Discount for Repetitions
Thread poster: Henry Hinds

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 19, 2009

Not support... I was just wondering, so I ask. I do not use Trados or any CAT tool, nor will I ever. One reason would be this, just seen in a job offer:

"The total wordcount is 7600 words but only 2500 are no match so Trados rates will apply."

Thus I must assume that the translator would only get full pay for about 1/3 of the words, and less (maybe a lot less, maybe nothing) for the other 2/3.

Yet for the other 2/3 I must also use my professional criteria: to change the same word in one language to one of multiple possibilities in the other, to put it in a different place (syntax), to decide to eliminate it or use another expression entirely? My point is that ALL those words must be handled, and it takes time to handle ALL of them.

And is Trados going to do all that magic so all the translator has to do is sit there and push a button to make it happen?

I was just wondering how all that works.


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:40
German to English
Sometimes discounts make sense Aug 19, 2009

From time to time I translate checklists with innumerable repetitions, no syntax.

For illustrative purposes, imagine a checklist made up of 5 components, each of which is evaluated according to 5 criteria, the qualifier being "yes" or "no." In reality, only 12 terms are translated. Should the client be billed for each repetition of the component, criterion or instance of "yes" or "no"? I translate "door" once, "dirty" once and "yes" once. A CAT tool handles the repetitions automatically. Once I got through a 5000 word document in a few hours. The reality of the situation was that I translated about 500 terms, each repeated at varying frequency thoughout the list.

Other examples where repetitions occur frequently are instructions for software operation. It's not unusual for a command such as "Press ENTER to continue." "Press ESC to cancel." to occur dozens of times throughout a manual. There are no nuances, variations in syntax or meaning occurring in such repetitions. It's binary -- either you get it right the first time or you don't.

On the other hand, discounts are frequently applied unfairly based upon a mindless statistical count of words and phrases without regard for context.


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:40
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
How a CAT tool works Aug 19, 2009

Hi Henry,

It is not the recurrence of individual words that is counted as a "match" when you use a CAT tool. A "100% match" means that an entire "translation unit" is identically contained in the translation memory, and will be offered for use. A "translation unit" is normally either a sentence or a heading. An existing identical or very similar "translation unit" is shown to you, if you use a CAT tool, and you can also press a button to insert it into your translation (if it is similar, for you to subsequently adjust, to fit the occasion).

There are many cases where the translation of a complete sentence will be the same again on the next occasion. This is particularly the case if the identical sentences concern excerpts from standard documents, such as terms and conditions of business.

However, there is also such a thing as a "context match". This means the same sentence occurring again in the same sort of context.

"Fuzzy matches", i.e. existing translations of similar sentences to the one you have in front of you, are less useful than identical matches, nevertheless if the sentence is more than about 85% similar it is likely that you will save some time. As mentioned above, the similar sentence is shown to you, and can also be inserted into your document if you wish, and then you fiddle around a little bit and adjust it, to match the new sentence that you have to translate. It can certainly save some typing time - and possibly some thinking time as well.

Some agencies not only ask for a percentage discount for identical or highly similar matches (85% or more), but also ask for a very small discount for 75% - 84% similar sentences, but these start to be less useful, and, in my experience, many translators only agree to give discounts if the "match" has a similarity of 85% or more.

The "concordance" feature of a CAT tool is also extremely useful. This involves pressing a button to ask for a word to be searched for, so that you can see how you translated it the last time, or on the last few occasions. The search brings up several sentences containing the word which you have translated previously, and you can examine them all, to see if the present case is the same to any of these.

There are also quite a lot of agencies who do not ask for discounts for matches and fuzzy matches at all. These are generally agencies who are interested in quality, and are pleased that the translator uses the CAT tool, because of the consistency of terminology that often results, and the fact that the end result is often good - for various reasons.

I would certainly recommend to you to try out a CAT tool if you get the opportunity.

Best regards,



Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good Explanation Aug 19, 2009

That's a very good explanation, Astrid. However, this job poster was talking about words, not phrases, and according to what you say it has to do with phrases, and then only with a high degree of match. That sounds logical. But words... well, that's another story.

But no, I won't be using CATS. I can make all that happen, and very efficiently, with what I already have.

I forgot to mention that some of the heaviest work I do involves paper documents, and CATS are of no use there, none at all!

[Editado a las 2009-08-19 19:03 GMT]


Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:40
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
It's a matter of perspective Aug 19, 2009

Hello Henry,

those "non-new" words have to be seen in the specific context of a segment, so that the non-new (already translated in the TM) words do match to a specific "degree", i.e. they aren't any "loose" words. In other words, the higher the match, the lower my time investment. And I consider my time investment ahead of the rate or weighing.

A practical example: deadline three full days, about 6+K gross words, my field of expertise, about half were weighted, mostly reps & high matches. Invested time: one normal working day net, no real stress, no rush & I cashed about 600 EUR.

A job I couldn't have accepted without accepting any weighing. And as I knew more or less how much time I'd invest in the translation of those weighted words, I could also accept two more "weighted" jobs, deadline the same day without adding any further stress. In my fields, either you work with weighings or the no of jobs is extremely limited, as jobs made entirely of new words are an absolute rarity.

Trados doesn't do any magic, it simply provides you with the thingies you need at a faster speed. Provided that the original feed was a qualitative one, the speed is remarkable.... doing calculations with paper & pen is no problem, but it takes time. Feed a machine with the right means and you'll get the same result in a sec. I admit that it takes some time to learn how to get the most & the best out of CATs, but once you know how-to, they are great companions, worth the initial investment.

As said, it's a matter of perspective and also of the fields you are in...



Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:40
Dutch to English
+ ...
CAT tool also makes it easier to proofread Aug 19, 2009

My experience is similar to Giuliana and Astrid. I also find the fact that you have your source sentence and translated sentence next to each other great when it comes to checking your translation. No need to refer to paper versions and match up the relevant sections. It also means that it is very difficult to skip any parts.


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:40
Italian to English
Wordcount in phrases Aug 19, 2009

Hi Henry

I think your quotation is not actually referring to individual words but to the wordcount in the phrases that Astrid has so eloquently described.
Try it - you might be surprised. Most tools can be downloaded and trialled free, albeit with a limited capacity.


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks Aug 20, 2009

Many thanks for some clear explanations, which I am sure will be found to be useful to many people. There is no doubt that CAT tools are the thing to use in many applications and can result in increased productivity. My own intent here was merely satisfying curiosity because there is always so much discussion of CATS. Some day I would not mind trying them out or observing how they work, but locally I know of no colleague who uses them. Our situation and the type of work done here are very much different from the vast majority at Proz. We live in different worlds, but ours is just another facet of the world of translation as a whole.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Discount for Repetitions

Advanced search

Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search