DTP pricing
Thread poster: Irina Banks

Irina Banks
United States
Local time: 09:22
English to Russian
+ ...
Sep 17, 2009

Can somebody please give me an idea about the cost of desk top publishing - once you are given the translation and the source text, say in pdf format with the request to deliver an outlay similar to the original document? I am interested: in pricing per page and average time per page. Thanks.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Too many variables are involved Sep 17, 2009

I have been doing DTP with PageMaker for 20+ years, and haven't yet found a "safe" way to calculate costs. A while ago I developed (using OmniForm) an electronic form that would allow me, by entering some publication-specific data, to calculate cost.

Key variables are:

Page size - Of course, there is only so much you can sensibly cram into a page, so it determines how much "stuff" will be in there.

Page count - Pretty obvious, though I consider also how many pages are B&W and how many in color. I also consider how many pages contain illustrations. This may increase complexity (e.g wrap-arounds, St. Sebastians & other stuff) or decrease it (e.g. just a photo and one caption).

Tables - Their size and complexity. Some of them may involve a lot of work, especially if cells are crammed with text. I class them into three complexity categories.

Source material - What material will you get? If it's just copying and pasting the translation you get on a file from the same DTP software you use, it's simple. If you need some fellow DTPer "beachcombing" and exporting all the material from a different software package file, it may be troublesome. If you have to "scrape" all the stuff from PDF files, it's another thing, and if you have to scan from hardcopy, yet another. It's a measurement of the level of difficulty you'll face upon getting all the material you need to assemble your translated pub.

Illustrations - Will you get them on separate computer files, our will need to extract them otherwise? How "painful" is that kind of extraction?

Fonts - Are fonts used common ones (Times, Arial, etc.)? Will they accept the closest lookalikes you have? I keep an 11,000 fonts collection for that. Will they provide the special fonts? Or are you expected to buy their licenses? (Some are quite expensive!)

Illustrations - I count them, classifying into three types:
a) as-is - just capture and place them.
b) easy - they require erasing and replacing text on a clear background
c) complex - requiring graphic editing to replace merged text

Languages - I do DTP among pairs in 5 languages (though translate only between 2 of them). If they order DTP in more than one pair, a generous discount for the second and further langs applies.


The above covers most of it. Much will depend on the software you use.

Just one example to illustrate. A client wanted a catalog translated, the translation implemented on their FrameMaker files, no other way. The only willing FrameMaker operator I found would charge for the implementation alone as much as I'd charge for translating and rebuilding the whole pub with PageMaker. He said FrameMaker was such a pain, that if he did it, it should be for good money. The obstinate client gave up.

The other extreme would be editing the PDF directly with e.g. InFix.

The reason I stick to "vintage" PageMaker is that I'm sooo familiar with it, that I can lay out everything in fine detail much faster than the most skilled user could ever dream of doing coarsely with MS Word.

Hope this helps.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:22
English to German
+ ...
Hello Irina - here is how I determined the cost for an ongoing DTP project Sep 17, 2009

Irina Banks wrote:
Can somebody please give me an idea about the cost of desk top publishing - once you are given the translation and the source text, say in pdf format with the request to deliver an outlay similar to the original document? I am interested: in pricing per page and average time per page. Thanks.


First of all: Never agree to a price per page. It just doesn't work this way in DTP because every page looks differently.

Here is what I did before I started a large series of direct mail (sweepstakes):

I brought some pieces to a local DTP provider / print shop and asked for a quote. LazerQuick for example charges US $ 75.00 per hour and they gave me an estimate for the time needed. That's what I based my quote for the customer on. Personally I charge a 3-digit rate for graphic design (please note that I studied that at the university). The client was happy with my rate.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Artists x technicians Sep 17, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:
First of all: Never agree to a price per page. It just doesn't work this way in DTP because every page looks differently.


Correct, Nicole! If they threaten to torture you to pull out a price per page, without showing the actual pub, feel authorized to smell a rat.

Nicole Schnell wrote:
Personally I charge a 3-digit rate for graphic design (please note that I studied that at the university). The client was happy with my rate.


Yes, you create some dazzling design, which might justify your use of InDesign, Quark, or Corel. Last time I saw Corel, it went under the name of Ventura Publisher, unless I'm mistaken.

I charge much less (though it may reach 4 digits) than the creative genius did to develop a publication, to produce a translated replica of it with PageMaker, as I studied mechanical engineering (which has nothing to do with it) instead.

