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Is it normal for agencies to pay by the reduced source word?
Thread poster: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Oct 20, 2008

Just asking, as a matter of interest, since I have recently encountered this phenomenon, and have previously had very little involvement with agencies. It involves a special reduced word count of around 90% being arbitrarily applied to the order, and then a fairly normal word rate being applied to this 90% word count. The remaining words are not paid. Interesting, I find.

Which would you personally prefer? To work for a good average word rate and be paid for only around 90% of the words (however, the exact basis for calculation not being revealed to you, so that you then have no means of checking the word count, or even the 90% word count) OR to work for a low average rate and be openly paid for 100% of the words, in which case you could also check the "word count" on your own computer?

Just raising the topic for curiosity.

Astrid


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:46
Member (2005)
English to Russian
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Whichever is greater :D Oct 20, 2008

Of course, I would prefer to be paid the highest possible rate for 100% of the word count

Failing that, I would prefer whichever comes to the higher total.

But if my word counts are 10% off from theirs, I would demand an explanation regardless of the agreed rate.

[Edited at 2008-10-20 15:02]


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:46
English to Dutch
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No way Oct 20, 2008

No way I would accept a reduction without explanation. I MUST be able to check the wordcount calculation. I'm a trusting guy, but I'm not gullible.

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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:46
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
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Trados discounts? Oct 20, 2008

Hi Astrid,

maybe these are "assumed words" some clients use in order to calculate Trados rates? I too do- it is done in Excel table automatically calculating and it quite eases these calculations for fuzzies (I know not all agree to Trados discounts, but that the market reality) Then it goes like:

Words Rate Assumed words
XTranslated 75 0,3 22,5
Repetitions 0 0,3 0
100% 635 0,3 190,5
95% - 99% 70 0,6 42
85% - 94% 135 0,6 81
75% - 84% 108 0,6 64,8
50% - 74% 84 1 84
No Match 425 1 425
Total words in Wordcount assumed
reality as per EUR xxx s/w
1532 909,8

Uldis




Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
Just asking, as a matter of interest, since I have recently encountered this phenomenon, and have previously had very little involvement with agencies. It involves a special reduced word count of around 90% being arbitrarily applied to the order, and then a fairly normal word rate being applied to this 90% word count.


[Rediģēts plkst. 2008-10-20 15:32]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
Member (2002)
German to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for clarifying the matter, Uldis! Oct 20, 2008

Yes, the agency concerned did say something about it being the "Trados" wordcount that they were quoting. However, I count words with Practicount, which I have assumed, for quite a long time now, to be the industry standard. I have also always considered Practicount very accurate, since it counts things like footnotes, that Word omits. The agency's wordcount was significantly below that of Practicount.

I work with Trados myself, but I only run a quick analysis to see what proportion of the new document from a regular customer, if any, is already in the memory, since I translate ongoing court cases.

Astrid


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:46
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
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Depends if you have to check the rest Oct 20, 2008

If you get a TM and do not have to check the 100% matches it would be ok to charge only for the less than 100 % segments. But if you have to check the 100 % matches it is usual to charge a reduced word-rate of about 30 %. So it depends if the customer is sure the tm is ok and does not need to be controlled by you.

On an ongoing project I had agreed to do the repetitions and 100 % matches for 30 % of my normal word-rate. Today the customer was wondering why I charged more than 1000 words for a translation with only 51 new words. He had not noticed that there were 3000 words in 100 % matches. So it is important to make things clear from the start.

Regards
Heinrich


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
Member (2002)
German to English
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TOPIC STARTER
There was no mention of any TM Oct 20, 2008

However, Uldis' demonstration of how they work it out looks probable. Strange, I am sure that my version of Trados does not do that kind of calculation. Perhaps it is only the special agency version that does.

Certainly, Heinrich, I would not be running 3000 words through my software for nothing, even if every TU did change to green! It would take ages just to do that!

Astrid


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:46
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Hi Astrid, Oct 20, 2008

if you would send me your email address to uldis_at_tulko_dot_lv , I'll send you that Excel template. It really speeds calculations up when Trados discounts are concerned. I have seen many
different such calculation sheets used by different clients, but the one I have adopted is simplest from them and most easy to understand.

Of course, one thing is you have to enter fuzzies manually there from your Trados log file - there is the way to make Trados to export analyses directly to Excel, but I have never learned it (sure, you can change percentages for fuzzies and repetitions there in Excel), another is that if there's no TM, there will be no fuzzies at all, only repetitions.

Which, say, as an example, will give you
If:
Reps: 1000
New words: 7000
Total: 8000
===========
Repetitions counted as 30% = 300 assumed words.
Total then will be 7300 assumed full words.

Uldis

PS. Yes, I too use Practicount, especially when Trados is not required. Trados does not count figures, web links and like untranslatable material. I believe it counts headers and footers, however I'm not sure how it treats, say, headers repeating on each of 100 pages. Being not so bright, as wall as to be on the safe side, I count these manually- first I rename the source file, copy the header/footer into a new document and then delete them from translatable file, make the analyses, sum them- and here I am

U.

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

However, Uldis' demonstration of how they work it out looks probable. Strange, I am sure that my version of Trados does not do that kind of calculation. Perhaps it is only the special agency version that does.

