Normal and Technical Pricing
Thread poster: Capita

Capita
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:17
Member (2012)
English to Bulgarian
May 26, 2010

We are in the process of quoting for a big project with different complexity of text. I was wonder if you can shower your views to enlighten me on; how would you differentiate the text between normal and technical?

Does this mean just the specialization will decide the technical price for the document?

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards,

Arun Prabhu
Resource Relationship Manager
arun.prabhu@appliedlanguage.com
Tel: +44 (0) 870 225 1533


[Edited at 2010-05-26 13:16 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I do not understand your point... May 26, 2010

Either the text is technical or not!

 

Capita
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:17
Member (2012)
English to Bulgarian
TOPIC STARTER
Nature of text May 26, 2010

What are the things you consider to decide if the text is technical or Normal before quoting!

Please let me know if you need any more clarification!

Regards,
Arun


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
English to German
+ ...
It is up to the vendor to determine the rate and the degree of difficulty May 26, 2010

Because they know best. Because it is their job and their profession, otherwise you wouldn't have to hire them and could do it yourself, right?

My favorite anecdote:

PM: "Can you translate this text? It's only a normal text, nothing technical - it doesn't contain any Latin words!"

Besides the fact that I had five years of Latin in highschool, like most German kids, the text was about a pendulum impact testing machine...


 

Capita
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:17
Member (2012)
English to Bulgarian
TOPIC STARTER
Very Impressive! May 26, 2010

I do try different ways to express to earn my piece of Pie!

But the diffcultly arises even before the project is confirmed, I mean the quoting stage as a Vendor for our customers!


Regards
Arun


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
English to German
+ ...
Wow. Let's see... May 26, 2010

ALSYI wrote:

I do try different ways to express to earn my piece of Pie!

But the diffcultly arises even before the project is confirmed, I mean the quoting stage as a Vendor for our customers!


You want to make profit for yourself. Excellent, because this is why we run businesses instead of working at the factory.

So: Who are your clients?

World market leaders, Fortune 500 companies, who else needs global presence? I am omitting literature and scientific texts here on purpose.

So: You rather want to squeeze your profits out of individuals ("Hey, this one charges 50 Dollars less! Cool! Profit, ohboyohboyohboy!!"), rather than your big clients?

Amazing. How about a class or two in marketing?


 

Capita
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:17
Member (2012)
English to Bulgarian
TOPIC STARTER
Would love to accept your classes~ on marketing! May 26, 2010

The Idea of getting a better classification on Normal and Technical, is for the client to give more accurate pricing for the project. So that the client is blindly billed under one roof for all the documnet. The variation help the client as well as the PM's to select the right resources according to the complexity of the documents.

We have various levels from Fortune 500 companies to an idividual who would like to express their love in a different language!

Its not only about the price!

Regards,
Arun

[Edited at 2010-05-26 15:32 GMT]


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:17
Flemish to English
+ ...
Technical May 26, 2010

Technical: Everything which has to do with engineering from construction to electronics over avionics... Goto the webpage of any university and surf to the faculty of civil engineers and you will find a subdivision of "technical".

Agencies usually as for CAT-discounts, because technical terms are repeated, but the engineers i worked together with did not give discounts when revising say translated construction specs when a sentence or a word came up time and again. He quoted a hefty rate by the hour.

Normal: a normal letter with not too difficult vocabulary.

Word-price to be determined by negotations.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:17
German to English
It's all technical May 27, 2010

Your pricing should be based upon a standard word rate covering all subjects, including editing/checking/proofing, plus value-added services such as extracting text from PDF files, extra formatting, desktop publishing, etc. By differentiating only between rates for technical/non-technical language, you're putting yourself at a severe disadvantage. You might want to consider setting your rates based upon editable text (e.g. MS Office-based files), PDF, "with DTP" and "without DTP" etc. In this way you can pay your translators a decent rate while making money for your agency based on value-added services.

