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Poll: Do you raise your rates when the source text is of low linguistic quality?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:53
SITE STAFF
Sep 3, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you raise your rates when the source text is of low linguistic quality?".

This poll was originally submitted by Monika Jakacka

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same price Sep 3, 2006

However, the translation is of better quaity than the original, and that happens quite often. It's just part of the process.

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keshab  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:23
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
It's better to ask client than raise the rate Sep 3, 2006

Why I do it ? My designation is a translator, not a examiner of a linguistic school. I can't judge the quality of source text. I can only do the better in my target text which will be more clear and understandable. If I can't understand the source text, I have options to asking the client or consulting the dictionary.

A translator should know that this field is not the easy way to make money like stock market. If anybody varies his rate for various causes, soon his business will come to an end and after gaining bad reputation in the market he will not revive again.


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Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:53
Russian to English
+ ...
Same here. Sep 3, 2006

There's lots of bad writing out there, let me tell ya!

Henry Hinds wrote:

However, the translation is of better quaity than the original, and that happens quite often. It's just part of the process.


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Сергей Лузан
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:53
German to Russian
+ ...
Never in fact Sep 3, 2006

That means editing a source and it's just another job. Of course my client becomes aware of the fact. If it does matter to him (that is quite a rare case) it can be done (proofing/ editing rates applied). If it doesn't - see the answers above

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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
English to Polish
+ ...
No, but Sep 3, 2006

1. I ask whether to apply GIGO or to improve on the original.
2. If I need to improve, I mostly negotiate the deadline, if it's tight.

Pawel Skalinski


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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
English to Polish
+ ...
I answered "Seldom" Sep 3, 2006

I try to negotiate, but outsourcers and clients seem to believe that it is my duty to understand the ununderstandable and decipher the undecipherable.

[Edited at 2006-09-03 08:55]


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Monika Jakacka Márquez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:53
Member (2006)
Polish to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
I'm with Robert and Henry :) Sep 3, 2006

Outsoucers and clients seem to believe that translators are kind of machines o decoders that works perfectly with ununderstandables texts.

Once it happened to me that I received from a Spanish agency a text written in English for its translation into Polish. The problem was that the source text was written by a French or Spanish speaking person who didn't seem to know much about English. Besides, a lot of technical terminology was left in... Spanish, but used as it was English vocabulary.

Besides, we all know quite well that we're used to write and to explain the written word, make it understandable (that's what our job is), so very often the target text is of better quality than the source one (as Henry said). And that is because we know how to deal with words and a lot of our source texts' authors just don't.



M.


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
rate depends on difficulty of translation Sep 3, 2006

My rate depends on how long it will take me to translate the document. I am yet to encounter a source text so bad that it required more time to translate.

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Sarah Brenchley  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Always Sep 3, 2006

I put always as I was thinking of the corrections than I do rather than the translations.
In the case of a bad quality original, it can take longer than a normal translation by the time you've translated it back and then retranslated.

[Edited at 2006-09-03 10:57]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:53
English to German
+ ...
Define low linguistic quality Sep 3, 2006

I have to deal with poorly written text a lot - like any other translator. Sometimes I am even wondering if writing the source text might have involved interesting amounts of hard liquor. (Sorry..) However, it happened twice that the (legal/technical) source text, already a translation from a third language, was so unintelligible that considerable efforts were required to figure out what the author was talking about. In both cases the client agreed to raise the rate.

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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 14:53
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
I pick and choose Sep 3, 2006

If I suspect that a job could jeopardize my reputation as a translator, or is more trouble than it is worth, I do not accept it. More likely than not, a more succulent assignment will come along the next day and I will be glad that I passed on the poorly written one.

Reed


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Editing, but not too drastically ... Sep 3, 2006

Henry Hinds wrote:

However, the translation is of better quaity than the original, and that happens quite often. It's just part of the process.


I agree with Henry, but if the source text is a mess--requires reorganizing, is very repetitive, needs text added for clarification, etc.--then I charge extra by the hour. That doesn't happen often because I consider my skills as an English-language editor to be "value added" and a service provided in my per-word rate.

But I'm always haunted by the fear that I will overstep as an editor or let my editing "do violence to the author's voice." I found a good article on the subject
http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/322/1/What-the-Guys-Said,-the-Way-They-Said-It,-As-Best-We-Can

The author talks about our "license to kill" (bad prose): it means "you may kill if you must, not that you have to mow down everybody in sight"


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
Another option Sep 3, 2006

I usually charge by source word. However, when I encounter a low quality text that will take me longer than usual to work on, I call the client and try to arrange a rate by the hour instead. It usually works. But this option is not considered in the survey.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:53
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I seem to be lucky in this respect Sep 3, 2006

My biggest client writes extremely clearly, in perfect, very comprehensible German. However, I have had one or two more "interesting" texts, linguistically speaking, among letters that came from the opposition (in the lawsuit). Nevertheless, I have only very seldom had to deal with a text of noticeably poor quality.

I am rather more concerned about charging extra for extended additional secretarial work (e.g. formatting the two languages, when I have finished the translation, into a table in two columns to produce a bilingual agreement, which happens to me pretty often just now, and takes ages).

Astrid


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