not sure I am dealing with a direct client
Thread poster: Susana Galilea
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 5, 2003

Hi all,



I would like to get your valuable opinions on a topic I seem to be encountering of late. I am a bit hesitant as to which scale of rates I should apply in the case of a company (not an agency) requesting a translation for their own end client. Should I consider such a company my own direct client, and assume I am to deliver a final product (i.e., edited and proofread by a colleague)?



So far I have dealt with these cases by quoting them my direct client rates, and making it clear that the rates include editing and proofreading services. I make sure to specify that if the company prefers to use their own editor/proofreader for quality control, the applicable rates would be xx% lower.



Am I educating my prospects, or just making this too complicated? It is obvious to me agencies will have their own quality control, and direct clients in general won\'t. But what can one assume when it comes to a client who is acting as an intermediary for another company?



Any ideas or experiences will be most welcome.



Cheers,



Susana


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Esther Hermida  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
They're your client. Apr 5, 2003

Hi Susana,



You treat them as your clients and turn in a finished product just like you would a regular client. They too, are providing a service and they\'ve entrusted you with the translation or language services. So your rates should reflect so.



I have a similar client and I know for a fact that I\'m a third party or subcontractor, but translation and interpretation is part of the services my client offers, along with other services, to a local government entity that I would otherwise not be able to service.


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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:35
Member
French to English
This is very worrisome Apr 5, 2003

Quote:


Should I consider such a company my own direct client, and assume I am to deliver a final product (i.e., edited and proofread by a colleague)?



So far I have dealt with these cases by quoting them my direct client rates, and making it clear that the rates include editing and proofreading services. I make sure to specify that if the company prefers to use their own editor/proofreader for quality control, the applicable rates would be xx% lower.



It is obvious to me agencies will have their own quality control, and direct clients in general won\'t.







Is this the standard practice of many translators?



What I understand from this is that when you deliver to agencies, you do not deliver a finished, edited, proofread, polished product.



This would certainly explain why:



1) I have seen an awful lot of substandard work (so much that I now refuse revision work)

2) So many of my agency clients complain about quality problems

3) No matter how much I raise my rates, I always have too much work and have to refuse work regularly



The difference between an end client and an agency client is not in the quality of work you are expected to deliver, but in the fact that you do not have to market yourself to direct clients, you handle only the translation aspect (not extensive DTP work) and you do not have to collect from an end client.



Of course agencies have quality control procedures, but that is because they have to make sure all parts of the project are consistent and they have protect their reputations. They don\'t revise your work because they expect you to deliver less than the best quality you can provide. True, an agency will catch the occasional mistake, whereas with a direct client, there is no intermediary to protect you, but that still does not mean your work should be anything less than your best.



What agencies provide to cover the difference in rates between agencies and direct clients includes:



- the convenience of dealing with one company that handles all of a client\'s language requirements (in other words, agencies can handle the translation of documents into many different languages)

- the convenience of dealing with one company that handles translation, localization, testing, graphic design, DTP, etc.



FWIW,

Karin Adamczyk

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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:35
English to German
+ ...
Well, Karin, you're a genius Apr 5, 2003

But I do make mistakes, just like (almost) everybody else. I think a translation should always be reviewed but my rates and the deadlines set by the agencies don\'t allow for a review by a colleague. So of course I expect the agency to have my translations checked. But I know that some agencies I work with on a regular basis don\'t always have my work reviewed and I am not happy with that at all. I am flattered that they have so much trust in me but I think they are basically trying to save time and money. If a translator is reliable and highly skilled that doesn\'t mean s/he is infallible though some might think they are...

[ This Message was edited by: OlafK on 2003-04-06 02:48]


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xxxTransflux
Local time: 10:35
French to English
+ ...
I agree with Karin Apr 5, 2003

Yes surely your work should be 100% ready to go whether it\'s for an agency OR direct client? I too have been refusing revision work because it\'s so badly done in the first place, or complaining bitterly then doing it!