You might want to set your scale as follows (in broad strokes):
Files in editable format (MS Office, etc. -- these files can be overwritten by the translator and should require minimal reformatting) = X (standard word rate)
Files in PDF format = X + n (standard word rate, plus cost for extraction, plus formatting to match original)
Files in editable format + DTP = X+ n1
Files in PDF + DTP = X + n + n1


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
English to German
+ ...
Normal versus technical May 27, 2010

I think that every text that requires translation is special.

Examples:

- I once translated the lyrics for a song which a US singer wanted to perform during her European tour. It didn't contain any technical terms. Should I have charged less?

- I once translated some correspondence among family members. Nothing technical. The translated letters were used as evidence in court. Should I have charged less, because they didn't contain any technical terms?

Naw.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
English to German
+ ...
Exactly. May 27, 2010

Kevin Fulton wrote:

Your pricing should be based upon a standard word rate covering all subjects, including editing/checking/proofing, plus value-added services such as extracting text from PDF files, extra formatting, desktop publishing, etc. By differentiating only between rates for technical/non-technical language, you're putting yourself at a severe disadvantage. You might want to consider setting your rates based upon editable text (e.g. MS Office-based files), PDF, "with DTP" and "without DTP" etc. In this way you can pay your translators a decent rate while making money for your agency based on value-added services.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some ideas... May 27, 2010

ALSYI wrote:
We are in the process of quoting for a big project with different complexity of text. ... How would you differentiate the text between normal and technical?


From your question I assume that you'd like to quote for the project based on a two-tier system whereby some text is classified as non-technical and some text is classified as technical, and the technical text is charged at a higher rate, am I right? I also assume (or understand from your post) that the project you're quoting on will contain a mix of technical and non-technical text, am I right?

So one of the purposes of your two-tiered classification is to prevent your translators from being done in, but another purpose may be to make your quote more appealing to the client because you are willing to differentiate between more difficult and less difficult parts of the text. This is a good gamble, but I think your method of differentiating should be simple so that (a) your client also understands the method and (b) you don't spend too much time on writing the quote, unless you know for a fact that your quote will be accepted.

Does this mean just the specialization will decide the technical price for the document?


This is not a bad idea in principle, especially if you're a translation agency who will be using the method over and over, but it does require a lot of work beforehand to make it work. What work, may you ask? Well, you'll need to (a) define a set number of specialisations and (b) create lists of words and terms that are typical of those specialisations, so that you can do a computerised check on any text to determine whether it is from one of those specialisations.

However, since your method (I assume) is to differentiate only between two types of text (and not ten or twenty types of specialisations), I'd favour a simpler, more universal approach.

I'm no expert, so I'm just guessing here, but here's what I would do:

* Extract a list of all words used in the text, and compare the list to a list of the 10 000 most common words in your language. All words that do not occur in the list of 10 000 words are marked as "non-common" (or: technical). Then calculate how many technical words there are in each paragraph. Use this method to distinguish between technical paragraphs (with a high number of technical words in them) and non-technical paragraphs.

* Combine the above with a readability index calculator. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Readability_test

I suggest you find a way to easily break down the text into chunks, such as paragraphs (or, if the documents are very well formatted, see if you can segment it by pericope), and measure the technicality of each paragraph. You can also segment by sentence, but then I think your results will favour the client more than it will favour your translators.

The other question you should ask yourself is how much more to charge for technical text than for non-technical text. Sell it to the client as a system of discounts, and not a system of surcharges.

Personally, I would go for a three-tier classification system, in which the third tier is "highly technical". A highly technical paragraph would be one that contains a word (or more than X number of words) that does not occur in a list of the 25 000 most common words in your language (i.e. words that probably need to be looked up in a specialist dictionary), and I would charge a surchage for such paragraphs.

Of course, if your source text is German or some such concatenating language, the word-list based approach may be more difficult to use.

Finally, don't sell yourself short. Non-technical text does not take much less time to translate than technical text (although the other way round isn't necessarily true either).




[Edited at 2010-05-27 08:30 GMT]


 


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