Charges for identical text
Thread poster: Elizabeth Sumner

Elizabeth Sumner
Local time: 05:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Mar 24, 2004

I would like to ask people's opinions on a matter of good practice that arose this morning.

Last week I completed a 12,000 word Danish translation. This was information needed to submit a tender and included several documents such as letters, appendices, etc. I have just received two more documents on the same subject, which the client received this morning. The second is exactly the same as an appendix I sent last week but with an additional table.

I have pretty much decided to charge just for the new text and a proofreading fee for the copy text - I will have to check it carefully against the original in case there are alterations.

How would anyone else charge for this? It's not a situation I've had before. I does seem rather unfair to charge twice for work, even if people don't check their mail properly.

Elizabeth Sumner


Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:35
Finnish to English
Reading is translating Mar 24, 2004


The fact that you have to check what seems to be an identical text over means you have to read it, and that is part of the translation process. You therefore have to charge accordingly. Cut and paste text is part of the end product and I would have thought most translators include it in their word count, if going on target. If you are going on source then there is no problem.

In this case I think what you have chosen to do is probably the best option. One has to remember that the text is only identical in your eyes. If some one showed me an Ararbic text, for example, and then another a few days later, I would still be as 'blind' as I was the first time.

Identifying a text as similar or identical to a previous one is part of your linguistic skill, and should be charged for.

My opinion anyway




Sara Freitas
Local time: 06:35
French to English
Agree with Spencer Mar 24, 2004

Hi there!
If the job really involves no skill, then the customer can just cut and paste it himself at no charge, of course!icon_wink.gif
The fact that the customer needs you to check/compare shows that your linguistic skills are needed. Therefore, you should charge accordingly, either by the hour or a per-word proofreading rate.
It is only fair to pass on any savings to valued customers, but don't give anything away for free!
Good luck!


Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:35
Dutch to English
+ ...
Charging for your work Mar 24, 2004

I'm with Spencer here and your solution is what I would do.

I have been translating legislation for a valued customer and everytime there is a new version, I check it with the old one and translate the new pieces. For this, I charge on a word basis but I also charge for the checking on an hourly basis. The customer is happy and so am I. Tender documents are very important and often mean that a customer has business for years to come. It requires careful attention. You should be paid for this. I have always found that honesty is the best option. Tell your customer and make a suggestion.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge proofread rate for reading Mar 24, 2004

Elizabeth Sumner wrote:
I have pretty much decided to charge just for the new text and a proofreading fee for the copy text - I will have to check it carefully against the original in case there are alterations.

My policy for 100% matches is to charge the proofreading rate per word for those words. This policy applies to 100% matches and not to 99% matches.


Charlotte Blank  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:35
Czech to German
+ ...
Sometimes the problem is solving itself... Mar 25, 2004

Hi Elizabeth,

lately I had the almost same problem: An agency wanted me to check the changes in a contract of about 5500 words I had translated a few weeks ago. Fortunately I had done the translation using Wordfast so I only had to have Wordfast "retranslate" the new text and make the necessary changes.
About one third of the whole text was new or changed and I already was about to charge only this when they told me that the client would pay for the whole text once more:):):)



Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:05
English to Tamil
+ ...
Am I being harsh on the clients? Mar 25, 2004

I have got just one standard reply for the client, were he to ask me to charge less for the repetitions. I invite him to do the second work by himself and save even the reduced amount. The fact of the matter is he cannot. End of argument as far as I am concerned.
As mentioned by me in another thread, this is the reply I gave a client and he himself was a fulltime translator. See my posting dated Mar 21st 2004 in

[Edited at 2004-03-25 15:22]


Local time: 00:35
English to French
trado1999 Apr 7, 2004

You do not seem to be using a cat tool. I work with Trados and normally in this case of situation when you have a 100% match, we get paid a lower rate for these words but it's never free. You have to read it all to make sure it is completely identical.

What you can do that would look good in the eye of this agency would be if you indicated a lower rate for this portion of the contract on your invoice, explaining that you lower the rate because you could refer to past assignment(s) to recuperate the translation. Therefore, the client will approve of your honesty and he will also understand that you had to do the search in your preceeding files. Compromise if you hesitate to charge 100% rate for this.


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