should quotations be based on source text or translated text?
Thread poster: adremco
adremco
Local time: 08:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
Nov 1, 2009

Hi,

I translate from English to Dutch and the other way around, and always give my quotes based on the wordcount in the source text. One of my clients is asking if that's the way it usually goes: apparently he has a Spanish translator that wants to be paid based on the translated text (doeltekst, wat is het Engelse woord?). I told him that I was pretty sure that using the source text is standard, but now I'm not so sure. Is it? Or is it different for every language? Your feedback please... Thanks!

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-11-01 20:19 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, source word is probably the normal thing to do Nov 1, 2009

And in my opinion it is also the rate that makes sense, as in any business relationship you want to agree a price beforehand and avoid uncertainty.

By agreeing a price based on the source words, you are A) establishing a firm base for the future payment and a firm budget for any other stakeholders (for instance your customer's end client) and B) getting rid or any alteration (or suspicion of alteration, for that matter) of the target text to increase the money paid.


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Marcelina Haftka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:35
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
It depends... Nov 1, 2009

Actually it depends on language pairs and the countries where companies are from.
In case of "Western" languages it's usually the source text that counts, but in case of Slavic ones - the target text prevails.

You can get used to it after some time... A big part of my clients base their calculations on the number of source words, but I bear in mind that Polish agencies send payments basing on the number of target characters.


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The Misha
Local time: 01:35
Russian to English
+ ...
There is no such thing as "should" or "standard" here. Nov 1, 2009

Personally, I prefer target count, which for me means that I get paid for every word I produce - not every word the original author produced. I do, however, accept source count where the client insists on it. In addition, target count may be more common when the source is in .pdf.

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I prefer source in my pair Nov 2, 2009

In Portuguese to English, there are nearly always more words in the source text, so I prefer the quote to be based on the source, and that's the way most of the folks I work for do it. There are exceptions, though, for instance when I'm translating from a PDF into Word.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:35
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Used to be target text in German Nov 2, 2009

When I started out almost all customers paid according to target text. Many still do. Only those who use Trados insist on souce text wordcount.

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Quamrul Islam  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:35
Member (2009)
English to Bengali
+ ...
It depends ! Nov 2, 2009

Well, payment on the basis of source text word-count is the most usual practice.
But if you get scanned documents for translation and the client does not give you the word-count, it would be wise to come to an agreement with the client beforehand on payment based upon the target text word-count.


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Ramesh Bhatt  Identity Verified
Nepal
Local time: 11:20
Member (2007)
English to Tibetan
+ ...
Depends upon the Source and Target Language Nov 2, 2009

Hi!

We translate from English (into Tibetan, Nepali, Urdu,
Hindi, Kashmiri, Ladakhi, Zanaskari, Sherpa and other Himalayan, Nepali and North Eastern Indian Languages) and (from these languages) into English. We prefer to count words in English, regardless of whether it is the source or the target language. Because MS Word auto-counts the words in English. We don't like to count words manually. And, for Tibetan, we have no auto-system of counting the words. For Nepali, words are joined together, so the real wordcount is false, if we depend upon what our MS Word Document depicts its wordcount as.

Where transliteration and translation is involved, we either work at per minute audio, or the final wordcount of the end-product.

And this system has been working very well for many past years now.


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xxxkenny2006woo

Local time: 13:35
English to Chinese
I prefer source-word count Nov 2, 2009

In my opinion, it would be more justified that quotations be based on source text. The reason is simple —— good translations use as few words as possible.

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Oleksandr Myslivets  Identity Verified
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
It is better to perform calculations based on the source text Nov 2, 2009

I think the calculation of work cost based on the source text is more correct approach to get comprehension between customer and contractor.
In such case:
- For the customer:
a) the customer understands what the work cost is and hence can calculate the project budget,
b) it is possible to estimate the quality of the translation objectively, because the customer is not worried of the target text price at all and can pay all his attention to the work itself estimation.
- For the executor:
a) it is possible to work with gusto since the temptation to “expand” the translated text by inserting various prettyisms disappears;
b) the work cost is clear, thus he can plan his own budget.

However, in practice, the text translated into Russian “is longer” approximately 1.2-1.3 times than the English source. (Eng. - Rus is my working pair). It goes without saying that such situation determines the way of calculation by the final text. That's OK and many people act so. Why not? But not for me. I simply expressed my opinion.

[Редактировалось 2009-11-02 10:12 GMT]

[Редактировалось 2009-11-02 10:14 GMT]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 07:35
English to German
+ ...
I would say target text.. Nov 2, 2009

Hi! Depending upon the language pair. Soem romanic and latin languages use lesser words unlike modern languages like english. It depends much on the target text, which the customer pays. Brandis

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 08:35
Turkish to English
+ ...
No such thing as a 'standard' Nov 2, 2009

adremco wrote:

Hi,

I translate from English to Dutch and the other way around, and always give my quotes based on the wordcount in the source text. One of my clients is asking if that's the way it usually goes: apparently he has a Spanish translator that wants to be paid based on the translated text (doeltekst, wat is het Engelse woord?). I told him that I was pretty sure that using the source text is standard, but now I'm not so sure. Is it? Or is it different for every language? Your feedback please... Thanks!

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-11-01 20:19 GMT]


I do not think that there is any such thing as a 'standard' in our business. In my time as a translator, I have used many different measures - word, line or page - and on both a source and target text basis. It is all a question of what the translator and the client agree on. A lot depends on the language pair and the country involved, as well. There are often customary practices for each of these. Both sides need to have a clear understanding of the precise basis on which they are working in advance, though.


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xxxkenny2006woo

Local time: 13:35
English to Chinese
To Brandis Nov 2, 2009

Simply raising your rate will solve the problem.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:35
Flemish to English
+ ...
Depends Nov 3, 2009

It is better to calculate based on your own profitability.

This gives the following:

-Germanic (synthetic language) into Romanic language (descriptive): target.
Vice-versa: source.
-Romanic>Slavonic ? Source
Vice-versa: target.
-Germanic into slavonic: target
vice-versa: source.
-Baltic >Romanic ?
-Romanic>Baltic?

Eastern languages ?

Basic principle : whichever has most words.


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