True some documents may need dtp work on top and that\'s up to your agency to sort out unless you agree to do it.



Paul


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
product always polished Apr 5, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-05 11:40, kadamczyk wrote:

What I understand from this is that when you deliver to agencies, you do not deliver a finished, edited, proofread, polished product.





Karin,



Thanks for allowing me to clarify. In no way did I imply the work I offered translation agencies was not my best quality. It is, however, standard practice to have one\'s own work proofread and edited by a third party (whether one\'s own colleague in the case of direct clients, or the agency\'s own professionals when working through an agency). Regardless of the quality of one\'s translations, no one person is infallible and the process of review is essential.



After working as a language editor for agencies for over a decade, I am only too aware of how these principles get abused, and one ends up dealing with material that sometimes needs to be altogether rewritten. That would be the other extreme. I suppose every translator has their code of ethics, and that would determine the quality of their final product.



In my case, I deliver a polished product to both direct clients and agencies. However, in the case of agencies I rely on the agency\'s editors to catch any typo or inconsistency that might have escaped my careful reviewing of my own work. From my experience, this is standard practice in the industry.



I would be interested in reading whether other colleagues agree or disagree.



Many thanks,



Susana

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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:35
Member
French to English
I make mistakes too Apr 6, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-05 16:38, OlafK wrote:

But I do make mistakes, just like (almost) everybody else.





Don\'t get me wrong -- I make mistakes too, but that\'s why I only accept work in fields I am familiar with or have my work revised by someone who is an expert in the field. I also only take as much as I can handle based on the deadline and the work I already have.



I make sure the rates I charge allow for what I need to do and sometimes, I take a cut and pay a good reviser (when the rate is a bit lower) to make sure I deliver quality.



In fact, I am currently working on a very large project, but I had something else to finish too. I gave a portion of it to someone else at $0.05 more than I am receiving on that job because I know her work is impeccable. She has a lot of experience in the field and she is something of a perfectionist. She will research properly and ask questions if she gets stuck. I know what she will deliver will be top quality and that is worth every penny. I won\'t have too much to handle and my reputation will remain intact.



Take care,

Karin

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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
ode to the in-house editor... Apr 6, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-05 08:53, 1964 wrote:

If a translator abandon such services provided by agency and accept direct client he/she is entitled to at least 50% higher compensation.





Thanks for your input, Tayfun. Those are the principles I have always adhered to, actually I am surprised there is dissent on this topic. For as long as I\'ve been around (long!), the rates that apply to direct clients have been higher than the rates one charges to agencies. In more abundant years, it was recommended a translator charge at least double in the case of assignments for a direct client. In these leaner times, around 50% seems to be fair. It is still a smaller percentage than what agencies charge their clients, which is fair since the agency offers all the advantages already mentioned by my colleagues. Yet I keep running across direct clients who expect rates comparable to those I would charge an agency, so I am assuming other translators are offering those rates (quality, as usual, being a totally independent issue).



In my experience, both agency managers and in-house reviewers are aware of the quality (or lack thereof) that each translator on their roster offers, and will handle the review of the specific translation accordingly. That should not be an excuse for translators to deliver poor quality, it is simply the reality of what happens when budget constraints are the primary consideration.



I personally decided to stop being an in-house editor when the quality of the translations became so dependably poor that I could not do my work in good faith. My position had gone from doing quality control of a decent product, to making an inferior product acceptable. The knowledge of what agency editors have to put up with fuels my motivation to deliver the most polished work I am capable of. But it is still my belief a final revision by a neutral pair of eyes is an essential step in the translation process.



Thanks to all who are contributing to this thread.



S.

[ This Message was edited by: susa773 on 2003-04-06 01:42]

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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
further... Apr 7, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-05 11:40, kadamczyk wrote:



What agencies provide to cover the difference in rates between agencies and direct clients includes:



- the convenience of dealing with one company that handles all of a client\'s language requirements (in other words, agencies can handle the translation of documents into many different languages)

- the convenience of dealing with one company that handles translation, localization, testing, graphic design, DTP, etc.







