End client requests TM
Thread poster: John Cutler

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 10, 2008

Hi, I’m not sure if this is the right forum or not, but for me, at least, it’s a business issue.

I’m new at using CAT tools, but I recently completed a translation using Wordfast. The end client is now requesting that I send them the TM. I know agencies often request TMs, but is it normal for the end client to do so?

My doubts or questions would be: Am I obligated to send the TM? Should I charge for it? Do agencies give TMs to companies (end clients) when requested to do so?

Thanks to anyone who can give me practical advice based on their own experience.


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
English to Dutch
+ ...
Only their stuff Jun 10, 2008

Hi John,

I regularly get requests like that.
My reasoning is as follows: they have the source text, they have the translation. So they could align these and create their own TM anyway. So I give them my TM, but I make sure to create one from these specific texts only.

I have a number of clients in the same field, so on my own PC I have a big 'master TM' for each field I work in. I never give anyone this TM. The client can have what they pay for, but I don't see why they should benefit from the work I do for others.

For clients like these, I usually ask for their updated/proofread TM for the new/next projects I do for them. So I can benefit from their work too.

There is of course a risk that they will ask for discounts on the basis of their own TM. In that case, I always do an analysis to make sure we arrive at the same numbers (more or less). I do not accept discounts for matches below 85% when using someone else's TM.



Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Start an empty TM and send only that client's documents Jun 10, 2008

I was going to say the same as Margreet.

They could do it themselves, but once you have found the files, it is not very difficult.
If you have to spend a lot of time searching for the files and fiddling about, charge them for your time, or charge them for an hour anyway.

Best of luck!


Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
English to French
An alternative Jun 10, 2008

Send them the uncleaned files.
I did it on one occasion to an agency because their texts were part of a bigger TM (mine). It was a perfectly valid reason not to send the actual TM.
They can then build their own TM.

I wonder why end clients would buy a CAT tool. Maybe they're going to use your services to learn how to build a TM out of uncleaned files. More business, then...

Enjoy the sun,


Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:49
French to English
+ ...
Client-specific TMs Jun 10, 2008

I always keep my TMs client-specific, so there's no reason not to send them, I suppose. As others have said, they could easily create it themselves by aligning the files anyway, so why not? Think of it as "added value" and generating good will!

I then use the BTM, which I create by merging all my other TMs (and try to update it regularly as new TUs aren't added to it as you work) as a background TM with all my client's TMs. I certainly wouldn't let anyone else have that, although in saying that, it's unusual to find much in the way of matches in the BTM, but it is extremely useful for context searches.


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Pleased to hear that you have finally started to use a CAT tool... Jun 10, 2008

Hi John,

I am of the same opinion, too. There is no harm in sending a TM, as long as you make sure that it only contains the translation in question. It would also be the same with agencies. The uncleaned documents are also a good alternative.

I do not know how Wordfast works, as I exclusively use Trados. However, for your own benefit, it is better to translate using a larger TM, containing a lot of other material. To create a TM of only that translation, for the client, you would have two options:

(1) Find some way of identifying the TUs in the TM which concern that translation, e.g. with the date or a project number, and make sure that these TUs will be marked in that way before you start translating. You can then export only those TUs into a brand new TM.

(2) Simply make a new TM when you have finished, and clean up the files once again, into this new TM.



Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
your CAT tool based on your own budget Jun 10, 2008

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Send them the uncleaned files.

If you purchased your CAT tool based on your own budget, why you should feel obliged now to give to anybody else? Did they pay you for it an additional fee?
It looks like you get a new dress and everybody want to take a look into your pockets. Send the uncleaned files - this is a maximum what I would do. If somebody wants to create a good TM, anyway, he can do it.


John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks for good advice Jun 11, 2008

Hi, thanks to everyone for their great advice. I have finally taken the plunge with CAT tools (Wordfast, at least for now) and there's no going back. I'm still at a fairly basic user level (can you tell by the simple questions I ask?icon_smile.gif ) Anyway, I've already seen my productivity take a huge leap forward!

I posted this topic because I just wasn't sure if it was normal for end clients to ask for the TMs and I didn't want any problems with them.

I've also learned from what I've read here about the importance of keeping a copy of the uncleaned files. Up to now, I've just been cleaning them and sending them on their way. I can see now how they would serve as a back-up.

Well, thanks again for your advice. I appreciate it.

PS. Just so you know Astrid, I've been informed about a course on TRADOS this coming autumn. I'm already looking forward to going!


Local time: 22:49
French to Dutch
+ ...
Just some remarks Jun 11, 2008

If you sent a TM, always verify before that it doesn't contain segments from other clients. WF TM's can be read easily. If necessary, do some cleaning up (you can do this directly with WF5, or copy and paste the segments in Excel). If you don't, there is a risk of publishing confidential information.

After translation, you have 3 files to keep: original, translation, uncleaned. In this way you can always "go back" and create a new TM if necessary. If you don't have three files for one translation, you forgot to clean up.

I only sent the bilingual file if the client asks for it, for instance if he has Trados. A bilingual file is more useful for him than a TM. The bilingual file is also useful for you, for instance if you have to make corrections quickly.

John Cutler wrote:

Hi, thanks to everyone for their great advice. I have finally taken the plunge with CAT tools (Wordfast, at least for now) and there's no going back. I'm still at a fairly basic user level (can you tell by the simple questions I ask?icon_smile.gif ) Anyway, I've already seen my productivity take a huge leap forward!

After six years I am still a basic user. I only use the translation functions and Context search and keep all my TMs and terminology lists ready for use, which is necessary for doing 30,000-40,000 words per month with a very quick turnover. In general I am winning about 30% of my time in productivity, and I only do marketing (no software manuals!) but the same texts come back year after year.

Save your TMs regularly on a memory stick, they are your working capital.


RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
You are NOT obigated to provide a TM. It is YOUR TM Jun 12, 2008

The TM you have just made is YOUR TM. You can give it for free, sell it or refuse to provide it at all; it's up to you. If the client wanted it, they should have negotiated that point before you accepted the assignment.

This was already discussed few days ago: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/107338-giving_clients_uncleaned_trados_files.html

I just paste my point of view about this:

RNAtranslator wrote:

I think that it's not a good idea to provide TM to the clients. I do agree with the excellent post by Anthony Baldwin: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/101828-various_ramblings_on_current_trends_in_our_industry.html

Anthony Baldwin wrote:
Another phenomena I am noting with ever increasing frequency is that agencies are simply sending less work, or, at least, fewer complete translations, and more "only the parts in highlighted in yellow need translated" translations, and/or more revision work.
Do you know why? Because we gave them our TMs and glossaries, so now they are running new texts through their CAT tool or machine translation tool, and "don't need us".
This is why they send us revision work, and not new translations.
Very bad revision work, they send.


Just this past week I did a revision for an agency.
The document was for a client of theirs for whom I have been doing all the translations for three years.
It was clear, in this case, that they ran the document through their CAT with MY TMs accepting something like 50% match (accounted for nearly a third of the new text), and then sent it
to a non-native speaker, likely in some third-world country working for sweatshop rates

Anthony Baldwin wrote:
Now, and this is significant, I also run an agency, in addition to my own freelance work.
I apply these principles.


If I ask you for your glossary or TM, I will pay you for it. Those are valuable items.
Clearly, with those items, I can do some stuff for myself rather than send it to you.

Just to mention that if your TM is about an specialized subject, they can use it to help an unespecialized an cheaper translator to do a translation that otherwise would have been sent to you.


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