Agency wants my TM
Thread poster: Joanna Kulig

Joanna Kulig  Identity Verified

Local time: 13:10
English to Polish
Nov 28, 2012

Hi there,

the agency I work for gave me a nice piece of work, but they also asked for my TM. Is it normal to give your TMs to agencies/clients?

I feel TM is something extra, besides the translating job that I will be paid for. Something that I create to help myself. And maybe, if I give it to them, the next job may be just proof-reading, if there is one at all!

This is the first time I have been asked for it and I am not sure how to react. I don't want to cause troubles, but I also don't want to be taken advantage of.

What do you think?
Thanks!


 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:10
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Yes Nov 28, 2012

Unless I feel that the rate they are paying for the job doesn't justify my spending the minimal extra time it takes to do so, I do let the agency have my TM if requested. They can easily produce one in any case by aligning the translation with the source text. However, if the agency does ask for a TM, I produce one that only contains the translation in question, whereas otherwise I may use a general TM. If they asked afterwards, then I would expect them to pay for the time it took me to create a TM with only "their" segments in it.

As I sometimes make a few corrections to the cleaned document, the TM is not 100% reliable. It is more reliable if I used Wordfast Classic than if I used Wordfast Pro, because the former allows one to reconfigure segmentation as one translates. The lack of such flexibility in Wf Pro and other similar CAT tools means some segments will only make any sense in the context of that particular document.


 

Joanna Kulig  Identity Verified

Local time: 13:10
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Nov 28, 2012

B D Finch wrote:

Unless I feel that the rate they are paying for the job doesn't justify my spending the minimal extra time it takes to do so,


It seems it's the case, as the rate is very low. And also, I am supposed to take care of the formatting which is very time consuming - there are many tables, various types of fonts and the text is very long... Tough.


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:10
English to French
+ ...
Check the PO Nov 28, 2012

Unless the Purchase Order specifically mentioned delivery of a project-specific TM, there is NO REASON not to charge for it.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:10
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Instead of the 'uncleaned' document... Nov 28, 2012

With Trados and a lot of other CATs, until recently it was possible to send a bilingual or uncleaned version of the text, which the client could use to update their TM.

Agencies typically collected these, so that they could update their TMs and send a TM along with source texts to different translators. In theory, the TM would contain the client's preferred terminology, and I have even been paid once or twice to edit a TM to make sure this was the case.

Trados Studio does not produce the same kind of uncleaned document, although there are ways of getting round it.

However, as you can now create and use as many TMS as you like in Trados Studio (and MemoQ and probably several other CATs) it is quite easy to create an empty TM that will only contain the one job.

It is also possible to extract only segments created on a certain date (i.e. the date you did the job) or other pre-marked segments from a larger TM if you know how.

As B D Finch says, you should only give the client a TM of the relevant job.

You do have to know what you are doing with agency TMs, as they are not always kept up to date. But you can always override them, as long as you tell the agency what you are doing. Sometimes end clients insist for their own reasons on particular terminology, and you have to go along with it.
But it is much easier than it used to be to use them in parallel with your own TMS and keep them separate.


 

Tony M
France
Local time: 13:10
Member
French to English
+ ...
"I'm a luddite an' I'm OK!" Nov 28, 2012

I'm certainly something of a luddite as far as CAT tools are concerned, having found that for the majority of my work, they are worse than useless. However, more recently, for certain new customers, I have found CAT tools coming into their own, and for these particular jobs, I wouldn't be without them now!

I have a perhaps rather unusual way of looking at TMs; to start with, I see them as repositories of my skill and knowledge, which represent the investment of a great deal of time and effort; so I do not consider that they belong to the agency "as of right" — it's easy enough to see how they could collect my TMs and then later issue them to some cheap but clueless colleague in order to cobble together a translation based on my work.

So I do not give them out to agencies as a matter of course; they can if necessary ask for them, at an additional fee — and as BDF says, in that case, I will produce a separate TM just of their specific translation job, rather than give out my precious master TM. I consider that if an agency expects me to offer a discount for repetitions, then the TM becomes MY tool to enable me to be able to grant that discount. In many instances, I reserve the right to use a CAT tool or not, in which case, there may not even be a TM to hand over. In any case, as has already been said, it's easy enough for them to go to the relatively small amount of trouble to align source and target documents to produce their own TM, with the added advantage of thereby incorporating post-clean-up edits.

In any case, using at the very least sentence-based segmentation, my TMs are probably of very little use to anyone else; and I almost invariably mess around with the segment boundaries post clean-up, rendering them all the more worthless! In fact, what they ought to do is ask for my glossaries, which would be infinitely more useful — but oddly enough, to date, no-one ever has!

Most of the time, my TUs don't recur and so the TM isn't much help; however, I do use it a lot for context search, and if I have to look up a term in context, then I make a point of adding that to my glossary, on the premise that if I've needed it once, I might well need it again.


