Who Really Benefits from TM tools: translators, translation agencies, or end clients?
Thread poster: Hipyan Nopri

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:51
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Feb 6, 2007

Hi Fellow Translators,

It seems that the popularity and indispensability of Translation Memory tools have brought about advantages and disadvantages to translators, translation agencies, and end clients.

Translators/Agencies: efficiency, consistency, productivity, less income for the great possibility that repetitions justify discounts, a considerable amount of money to buy a TM tool and yearly updates, long time to learn it and as a result loss of valuable time.

End clients: shorter turnaround, lower cost, and less dependency on the translator or the translation agency if TM is delivered with the translation.

From the description above, it seems that translators and agencies get both advantages and disadvantages, while end clients get all the advantages and no disadvantages.

What are your comments in connection with these?

Best Regards

Hipyan Nopri

[Edited at 2007-02-06 12:38]


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:51
English to French
+ ...
Short and sweet Feb 6, 2007

We all benefit from the use of CAT tools. However, we don't share the benefits equally. Clients seem to always win more than translators do. In my case, I think I benefit from the use of my CAT tools at least as much as my clients, but I realize it isn't everybody's case - see any of my recent posts on rates, CAT tools and money matters.

It is worth using CAT tools, but only if you establish a rate structure to go with it that will ensure you make as much money as you would without a CAT tool - and stick by those rates until you decide it's time for a raise!


David Brown  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:51
Spanish to English
Benefits? Cat tools? Feb 6, 2007

I certainly don't benefit from having a CAT tool. Normally I charge and get paid around 2 centimos per word for proofreading. One translation company recently offered me 0.5 centimos for 100 % matches, which, if any of you have done this, involves more work than proofeading/correcting translations.
Yes, a fair tariff structure is required


sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:51
English to Russian
+ ...
100% matches and proofreading? Feb 6, 2007


I have always thought that those TM discounts (100% matches, etc.) apply only to translation. I charge for editing and proofreading using per hour-based rate. My understanding is even if one charges for proofreading/editing using per word-based rate, still the TM discount cannot be applicable to this kind of job.


Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:51
Swedish to English
+ ...
Negotiate Feb 6, 2007

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

It is worth using CAT tools, but only if you establish a rate structure to go with it that will ensure you make as much money as you would without a CAT tool - and stick by those rates until you decide it's time for a raise!

I think Viktoria Gimbe has hit the nail on the head, as we say. The trick is to negotiate a deal that gives both sides what they want, in short a win-win situation.

If you feel that you are getting less benefit from a CAT tool than your customer,then that is because you are not negotiating properly.

When using CAT tools, I think your pricing should be based on how much you can earn per day, not per word. Jobs that carry a low price per word can, with the help of CAT tools, turn out to be quite lucrative. If not, negotiate a better deal.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:51
English to French
+ ...
I have once made $100 per hour by using a CAT tool Feb 6, 2007

CAT tools, as Peter says, can also help you more than they help your client. I have once had a job to do (it was editing/proofreading) for an agency and because of the 100% matches that were paid at 50% of the regular rate, I was able to make more money in a day than I usually make in two days and a half. The nice part of it was that the TM was largely based on my own translations, so I wasn't stuck having to edit most of the text, as it often happens with this kind of work. Just imagine - sentences weighing approximately 20 words each, that took about 6 seconds to read and validate each, and the text was about 75% exact matches. I was simply Alt + Num.+-ing away and I could hear the sound of an old-fashioned cash register ringing in my head.

Then again, jobs like that one are few and far between (and it's not the lack of such jobs that makes them rare, but the fact that very seldom do agencies pass on the profits of contracts paid in full by their client, including exact matches, to the LSP). In that particular case, the end client was paying the regular rate for all words regardless of match type, and the agency was only being fair paying me 50% of the regular rate for exact matches. Most agencies will expect you skip the exact matches and therefore offer them free of charge (and most of the time, their client is still paying for those).

If you specialize in a few subject areas and take the above advice about consistent daily rates, I would say CAT tools will benefit you about as much as they will benefit the client. And, really, who cares how much they benefit your client? I am happy for them if they benefit from them, but at the end of the day, I want to make my own work simpler, faster and worth my time.


Local time: 02:51
French to Dutch
+ ...
As always Feb 6, 2007

You should keep in mind the price you fixed yourself per hour. This price depends on your desired "salary", charges and other costs, taken over a year, divided by your number of working hours, etc. Your word price depends on your hour price, and logically should not always be the same (easy texts can be translated faster than difficult texts). Likewise, a translation job can be very lucrative at 0,08 €/$ and another one not lucrative at all at 0,16. Each case is different, and that is why one cannot make a quotation without having seen the files (and all supplementary services involved).


Brandis (X)
Local time: 02:51
English to German
+ ...
only the agencies and partly translators have part of this Feb 7, 2007

Hi! tech. and never the end clients. They pay in full, because these tools are so expensive, having to procure them and the work-up takes time. The end client derives his resources from other issues. He/ she always comes in full count price margin. Best Brandis

[Edited at 2007-02-07 18:23]


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