Client wants to deduct "internal fuzzies" but does not usually do this.
Thread poster: David Jessop

David Jessop  Identity Verified
Spain
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 3, 2014

I just got a job offer from an agency client that I have worked with for a few years on a fairly frequent basis. The client said that in this case they are taking into consideration "internal fuzzies" which they have defined as fuzzy matches not in the supplied TM but that are in the documents. When I do an analysis using their TM, I get about half the total word count as the word count they supplied (their word count is about 60,000 with deductions for fuzzies and mine is about 100,000).

I feel like they are taking advantage in the sense that they are reducing my fee based on my own work, but I am confused because I have not had to deal with this situation before. I've never had a client do this before and as I mentioned, I worked with this client many times and they did not do this.

I am considering not accepting the job. I'd appreciate your explanations, opinions, past experiences with this issue, etc.

Thanks.
David


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:41
English to German
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Suggestion to stick to an overall price quote Mar 3, 2014

David Jessop wrote:

I just got a job offer from an agency client that I have worked with for a few years on a fairly frequent basis. The client said that in this case they are taking into consideration "internal fuzzies" which they have defined as fuzzy matches not in the supplied TM but that are in the documents. When I do an analysis using their TM, I get about half the total word count as the word count they supplied (their word count is about 60,000 with deductions for fuzzies and mine is about 100,000).

I feel like they are taking advantage in the sense that they are reducing my fee based on my own work, but I am confused because I have not had to deal with this situation before. I've never had a client do this before and as I mentioned, I worked with this client many times and they did not do this.

I am considering not accepting the job. I'd appreciate your explanations, opinions, past experiences with this issue, etc.

Thanks.
David


If a CAT tool needs to be involved and that usually means the client wants an updated TM from you when you're done, I go by my own assessment of the work I will have to do - that means I take everything into account and then I suggest a per-word price based on the total word count, not 100% of the rate for no matches only, and 75%, 65%, 35% etc. for various fuzzies. If there are many simple word repetitions, I might take this into account - but that's not an automatic thing based on my or the client's CAT-tool word analysis; I don't think these discounts are warranted for the entire text - and arbitrarily fuzzies rates requested/specified by the client are usually a big warning sign. In any case, I won't quote a price that includes exactly specified percentage discounts for certain word repetitions. I will simply quote an overall price to the client, based on my assessment of the original text.

Taken everything into account after carefully reviewing the source text and the TM (if provided), I quote a per-word price for the entire text that I am comfortable with. If the client can't accept that, I won't do it. This is how I handle it.

HTH

B

[Edited at 2014-03-03 19:09 GMT]


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Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:41
Member (2009)
English to Russian
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Would you translate 40,000 words free of charge? Mar 3, 2014

I'd never accept such a "kind" job offer. When I paid for Trados I decided that I won't offer discounts for fuzzy matches and won't accept jobs if a client tells me how much they are going to pay me based on their calculation. This decision made my work so much easier!
As for this particular project, inform the client of the total amount you would charge, don't focus on a per word rate.

[Редактировалось 2014-03-03 19:53 GMT]


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Sandra Peters-Schöbel
Germany
Local time: 18:41
Member (2007)
English to German
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Be sure to understand... Mar 3, 2014

I personally do not understand where These "infernal fuzzies" come frome. Real repetitions in the text would have been discovered by your analysis....One can consider offering a Discount for a large amount of them.
Be careful with accepting. Be sure to understand fully where this difference comes from and what it means for you. I once accepted a job with thousands of 99% matches and thought it was quickly done. They consisted in adjusting the tags in almost every segment which costed me days...


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:41
English to German
+ ...
Per word is fine Mar 3, 2014

Natalia Mackevich wrote:
As for this particular project, inform the client of the total amount you would charge, don't focus on a per word rate.

