DTP pricing
Thread poster: mystymy
mystymy
Local time: 02:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 10, 2008

What are the basic charges of DTP? Workting with Photoshop? Working on PC or Mac? Obviously there is a difference quoting a company and quoting an end client, but I am seeking an average.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:56
English to German
+ ...
Why an average? Mar 10, 2008

The client isn't doing any additional work on your DTP-job.

The only reason why there is a difference in quoting for translation is that an agency has to pay the editor / proofreader.

You didn't specify the level of your skills or describe the nature of the project, a good idea however is to contact a copy shop such as Kinkos and check how much they would charge. Kinkos' rates start at USD 70.00, BTW.


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mystymy
Local time: 02:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
DTP pricing Mar 10, 2008

No, the client wouldn't be doing any DTP. My skills are basic nothing fancy but I could do the job. The work doesn't seem to complicated but you don't know until you really look at the job.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:56
English to German
+ ...
This shouldn't make a difference, with one exception: Mar 11, 2008

If you are learning on the job and it might take you longer than it would take an expert, then you can't charge for the entire time needed.

DTP-work is always charged by the hour. So, if easy DTP-work takes you only 30 additional minutes on top of your translation work, you simply charge half an hour extra. If the DTP-work is more involved, such as rebuilding logos for example, it simply takes more time and you charge accordingly.

Basically, I abhor the concept of translators buying some software and doing "DTP". It might look nice, but as soon as those things go to the printing press, the disaster starts.

I've been an Art Director for more than 20 years but I don't touch prepress or any in-depth computer stuff, this has never been my job. As an employee at large ad agencies I was not supposed to spend time on a computer, there were people to do that. And here we go: DTP should be done by professionals only.

Imagine: A DTP-pro claims to be able to do the translation on the side, for a much lesser rate of course, but hey!, he/she has taken language-classes and just bought a really big dictionary.

Own experience:
I did a series of nearly 190 connected projects involving DTP. Why? I received the ready-to-print files in the source language, and even if I redesigned logos, rearranged the entire layout to make the text fit properly, and what not, the settings for the printing press were given. Boy, would I have screwed up if I had messed around with creating new Photoshop-files or similar. Each of the jobs went directly to the press with print runs of 300,000 each. The heck would I do to take responsibility for any Photoshop-work in this case...

Does this input help?


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 08:56
French to Dutch
+ ...
Agree with Nicole Mar 11, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:

If you are learning on the job and it might take you longer than it would take an expert, then you can't charge for the entire time needed.

DTP-work is always charged by the hour. So, if easy DTP-work takes you only 30 additional minutes on top of your translation work, you simply charge half an hour extra. If the DTP-work is more involved, such as rebuilding logos for example, it simply takes more time and you charge accordingly.

But DTP specialists generally charge more per hour than translators, at least 30%, which is logical because they have more overhead expenses.


Basically, I abhor the concept of translators buying some software and doing "DTP". It might look nice, but as soon as those things go to the printing press, the disaster starts.

I am a DTP specialist but I stopped some years ago, because my client didn't want to give me the special Mac fonts. The layout was already a mess on the screen, I couldn't even translate properly and wasn't able to calibrate the text for printing. There was no other solution than to buy them, AND to upgrade Quark, AND to buy another (laser) printer AND, probably, to buy a Mac. I couldn't afford and therefore decided that layout was now a question of specialized people or printing shops.

Hope this helps...


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:56
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't charge DTP by the hour Mar 11, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:
DTP-work is always charged by the hour.


I have been doing "DTP" from day 1 of my translating life. The quotes are because back in 1973 our pub assembly (technical manuals for very heavy and rare machinery) consisted in expert typists neatly transcribing my handwritten texts, my "shift" of technical drawings from the third (US) to the first (BR) quadrant, changing all measurements from inches to mm on them, or sometimes re-drawing them, and carefully pasting all that with glue sticks onto pages that would be photocopied with the "novelty" Xerox machine.

During the late Apple II era, I used a program called MultiScribe. A dot-matrix printer would run - in graphic mode - 4 times over each line, and the results would be impressive, compared with the general output for small-run pubs at that time.