On the other hand, one enormous advantage clients have when dealing directly with a freelancer they like is the assurance of consistent quality. I know from experience that an agency will often have to scramble to line up whatever translators and editors are available and/or fit their particular budget.



My sense is that agencies may be best suited for clients who require multiple languages or very complex formatting capabilities, as well as those who would rather leave the task of choosing a competent translator to an intermediary. But I strongly believe a client looking for a straightforward translation, and interested in having a say as to who handles the project, would be best served by a freelance translator they know and trust.



My further two cents



Susana



[ This Message was edited by: susa773 on 2003-04-08 02:22]

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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:35
English to French
External proofreading ... Apr 22, 2003

I am a little surprised to hear from Karin that an agency would normally expect the translator to have his work checked at his own expense by a third party.



IMO, an external review is a good practice and allows to catch whatever mistake slipped through. (There is always something) But it has to be paid for.



If I charge, say € 0,09 per source word to the agency, does the agency really expect me to pay €0.04 to hire a proofreader?



No way. I give agencies the choice as to wether or not they require external proofreading, as most of them have their own internal proofreaders.



If they opt for external proofreading, they are charged about €0,04 per word more AND the deadline is changed too, to allow sufficient time for independant proofreading.



Most agencies I worked with opt for straight translation and want to handle the proofreading in house.



I think that\'s fair enough. I sell my job, I do my best but that\'s my job I am selling. If an agency wants me to work with a proofreader, I have a few up my sleeves, but that goes for a price too.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:35
German to English
+ ...
So am I Apr 22, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-22 05:46, sylver wrote:

I am a little surprised to hear from Karin that an agency would normally expect the translator to have his work checked at his own expense by a third party.



IMO, an external review is a good practice and allows to catch whatever mistake slipped through. (There is always something) But it has to be paid for.



If I charge, say € 0,09 per source word to the agency, does the agency really expect me to pay €0.04 to hire a proofreader?



No way. I give agencies the choice as to wether or not they require external proofreading, as most of them have their own internal proofreaders.



If they opt for external proofreading, they are charged about €0,04 per word more AND the deadline is changed too, to allow sufficient time for independant proofreading.



Most agencies I worked with opt for straight translation and want to handle the proofreading in house.



I think that\'s fair enough. I sell my job, I do my best but that\'s my job I am selling. If an agency wants me to work with a proofreader, I have a few up my sleeves, but that goes for a price too.





I was a bit surprised about this, too, although I\'m not opposed in principle to the concept of hiring someone to proofread at all.



It\'s just that most of the jobs I do have such tight deadlines (and are so short) that this type of arrangement would not work. I am in the US, they are in Europe, and they leverage the time difference wherever they can. It works out nicely for both of us.



That said, I don\'t work for a lot of agencies, but the ones I have worked for did proof my work themselves. So do my direct clients, actually - and they make themselves available to clarify questions. I make sure to use the background materials they give me and to keep customer-specific style guides, etc. to ensure quality. I also tell them that I am always open to feedback in case they have points they want me to take into account for future translations.



Another important aspect is asking *a lot* of questions, particularly about internal company terms or unclear parts of the source text - and there is hardly a text that doesn\'t need clarification of some sort. Of course, this is easier to do with direct clients than with agencies.



Does anyone else take this \"cooperative\" approach with clients rather than hiring external proofreaders?





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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:35
Member
French to English
Not a requirement from the agency Apr 23, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-22 05:46, sylver wrote:

I am a little surprised to hear from Karin that an agency would normally expect the translator to have his work checked at his own expense by a third party.





You misunderstood me here -- agencies have not expected me to have my work proofread -- it is something I do as a rule and I simply make sure that I charge enough to cover proofreading. If the job does not pay enough to cover what I want to earn plus my expenses, I refuse it. If you think it is impossible to get the rates you want, you\'re wrong, in fact, today was my first day off in many months. I missed some work by not being here to answer inquiries, but the day off was worth more than any rate



Take care,

Karin





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