Translation of one word
Thread poster: keshab

keshab  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:37
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Feb 22, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

Today a job is posted asking the translation of one word! the budget range is .04 USD to .06 USD. Their payment option is 'Online via PayPal and Payment 50 days after date of delivery'. Just for one word! Fine! I can easily count this as a joke and I should post the news in 'Lighter side of translation' section. But this is not a single example. I have observed in my language pairs that outsourcers post frequently small jobs for translation of one,two or three words. Although from an angle of view it is praiseworthy in comparison with those who are trying to get translation at free of cost by posting at kudoZ section. But it seems really impossible to take a job for two words! Paypal charge would be greater than the remuneration!

How do you handle this type of job? do you deliver them the translation at free? or do you ready to get the small amount in normal way? or do you have a third way? Please share, friends.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:07
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Just one word Feb 22, 2011

keshab wrote:

Dear Colleagues,

Today a job is posted asking the translation of one word! the budget range is .04 USD to .06 USD. Their payment option is 'Online via PayPal and Payment 50 days after date of delivery'. Just for one word! Fine! I can easily count this as a joke and I should post the news in 'Lighter side of translation' section. But this is not a single example. I have observed in my language pairs that outsourcers post frequently small jobs for translation of one,two or three words. Although from an angle of view it is praiseworthy in comparison with those who are trying to get translation at free of cost by posting at kudoZ section. But it seems really impossible to take a job for two words! Paypal charge would be greater than the remuneration!

How do you handle this type of job? do you deliver them the translation at free? or do you ready to get the small amount in normal way? or do you have a third way? Please share, friends.


If this was from a regular client I'd translate one word, or even three, for nothing. But otherwise no. My admin costs would greatly exceed my income from translating just one word. Even reading the word would put me over budget !



[Edited at 2011-02-22 08:19 GMT]


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Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 09:07
Italian to English
Just laugh at the post Feb 22, 2011

Just having a look at some of the jobs on offer, I spotted one asking for the translation of one word, a cosmetic brand name, from English. The job offer says "Transliteration is allowed, but the translation should have some good meaning in XXX" (XXX being the target language), which made me laugh as the word makes no sense in English - it's a brand name!

I would just forget about this type of job offer. It's obviously not worth anybody's time! If a regular customer has a couple of words to be translated, I'll generally do it for free for the sake of good customer relations and because even adding a line to a monthly invoice would take more time than the translation itself!


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Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
What's one good word worth? Feb 22, 2011

One well-chosen word as a brand name or advertising slogan might be worth a small fortune as part of a global marketing campaign. It might also take a week (or longer!) to come up with something that works. I've just spent 3 days trying to get 5 words right (compensated by the rest of the contract).

"Translating" a brand name should be paid in line with what the job actually entails, i.e. international marketing copywriting - a highly-skilled job.

Those who expect this at the same price as any other word in a document should ask themselves what a bungled brand name might cost them: Some years ago I came across a soft drink in Taiwan called "Spunk", translated (after a fashion) from the Chinese, and yes, it was white and translucent! How much did they pay for that gem, I wonder?!

Clients who think like this deserve all they get and, let's face it, we'd miss the laughs they provide us with if they didn't exist. I could almost be tempted to quote for that job, just for a lark!

Alison


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Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 09:07
Italian to English
$3 a word! Feb 22, 2011

Wordeffect wrote:

"Translating" a brand name should be paid in line with what the job actually entails, i.e. international marketing copywriting - a highly-skilled job.



In the job I mentioned, the one word translation was paid at the princely sum of $3!


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Roy OConnor
Local time: 09:07
Member (2009)
German to English
A headache! Feb 22, 2011

Marketing slogans, brand names and advertising texts can be very difficult and should be charged on a time basis. Sometimes the source text relates to an illustration or has a snappy double meaning that unfortunately does not apply in the target language.
Translating this kind of thing is a real headache and it is often best to take the situation as described by the client, but more or less forget the original text, concentrating on the marketing appeal in the target language.
Roy


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
This might prove very valuable for the client Feb 22, 2011

Kate Chaffer wrote:

... I spotted one asking for the translation of one word, a cosmetic brand name, from English. The job offer says "Transliteration is allowed, but the translation should have some good meaning in XXX" (XXX being the target language), which made me laugh as the word makes no sense in English - it's a brand name!

...


As Alison says, there are many valid reasons for translating a brand name: obscene connotations when hearing the original brand name in the target language, inappropriate or unbecoming associations in the target market when seeing/hearing the original brand name, etc. And Alison's example of the botched job done with the 'Spunk' beverage is not only hilarious, it also shows that translating a brand name is not as easy as many seem to think and therefore costs money.

Among the services I offer are slogans and branding. Not that I have any credits to my name in those fields, but in my opinion a well-translated brand name is worth quite a bit. It all depends on the target market, of course, and it is often a very creative process with lots of brainstorming and word play. I have a few customers who ask me occasionally to come up with something catchy in Dutch and I am always willing to help out for a symbolical fee (if any), but from an agency out of the blue or a job posting I would at least charge my minimum order fee or, if the potential for a translated brand name would more than likely generate tons of extra revenue (let's say a major brewer wants a catchy name for a light lager translated into something Dutch-sounding), I would ask for a percentage of the revenue.


