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How to charge for Trados projects?
Thread poster: lotnix
lotnix
Local time: 01:26
English to Polish
Aug 27, 2008

Using CAT tolls can certainly save time and thus money, but you have to get proficient in using them.
I am curious if you charge differently for new words and less for existing matches or not.
Is it different for agencies and end client?


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
It's up to you. Aug 27, 2008

Just because it's proposed to you, that does not give you any obligation to go with their pricing structure. I have told people that I am perfectly happy not to charge them for repeated text provided they go through the file and remove it. But if I get it and reuse a translation unit (not a given), I charge for it.

It would be different if they provided a previous version with associated memory and there was substantial overlap between the previous version and the new version. Or if I've done a bunch of work for this client before, know that there's overlap, and I want to keep the client. But bear in mind that the capital investment in CAT tools was made by you to improve your own productivity, and I wouldn't normally grant a discount any more than I'd expect to ask a restaurant for a discount because their new stove makes their productivity higher.


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:26
Member (2002)
English to German
yes Aug 27, 2008

Paul Merriam wrote:
I wouldn't normally grant a discount any more than I'd expect to ask a restaurant for a discount because their new stove makes their productivity higher.


...or because they have prepared exactly the same meal before

www.interlations.com


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:26
English to Norwegian
If the customer will stand still for it Aug 27, 2008

Paul Merriam wrote:
I would not ask a restaurant for a discount because their new stove makes their productivity higher.


Then another restaurant provides the same meal at a lower cost, wouldn’t you go there instead .....

If you really have customers that are happy to pay full price for repeated text, then good luck to you. But most people will shop around, and if another translator can provide the same (or even better, because it is more consistent) quality for a lover price, then he will get the job.

You can get away with it to end customers, but agencies knows about CAT-tools and will not give the job to a translator who doesn’t give Trados-discounts.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:26
English to German
+ ...
Not necessarily true Aug 27, 2008

Per Magnus wrote:

You can get away with it to end customers, but agencies knows about CAT-tools and will not give the job to a translator who doesn’t give Trados-discounts.


I started giving discounts to my largest client after they provided me with a "light version" of a CAT tool. I tried it for a while. I love working with it but I noticed that I am making less money. I talked to the client about that, he agreed, I am receiving my full rates again, and we have been living happily ever after. Absolutely nothing has changed in terms of work volume.

For other clients if have learned to work with two more CAT tools to be able to comply with their platforms. None of them insists on discounts. I think the magic word is "No".

Summary: All of my agency clients pay the full rate.


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Stephanie Sirot  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:26
English to French
+ ...
I agree with Nicole Aug 27, 2008

It is not necessarily true that agencies expect a discount rate for the use of CAT tools. Only one of the agencies I work with gave me a CAT tool price scheme.

All the others didn't and they all know I use CAT tools. It depends on the agency, but also on the Translator.

When an agency asks for my rates, I give "my normal rates". I never give "rates for fuzzy matches and for repetitions". I do not encourage this trend right from the start, and so far so good.

None of the agencies I work with or other prospects have come with the dreadful CAT tool price scheme.

Stephanie.


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:26
Spanish to English
Me neither Aug 28, 2008

I mean I don´t see the point of giving discounts on CAT tools and the agencies I work have asked for one either.

It is very seldom that I get any real savings in time with the CAT tool; I like it for other reasons.


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:26
English to Norwegian
Amazing Aug 28, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote: All of my agency clients pay the full rate.


All I can say, I envy you. I obviously have to look around for more generous agencies


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:26
English to German
+ ...
Win-win situation Aug 28, 2008

Hi all,
Using a pricing scheme based on specific characteristics of a text in relation to reference material provided can be beneficial for both parties. This has nothing to do with "generosity" or "discounts": remember that a price related to text volume (per word, line, page, whatever) is nothing but a convention to measure the amount of work. It's not the price per word that determines your bottom line, but the amount of money earned over a a specific period of time (hour/day/week/month, etc.).

To remain in control (and to retain the ability of saying 'no') is being aware of the key drivers of profitability. Assuming your client provides a TM and suggests a particular weighting scheme related to certain brackets of repetitiveness, these drivers include:

- the structure of the text you're working on;
- the quality of the reference material provided (usually the most critical factor);
- the resulting efficiency gains achieved.

Assuming you estimate saving 25% of the time it would take you to translate a text of given length (compared to not using the tool and reference material), and you negotiate passing on 10-15% of this efficiency gain, it's a 'win-win' situation.

Discussing this key issue is beneficial; unfortunately, these discussions often lack a reasonable understanding of the economics involved.

Best regards,
Ralf


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:26
English to French
+ ...
Depends on what the client is looking for Aug 28, 2008

Per Magnus wrote:

If you really have customers that are happy to pay full price for repeated text, then good luck to you. But most people will shop around, and if another translator can provide the same (or even better, because it is more consistent) quality for a lover price, then he will get the job.


There are different types of clients. Also, as much as many would try to contradict me on this, translation still isn't a commodity.

There are clients who are trying to find the best quality translation, and there are clients who are trying to find the cheapest translation. They will most likely end up picking two very different translators. Needless to say, I am going for the first and never under any circumstance work with the second.

Translation is not a commodity. When you buy a translation, you are not just buying a number of words (like you would with tomatoes). You are also buying experience, knowledge, time and customer service. A CAT tool will never provide for these (even though I see you think repetitions and 100% matches speed up your work - let me tell you that in some cases, they slow your work down).