Of course, when PageMaker came up, I jumped right in with a 4.77 MHz PC-XT and a laser printer. And I'm still doing it, with a later version of PM and much better hardware.

Most clients in this area have a PDF, and they want a translated PDF, identical to its original. That's what I give them in my language pair. There are some other languages I speak well enough to get by, but I don't translate. Some fellow translators who work with these hire me to extract pure text for them to translate, and then to assemble the translated pub and distill the PDF.

Quite frankly, one can't guess from a PDF what was the software used to create it. So I do everything with PageMaker, and haven't found yet a challenge I couldn't face with it. As one local client, who gave me PDF files and said they had been created with Quark, told me: "I don't care what you use to develop the PDF files."

I have a whole array of strategies to "scrape" or "peel" material from a PDF, depending on how it was originally built. The client shouldn't bother how quick or time-consuming each of them is, conversely how many hours it will take me to get it done. They want to know what the total on my invoice will be; efficiency is my problem.

As a result, I developed an electronic form that will let me quicky calculate how much I should charge to DTP a publication. Key variables are: number & size of pages; how many of them are in color and B&W; how many have illustrations (and if these are provided separately or not); quantity and size of tables in three groups; if fonts are "common" (Arial, Times, etc.), provided, or left to my choice; and how many illustrations need graphic editing for text replacement.

So this is an objective way of assessing the actual cost of a DTP job. To charge interpreting by the hour makes sense, however I wouldn't apply that for translation. Before stating once for all, in spite of a client's insistence, that I'd never translate medical material again, in my last attempt - which was a video for dubbing - I realized that it took me 3X my average time for such work in other areas... and I was totally unhappy with the junk I was handing over to expert proofreaders.

If anyone is interested in seeing such electronic form, though it is in Portuguese and uses Brazilian currency, I can provide the link for download.




[Edited at 2008-03-11 16:58]


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Oscar Martin
Spain
Local time: 08:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
DTP Pricing Mar 11, 2008

Hi José,

Could you send me the link so as to have a look?

Thanks in advance,

Oscar


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:56
English to German
+ ...
José, I'll tell you a secret Mar 11, 2008

I always charge extra by the hour, even if doing DTP-work actually speeds up my work.

I WANT to translate my print-ads, brochures, magazines and what not directly in the given layout. It saves my time and it saves my nerves. I don't have to deal with freelance graphic designers with an attitude, I don't have to deal with copy shop DTP-zombies without a brain and I don't have to deal with agency-inhouse type setters who consider any word besides "duh!" as an ancient, long extinct language that by all means must be hyphenated like Klingonese.

To make up for all the time wasted, I charge extra.


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mystymy
Local time: 02:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
submitted quote Mar 11, 2008

Thank you all for your help. The posts are very informative. I submitted my price to them. I gave two quotes one for straight translation, basic MS office and one with DTP. I used an hourly calculation on what I estimate the time will be for me to finish the project.

I agree with Nicole, any extra time is learning time that the client shouldn't pay for, I would like it if they did, but I would like to win the lottery as well. There may be a possibility to come in to their offices to complete the project which means I will have the software/publishing suite et. al. that I need at their offices and hopefully any tech support.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:56
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That depends Mar 11, 2008

mystymy wrote:
any extra time is learning time that the client shouldn't pay for, I would like it if they did, but I would like to win the lottery as well. There may be a possibility to come in to their offices to complete the project which means I will have the software/publishing suite et. al. that I need at their offices and hopefully any tech support.


If you are learning your first DTP software, okay, it's an opportunity for you.

But if I say I can do it quickly and perfectly in PageMaker, and the client wants to force me into doing it with Quark, FrameMaker, or (bleargh!!!) MS Publisher, just because they like it, they should pay for the extra time it will take me.


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 08:56
French to Dutch
+ ...
I always charged by the hour too Mar 12, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:

I always charge extra by the hour, even if doing DTP-work actually speeds up my work.
o make up for all the time wasted, I charge extra. [/quote]
But in DTP this is always decided before doing the work, and there is always a PO. Take care, a small leaflet may need several hours.

Just in case: in some countries DTP is another service category than translation and VAT is applicable.


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