[Редактировалось 2014-03-03 19:53 GMT]


There's nothing wrong with charging per word of the original text. That way you can at least justify your charge. Nothing wrong with quoting a total price only either, but a per-word calculation will be easier to accept for a professional client. And the charge per-word should of course come out to a total that you are comfortable with. Just my thoughts.


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:41
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
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It all depends Mar 3, 2014

Dear David,

I see you possess Studio 2009. I don't know which functionality for internal fuzzies that version offers but you can always do it the old-fashioned way. Pre-translate all files against your TM, their TM or an empty TM and copy source when no match. Prepare a new TM and analyse all files again. Now you know how much speed you could gain during the translation.

If you can afford to be more or less out of the running for several months and if you can negotiate reasonable rates and deadlines (that leave you some margin to take on the jobs for your regular clients) this could be quite interesting.

Cheers,
Gerard




[Edited at 2014-03-03 20:20 GMT]


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:41
English to German
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Creating "internal" fuzzies Mar 3, 2014

Sandra Peters-Schoebel wrote:

I personally do not understand where These "infernal fuzzies" come frome. Real repetitions in the text would have been discovered by your analysis....One can consider offering a Discount for a large amount of them.
Be careful with accepting. Be sure to understand fully where this difference comes from and what it means for you. I once accepted a job with thousands of 99% matches and thought it was quickly done. They consisted in adjusting the tags in almost every segment which costed me days...


Check it out. You'll see that "internal" fuzzies are "created" quite easily:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKgmJb2Eupw
go to 2:50 where it is shown in Wordfast Pro.


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 19:41
Member
English to Hebrew
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You are the professional and you set the terms Mar 3, 2014

Of course, these terms should be something that you are comfortable with and think is right and reflects the overall effort involved, but you are the one calling the shots and your client - whether agency or not - can accept or decline as they see fit.

They are buying a service from you and therefore you are the one setting the terms (when you buy a service or product do you tell the seller what are the terms of the deal? And even if you would, will anyone adhere?). If they don't accept, that's fine and just means that you don't share professional and/or business values so there isn't really any opportunity here.

I agree with Bernhard (and the rest), when a client attempts to dictate the terms, it is quite a big warning sign.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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@David Mar 3, 2014

David Jessop wrote:
I feel like they are taking advantage in the sense that they are reducing my fee based on my own work, but I am confused because I have not had to deal with this situation before.


In the past, CAT tools did not calculate internal fuzzy matches, and so people are not used to it. Translators who are not used to external fuzzy match discounts, think of it as unfair for the same reason -- they're not used to it and think it exploitative.

But in my opinion, discounting internal fuzzies makes more sense than discounting external fuzzies. After all, you can't control the quality of the external fuzzy, and an external fuzzy may require more editing than simply fixing the word or two that makes it fuzzy, whereas an internal fuzzy is one over which you have complete control.

Still, your original rate for this client was based on an average of how long it takes to do a translation, and what you used to lose on pricing external fuzzies too low you used to gain on not discounting internal fuzzies. If the client now wants you to discount both internal and external fuzzies, then you must adjust your rate so that the rate still reflects the amount of time that you'll likely spend on the job.


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 19:41
Member
English to Hebrew
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No Arbitrary discounts Mar 3, 2014

"Fuzzy" and full matches of any kind, as well the word count itself are internal statistical data that a professional uses to come up with his or he fee (per word, per hour, per project or whatever else makes it easier on him or her to sell the service to a prospective client). If one is happy to charge less for certain aspects of a project, that's fine, but it should be reflected in his or hers fee and not be presented as a "discount" or "reduced fee", and certainly not an arbitrary one.
That fee, needles to say, must be reflective of the total effort involved in the project (and the word count is just one aspect that should be taken into account).

