Agency quote for translation job but assigned DTP work as well.
Thread poster: karcsy

karcsy
Local time: 14:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
Dec 8, 2009

Dear fellow translators:


I was asked to quote for a translation job from Chinese to English by an agency. We agreed on the rates and payment terms, besides, I have done a couple of translation for them. All are typewritten PDF files.

Here comes my problem, the document is actually 20 pages handwritten scanned PDF file which is not purely written in the source language (Chinese). Almost half of the document is written in English, wherein English sentences/paragraphs alternate with Chinese sentences/paragraphs.

The instruction for this particular project which was not mentioned prior to sending me the document is for me to type the English source text but using a specific font & size and then type the translated English words in another font & size to differentiate original English texts from translated English text.

My questions are:

1. Are typing of English words and layout format considered DTP?
2. How should I charge DTP?


Any advice is welcome.

Thanks!
karen

[Edited at 2009-12-08 15:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-12-08 16:49 GMT]


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:52
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What rates did you agree on? Dec 8, 2009

First of all (as you know now), it is not advisable to agree on rates and deadlines before you know exactly what the job is about. The best way to check is to see the source materials.
Did you agree on an hourly rate? (For handwritten text it is advisable as you may need more time to decipher what is written.)
Did you agree on a per word rate (based on target words)?


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:52
Russian to English
+ ...
My policy Dec 8, 2009

Hi Karen,

I don't offer DTP services, but here's what I do, and I don't think it's unusual.

First off, use of MS Word and its basic features is normal and expected in our business. I reproduce the format of the original to the best of my ability, unless otherwise requested by my customer. Second, if the original isn't in Word and I see something that needs to be differentiated in some fashion in my translation (use of a different font to indicate handwriting, for example), I do so. If my customer has specific requirements regarding format in Word when translating from an image file of any type, I honor them to the best of my ability.

You didn't say whether you saw the file before accepting the job, but I certainly advise doing so. Otherwise, you never know what you're getting into . . .


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karcsy
Local time: 14:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I did not see the source file beforehand. Dec 8, 2009

Thank you all for responding.

No. I did not see the source file beforehand. I only got the fiel when the agency have already assigned me to do the job.

The agreed rate is per source word only. (Which means this does not include all the English words in the original file that I have to type)

The format is not really that difficult as I always do my best to reproduce the layout of the original document.

I just felt like being tricked into doing DTP because I did not expect the original document to be loaded by almost 50% of English words which I have to type in the MS Word DOC file, not to mention all are handwritten.

Is it OK to ask for extra pay? But I do not have any idea how to ask for it.

[Edited at 2009-12-08 16:07 GMT]


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karcsy
Local time: 14:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Check source file before accepting!!! Dec 8, 2009

I have to add "Check source file before accepting!!!" in my SOP.


I have accepted quite a few translation assignments where the descriptions are far from what I got.

***

Project manager: "We will consider hourly rate for this project bec. there are too many repetitions."

Document: only 25-30% repetition.

Result: hourly rate is so much cheaper than 'per word' basis. (They are the ones who gave me the hourly rate)

***

Project manager: "Marketing material"

Document: Not marketing but business contract


***


Project manager: Deadline is Sunday your time.

Document: Arrived just 2 days before deadline.

Result: I ended up rushing the job to meet the deadline without receiving overtime pay.


***

Now this! What's next? I have to be careful the next time I accept a job offer.

[Edited at 2009-12-08 16:37 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:52
Member (2008)
Italian to English
no Dec 8, 2009

karcsy wrote:

Is it OK to ask for extra pay?


No. But in my opinion it's perfectly OK to politely refuse to do work that has nothing to do with translating. Perhaps it was foolhardy of you not to check the files first, as someone else has said, but even so, I think it's still legitimate, indeed I think it's professional, to refuse to do a lot of extra work that would (a) have nothing to do with your skills as a translator (b) would at least double the time you would need (c) was not included in the price you quoted.

There are ways of explaining this politely to the outsourcer. They may genuinely not have understood the problem. If you handle the situation in a professional way, this could be an opportunity to establish a more confidential relationship with that outsourcer, and build a longer-term thing.

