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Style/format/editing of translated document
Thread poster: ace2912
ace2912  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
German to English
Mar 15, 2007

Hi there,
the original text, ie: a company's balance sheet or a certificate will have a certain layout. Do translators keep to this layout, using valuable time formatting, or do you translate the lines and align them to the left?
I assume an editor would later make any cosmetic formatting adjustments required by the client.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:55
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
keep the format Mar 15, 2007

I would say, keep the original format, you're a professional and as such would normally little problems keeping the original format, or changing it slightly so that for instance the words in a bubble in powerpoint would fit, or the balance sheet looks better (; ) beware not to change the numbers though!)

This is the sort of "service" that would keep customers coming back to you.

UNLESS of course it's a hell of a task and you can trust the agency / editor/ client to perform the final layout, or when it's done with other software, or when this fee is not included

Do not assume anything - it's always best to ask / verify or make sure...

Ed


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:55
English to German
+ ...
Depends on your contract Mar 15, 2007

This depends on what services you have offered to or agreed upon with your customer.

Things like that have to be checked in advance. If formatting is time consuming but you have to do it, then the money you are paid should be high enough to cover this.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Insert "table" Mar 15, 2007

Antonia East wrote:

Hi there,
the original text, ie: a company's balance sheet or a certificate will have a certain layout. Do translators keep to this layout, using valuable time formatting, or do you translate the lines and align them to the left?
I assume an editor would later make any cosmetic formatting adjustments required by the client.


I agree that you should keep the layout as in the original as far as possible. It's not so difficult if you use the "insert table" facility in Word. Click on "help", then on "tables". You can adjust the font size, column width, etc. and produce a really good-looking job. It is a little less than gripping work, but let's face it, some jobs are quick and easy while others are more time-consuming. That's just the way it goes ...
All the best,
Jenny.


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:55
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
It's usually expected Mar 15, 2007

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:

This depends on what services you have offered to or agreed upon with your customer.

Things like that have to be checked in advance. If formatting is time consuming but you have to do it, then the money you are paid should be high enough to cover this.


Theoretically, Claudia is of course right and they shouldn't blame you for not doing something that wasn't agreed upon from the the beginning.

However, formatting of standard source texts (Word, HTML, PPT, etc.) is usually expected.
If you return a non-formatted text, I'm afraid the majority of clients would consider you unprofessional, not knowing the tools of the trade, and not give you any more work. And think about it: What good is an unformatted text in a language they might not even understand? How are they supposed to correct the formatting (if they were prepared to do it in the first place)?

You mention the client's editor. Not all clients have editors. Those that do have editors probably don't have editors for all languages. Those of my clients that do have editors that add the finishing touches on InDesign, Quark etc. files still expect the standard formatting to be correct, and they also send me the final layout version for proofing. And that's all included in the one and the same translation rate. For "normal" formats they expect everything to be as close as possible to the source format.

If you use CAT tools, in most cases formatting is not an issue at all, since the original formatting is preserved. If you're working from a PDF file or for other reasons need to re-create tables and complex formatting, you should negotiate a rate for your translation that includes the extra time spent on that task. But in most cases it will be you're job to consider this at the start of the project and include it into your negotiation.


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:55
English to German
+ ...
I totally agree Mar 15, 2007

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:

However, formatting of standard source texts (Word, HTML, PPT, etc.) is usually expected.


My point is, that you should think first before accepting work. If you translate a formatted text you have to return the same text just translated and if necessary adapted to the target language (text orientation left/right or right/left etc.). So if producing this same text with all its formatting means extra work you should think of it before you take the job and charge an according rate. If you don't you may end up with the very questions, Antonia asked here: Do I really have to do it, when it is so difficult? Yes, it is your job NOT to change the formatting, unless otherwise agreed upon with your customer. Generally, the only thing you change is the text.


You mention the client's editor.

I did not mention any such thing.

If you're working from a PDF file or for other reasons need to re-create tables and complex formatting, you should negotiate a rate for your translation that includes the extra time spent on that task. But in most cases it will be you're job to consider this at the start of the project and include it into your negotiation.


As I said: If formatting is time consuming but you have to do it, then the money you are paid should be high enough to cover this.
But you explained it much more clearly. Thanks a lot!


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ace2912  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Formatting a translated text. Mar 16, 2007

Thank you for your comments, every one most helpful!


Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:

If you use CAT tools, in most cases formatting is not an issue at all, since the original formatting is preserved.



Does TRADOS really preserve the original formatting after translation? That would make translating a Word document with lots of columns, tabs & tables much easier, would it not?
I must get myself one.

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:

If you're working from a PDF file or for other reasons need to re-create tables and complex formatting, you should negotiate a rate for your translation that includes the extra time spent on that task.


- Or a rate that takes into account the extra money spent aquiring the full version of Adobe Acrobat to convert a pdf text into a doc text that can then be translated using TRADOS.

I wonder how much one can reasonably expect to negotiate for the extra work. Depending on the complexity of formatting, would an additional charge ranging from 5 to 10% be acceptable to a client or doesn't it work like that?


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:55
English to German
+ ...
Don't expect miracles Mar 17, 2007

Antonia East wrote:
Does TRADOS really preserve the original formatting after translation? That would make translating a Word document with lots of columns, tabs & tables much easier, would it not?
I must get myself one.



Well, up to a certain degree it does. But it also tends to change column widths of tables which can be quite unnerving if you have lots of them in a document. But then, you need to know this, so you can calculate the money you need for the time you invest. It is always good to give it a try and test the software with some of the typical documents you usually translate.


I wonder how much one can reasonably expect to negotiate for the extra work. Depending on the complexity of formatting, would an additional charge ranging from 5 to 10% be acceptable to a client or doesn't it work like that?


If I know there is a lot of additional formatting in a job (e.g. translating Powerpoint files almost always includes layout adjustments) I charge the additional work based on an hourly rate, if possible I name a fixed amount. By telling your customers that you charge an additional fee for layout adjustments you also give them the chance to decide, whether they really need this.


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