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Do you get wordy when you get paid by target count?
Thread poster: Edward Potter

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 8, 2006

I have noticed that some translators get wordy when they get paid by target count. It often is to the detriment of the translation. Who here gets wordy when they get paid by the target count?

Just trying to start a discussion here...

[Edited at 2006-11-09 00:20]


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:22
English to German
+ ...
I like clear conditions Nov 8, 2006

To avoid exactly this discussion I charge per source word and not per target word. So my customers know right from the start how much a translation will cost.

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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
DITTO Nov 9, 2006

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:

To avoid exactly this discussion I charge per source word and not per target word. So my customers know right from the start how much a translation will cost.


I'm only human...ergo, I won't charge by the target word...


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clear conditions Nov 9, 2006

Hello Claudia.

An excellent idea. However, do you reject projects such as 30 page pdfs or faxes, just because you can't/won't accurately count them beforehand?


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 03:22
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Haven't noticed Nov 9, 2006

The danger with source count is that translators may take shortcuts. So what's better in the end, wordiness or abruptness?
Cheers
Heinrich


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
abruptness / wordiness Nov 9, 2006

Hi Heinrich.

I believe that target wordiness is much more of a problem than source abruptness. I think when you have everything clear from the start you are given free rein to make it as good as you can, rather than fishing for extra words. I do not think that short cuts and abruptness are common problems at all in this situation. I do think it is more common to see quality problems when using target counts.

And back to my follow-up question. If you "only charge by source words", what do you do when you get a large job that is not easily counted, such as one with source text on printed pages? Do you reject the work? .



[Edited at 2006-11-09 00:30]


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Robin Salmon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:22
German to English
+ ...
Not me Nov 9, 2006

no

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just the way it should be Nov 9, 2006

Of course there are some jobs I charge for by the target count; those you mention, paper documents that are not easily counted. I just do the job the way it should be, and whatever comes out in the count, that's it.

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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:22
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
I must be naive Nov 9, 2006

or maybe too ethical but it would never occur to me to do that. Besides, as soon as I begin a translation I go into automatic mode so searching for extra words would take just too much time and effort.

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Jande  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:22
Danish to English
+ ...
Naive number 2 Nov 9, 2006

I agree with Luisa, I'm too busy trying to translate correctly and thinking about the next job rather than taking the time and effort into adding extra words.

Although I have experienced unfairness in that the source language words go well over and beyond the normal typing guideline of 5 text characters per word. In fact in the last job I did it was double the number of source words to translated, because in the source language they combined nouns, adjectives and descriptive verbs into one long word.

This was really unfair, because now I get 1/2 the pay. ):

To make it fair it should be based on typing no. of words guidelines, not on the actual number of words.


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Eva T
English to Albanian
+ ...
Seen it Nov 9, 2006

I have seen it often when I edit other translators' translation. It is amazing how they try to get wordy and it gets ugly too.

Eva


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 03:22
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
It depends on the language Nov 9, 2006

Translators who work from "effecient" languages (German, Hebrew, etc) have no choice but to be paid based on the target text. If there is any padding, it is very minor. The nature of the language and required style creates a certain number of words. Sometimes you win and and sometimes you lose. It balances out.

Stephen Rifkind


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:22
English to French
+ ...
I've had contracts where there was no choice but to be paid per target word Nov 9, 2006

Paying by target word is not always a choice. This is often the case when you get handwritten material, to give you an example.

I don't get wordy at all. If I did, I would make a wee bit more money, but I would have to make a wee bit more effort, so it's not like a bonus on my work. Let's just say that pleasing the client far outweighs the few dollars more you can gain by getting wordy.

I am surprised actually - I didn't expect there were more than a handful of translators doing this. Is there really a whole subcommunity of bubbly translators?


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:22
German to English
+ ...
Do you get wordy when you get paid by target count? Nov 9, 2006

Do people slow down when paid by the hour? Lawyers and electricians, for instance?

Marc


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Henrik Pipoyan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:22
Member (2004)
English to Armenian
It’s hard to avoid such thoughts, but you can always find a fair solution Nov 9, 2006

I often use target word count when I have to translate from my mother tongue into English, and I confess, sometimes, though rarely, when editing my own translation, I have a feeling that deleting an “optional” definite article costs me a couple of cents. However, 1) such thoughts always affect the quality of translation; and 2) gaining a dollar you risk to lose a client. So I think I’ve found a fair solution. First, I always warn my clients that English is not my mother tongue (so they know that an extra definite article may be the result of my limited knowledge of English). And second, I always give them an approximate relative estimate, i.e., given the languages involved (from synthetic into analytic) and the quality I can insure, usually text expands by 20-25%. I have even included this information on my CV. So I never charge a client more than 25% over the source word-count, even if I get more words in the translated text.

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