Everything that happens, including bad things, is a business opportunity

So don't be confrontational or litigious about it. There's no point.

[Edited at 2009-12-08 17:28 GMT]


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:52
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Business 101 Dec 8, 2009

Karen,
You are not a slave. You should not act like one.
You are running a BUSINESS.
1. Jobs do not get "assigned". They may be offered to you, you quote the price and timeline you need come to an agreement with the client. You need to know EXACTLY what the job entails, before saying yes to it.

2. What do you mean "is it OK to ask for extra pay?"
"I do not have any idea how to ask for it."
The job requirements were not clear until you received the source file. It was your fault that you accepted the job without checking the details, but you acted in good faith, assumed everything will be the same as with the previous jobs. That's why you need to contact the client RIGHT NOW, and tell them that you accepted the translation job (translating the Chinese text), but the extra typing is exactly what it is, EXTRA. If you are ready to do that typing, tell them that you will charge for that by the hour, and quote your regular hourly rate. You don't know how much that is? It is at least as much as you would earn by translating for an hour. They can accept your offer or hire someone else (a typist) to do that part (either before you do the translation, or after that). It is not acceptable to expect you to do all that extra work for free. If you let them get away with it, they will keep exploiting you, thinking you don't know any better (and they will be right on that).

Wake up, please.
Katalin

[Edited at 2009-12-08 18:30 GMT]


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karcsy
Local time: 14:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yeah! I will do that. Dec 8, 2009

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

contact the client RIGHT NOW,

Wake up, please.




[Edited at 2009-12-08 17:02 GMT]



Yeah! I will do that. Thanks for echoing my sentiments Katalin!

As translators, we should not allow agency to exploit us.


Truly,
Karen

[Edited at 2009-12-08 17:20 GMT]


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Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 03:52
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
You should definitely be paid for your time Dec 8, 2009

But I don't think that typing words and/or using different font sizes/styles in MS Word is DTP.

I think there is a misconception among translators as to what DTP is, and there is a general tendency to label anything involving formatting as DTP.

I do DTP, mostly using Adobe InDesign. I can also create a layout using MS Word. In my opinion, these are two different things. I charge for both, but not the same hourly rate. DTP software is expensive and requires specific training, so I think it should be charged more.

That said, I think you definitely need to be paid extra for any extra work involved, but it may be difficult after having accepted the job without having seen the original files.

I hope everything works out fine for you.

Best regards from Montevideo,

Laureana

[Edited at 2009-12-08 19:44 GMT]


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karcsy
Local time: 14:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Client agreed to pay. Dec 9, 2009

Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts and supporting me.

As it turned out, the client agreed to pay me for typing the English texts.

All's well, end's well.


Cheers!


Karen

[Edited at 2009-12-09 04:03 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:52
French to German
+ ...
Formatting, arranging and DTPing Dec 9, 2009

Laureana Pavon wrote:

But I don't think that typing words and/or using different font sizes/styles in MS Word is DTP.

I think there is a misconception among translators as to what DTP is, and there is a general tendency to label anything involving formatting as DTP.

Quite right, Laureana. The main problem so far is that some clients (let's leave out the distinction between direct ones and agencies) find it all too natural to ask for additional, free work as they consider that arranging the layout (source = target) in MS Word or PowerPoint or using exactly the same fonts as in the original does not cost anything or should be seen as a part of the translator's job.
I once had a client coming through an agency who thought I could translate in Acrobat. I explained them that it would be more logical to have a really editable file, e.g. in Word or in InDesign Interchange format - to no avail. I ended extracting the contents in TXT format and translated them in Word with Wordfast. And the story stopped there, as the end client never amended my translation (which would have been necessary to do the layout job with images etc. afterwards).

[Edited at 2009-12-09 08:07 GMT]


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:52
German to English
+ ...
Hurray! Dec 9, 2009

karcsy wrote:

Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts and supporting me.

As it turned out, the client agreed to pay me for typing the English texts.

All's well, end's well.

Cheers!

Karen


Hurray! It is nice to hear that things worked out well!


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karcsy
Local time: 14:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Definitely! Dec 9, 2009

Derek Gill Franßen wrote:


Hurray! It is nice to hear that things worked out well!




Good thing I got an understanding client.


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