All this talk about fuzziness and matches is something that I have really hard time understanding.
Language is not data, and translation is not about numbers or words crunching/processing. The words are not the raw material of the translation work nor its product. It is just how it is manifested in the written form. Therefore, that notion that the very simple statistical (or any statistical measure for that mater) comparison that these tools are using to produce their "analysis" can accurately or even semi-accurately reflect anything about the true effort involved in the translation process is just wrong and it completely ignores, devalues, and erodes what translation is truly is.

[Edited at 2014-03-04 00:28 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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@Shai Mar 4, 2014

Shai Nave wrote:
All this talk about fuzziness and matches is something that I have really hard time understanding.
Language is not data, and translation is not about numbers or words crunching/processing.


There is a certain level of similarity above which translation is very much about word crunching, and there is a level of similarity below which it is not. The translator (and the client) can decide, based on the language combination, what that level is, and then determine what the likely time-saving would be, and add a margin of error, and then set the price accordingly.

But this is off-topic. The OP does not question fuzzy matching in general. He already accepts external fuzzy matching. So, telling him that he should not accept internal fuzzy matching because he should not accept external fuzzy matching is rather silly, don't you agree?


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 19:41
Member
English to Hebrew
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Whatever Mar 4, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:...don't you agree?

No.

The translator (and the client) can decide, based on the language combination, what that level is, and then determine what the likely time-saving would be, and add a margin of error, and then set the price accordingly.

The mere idea of fuzziness is enabled as a result of investment in a technology. This investment costs money, time, and effort. Even if ignoring the professional aspects for a minute, what is the business sense in directly passing all the savings that one might potentially obtain out of his or her investment to the client who didn't invest anything in it?

And on a side note, do you really believe that the "agencies" offer the same deal to the client and pass the savings to the end client (I specifically say the end client because I don't count brokers who have artificially asserted themselves into the food chain and serve bigger brokers) in a similar way?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Shai Mar 4, 2014

Shai Nave wrote:
The mere idea of fuzziness is enabled as a result of investment in a technology. This investment costs money, time, and effort.


The investment pays off in the form of being able to provide a service that one might not be able to deliver otherwise, or the ability to provide a service either cheaper, better or faster than a competitor. That is the reason why you "invest" in equipment. You are free to decide to allow the investment to give you only a partial edge over your competitors (e.g. by deliberately not being cheaper, or not being faster, or not being better). If a client says "I want it cheaper", you're free to say "no, I bought equipment that enables me to be cheaper but I choose not to be cheaper", and if you find many clients who are happy with your approach, you'll be a successful translator.

What is the business sense in directly passing all the savings that one might potentially obtain out of his or her investment to the client who didn't invest anything in it?


The client is not your partner. He doesn't "share" in the benefits of the investment.


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 19:41
Member
English to Hebrew
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I disagree with you on the role that these tools play Mar 4, 2014

Tools, and in this case Translation Environments Tools, do not enable one to offer the same service, only cheaper. This is just how they are abused.
They also don't give one any automatic productivity gain because any such potential gain is largely dependent on circumstances, and they certainly don't enable "one to service that one might not be able to deliver otherwise" because the service is translation and it is completely technology-independent because it is based on expertise and skill.
The tools don't do the work for the professional, they are just there to help him or her and not the other way around.

They offer some benefits in terms of workflow, they free up the professional to focus more on the core work and less on the process of carrying it out, and this investment also means that one might be able to hold off rate increases just a little bit longer overtime. These are the main benefits the client gets out of this investment.

We are not trading in words. The value of our service is supposed to be based on our subject-field expertise and translation skills, and not on some seemingly interchangeable ability to extrude X amount of words in a day.
The (mindless and opportunistic) infatuation with technology that is sweeping the world in general, and the translation market in particular is very dangerous.

Technology is great when it is used in the right context, but when misused or abused it could become disastrous.
When people starting to put the technology (and further the type of technology) in front of the core professional considerations, this only means that someone got their priorities all mixed up.


The client is not your partner. He doesn't "share" in the benefits of the investment.

Exactly.

[Edited at 2014-03-04 11:15 GMT]


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