Off topic: The flip side of TM-based discounts
Thread poster: Anil Gidwani

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:15
German to English
+ ...
Jun 21, 2010

I'm facing a rather curious situation, and would appreciate knowing how the community would tackle this issue.

Having resigned myself to Trados discounts based on matches in the TM, I'm now working with a client where the opposite holds true: the client, one of my best, sends me legal translations requiring heavy research and terms for Courts, judges, proceedings that are extremely different between the Common Law countries and the Civil Law countries. A domain where a TM would be the perfect solution to cut down on time spent in researching terminology. Only the client does not have, generate or send TMs!

The client only uses source PDF files, does not provide the equivalent Word files, and also provides tons of reference materials in the target language, English. But no TM. And it isn't easy to generate TMs either without wasting a lot of time ABBYY'ing and Winalign'ing.

Consequently, my time for translation shoots up. Well, that being the case, my rates should too, wouldn't one say?


Client provides TM => translator is expected to provide discounts
Client does not provide a TM => translator is expected to raise rates!?

Does that sound logical? And would it work in actual practice?

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Alex Eames
Local time: 08:45
English to Polish
+ ...
Absolutely Jun 21, 2010

If it takes longer charge higher rates. If they refuse, decline the work. Couldn't be simpler.

Of course, there is some middle ground. Perhaps if they were educated about why you were proposing to raise your rates, they might "fit in" better with your existing workflow? Maybe they could be persuaded to give you already OCRd files for example?

Alex Eames
helping translators do better business

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No, your rates don't go up just because of that Jun 21, 2010

Anil Gidwani wrote:
* Client provides TM => translator is expected to provide discounts
* Client does not provide a TM => translator is expected to raise rates!?

Your rate "increases" automatically if the client does not provide TM, because if the client does not provide TM, then the rate charged is your normal, undiscounted rate.

What you could (or should?) do, is to charge a surcharge if the client's source text is uneditable. In other words, if you have to hire a typist to type the document into editable format for you. A typist will generally cost you between 15% and 25% of your translation rate, so add a 20% surcharge to your normal rate when the client sends you work in an uneditable format.

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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 09:45
+ ...
Also, another important point Jun 22, 2010

If the provision of "reference materials" means that you MUST adhere to the terminology, or even phrasing, used there, your price should definitely go up.

Many clients don't understand this at first ... "but I thought it would be helpful?" - Yes, but not if it means extra work checking every single term or turn of phrase against your existing texts.

Tools for alignment and term extraction may be helpful in these instances, but even then, you have to invest more time than you would for a "regular" translation.

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The flip side of TM-based discounts

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