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Would you give your translation memory?
Thread poster: Stefanie Sendelbach

Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:14
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Apr 26, 2011

Dear colleagues,

I have been working with one of my clients for several years now. He sends me regular work that is always of a similar nature. Neither he himself nor his end-client use TM tools, but my client is aware that I use Trados for all my work. Naturally, I could accumulate a substantial TM for this client in the past few years.

In case my client now asks me to hand over my TM when I go on a holiday, say, or when I don't have time for his project and he needs to get somebody else, how would you react? Would you give the TM? For free even? If you refuse to give it (which I am inclined to do), how would you justify this without upsetting the client? Naturally, he would gain a lot of consistency and his new translator would not have to compare old files in order to copy my style and terminology.

What is your take on this? Thank you in advance for your ideas.

Stefanie


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Ivan Rocha, CT
Canada
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Nope Apr 26, 2011

They would have to take it from my cold, dead hands.

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ISAAC PRADEL LEAL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:14
Member (2011)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Your tool... belongs to you... Apr 26, 2011

I may be paranoid, but it's your work for many years, with no guarantee it will not end in Elbonia (Ref.- Scott Adams) in the hands of low-cost "service" providers ... I would never handle it, or in the first place, would have never let the client know it even existed... ONLY THE PARANOID SURVIVE...!! Schöne Grüsse...

[Edited at 2011-04-26 21:50 GMT]


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes, but... Apr 26, 2011

ISAAC PRADEL LEAL wrote:

I may be paranoid, but it's your work for many years, with no guarantee it will end in Elbonia (Ref.- Scott Adams) in the hands of low-cost "service" providers ... I would never handle it, or in the first place, would have never let the client know it even existed... ONLY THE PARANOID SURVIVE...!! Schöne Grüsse...


Now it is too late, the client knows, and by the way it is pretty simple to have somebody align the files. I don't think there is much you can do anyway.


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Lords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:14
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It is part of your job, and your characteristic style. Apr 26, 2011

Dear Stefanie Sedelbach

I won't give it to any one, because it is your signature your own style in the translation industry. Tell him, "You are please that he/she likes you job, but that part belongs to you because it is your own personal style and wording". If you want to add that each person has his/her own style and they can translate in that style, as long as it is correct, but it does not mean that they have to use your own style and wording.

You have to have limits between your work relationship or friendship and your personal belongings. It takes a lot of time to have a good TM.

My best Regards

E. Lores

Stefanie Sendelbach wrote:

Dear colleagues,

I have been working with one of my clients for several years now. He sends me regular work that is always of a similar nature. Neither he himself nor his end-client use TM tools, but my client is aware that I use Trados for all my work. Naturally, I could accumulate a substantial TM for this client in the past few years.

In case my client now asks me to hand over my TM when I go on a holiday, say, or when I don't have time for his project and he needs to get somebody else, how would you react? Would you give the TM? For free even? If you refuse to give it (which I am inclined to do), how would you justify this without upsetting the client? Naturally, he would gain a lot of consistency and his new translator would not have to compare old files in order to copy my style and terminology.

What is your take on this? Thank you in advance for your ideas.

Stefanie


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 22:14
Japanese to English
No way Apr 26, 2011

I would never hand it over. It represents months and years of personal effort and hard work and is not something to be given out for free. If you feel you can't refuse easily, ask for some outrageous sum of money (which will almost certainly represent the money you'll lose when he takes your TM and gives it to someone else) and see what he says.

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Neo76
Mexico
Local time: 17:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
Do not hand it in... Apr 26, 2011

To me, saying that TM tools can allow any translator to align segments if provided with source and taget files of existing translations sounds like a great way out of this.

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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
Maybe a way out Apr 26, 2011

is to say that you have one large TM with translations from several different clients and that you have an obligation of confidentiality towards all of them. (In my case, this would be strictly true.)

As others have said, your client can always align his texts with your translations and create his own TM.

Good luck


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:14
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Why haven't they done the alignment already? Apr 27, 2011

Lucia Colombino wrote:

is to say that you have one large TM with translations from several different clients and that you have an obligation of confidentiality towards all of them. (In my case, this would be strictly true.)

Good idea. I suspect it's actually the case for many people.


As others have said, your client can always align his texts with your translations and create his own TM.


If they were inclined - or able - to do so, why haven't they done it already? Presumably because they are either to unable to do it, too cheap to have it done, or even unaware that it's possible. None of that argues in favor of simply giving your work away.