Certainly, Heinrich, I would not be running 3000 words through my software for nothing, even if every TU did change to green! It would take ages just to do that!

Astrid


[Rediģēts plkst. 2008-10-20 17:12]

[Rediģēts plkst. 2008-10-20 17:21]


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Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:46
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Quite normal Oct 20, 2008

Hi Astrid,
I deal with agencies only. I can tell you this is perfectly normal. Some call it "equivalent word count".
It does not mean in any way "accepting a reduction without explanation" and you can easily check the word count on your own if you know what percentages are applied to repetitions and fuzzy matches.


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
(Becoming) Normal :( Oct 20, 2008

Cecilia Civetta wrote:
I can tell you this is perfectly normal.
...
It does not mean in any way "accepting a reduction without explanation"


On point 2, I think it goes without saying - so of course I will say it - we should never accept any kind of discount or reduction without a satisfactory (comprehensible and reasonable) explanation!

On point 1... I want to add that this is *becoming* normal, but that some of us are fighting this tooth and nail, and I dread the day when I see all translators here accepting this situation as "normal".

That is not to say that I believe in always charging full price no matter how many repetitions a text contains.

But my own personal philosophy is that I know better than any agency or any client how much time and effort I actually save (or don't save - or in some cases actually waste) due to fuzzy matches. Because of this (experience), I have begun rejecting all offers of collaboration that require acceptance of a "discount matrix" up front.

I explain to the agency my reasoning (which I can validate with actual examples), and if they fail to understand that I am perfectly willing to give *appropriate* discounts on a case-by-case basis at my own discretion upon having reviewed and in some cases completed the text, then I simply state my regret that we will not be working together, and tell them that I will be happy to hear from them if and when they ever change their mind.

This point has been brought up ad nauseum (as I think you are aware), but I thought at least one person should bring it up here.

Done.


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Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:46
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
What I meant is... Oct 20, 2008

... that it's quite normal for many agencies to quote an "equivalent word count" on the PO, as opposed to a detailed word count.
I didn't mean to start a discussion on how fair/unfair it is to apply discounts at all.

Janet Rubin wrote:

Cecilia Civetta wrote:
I can tell you this is perfectly normal.
...
It does not mean in any way "accepting a reduction without explanation"


On point 2, I think it goes without saying - so of course I will say it - we should never accept any kind of discount or reduction without a satisfactory (comprehensible and reasonable) explanation!

On point 1... I want to add that this is *becoming* normal, but that some of us are fighting this tooth and nail, and I dread the day when I see all translators here accepting this situation as "normal".

That is not to say that I believe in always charging full price no matter how many repetitions a text contains.

But my own personal philosophy is that I know better than any agency or any client how much time and effort I actually save (or don't save - or in some cases actually waste) due to fuzzy matches. Because of this (experience), I have begun rejecting all offers of collaboration that require acceptance of a "discount matrix" up front.

I explain to the agency my reasoning (which I can validate with actual examples), and if they fail to understand that I am perfectly willing to give *appropriate* discounts on a case-by-case basis at my own discretion upon having reviewed and in some cases completed the text, then I simply state my regret that we will not be working together, and tell them that I will be happy to hear from them if and when they ever change their mind.

This point has been brought up ad nauseum (as I think you are aware), but I thought at least one person should bring it up here.

Done.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Or... Oct 20, 2008

Cecilia Civetta wrote:
Some call it "equivalent word count".


Or "weighted word count".


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:46
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Not so good news for those working in major language pairs Oct 20, 2008

http://translate.google.com/translate_t#

It even translates fully understandably between such languages as Finnish and Latvian... and I'm told it functions not on bases of computer translation, but on *VERY HUGE* TM.

Why I'm mentioning it- sadly, but seems we will have to accept these discounts and even to be happy with them. I'm somewhat afraid of thinking what will become there even few years from now- but as I see it, it's fully possible we will be paid only for proofreading then.

Uldis


On point 2, I think it goes without saying - so of course I will say it - we should never accept any kind of discount or reduction without a satisfactory (comprehensible and reasonable) explanation!

On point 1... I want to add that this is *becoming* normal, but that some of us are fighting this tooth and nail, and I dread the day when I see all translators here accepting this situation as "normal".


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
OK Oct 20, 2008

Cecilia Civetta wrote:

... that it's quite normal for many agencies to quote an "equivalent word count" on the PO, as opposed to a detailed word count.




That having been said, I meant to add to my post that this should actually be determined, explained, established, affirmed [insert appropriate word here] *in advance*.

In other words, if a project manager failed to disclose to me in our negotiations regarding a job that the word count was to be adjusted/discounted on the PO and/or invoicing procedures and this popped up as a "surprise" to me, I would definitely not accept it. If I were somehow forced to accept it, that would probably be the end of my collaboration with that agency (unless they could point out to my satisfaction that I missed something along the way).

Of course, when it's all arranged and cleared in advance, there is little or no need for a detailed explanation on the PO itself.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ah yes, that's the term the agency used! Oct 20, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Cecilia Civetta wrote:
Some call it "equivalent word count".


Or "weighted word count".


Thanks, Samuel! That was its name: "weighted word count". Never heard the expression before.

However, it seemed to translate into English as "reduced source word count".

Astrid


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