 

Joanna Kulig  Identity Verified

Local time: 13:10
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
how much then? Nov 28, 2012

Tony M wrote:

I see them as repositories of my skill and knowledge, which represent the investment of a great deal of time and effort;


that's exactly my thought that underlies the question!

OK, so how much, do you think, should I charge them for the TM? Is it worth making the issue at all? The text is very long...

And just one little thing, I do know it's very basic, but I am simply not sure - what does 'CLEAN(ed) document' exactly mean? I read about 'no tags' etc. Where do they come from? Are they in the CAT output files?

Thanks a lot for all your replies!!!icon_smile.gif


 

Peter Gleason  Identity Verified
United States
Russian to English
+ ...
This Request is Routine (Normal) Nov 29, 2012

The 'clean' document is the target document. Right, in this case it's the output file from the CAT tool. Like you said, that usually means that there are no visible tags.

Like Tony said, it might be easy to just give them a TM for this individual project (assuming you already have one) for free as a courtesy.

Otherwise, if generating a TM would require a lot of time, you might offer a per-hour rate. In that case, they might decide that it's easier and cheaper for them to create a TM on their own.

I hope that helps.

[Edited for a typo]

[Edited at 2012-11-29 00:36 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:10
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
They will be puzzled... Nov 29, 2012

...if you ask them how much they will pay for the memory. Their understanding is that they have already paid for the translation and that you are charging them an unexpected extra amount for the same thing.

Showing a cooperating attitude is best in the long run, especially in the case of agencies. Agencies are not stupid: if your translation was successful with the end customer, they will never dream of asking another person to do it. Transferring a TM does not transfer your expertise, which is what they really need.

Also, isn't a CAT tool something that has helped you do your work faster and better? When people start saying that they should charge when asked for their TMs, it sounds like using the CAT tool was some kind of nightmare you have to be compensated for. If that was the case, maybe you should switch to a better CAT tool!icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2012-11-29 07:05 GMT]


 

Tony M
France
Local time: 13:10
Member
French to English
+ ...
unclean, unclean! Nov 29, 2012

Joanna Kulig wrote:

...I do know it's very basic, but I am simply not sure - what does 'CLEAN(ed) document' exactly mean? I read about 'no tags' etc. Where do they come from? Are they in the CAT output files?


This is getting a bit off-topic, and you may want to do a little research in the CAT tool forums to find out a little more about some of this terminology, which is certainly rather baffling, until you know it!

Just to go into it very quickly and superficially, since you asked:

The 'unclean' file is the one you are actually working on in your CAT tool; depending on the individual tool, and the display options chosen, you may or may not be aware of the fact that it is basically a bilingual file, i.e. it contains the original source text + your translations. It will also contain a certain number of 'tags' or markers, which indicate to the software various things that are nothing to do with the actual translation of the text itself. Again, depending on the particular CAT tool in use, these might include the markers that delimit a segment, and also various other markers indicating attributes like bold, italic, style, etc. The CAT tool will use these at the end to restore these attributes (hopefully in the right place!) onto your target text. It is the existence of the source text + all these tags and other extra bits that make this file so to speak "dirty", or 'uncleaned'.

The 'clean' file is what you get at the end of the translation process, when you finish by 'cleaning' the document; your CAT tool then removes all the tags etc. that it has added, plus the source text, to leave you with a nice clean document in the target language.

It is usually at the clean-up stage that any final adjustments may be made to the Translation Memory — so it is always advisable to do any editing and perform your spell-checking etc. in the uncleaned document first, in that way, any corrections made will get transferred correctly to the TM.

[Edited at 2012-11-29 08:47 GMT]


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:10
Danish to English
+ ...
It's quite logical for the agency to want TM extracts Nov 29, 2012

Look at it from the agency's point of view:

They maintain TMs for all the jobs they have any number of translators carry out for them, of course they do. If you deliver quality translations to them, they are likely to come back to you and ask you to do more work. You may not be available for a specific job that may be related to the first job you did for them so they have to ask another translator to do the job. Obviously, they will want that translator to have access to the text that has already been translated on the same topic, maybe even for the same end client, as they will want to ensure consistency in the translations. Therefore, they need to have your (original) translation in their TM so that they can send a TM extract to the other translator. It's just common sense. Equally, if they come back to you at a later stage, it would be reasonable for you to expect that they would then send their now updated TM to you so that you can do your next translation, drawing on the TM that contains both your and the other translator's work.

Additionally, some agencies will have agreements with end clients where the price is based on the distribution of fuzzy matches / repetitions / no match segments, for which updated TMs are essential. Regular clients will, naturally, expect to get discounts on text segments that they know they have already had translated by a specific agency before. So, again, the agency needs to keep its TMs updated.

That's just how it works at agencies, no big deal.

But of course it is essential that you have an agreement in place, and it is important that you set up your TMs in a way that makes it possible for you to extract only the translated segments from each particular job. Personally, I simply use my own order numbers as the separating factor. Couldn't be easier. It's just a few clicks and it's done, no hassle whatsoever (still using good old SDL Trados Suite 2007).


 


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