Website localization: does my offer sound reasonable?
Thread poster: Michele Johnson

Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:54
German to English
+ ...
Jul 15, 2003

I have to make an offer for the translation of a website (DE-->EN). I don't have much experience charging for this on anything but an hourly basis. The customer would like 2 concrete offers (i.e. fixed price):

Offer A (quick and dirty): Customer sends me the pure text in a normal Word file; I simply translate the text and send the word file back. They are responsible for everything else: copying the new text into their web pages, adjusting file structures, etc.

Offer B (full service): I completely localize the webpage, including
- translation within the html code of everything
- generation of new graphics
- testing to make sure file structure is ok, all links work, etc.
In other words, I would provide the entire functional web site/html files.

To make this more concrete, let's say for offer A, we're talking approx. 100 lines or 800 words. Suppose I charged EUR 100,-- for this.

By my calculation, Offer B = Offer A + extra work. Do you think an Offer B ***3 times that of Offer A*** is reasonable, i.e. EUR 300? I realize everything depends (on amount of graphics, difficulty of text to be localized, etc).

I'd appreciate any comments. What is your experience of the ratio between the amount of work in "just translating" and complete localization? 1:2? 1:4? Something else?

Thanks in advance,
Michele


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
The graphics could take a lot of time.. Jul 15, 2003

..depending on their content. I recommend to browse them first, they are probably in a separate directory. (And of course you know how to edit them?)

Concerning the html, included scripts and links I didn't have any difficulties using Trados TagEditor or Déjà Vu.
These codes cause additional work, but they also cause an additional word count, where many "words" are simply to copy.

For the functioning of links you have to take into account that you cannot save the files by "save file" in Internet Explorer (because it changes the paths). Instead, you either need a copy directly from your client or you open the pages, choose view / source text and save this text.

Good speed, Harry


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:54
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Offer even a bit low. Jul 15, 2003

I do not know if I am wrong in this but three times seems even a bit low.

I do seem to remember that these type of web localizations and what has to be done around it have quite a bit of work and that things usually do not seem to work out as easily. Or perhaps I am not as savvy with it and it goes easy for you.

So, be sure that what you ask is equitable to the time you put into it. Otherwise, I would take the straightforward translation.

Less money but a lot less headache -:)IMHO.

Good luck!
Lucinda


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:54
German to English
+ ...
Website localization Jul 15, 2003


What is your experience of the ratio between the amount of work in "just translating" and complete localization? 1:2? 1:4?


If you're not familiar with the tools and procedures involved, the ratio is as long as a length of string.

In particular, there are certain pitfalls. For example, some html editors may update the links to reflect your local file system, without you realizing it. Sorting out the resulting broken links, particularly with a short deadline, could drive you crazy.

I would suggest an intermediate approach: offer to overwrite the html files, but don't take responsibility for the code being correct. This will reduce the customer's adaptation work to a minimum but will absolve you of the responsibility for a "turnkey" service.

Overwriting html files as such is not difficult. If you ask your customer to supply the files, for example (as opposed to downloading them yourself), you can proces them in OmegaT and be reasonably confident that the code will be left untouched. Other colleagues will be able to recommend other suitable tools for this purpose. If you want to fully localize the site, of course, you won't want the code left untouched - you will want to include links to the new language.

Marc


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:54
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Editing the HTML is not the issue... Jul 15, 2003

Hi Marc,

Thanks to you and the other responders so far.


In particular, there are certain pitfalls. For example, some html editors may update the links to reflect your local file system, without you realizing it.


Actually I'm pretty versed in hardcoding HTML and editing it by hand, and in fact got this customer by providing a fully functional (well, as much as possible) prototype page as a sample of my work, so am not really looking for a how-to in HTML modification.

I'm much more interested in, specifically, peoples' impressions of the ratio of the "pure" translation to all the other work that goes along with web localization. If you were billing on a pure hourly basis: how long would it take you to translate "just" the text (if it were provided as just a text file), and how much would you typically spend if you fully localized the site? Any orders of magnitude?

You might wonder why I can't just estimate this myself; I just never paid attention, and before could always bill afterwards, according to actual hours spent. Here I have to commit myself ahead of time.