If the first restaurant, who refuses to lower the price of a meal even though they have a new oven which doubles the production speed, can still serve my meal in a clean and pleasant environment by a professional waiter with a smile on his face, who doesn't wait forever before bringing me a glass of water and knows his menu by heart, then yes, I will stick with that restaurant. The second restaurant, which doesn't have sufficient business sense to realize that as much as they lower the price, the meal still isn't as interesting if they have dirty glasses, a waiter who has you, well, waiting and reduced staff in the kitchen which cancels out the advantage of the fast oven - well, they still won't get my business, even if the meal is cheaper.

And yes, Per, there are clients out there who pay each word as a No Match. Maybe it's time to stop thinking that you depend on large agencies. You are not employed by them, and therefore have all the freedom to set your own terms and look for clients who will pay you what you're worth. End clients always pay the full rate - have you never heard of this?

[Edited at 2008-08-28 17:37]


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:26
English to Norwegian
Meals and customers. Aug 28, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
The second restaurant, which doesn't have sufficient business sense to realize that as much as they lower the price, the meal still isn't as interesting if they have dirty glasses,


You are comparing apples and oranges, I have only talked about first class work – with or without CAT tools. You obviously think that CAT tools provide a mediocre result, but then you are not using the tool correct.

I have a typical example; a customer wants me to translate ten user manuals. A third of the pages in the manuals are actually similar; only the first manual is a full workload, then my work is reduced with about 10-20% for each one – and number ten is done in ten minutes because all the sentences already are in the TM. It would be a very stupid customer who did not anticipate some kind of discount.

And then, one or two years later, the customer comes back because he has changed a dozen sentences here and there in the manual. Do you really think he would pay the price of a full new translation?


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:26
English to French
+ ...
Who said that? Aug 28, 2008

Per Magnus wrote:

You obviously think that CAT tools provide a mediocre result, but then you are not using the tool correct.


Why don't you check your facts? I never said anything of the sort, and frankly, I don't know what kind of super power you think you have to know what I am thinking...

Anyway, I could name dozens of real-life examples where having to work with 100% matches, repetitions and fuzzy matches slows your work down. You may not be working on the same type of texts I do, so this may not be your case. But let's admit that our respective experiences are all different and let's stop pretending that using CAT tools speeds up work and helps to achieve higher quality in every single case. There are translations out there that are hindered rather than served by CAT technology, not to mention entire language pairs that CAT is not adapted for (one of which is EN > FR).

Sorry, but when I need to work with a TM created by others, the 100% matches and repetitions do add to my workload. In fact, even TMs I created myself sometimes cause me the same kind of trouble - let's just name the fact that certain words in certain languages have a gender, and this can totally ruin 100% matches.

Also, as though this hadn't been already repeated on this forum like a mantra, I paid for my CAT tool and I took the time and effort to learn to use it. I will not let my clients decide in my stead how much money that is worth for me. I didn't buy a CAT tool so my clients can save money - I bought a CAT tool to be able to provide value to my clients, such as faster turnaround times, better consistency and the ability to use file formats that allow for more precise operations and QA. I am not even charging for the values I thus provide, even though I could. So, I am not going to give away free value AND charge less than the job would have been worth had I not used a CAT tool. It's my investment, not the client's.

It would be a very stupid customer who did not anticipate some kind of discount.


According to your comment, most of my customers are very stupid. 'Nuff said!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My experience Aug 29, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:
For other clients if have learned to work with two more CAT tools to be able to comply with their platforms. None of them insists on discounts.


All my clients who had me learn a specific CAT tool capable of match leverage have either insisted or assumed in their POs that discounts apply.

In one case, a client never mentioned discounts to me but their PO always mentioned "WWC" (which I later realised stood for "weighted word count"), and I recenty discovered that this meant that I was giving them discounts for leveraged matches. This discovery didn't bother me, though -- I'm used to giving match discounts, and I have no objection to it, as long as the final amount is a reasonable reflection of the amount of work involved.


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:26
English to Norwegian
Why so aggressive Viktoria? Aug 29, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
- Why don't you check your facts?
- I don't know what kind of super power you think you have to know what I am thinking...
- End clients always pay the full rate - have you never heard of this?
- According to your comment, most of my customers are very stupid. 'Nuff said!


This is a board that gives the translators a chance to communicate and exchange experience; if you want fierce arguments and the chance to hit an opponent with flaming sentences, I suggest you try one of the hundreds of debate portals where you can abuse your opponent at heart’s content.

If you read your own posting one more time, you will see that you compared a CAT-translation to “The second restaurant, which doesn't have sufficient business sense to realize that as much as they lower the price, the meal still isn't as interesting if they have dirty glasses, a waiter who has you, well, waiting and reduced staff in the kitchen which cancels out the advantage of the fast oven”. This is actually a description of a mediocre result. Don’t blame me for your own statements.

In the rest of your post, you use the old technique of arguing against things I don’t mean and have not said.


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Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just one thing Viktoria Aug 29, 2008

End clients always pay the full rate - have you never heard of this?

[Edited at 2008-08-28 17:37]


Hi, Viktoria,

Much as I agree with many of the things you say I can't really agree with you this time.

Much can be said about CAT tools and much more about badly-used CAT tools (many companies use them to get cheap translations with low quality and many companies use them cleverly to achieve the same quality at a lower cost, which does not necessarily mean less money for the translators).

I don't really talking about CAT "discounts" because in the end, as you say (like Ralf), it all comes down to how much you want to earn for your time.

You get the same money translating 100 full new words in an hour for 10 dollars than translating 200 fuzzy match words in 60 mins for 10 dollars (giving a 50% discount).

I have to say just one thing. This last argument, although it might refer your own personal experience is just not true.

If you look only, for instance, at some SDL-TRADOS customers, you will see that they have quite a few end-clients which certainly do not pay full rates to the agencies that they hire...

http://www.sdl.com/en/customers/customer-results.asp

IBM even created their own CAT tool...

Daniel


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