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Carla Catolino
Italy
Local time: 09:07
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
I agree with Roy Feb 22, 2011

Roy OConnor wrote:

Marketing slogans, brand names and advertising texts can be very difficult and should be charged on a time basis. Sometimes the source text relates to an illustration or has a snappy double meaning that unfortunately does not apply in the target language.
Translating this kind of thing is a real headache and it is often best to take the situation as described by the client, but more or less forget the original text, concentrating on the marketing appeal in the target language.
Roy


The translation of marketing slogans just takes up toooo much time and because of the time needed it should be paid on a time basis and not per word basis.


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Ambrose Li  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:07
Chinese to English
+ ...
Common in Chinese Feb 23, 2011

Kate Chaffer wrote:

Just having a look at some of the jobs on offer, I spotted one asking for the translation of one word, a cosmetic brand name, from English. The job offer says "Transliteration is allowed, but the translation should have some good meaning in XXX" (XXX being the target language), which made me laugh as the word makes no sense in English - it's a brand name!


Far from being a joke, this is a very common practice in Chinese.

I’ve commented on this a bit a few years ago; you can read my (somewhat poorly written and probably quite superficial) comments at http://gniw.blog.friendster.com/2007/05/foreign-brand-names/


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Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:07
Member (2008)
English to French
Minimum charge or free Feb 23, 2011

Depending on the client or the PM.

Obviously not for a slogan, but when it's just a few really obvious words (right, left, North, South) I either charge minimum or do it for free since anything less isn't worth the billing time. I also keep a mental tab of PM brownie points. I've had occasions when I've offered to do really small translations for free because the PM would go out of his or her way on other occasions to meet my rate (sometimes cannibalizing other projects and splitting up POs) rather than turn to another translator. I appreciate it and I understand the cosmic joke faced by the PM when he or she has a 5$ budget to translate, proof and QM a single word... because the ISO standard requires all these steps and they should be accomplished by different people. But otherwise, actually billing such a small amount or doing it for an unknown client (in this case a posted job) - it's not even worth the time needed to apply for the project!


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:07
English to German
+ ...
Translation of one word Feb 23, 2011

I have done such one-word jobs on several occasions - warning labels on machines. But the US-based agency offered US $ 40.00 per word, not 4 cents.

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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:07
English to Croatian
+ ...
$3 vs $ 300 000 Feb 23, 2011

Kate Chaffer wrote:

Wordeffect wrote:

"Translating" a brand name should be paid in line with what the job actually entails, i.e. international marketing copywriting - a highly-skilled job.



In the job I mentioned, the one word translation was paid at the princely sum of $3!


And the name ( if it's good) can have a marketing power and increase sales to six figures (and more).

Do they really think that skilled copywriters aren't aware of how much money a good copy can produce and will fall for this kind of price?

[Edited at 2011-02-23 11:07 GMT]


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Emtrans CN  Identity Verified
China
Member
English to Chinese
+ ...
Agree Jun 15, 2011

Roy OConnor wrote:

Marketing slogans, brand names and advertising texts can be very difficult and should be charged on a time basis. Sometimes the source text relates to an illustration or has a snappy double meaning that unfortunately does not apply in the target language.
Translating this kind of thing is a real headache and it is often best to take the situation as described by the client, but more or less forget the original text, concentrating on the marketing appeal in the target language.
Roy


I agree with Roy. And that's also what the clients would normally suggest for a very creative option to be provided ("more or less forget the original text, concentrating on the marketing appeal in the target language")


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:07
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Minimum Charge Jul 1, 2011

I would take on translation of one word, but with a minimum charge which in my case is R$ 20,00 which is the equivalent of half a page. (This is about 13 dollars US) - and payment in cash or bank deposit only - no PayPal or wire transfers due to high bank charges.

PAUL


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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:07
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Brand names Jul 2, 2011

Wordeffect wrote:

One well-chosen word as a brand name or advertising slogan might be worth a small fortune as part of a global marketing campaign. It might also take a week (or longer!) to come up with something that works. I've just spent 3 days trying to get 5 words right (compensated by the rest of the contract).

"Translating" a brand name should be paid in line with what the job actually entails, i.e. international marketing copywriting - a highly-skilled job.

Those who expect this at the same price as any other word in a document should ask themselves what a bungled brand name might cost them: Some years ago I came across a soft drink in Taiwan called "Spunk", translated (after a fashion) from the Chinese, and yes, it was white and translucent! How much did they pay for that gem, I wonder?!


I love Alison's example! The one that sprung to my mind was the name change of Marathon bars to Snickers. Strangely enough, the brand didn't collapse in the UK as a result, though I still think the new name sounds like schoolkids sniggering about knickers. Localising a product name should be dealt with as part of a consultancy about localisation of marketing a product in a particular country, not as a one word translation job. It should be paid accordingly. I once advised on a product name as an add-on to a translation job, and only did so because of the size of the job it was added on to.

[Edited at 2011-07-02 10:17 GMT]


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