For Offer A, my guess is that I would spend about 4 hours on it. For Offer B, I can imagine spending 6 hours translating and fixing code, maybe 3 generating graphics, and another 3 testing the site and checking that everything works (and hence my charges that are 3 times that of Offer A).

Does that sound even remotely reasonable?


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RWSTranslation
Germany
Local time: 02:54
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Test it Jul 15, 2003

Hello,

if there are only 100 lines to translate, you can do the job in approx. 1 - 2 hours with a rush translation. Then you can take a look on the html files and you will see the quality of your tools.

After this you know enough to make your offer.

Which tool will you use for the translation ?

Hans


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invguy  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 03:54
English to Bulgarian
I say, carefully consider pros and cons. Jul 15, 2003

Michele, you might be taking the steep path with offer B. 'Full service' is a tricky thing.

'Generation of new graphics' might be an hour's job, but might just as well take you days (even under the assumption that you are fairly confident in graphic apps and image processing). I am a graphic designer myself, so I assure you there can be a world of difference between 'a graphic' and 'a graphic'... even more so, when the word is in plural

In addition, the notion of 'testing', as applied to a website, suggests quite a lot of specialized knowledge. The problems you might run into depend on the site's size, structure, original coding quality, plus a bunch of other factors.

In addition, there are websites that are mixed up by default - i.e. their entire concept is faulty or inappropriate. You certainly wouldn't want to take over responsibility for making *such* a site work! Often that would mean complete redesign.


Briefly: IMO try task B only if you can team up with a skilled web programmer and/or designer. Even then, you'd better outline your own responsibilities very clearly. Besides, if it turns out that additional work is needed (unrelated to translating), the project schedule would have to be adjusted accordingly, and the work would have to be adequately compensated. Make sure the contract leaves enough slack for that.


Else, go with task/offer A (or, eventually, translate HTML files, but nothing more). Way safer...


BTW this works vice versa, too: when I do design projects in languages in which I'm less than fluent, I always request that the client consult with a professional translator, even when *it seems* to me that I can handle translation/editing myself. Been through a few close shaves in the past... when I was young enough to know everything...


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:54
English to French
No ratio Jul 23, 2003

Michele Johnson wrote:
...
I'm much more interested in, specifically, peoples' impressions of the ratio of the "pure" translation to all the other work that goes along with web localization. If you were billing on a pure hourly basis: how long would it take you to translate "just" the text (if it were provided as just a text file), and how much would you typically spend if you fully localized the site? Any orders of magnitude?

You might wonder why I can't just estimate this myself; I just never paid attention, and before could always bill afterwards, according to actual hours spent. Here I have to commit myself ahead of time.

For Offer A, my guess is that I would spend about 4 hours on it. For Offer B, I can imagine spending 6 hours translating and fixing code, maybe 3 generating graphics, and another 3 testing the site and checking that everything works (and hence my charges that are 3 times that of Offer A).

Does that sound even remotely reasonable?


Actually, the concept of ratio doesn't make sense to me. You can't talk about a ratio because the time is no longer related to how much words there are.

For intance, 200 words to translate and 10 graphic could take you 5 hours, whereas you can do 200 words in 30 minutes (ratio 1:10) but if you have 1 graphic instead of ten, the ratio is 1:2. And we haven't talked about the tagging of the page yet.

You can't multiply words by pictures by tagging, so ratios are not a good rule of thumb in this case.

What I would suggest would be to calculate things separately:

Basic word rate
Premium for tag handling (moving tags to their proper positions while translating, checking tags integrity,...)
Tagging fees (not much - many tools can do the job quite fast. I love Rainbow, but that's not the only one.)
A flat fee per graphic. if you need about 30 minutes per graphic, charge a flat fee of €20 per graphic. (or whatever is half of your hourly rate)
A 10% safety margin. (Things can turn out more time consuming with graphics and coded text. As you have to charge a flat rate and not go by the hour, any unexpected problem will be at your expense and shouldn't be.)

I.e.: 2 Files for a total of 5000 words and 6 graphics:
5000 words x (0.10+2) = 600
Tagging fees = € 25 x 2
6 graphics x 20 = 120
Sub total = 770
Safety margin = 77
Total: € 847

That's how I see it. Hope this helps.

Sylvain


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