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Quoting for the translation of a text you have not seen
Thread poster: Gudrun Wolfrath

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:36
English to German
+ ...
Jul 16, 2015

Do you ever quote for texts you have not read? I am asking this because many people seem to do so.

Whenever a company (potential new client) contacts me asking for my rate and delivery date regarding a specific project I ask them to send me the text first (confidentiality guaranteed, of course). Sometimes I do not hear from them again.

Obviously other proz members are not so peculiar about this.

What is your take on this?



[Bearbeitet am 2015-07-16 13:59 GMT]


 

Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:36
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Easily answered Jul 16, 2015

No text, no quote.
This does not apply to clients that do send me always similar jobs, such as SPCs/PILs or lab manuals, or press releases, but for everything else - no text - no quote.

[Edited at 2015-07-16 14:34 GMT]


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:36
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Siegfried. Jul 16, 2015

I agree with you. Similar assignments, that is something else.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:36
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Not a firm rate, but a probable one Jul 16, 2015

I generally refuse to go far out of my comfort zone so it's normally a case of being able to do it for my normal rate, or turning down the job. So I can give them a "probable" rate before I see the text if the content is clearly something I'm going to get along with, but it's always subject to change as the file format may be problematic, etc.

For any job that requires editing text, I won't give anything other than my hourly rate prior to seeing it. A thousand words written and checked by a professional and fully competent writer/translator will be far faster to process than the same volume of words written/translated by someone with a poor grasp of written English (whether they're a non-native or native speaker of English!).


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:36
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Sheila. Jul 16, 2015

Maybe I am rather cautious. But sometimes they indicate a field that includes a wide range of topics.

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 17:36
Chinese to English
We just discussed this Jul 16, 2015

http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/286340-pig_in_a_poke.html

In principle, you're right. You can't make a binding quote on a text you haven't seen. In practice, the Proz system of blind "quotes" works OK most of the time. When the text arrives, you can always adjust the number you gave the client before.


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:36
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Phil. Jul 16, 2015

Also for the link. I missed out on that discussion.
I just don't want to give a promise I might not be able to keep because I didn't know all the facts.

[Bearbeitet am 2015-07-16 14:58 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:36
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Conditional quote Jul 16, 2015

In such cases, no text provided, I give them a conditional quote (at my standard rate) under the proviso that it will be confirmed or rejected upon examination of the actual source material. This will give the prospect a rough idea of whether the size of the translation, in terms of cost, fits their budget.

If examination shows that I CAN do it, however at a higher price, I'll give them objective reasons why. For instance, it may require extensive DTP on non-editable tables, graphic editing of text embedded in illustrations, effacing/covering existing subtitles on video to put mine, etc. If possible, I'll give them options to save on these additional costs, like using their own resources to provide me with a more workable file.

If the examination shows that I CANNOT do it on account of specialized content, I'll tell them so (objective reasons) and, if possible, refer them to a colleague who specializes in that area. Most of them charge the same rates as I do.

Yesterday a MD contacted me about translating his book. I gave him my rates, he wasn't skilled in word counting, so he sent me one chapter as a sample. I found some 'medical' text there, which is an area I don't serve, so I told him I wouldn't be doing it. He insisted, explaining that it was an adventure, with some medical incidents. I replied, explaining that I am unfamiliar with the entire medical environment, and gave an example from his sample. Someone had a limb... "cut off" or "amputated"? Such silly outlander quandaries would haunt me throughout the entire book. He agreed.


 

xxxbrg
Netherlands
No text, no quote Jul 16, 2015

A written quote is a contract. It is binding.

If there is no text, then I only can give estimations (something like: 1000 words of commercial text? Then this will probably cost you about € 100 (for agencies) or € 150 (for direct clients). I always state that the wordcount is based on Word (clients can easily do that themselves).


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:36
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, José. Jul 16, 2015

Conditional quote, I'll bear this in mind.

 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:36
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Yes I do! Jul 16, 2015

I can always reject them after reading.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:36
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I tell them a basic word rate and an hourly rate if I think it appropriate Jul 16, 2015

I do not give a quote for the specific job, but with a rate clients can work out whether they want to send me the text or not.

Some run away at once, and others send me the text, and then I can begin to think about an actual quote. I never mention an amount for the job without seeing the text...

I tend to set the 'basic' rates high for new clients, but it depends who they are. If it is a Danish colleague, they know the ropes, and we take it from there. If it is a private individual with a birth certificate or exam papers, whatever, then I try to keep it reasonable.

Very often, I don't have time, and then I simply say sorry, can't help you this week.


 

Claudia H. P. Hoogewijs  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 11:36
English to Portuguese
+ ...
ProZ System of blind "quotation"... Jul 17, 2015

Phil Hand wrote:

http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/286340-pig_in_a_poke.html

In principle, you're right. You can't make a binding quote on a text you haven't seen. In practice, the Proz system of blind "quotes" works OK most of the time. When the text arrives, you can always adjust the number you gave the client before.


... makes professional and qualified translators turn into victims of an unfair bidding environment, in my opinion. And this, for me, is not OK. Countless times I felt obliged to fill out a "quote" per word on job postings without having a real idea about its content in order to have a "chance" to postulate for a job that apparently fit my skills. And the major problem of blind quotation is that clients are then used to post blind jobs, frequently providing only a large list of requirements, just to get a broad range of prices, they don't even care to give you a sample of the document or answer your questions, they are here at ProZ simply to hunt the lowest quotes per word possible... just like an auction.


 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:36
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
quote on text unseen Jul 17, 2015

Increasingly agencies are demanding that translators sign and return an NDA before they even send you the text. I have sent back a signed NDA for a number of agencies and never heard from them again. Just as some agencies seem to be just accumulating CVs, some agencies seem to be stockpiling NDAs.
So: no text, no quote.


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:06
English to Hindi
+ ...
Yes, this is indeed becoming a nuisance Jul 17, 2015

Michael Newton wrote:


Increasingly agencies are demanding that translators sign and return an NDA before they even send you the text. I have sent back a signed NDA for a number of agencies and never heard from them again. Just as some agencies seem to be just accumulating CVs, some agencies seem to be stockpiling NDAs.
So: no text, no quote.


It has almost become a reflex action with them, they do it without even thinking. In a curious case recently, I received two identical sets of NDAs and translation test material one after the other from the same PM in an agency. He had sent me the first set just a few weeks ago, and I had filled it up, completed the tests and returned them to him. A couple of weeks later, he send the same paperwork and tests to me all over again!

Obviously, these agencies just follow routines in these matters and don't really care what happens to the NDAs or test translations which we so dutifully complete for them. They simply forget all about them and expect us to do it all over again whenever the whim strikes them, as if we have nothing better to do to while away our time.

I ticked off this PM and forwarded the earlier mails and attachments to him and asked him to refer to those. I haven't heard from him since. I fear that all the time I spent with his NDA and test translation has gone down the drain and nothing will come of it.

As for quoting for unseen texts, I normally do this as I apply the same rates for all types of work, so it really doesn't matter what material I finally receive for translation. It is only for editing and proofing jobs and audio/video transcription/translation that I insist on seeing the source before quoting. Even in these cases, I give them a rough quote based on my standard rates in my first mail itself with the note that it could change after I have examined the source files.

[Edited at 2015-07-17 03:42 GMT]


 
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