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Q: Pricing website translation
Thread poster: invguy

invguy  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:45
English to Bulgarian
Feb 7, 2004

Hi, all,

Sorry if this has been asked before. I tried to find relevant discussions in the forums, but to no avail.

I have never translated a website so far, so, honestly, I have no clue about how I should price such a job. It will presumably include about a dozen of pages, plus titles, metatags etc., plus a few autoresponse messages. The client is also asking me to consider maintenance and updates. Of course, I will also do the functional check on the translated website.

Note: I have no problem to make my way through the code, as well as replace bitmapped text and return the bitmap file in ready-to-use condition. Can't say for now what kind of files they will be sending me, though.

I am not asking for specific prices; yet it would be helpful to know: 1) whether I need to split this in separate tasks that are charged differently (and how exactly), and 2) what should I charge for each, assuming that my normal price per source word equals 100%.

Any and all comments highly appreciated, as always.

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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:45
Member (2003)
English to Czech
+ ...
Pricing Feb 8, 2004

I would split the job to translation of text/html files and the other tasks (editing bitmaps, testing the site). I would apply my standard per-word rate to the first part. If the pages were heavily scripted and/or a CAT tool couldn't be used, I would apply my rate for software. For the rest I would charge an hourly rate or a flat rate, if you can estimate how much time you would need.

I would definitely wait with the final pricing until being sent all the files.

Hope that helps.

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Florence B  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
English to French
+ ...
Catscradle - Wget Feb 8, 2004

If you don't have Trados with TagEditor, the easiest way would be downloading Catscradle
(this is free)

It will be much easier for everybody if you can work directly in the source files, not going through MSWord (answer to your question n°1) - price being your usual.

If possible, the customer should send you all the files, zipped. If you have to download them directly from the web site, there are different softwares that can mirror it on your hard disk.
I have used "Memoweb" for a while, it's very user-friendly but it changes things in the code so putting things back in order afterwards is time consuming.
I have recently discovered a gnu-based softare called "wget" which is excellent (and free). It requires some knowledge in the beginning (it's supposed to work with dos commands)
binaries for Windows:
Graphical user interface (to be added to the binaries for use without dos commands)

I spent about 1 hour figuring out the thing but now I'm very happy with it.

For the bitmap text, etc.. I charge per hour.


[Edited at 2004-02-08 15:02]

[Edited at 2004-02-09 00:31]

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Dr Andrew Read  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:45
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
Be careful and don't underestimate the admin side! Feb 8, 2004


The advice in the two responses above is certainly very useful. However, I just wanted to share some more general lessons I learned from when I tackled my first large website translation (200+ pages!) last summer.

1. Don't underestimate the amount of time (and therefore cost) involved in the whole administration and organisation of the files.

In my job, I looked at the files sent over on CD Rom and based my price primarily on the word count of these, and included only a small premium for "administration". However, I found that especially with this first job, the amount of time involved in sorting all the files, ensuring that the code doesn't end up corrupted, checking exactly what needs translating and what doesn't, liaising with the client, etc, etc - that all of this took much longer (maybe 4x longer) than the actual translation of the words.

This was complicated here by the fact that the client had just had their website redesigned and had never had it translated "en masse" before. However, even with a smaller job, I would in future charge at least 2x my standard per word-rate, or possibly estimate the admin time involved then double it and charge it on your normal per hour basis.

On this point also, the suggestion above that you wait until you have all of the files, in the exact form they need translating, before you quote is also very important.

2. Similarly, don't underestimate the differences from normal document translation if you've never done a website translation before. I found it much more complicated than doing a normal translation of even a lengthy document - text on websites is often in small chunks, and it's hard to really "get moving" with it as you can with a length of text.

So make sure that you give yourself more time than normal when setting your delivery schedule for your client.

3. If possible, use a TM/CAT tool suitable for website translation.

The other answers touch upon this, but a proper TM can really help with websites as you can guarantee that there will be lots of repetition on each page.

For the job I did, I eventually worked out how to use Deja Vu with website pages and this gave nice results, once I understood that I needed to have the original folders associated with each page in the destination folder. (That's another story!) As mentioned above, I also understand that Trados Tag Editor can work well here. Wordfast is of course much cheaper than either of these, but I haven't tried it for webpages, and I find it a little bit "buggy" once things get complicated.

4. Let your client know that they may still need to do some work when they get your translation back.

This may be obvious, but it's very likely that their webmaster(s) will need to tidy up certain things when they get the files back. For example, internal links to other pages may need to point somewhere else (say to the Bulgarian "help" page rather than the English "help" page), and they will probably be in a better position than you to sort this kind of thing out.

Another suggestion here is that unless you're a real web wizard yourself, it can be very useful to team up with an experienced web developer (who if possible knows your target language), to help with any technical issues. If this is useful, again it can be worth including this sub-contracted work in your quote.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck!

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Per word for text and HTML, and per image for images. Feb 9, 2004

I have no problem to make my way through the code, as well as replace bitmapped text and return the bitmap file in ready-to-use condition.

In that case you might want to look at OmegaT for translating the HTML if indeed you get straight HTML pages. OmegaT requires Java.

CatsCradle is for people who are afraid of codes.

1) whether I need to split this in separate tasks that are charged differently (and how exactly), and 2) what should I charge for each, assuming that my normal price per source word equals 100%.

Since you will prolly not spend more time translating the stuff in codes than you would have translated a Word document, I'd say make it simple and charge a single per-word rate for all text that can be done in a text editor.

For bitmaps, you can charge a much higher per-word rate, but I suggest you charge your normal per-word rate plus an additional amount of money per image. The per-image amount you'll have to calculate in terms of how long the average images takes to do.

[Edited at 2004-02-09 07:49]

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invguy  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:45
English to Bulgarian
Thanks, guys & gals :) Feb 9, 2004

All clear now. Seems pricing such jobs is no rocket science)

Great comments and suggestions all round - I've saved them in a .txt file, I guess it would be good to reread them when I sink my teeth into this stuff.

Thanks again!

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