[Edited at 2009-09-17 19:03 GMT]


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Irina Banks
United States
Local time: 09:22
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you note Sep 17, 2009

Thank you José and Nicole for your notes and "opening my eyes" - I will never do per page pricing and this is actually what my client requested from me. The thing I have been trapped once - my customer asked me to do translation in InDesign and because I was unexperienced in Desk Top Publishing I agreed to do both the translation and outlay for the price of the translation - this is where I have been cough. My new customer insist on a ВЕЗ price per page but I agree with José - there are so many variables and thanks, José, for sharing your experience with me.

Another thing which interests me a lot: I use TRADOS SDLX software: is there a way to use plug ins for Quark, InDesign, Page Maker (I like it by the way too but I never used Corel) and if there is - and I don't know how other translators go about it out of those who use this CAT tool, how to go about it?

I always believe I should provide a comprehensive service to my clients and now I feel that it is translating-proofreading-editing and ВЕЗ link rather than just translations. I will appreciate Nicole, if you tell me more about your University studies - the name and the length of the course? Thank you so much beforehand. I have studies DTP just practicing it but now I am thinking about taking at least an on-line course.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:22
English to German
+ ...
Hi Irina Sep 17, 2009

Irina Banks wrote:
I will appreciate Nicole, if you tell me more about your University studies - the name and the length of the course?


I studied 10 semesters at a German university and hold degrees in Marketing Communication and Advertising Design. There were no computers back then, BTW...


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Irina Banks
United States
Local time: 09:22
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nicole Sep 17, 2009

WOW! 10 semesters! 5 years! This is a full time program, but you said there were no computers back then - how did you catch up? I will keep your contacts, OK? and if I have serious PO involving DTP - I will get in touch with you. Thanks again, Nicole, for your contribution.

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Verónica Garello
Argentina
Local time: 13:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
A small comment Sep 17, 2009

Irina Banks wrote:

Thank you José and Nicole for your notes and "opening my eyes" - I will never do per page pricing and this is actually what my client requested from me. The thing I have been trapped once - my customer asked me to do translation in InDesign and because I was unexperienced in Desk Top Publishing I agreed to do both the translation and outlay for the price of the translation - this is where I have been cough. My new customer insist on a ВЕЗ price per page but I agree with José - there are so many variables and thanks, José, for sharing your experience with me.

Another thing which interests me a lot: I use TRADOS SDLX software: is there a way to use plug ins for Quark, InDesign, Page Maker (I like it by the way too but I never used Corel) and if there is - and I don't know how other translators go about it out of those who use this CAT tool, how to go about it?

I always believe I should provide a comprehensive service to my clients and now I feel that it is translating-proofreading-editing and ВЕЗ link rather than just translations. I will appreciate Nicole, if you tell me more about your University studies - the name and the length of the course? Thank you so much beforehand. I have studies DTP just practicing it but now I am thinking about taking at least an on-line course.


I agree with José, there are a lot of variables involved during DTP! As for the use of Trados, yes, Trados integrates with many of the DTP applications surrounding us: InDesign, Quark, FrameMaker, Interleaf, MS PowerPoint, Word, Excel... although Trados sometimes is not as reliable as many translators think it is, but if the files are correctly prepared and the translation is performed in a "correct" way, chances to easily get a clean translated file arise. You can start with the SDLX Trados documentation, "Files format reference guide" to have a better idea about how Trados integrates with other applications.

Good luck!


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Irina Banks
United States
Local time: 09:22
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reply to Veronica Sep 17, 2009

Thanks, Veronica, I will and I hope at the forthcoming ATA Conference they will arrange a seminar around the topic of TRADOS applications opportunities so I'll have a chance to get to know more!

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:22
English to German
+ ...
I would be happy to answer any question, Irina! Sep 17, 2009

Irina Banks wrote:
I will keep your contacts, OK? and if I have serious PO involving DTP - I will get in touch with you. Thanks again, Nicole, for your contribution.


Please feel free to contact me via my profile page at any time.

In regard to Veronica's post:

Yes, correct preparation is crucial. I don't know much about CAT-tools because I only work with the light versions. I would prefer to work directly in InDesign, QuarkXPress and what not. However, if the editor doesn't have the same software there is no chance.
At times I receive files where the lines and segments are sorted by font size, or, worst case scenario, are in alphabetical order.

BR,

Nicole


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