How much is a line in a Termbase worth?
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 22:49
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Aug 4, 2007

Context: you specialize in some field for the language pair X and Y - lets say the field is "practical metaphysics & applied philosophy" and the language pair is "English - Latin".

Now, through years of translating Augustinus, St Thomas, and others back into Latin, you have amassed a nice fat MutiTerm database.

What would you sell it for (in x cents per entry)? Please note, that the buyer seems to be far from becoming any serious competition to your established market. Actually they would be ready to subscribe to updates. And they have not been of any importance to you so far, as regards ENLatin business.

A corollary question: if the same person comes to you with an ExCel list of terms to translate, would you do it? For what charge?

My personal opinion: timeo Danaos,, i.e. first of all I am suspicious. Second, To be honest, I have no idea and having my curiosity gene overexpressed since birth I feel like asking for your opinion.


[Edited at 2007-08-04 18:08]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:49
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I would decline the order Aug 4, 2007

Hi Vito,

I would simply decline the order.

On the one hand, in so far as we frequently do in fact share our highly specialised terminology with colleagues, by feeding it into the KOG or by answering Kudoz questions, we simply make it available free of charge. However, that is to colleagues.

On the other hand, as far as competitors, agencies or end clients are concerned, such glossaries are worth a lot more money than we could possibly charge, even by charging a high fee, and I would therefore not accept the translation of terminology lists or the provision of glossaries as a commercial order. After receipt of such a request, I would probably go immediately to my web page and write "Document translation only - no glossaries".

In my early days as a translator I did in fact translate such a terminology list for an agency, at the rate of DM 0.06 per source word. The 20 or so terms in the list were very highly technical, were naturally in a field that I knew nothing about, and the research took the entire weekend, from Friday evening until Sunday night, after which I had the privilege of issuing an invoice for the princely sum of around DM 1.20 (without VAT of course, in those days). I believe it was one of the first jobs I was ever paid for.

Astrid


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Annette Scheulen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:49
English to German
+ ...
Charge by the hour Aug 4, 2007

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

In my early days as a translator I did in fact translate such a terminology list for an agency, at the rate of DM 0.06 per source word. The 20 or so terms in the list were very highly technical, were naturally in a field that I knew nothing about, and the research took the entire weekend, from Friday evening until Sunday night, after which I had the privilege of issuing an invoice for the princely sum of around DM 1.20 (without VAT of course, in those days).


Wow, this is incredible! Frankly, I would not have accepted such a job. They took advantage of your lack of experience.

I enjoy researching terminology, so I do offer this to clients, but I charge by the hour. But then, how do you explain to a client that it took you the entire weekend to research 20 terms?

Vito, you may also want to agree on a lump sum that both you and your client are comfortable with. At any rate, particularly if the client knows little or nothing about translation, it may be hard to convince them that terminology research can be very time consuming.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
For what purpose would the buyer need it? Aug 5, 2007

For me, the lower limit would be the equivalent of the time to produce it, and the upper limit depends on the benefit for the customer, which you might have to research a little..

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