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Should I charge more for reproducing document original layout/format?
Thread poster: stephanieL
stephanieL
English to Italian
Jan 6, 2010

Hi

I have been asked to translate some legal forms and submit them in the original Pdf format. I have no idea how to recreate the form although it may be possible to do it in Word, using tables, but then I do not know how to convert these files to Pdf. I'm sure I will need a software for this and was wondering whether I should charge more for taking care of this part.

Please, help, I really have no idea how to do this but most importantly at the moment whether I should charge more as I do not know how to reproduce a form with tables, etc.

Thank you

Stephanie


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xxxGrayson Morr  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:23
Dutch to English
Yes, charge more. Jan 6, 2010

I usually reproduce basic Word formatting as part of a translation -- font sizes, bolding, multi-column pages, and so on -- but beyond those rudiments, the client is asking for DTP (desktop publishing) skills, IMHO. I don't possess those. Depending on whether you even want to do the formatting work, you could either tell the client no, or yes, at your regularly hourly rate (if you have one; otherwise, convert your average word rate to an hourly rate and give him that).

ETA: I use OpenOffice (a free alternative to Microsoft Office; see openoffice.org), which has a built-in option to convert a file to PDF.

[Edited at 2010-01-06 13:29 GMT]


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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:23
Italian to English
+ ...
I agree with Grayson Jan 6, 2010

I don't charge for basic word formatting (bold, underscore, centre etc.) but anything else, such as reproducing tables and more complicated layout etc I would charge for if it involved more work and time.

Regarding creating PDF files, I use a free program called "CutePDF Writer" and there are numerous other free programs that can be dowloaded from"Downlad.com" Once installed, these programs work like printers, and almost any open document/file can be converted to a PDF file by simply "printing" it.


HTH

[Edited at 2010-01-06 14:06 GMT]


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xxxMichele Mann  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:23
Chinese to Italian
+ ...
YES, charge more Jan 6, 2010

You do need to charge more when you are asked to do something which is not strictly translation. Editing a text is not translation, as the name suggests it is **editing**. Thus it would be better to charge a rate per hour (usually from 15€/h to 30€/h, depending on the difficulty of the editing). It would be better to charge also every single hour you spend for getting the right software.

Personally, I strongly recommend you (and I BEG you) NOT to edit anything at least you are not payed for the extra-work you're doing: I'm pretty sure that who does not charge more for everything which is not translation is kind of ruining the market -sorry to say it-.

Regards

Michele

[Modificato alle 2010-01-06 14:59 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:23
French to German
+ ...
Charge... more! ;) Jan 6, 2010

I agree with Grayson, Alexander and Michele. Apart from OpenOffice.org - which is really a serious alternative to MS Office, you can also convert your files to PDF if you have the MS Office 2007 version ("Save as..." and then select the .PDF extension).


[Edited at 2010-01-06 15:12 GMT]


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stephanieL
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Jan 6, 2010

Thank you all guys.

Michele, I am definitely going to charge more for the editing job!

Only, it is hard to come up with a quote.. It may involve a whole extra day, given that I will need to work out the editing process from A to Z .. !

Thanks again.

All the best.

Steph


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xxxMichele Mann  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:23
Chinese to Italian
+ ...
I gotta feeling Jan 6, 2010

stephanieL wrote:

Thank you all guys.

Michele, I am definitely going to charge more for the editing job!

Only, it is hard to come up with a quote.. It may involve a whole extra day, given that I will need to work out the editing process from A to Z .. !

Thanks again.

All the best.

Steph


I gotta feeling that when translators are about to ask more for the extra-work we are asked to do we feel sort of a embarassed. There is NO reason why we need to feel as such. You say that probabile it'd take a whole day to edit the text (24 hours?): then let's charge 24 hours! If it's not you who is editing the text, then it'd be somebody else -like an editor, who Im sure he won't be shy to ask for what he deserves-.

Phone the client and make him feel like it is him the one who takes decisions (edit or not edit in this case); involve him, explain the reason why you need to charge more, make him understand that "time is money" and that everything which is going to take more than the time for the translation is to be extra-charged. Do give him more than one possibility -i.e. (1) not edited text, (2) edited text and so on-. As freelancers, we need negotiation abilities.

Good luck!

[Modificato alle 2010-01-06 17:01 GMT]


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:23
German to English
+ ...
It should be a realistic quote. Jan 6, 2010

I agree with my colleagues that things like DTP-work and editing should be charged separately, if you are able to do such work.

stephanieL wrote:
Only, it is hard to come up with a quote.. It may involve a whole extra day, given that I will need to work out the editing process from A to Z .. !


I may be misunderstanding you, but it seems to me that you cannot charge a client for the time it takes you to learn how to do whatever it is you are selling (in this case DTP-work or editing).