[Edited at 2011-04-27 01:42 GMT]


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 06:14
Chinese to English
Why not profit from it? Apr 27, 2011

Everyone seems to be polarized into two possible choices: give it for free, or don't give it at all. It's a piece of work, why not just charge the appropriate amount for it?

Not easy to calculate, I accept, but think about what it's worth to the client (what kind of match rate do you get on documents x a certain number of years of use); slap a big nasty NDA on it (copy one from an agency); and make some easy cash.

Might not work, they might not be willing to pay (you might run into NDA problems yourself, trying to sell a TM that contains parts of client documents). But it wouldn't necessarily hurt to explore the issue with the client.


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Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:14
Member (2008)
English to French
Many people seem to be unaware that a TM has to be managed... Apr 27, 2011

For it to be an efficient tool. At it's worst it's a passive free for all where your first draft translation ends up. At it's best it's a finely honed tool.

I would not give my TM to a client - part of the reason I accept TM reductions from agencies is that the onus of managing the TM and ensuring its accuracy passes on to them and I wash my hands of it. For direct clients I charge a similar rate than I do for agencies (within 35%) but I recoup much from matches in the TM (usually between 30 and 80% matches, depending on the text) and all this is taken into account since for direct clients I am ultimately responsible for a polished product that will be directly published without passing through another's hands so it involves much more work.

If you want to be nice, at times when you cannot translate a text yourself you can offer the client a "project TM" from Trados (localization kit in Wordfast). This way the client is happy with the consistency and you've only given away that very small percentage of your TM that applies to the particular project.

The worse case scenario is you give the client the TM and they jump ship. The unthinkable scenario is you have a main TM will all your clients jumbled together, you send it to this client and they mine it for information about their competitors since you work with many different players in the same field.

As to the question of aligning documents.... it's a LOT of work. I've done it. With large files and with a large number of files. It's horrible. At the end of the day it might be worth it but you're going to lose HOURS of work - rule of thumb is aligning between 5000 and 10000 words/hour... if Stephanie has been working for them for several years (let's say 3.5) and she translates 10K words a month for this client (not a huge amount but a respectable one for a single direct client amongst many others), that's 420K words, or 5 to 10 DAYS of work to align the files.

[Edited at 2011-04-27 04:26 GMT]


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Juliet Allaway  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:14
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
I did it... and it's costing me money Apr 27, 2011

I made the mistake of sharing a memory with a client and it is now being used by all and sundry. Matches and repetitions are also deducted from my fee... we live and learn.
I know it sounds sneaky but I would make up some bogus technical excuse and say there is a virus in it or something!


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Umang Dholabhai  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:44
Member
English to Gujarati
+ ...
What about the Confidentiality binder Apr 27, 2011

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

Lucia Colombino wrote:

is to say that you have one large TM with translations from several different clients and that you have an obligation of confidentiality towards all of them. (In my case, this would be strictly true.)

Good idea. I suspect it's actually the case for many people.


Yes it is true. I suspect that they have already employed people just to align files. Some of my clients highlight segments which have to be kept untranslated. This could be a manual (or menial) method to work with a community of non-Trados using translators and getting the (limited) benefit of a Trados matrix.

The obligation of confidentiality may also include a clause that you are supposed to destroy all data from each of the files sent by them. Even if you update separate project TM's (or client TM's), this may mean that you cannot keep those TM's on your system after the job delivery is done, even those TU's that lie in your combo TM. I wonder if "maintaining" or "polishing" the TM's is a work around to avoid this obligation. Also, can you deny them their TM's when you are bound with the above.


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Fugee
Local time: 00:14
Dutch to English
Similar problem Apr 27, 2011

I have a similar problem. See here.

I don't like the advice I've been given so far in the topic that I started.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:14
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What does your contract say? Apr 27, 2011

Are the translations the intellectual property of the customer or yours?

As I have expressed in the other topic going on these days about this same thing, the memory does not matter much: the customer can make one from the translated materials in one day of work these days, so if you refused to give the memory they can always make one, and they will not understand why you would not give them their texts in a database.

In my opinion, in today's sharing-oriented world, the customer might not understand that you did not give them the memory. Right or wrong, they might consider it their property.

If the customer simply does not want to work with you anymore, they will find a way of doing so, with or without the memory. And if they simply want to have some backup in case you are not available or are on holidays, showing a collaborative spirit will be seen as a positive attitude from your part.

What matters in your translations is your expertise, and no happy customer will cease working with you, even if they had the memory. In the hands of a clumsy or inexperienced translator, the memory will be worth nothing in a few months.

[Edited at 2011-04-27 08:46 GMT]


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