Coping with discount schemes: the "target price defense tool"
Thread poster: KSL Berlin

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 07:38
Member (2003)
German to English
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Sep 28, 2008

The subject of how to deal with discount schemes based on Trados (or other) analyses comes up rather often, and a frequent suggestion is to adjust one's word rate so that the amount received from a given job comes out the same.

There are obvious pros and cons to this approach, and some of us do not find it unreasonable to offer some sort of a break at least for truly repetitive content that involves considerably less work than translating unrepeated content. Also, with regular customers I think a standardized approach to invoicing is generally expected. However, there are plenty of one-off situations where there is room for negotiation, and sometimes it's nice to be able to compare options.

Calculating a word rate for a discount scale to come out to the same monetary amount as an undiscounted word rate can be a bit of a nuisance, so I put together a little Excel spreadsheet for this purpose which can be found on the "How To" tab of my profile (in German or English) or here (in English). It includes a calculator for an alternative rate scale that can be used to figure out "compromise rates".

As others have very correctly pointed out, what *really* matters in the end is not the piece rate you charge, but how much you are making per hour of effort. That can be tracked with this tool (a rate comparison calculator that also tracks hourly earnings for jobs, see http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/2008/1/Equivalent-Rates-in-Translation-Billing), allowing one to determine over time if the fuzzy scale one is using is really out of whack or not.

[Edited at 2008-09-28 18:30]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
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Super! Thank you very much, Kevin! Sep 28, 2008

This looks ever so useful, especially as I am increasing my circle of agency clients at the moment!

Thanks again!

Astrid


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Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
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Excellent tool! Sep 29, 2008

Excellent tool Kevin. It answers the exact need I had recently.

Thanks


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David Twell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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An amazing tool! Sep 29, 2008

What a great tool! It's a real eye-opener! Thanks for taking the time to create this spreadsheet, Kevin.

David


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Daniel García
English to Spanish
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Thank you! Oct 3, 2008

Thanks a lot for this, Kevin! Very useful indeed!

I will keep it in case I need it.

In the company where I used to work, we used to make a similar calculation based on equivalences to new words.

1000 words of 100% matches were counted equivalent to 300 words of no matches.

It was basically the same concept: converting fuzzy matches into defined amounts of work in order to calculate the cost involved in a given project.

Well done!

Daniel


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Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Spain
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I took the liberty... Oct 5, 2008

... to provide a link to your "Howto" page at Proz from my translator's resources website ( http://www.freelance-translator.info ), as the tool is indeed very useful.

Thanks, Kevin!



[Editado a las 2008-10-05 14:15]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
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Very kind of you, Ramon Oct 5, 2008

Ramon Somoza wrote:
... a link to your "Howto" page at Proz from my translator's resources website ( http://www.freelance-translator.info ), as the tool is indeed very useful.



You are also welcome to link the URL on my web site directly if you want to point specifically to the tool. Over time that specific link on the How To tab may get buried below other additions, which may confuse some people. On the other hand, maybe some of the other info will be of interest. I write most of this stuff for my partner, but I think she usually has better things to do than read it


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 08:38
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
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Suggestion: use effective words Oct 5, 2008

here (in English). It includes a calculator for an alternative rate scale that can be used to figure out "compromise rates".

I got used to think in effective words, which in your spreadsheet would be equal to sumproduct(B4:B11;C4:C11), i.e. 3970 eff. words.

I see the effective word count as the essential unit of measure in our business. I think of 3970, and not of 7950 words, as the work to be done. And paid for.

Of course the job mix ("% of basic rate") is crucial here. Crucial in the sense, we may get it right or wrong (see our discussion somewhere else here). In any case it is ludicrous to talk about "repetition discount" - after all we get paid for the time spent on doing all those words. But that's another story.

regards

Vito

[Edited at 2008-10-05 18:07]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
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Effective words Oct 5, 2008

Vito Smolej wrote:
I got used to think in effective words, which in your spreadsheet would be equal to sumproduct(B4:B11;C4:C11), i.e. 3970 eff. words.

I see the effective word count as the essential unit of measure in our business. I think of 3970, and not of 7950 words, as the work to be done. And paid for.


Well, Vito, you're right as far as the money goes. But consider the discussion you and I are having right now in the DV thread - we both know that "effectively" those damned fuzzy matches are sometimes just as much or more work than the segments with no matches. Thus I prefer to focus on the total economic value of the job and give you sliding scales to play with for what you feel the fuzzies are really worth in a particular case. In job A the high fuzzies might cause me to work only 30% as much as I would for new segments; in the next job, the tag salad might make them the equivalent of an 80% effort.

P.S. - However, I'm glad you raised this point (and I think someone else did, at least indirectly, perhaps in a private mail message). It would be pretty trivial to add this category for both the original calculation and the counterproposal calculation, and if that helps some people to get a grip on their numbers, I have no objection to doing so. I think I'll add this to the German and English versions after I get the Job from Hell out of the way.

I know we have colleagues out there that don't deal much with either German or English. If anyone feels like taking this tool and making a Spanish version or a version in some other language, I have no objection to this at all. If you do so, please send me a link to where the file is (or send it to me and I'll host it), so I can refer people to it or let you know when my versions have been updated.

[Edited at 2008-10-05 18:37]


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Vito Smolej
Germany
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what else matters (g)? Oct 6, 2008

Well, Vito, you're right as far as the money goes.

If you find a way to recognize those darn taggy texts ahead of time, that would be great. Then the profile could be adjusted to reflect the reality better.

Regards

Vito

PS: I suggest (text) profile as the term for that vector of percents, used to gauge the final word count / price. By the way, see www.anycount.com - 30 days trial download.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
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I'll have to think about that Oct 6, 2008

Vito Smolej wrote:
PS: I suggest (text) profile as the term for that vector of percents, used to gauge the final word count / price. By the way, see www.anycount.com - 30 days trial download.


"Text profile" would do, but I think it's generally called "text analysis". Funny that you mention anycount - it's integrated in TO3000, which I've finally decided to change over to now that the software I have used for the last 5 years has been discontinued. No matter what counting method I use I still go through files page by page looking for bitmaps or use my method of making a PDF and doing a second count on the OCR of that PDF to make sure nothing has been missed (or in the case of embedded Excel objects that may be counted by the tool but have lots of extra content of no interest that no unreasonable "extra" is included).

This reminds me of another minor but irritating issue - the difference in structure between DV and Trados word count logs and the extra work this causes me at times. When I have some time to kill maybe I'll do a macro to import and parse the DV log and compare it to the Trados scale. Something like this will be useful anyway for an algorithm that takes into account the code density.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
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German to English
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This has now been added Oct 23, 2008

Vito Smolej wrote:
I got used to think in effective words...[Edited at 2008-10-05 18:07]


Or "weighted words" as some call them. After seeing this issue come up again in another thread I added this information to both the German and English versions of the spreadsheet. My formula for doing so is less concise than yours (I am a lousy Excel user and forgot to look up your note before I made the change), but the result is the same.


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