I have no clue about the complexity of your project, but I actually use the table function in my word processing software quite often to reproduce the basic layout of documents I have to translate (e.g., for the letterheads, signatures, and things like that). I rarely charge extra for stuff like that because it would seriously take me ten times longer to negotiate and then bill for something that minor, than it would be to just do it.

stephanieL wrote:
...I do not know how to reproduce a form with tables...


Again, I obviously cannot know how difficult or complex the task is based on your original post, but I assume that a person offering DTP-services is someone, who knows how to use DTP-software and thus would probably not need very long to create such a form using tables. I am not sure you could get away with charging someone for a whole day of work, if the work is doable in five minutes by someone who knows how.

Good luck!


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:23
German to Spanish
+ ...
Should I charge more for reproducing document original layout/format? Jan 6, 2010

stephanieL wroe:
Hi

I have been asked to translate some legal forms and submit them in the original Pdf format. I have no idea how to recreate the form although it may be possible to do it in Word, using tables, but then I do not know how to convert these files to Pdf. I'm sure I will need a software for this and was wondering whether I should charge more for taking care of this part.

Please, help, I really have no idea how to do this but most importantly at the moment whether I should charge more as I do not know how to reproduce a form with tables, etc.

Thank you

Stephanie


Yes, you should charge more. Formatting is very time consuming and you are a translator, not a designer. If there are not pdf images, you can try to convert the pdf files to word documents with nitropdf professional trial lasting 14 days.

After translation has been done, you can convert the documents back to pdf format with any pdf printer like Bullizp pdf printer or others.

[Editado a las 2010-01-06 20:42 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Answer Jan 6, 2010

stephanieL wrote:
1. I have been asked to translate some legal forms and submit them in the original Pdf format.


http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

I don't spend too much time on recreating the file, so my files only look a little like the original. I make sure the text is more or less in the same location in the translation as in the original. I use underline, bold and italics, but I use only one font regardless of how many fonts the original use. I also add descriptions (in square brackets) where untranslatable or illegible stuff appear in the original.

Sometimes I use text boxes and sometimes I use tables to create the layout. Tables require a little thinking ahead, but are easier to work in. When you're done, set the table borders to "nothing".

If the client wants a PDF, simply press Ctrl+P (print file) in your word processor, and print to the "PDFCreator" printer, which will create a PDF file.

2. Most importantly at the moment whether I should charge more as I do not know how to reproduce a form with tables, etc.


Ideally you should charge more, although clients may expect that formatting is included in your rate. I have never charged more for such formatting, but then, my translations of such files are generally shorter than my minimum rate anyway.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:23
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Converting back to pdf is no problem Jan 7, 2010

To convert t a Word file to pdf, you can go to "print" then change the printer to "pdf printer (ghostwriter), save, and presto!

I agree with everyone else who has said that you should charge extra or by the hour.

Like Samuel, I like to work with tables, because you can manipulate the gridlines to get things in the exact right location and you can vary the font type and size in different cells without upsetting the line spacing.



[Edited at 2010-01-07 01:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-01-07 02:03 GMT]


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:23
German to English
I agree with Derek Jan 7, 2010

I agree with Derek that while it is fine to charge extra for formatting, you can't charge the customer for your learning process. I know that it can be frustrating when you start out, learning things that have little to do with the actual translation, but just as you've no doubt spent time and money learning the fine points of translation, you also have to spend time and money learning the boring practical stuff.

There's also software available that converts PDFs into Word - though it's never perfect (usually requires some reformatting), and of course when you first buy it, it could take just as long to work out how to use it as it would to format a page or two yourself. I have something called PDF Transformer and am quite happy with it.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My two cents' worth Jan 7, 2010

Derek Gill Franßen wrote:
I obviously cannot know how difficult or complex the task is based on your original post, but I assume that a person offering DTP-services is someone, who knows how to use DTP-software and thus would probably not need very long to create such a form using tables. I am not sure you could get away with charging someone for a whole day of work, if the work is doable in five minutes by someone who knows how.


You certainly can't expect your client to pay for your learning curve, Stephanie. On the other hand do you, a translator, really want to spend so long doing DTP work? It obviously isn't your strong point or you'd have gained some expertise along the way, as so many users of this site have.

Wouldn't it be better to refuse and then find out for yourself in your own time so you're ready for the next time?


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:23
English to Russian
+ ...
I am with Sheila´s comment Jan 7, 2010

Agree

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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:23
German to Spanish
+ ...
Should I charge more for reproducing document original layout/format? Jan 8, 2010

Sergei Tumanov wrote:

Agree



I agree with those that say you can not charge for the learning time. But: How much time is needed to learn to push a button that say "Open a pdf file" and once done to learn to push another button that says "Convert to an rtf file" in a programm?

I believe that not too much...

[Editado a las 2010-01-08 01:28 GMT]


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