How to Price Fuzzy Matches and 100% Matches in CAT
Thread poster: Roxane Dow

Roxane Dow  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:29
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Nov 1, 2001

Can anyone offer information on how to price fuzzy matches and 100% matches for computer-aided translations (Trados, etc.)? I\'m not asking for specific per-word rates, but a general percentage discount for pricing these. It seems that agencies expect a discount on these (to translators\' detriment, of course).

Thanks, everyone!


Daphne Theodoraki  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:29
Member (2003)
Swedish to Greek
+ ...
Fuzzy matches Nov 3, 2001

Hi Roxane,

Naturally, you don\'t want to pay for fuzzy matches, and you\'re absolutely right. After all, a fuzzy match doesn\'t mean you\'re not doing any work, since it cannot be used in the same way everywhere: it may need some editing depending on the context, and you should be paid for the time you spend on that. As for 100% matches, they are YOUR translations, anyway, based on previous work you have done, so why shouldn\'t you be paid for them as well???

What I do is the following: if there are only a couple of 100% matches, I charge them full price. If there are too many 100% matches, e.g. full pages where only a name changes, for instance, I charge them at 75% of my normal price. After all, I even check 100% matches, so I intend to get paid for the time I spend on that. The same applies for 80% or higher fuzzy matches that appear many times in my text.

Fuzzy matches under that percentage (80%) are charged full price, for the reason mentioned above (editing).

Of course, this is only done for clients that insist on paying in this way, and only after bargaining!

There are many others who know very well what translation means and who do not try to save money by excluding words that reappear in the text. Would you tell a typist not to charge you for the word \"is\", \"and\", and so on when it reappears in the text she/he is typing for you???

So, the bottom line is: try to get paid for everything. The CAT Tool guarantees consistency and is there to help you, but it shouldn\'t make you loose money! If you get across clients that insist on paying different prices for fuzzy matches, perhaps you can use the above guidelines.

Hope this helps,



Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 01:29
German to English
+ ...
I don't factor these things into my final price at all Nov 4, 2001

This is only my personal approach and opinion, but I never reduce my price or rates because of fuzzy matches, etc. Some agencies only use these CAT features to take advantage of translators, that\'s all. The real purpose of these features is to help the translator work a bit faster; that \"abuse\" of trying to lower rates because of matches, translation memory, etc. is just a scheme to download more work for less pay on to unsuspecting translators.

Just my own personal humble opinion.


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:29
English to German
+ ...
Another suggestion Nov 5, 2001

What I usually do is to apply a percentage weighting, in line with a pre-translation analysis. The exact weightings depend on the type of job and the level of competitiveness required; they range from 15% for 100% matches to 100% for anything with less than 75% match.

Regarding Werner\'s comment regarding \"taking advantage of translators\", I beg to differ - nobody forces you to accept a percentage weighting. Just don\'t be surprised if others use this as a tool to be more efficient and thus more competitive.


Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 01:29
German to English
+ ...
Quite right Nov 5, 2001

I agree with you, Ralf: no one can force me to do that, but offering one\'s translation services at dumping prices is not the same as being competitive and efficient.

Ask yourself these questions:

Does a laywer charge less for repetitive cases?

Does a notary public charge less for standard documents such as birth certificates?

Does a plumber charge less for the installation of a standard faucet (after having installed a thousand of these)?

Does a surgeon charge less for a routine hernia operation?

The clear answer to all these questions is NO.

Allowing oneself to be taken advantage of is anyone\'s right, but it can have far-reaching repercussions throughout the entire translation industry (cf. the current discussion threads on declining rates, etc.).

Once you have agreed to lower your rates, for whatever reasons, you\'ll be stuck with those rates (that goes for beginners as well). Also, if you agree to lower your rates based on the equipment you have (ie, CAT software), you might just as well agree to lower your rates because of specialized dictionaries, etc. you may have and which may help you translate better, faster and more efficiently.

I am not saying that all agencies are just out to get you, but there are some that should not be trusted when it comes to rates. My feeling is that such an agency would approach you later on and argue, \"Well, you agreed to charge us less last time because of a considerable number of fuzzy matches, etc. [translation: \"because it was easier for you\"] So, now we have another project which would be relatively easy for you. Would you be willing to offer us that same reduced rate for this project as well?\" (hey, you did it once. What would stop an agency like that from expecting such lower rates all the time?)

My (reliable) clients have never asked me to lower my rates on account of fuzzy matches or the use of translation-memory software. So, if someone asked me to do so, alarm bells would go off. And if more of our colleagues stood up to that insane practice, perhaps, we would be able to send a collective message to those types of agencies.

Remember: the use of CAT software is of great importance to both the agency and the translator: a translator using CAT may complete his/her project faster and, in turn, the agency could return the finished product to their client much sooner, thus scoring major brownie points (repeat work!!!). But they should never expect the translator to \"pay\" for their PR (also keep in mind that most agencies that ask their translators to account for fuzzy matches or 100% matches do charge their clients the full price!!!).

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-05 23:37 ]


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