Win their trust.

How much of a discount? You might try 5-15%.

Should you have a contract? Short answer: yes. Perhaps a one-pager will be enough to take away your doubts.

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Rob Albon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:46
Japanese to English
+ ...
Guarantees Jan 24, 2008

sibsab wrote:
...should I make a contract including my rights as a translator in case they want to publish it?

"Works for hire" do not automatically entitle you to rights during publication.

I think you would want to specify in your contract that you want your name on the cover should it be published.

Sometimes for marketing purposes a publishing company will put a big name as the translator even though most of the work was done by someone else.

You might tie any discount to the listing of your name on the cover.

You can always request that your name be listed in the acknowledgements even if you can't get it on the cover, I don't see why that should bother the publisher or entitle them to any discount.

Also, since it is a large assignment, you would probably want to invoice more than once so you have something to live on while doing the job.

In the publishing business, you may want to be paid a gurantee. That means that you get paid a certain amount up front, before delivering the product, and you can negotiate a commission that you start to receive after profits from the book sale pay for your guarantee, although it is quite likely that you will never see anything from the commission.

The advantage of the guarantee is that you have something to live on while doing the translation. It is quite normal in the publishing business, you should not be afraid to ask for it.

Hope this helps!

[Edited at 2008-01-24 16:32]

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Vito Smolej
Local time: 10:46
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Makes a good impression... Jan 24, 2008

if you suggest a schedule / timeline for delivering 10% / 50% / ... of the translation. IN return you can demand a payment schedule as well. And of course have it all in the PO from the client.



PS: a fat + sign for "No discounts": read my lips, Sabine, no discounts.

[Bearbeitet am 2008-01-24 22:04]

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Chantal Shackley
English to Chinese
+ ...
no discount Jan 25, 2008

i strongly suggest that no discounts
anyway it is you who decides n_n

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Milton Guo  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:46
English to Chinese
+ ...
COntract is first Jan 26, 2008

COntract is a must for such a large job, don't forget it.

Maintain your availability to other clients , especially new ones by not doing the big job all day long, instead, making a good time allocation between this big job and other jobs......

Best wishes to you!

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Tarjuma India  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:16
English to Hindi
+ ...
No concession please... Jan 26, 2008

I think that no concession should be offered. The reasons are obvious and many of them have already been discussed here. I would like to add one. Large projects though help in relieving you from the tension of daily project-huntinting, yet as a freelance translator, you can not afford to rely on one and shrink your job providers' base. Small projects help you to maintain a live relation with all of your clients.

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