How do I charge for lay-out and almost manual wordcount?
Thread poster: adremco
adremco
Local time: 06:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
Nov 8, 2009

I'm translating a text that is a complete mess in terms of layout. The notes are all over the place, everytime The fontsize keeps changing regularly (I don't know how to fix it, tried everything I know), and parts of it are hastily written and cause me to sit minutes trying to figure out what it means.

The other thing is that the structure means questions are asked in Dutch, and answers that have already been provided in English in the blank spaces need to be translated into Dutch by me. Sometimes vice versa. Some parts of the text have already been translated.

They're sending me bits and pieces, and we've agreed that I would count the parts that I've translated, and them to a total wordcount. But I had no idea it would be this bad: this means I would have to sit and spend a halfday selecting hundreds of paragraphs and copying them onto a page, then do a wordcount. Source text or target text, they're both the same.

And this lay-out thing is also starting to cost me serious time, a minute here, minute there... It's a good client, we have a good relationship, and we already agreed on price and the way to handle wordcount. But I had no idea it would be this bad...

What do I do?


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Swedish to English
+ ...
Did you consider having a look at the material Nov 8, 2009

Before quoting?

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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
You might be in luck Nov 8, 2009

if you have Word 2007 and your document is in both languages.

If each language is formatted for that language, then you can highlight any word in that language, do a right click on the mouse and select "style". That gives you 3 options, the last is the one you want "select text with similar format". This will highlight and count all words with that format including the language.

Of course, you mentioned that the font changes all the time so you would have to repeat the process for each font change, and also italics, bold, etc. Even so, it should be quicker than a manual count or cutting and pasting.

Hope this helps.



Paty


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adremco
Local time: 06:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes I did consider tha Nov 8, 2009

...but decided it would be impossible because they're writing it while I'm translating. It's a rush job. Hence the its and pieces. I expected it to be a bit of a nuisance, but like I said: good client, figured a little extra work would be all right with me.

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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:35
English to French
+ ...
What about doing it the other way round? Nov 9, 2009

Stop worrying and talk to your client about your problem. He should understand that you are not a magician. Tell him NOW, before you go crazy, that the only fair way would be to to take into account the translated text. I have already done that.

If he really understands your predicament he will accept it. If it works against his interests (as in the cas of En>Fr pair, the French being more verbose than the English, either he will accept it to keep you working for him or he will negotiate, if he is mean.

I do not know what the difference in your language pair is as far as wordcount in source/target language is concerned. But a 5% percentage of words for example can be removed from the final wordcount if the target language justifies it. No big deal.

But do it right now: you must have your mind at ease while you work on that messy, rush, translation. Let the client take his responsability for his bad organisation.

Let me know what you think.

Claudette

[Edited at 2009-11-09 06:47 GMT]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 06:35
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Hourly rate Nov 9, 2009

I would not work any other way than for hourly rate, and fix the rate so that it responds to your normal income while translating.
regards
Heinrich


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:35
English to French
+ ...
Layout problemns Nov 9, 2009

adremco wrote:

I'm translating a text that is a complete mess in terms of layout.

What do I do?


And the difficult layout should also be taken into account. It is a bit late in the day now, of course, but listen: think of your health and peace of mind. Both are necessary to do a good job and to continue doing it for years.

Be daring: At this stage either your client will help you or it will be a battle of wits. Since it is a rush job you are in a good position to demand help. And what will help you? more money to pay for the extra time to deal with such a messy job. It is only fair to be paid for the time YOU spend on that text while your client is saving his qnd his own client's at your expense.

So, let him know you will charge extra for the time you spend on that defective layout. You are not telling us whether it is a normal Word document or a PDF, or Powerpoint etc... that would complicate things. PPs or pdfs require some software that you should have and it will be difficult to get the client to give you more if he had already told you about the format of the job.

However, remember that your comfort is at least as important as the client's. So, fight for it, as gently as possible of course.

Claudette


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:35
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Translation is all about TEXT Nov 9, 2009

Claudette Hepburn wrote:
You are not telling us whether it is a normal Word document or a PDF, or Powerpoint etc... that would complicate things. PPs or pdfs require some software that you should have and it will be difficult to get the client to give you more if he had already told you about the format of the job.


Originally, our pioneer translation colleagues received printed TEXT, and used a pen or a typewriter to deliver that TEXT in another language. This is all that TRANSLATION covers. The usual standard is to charge per (source or target - as agreed beforehand) word.

Anything else, e.g. formatting, DTP, video dubbing or subtitling (just to illustrate how far it can go) is beyond translation. Unless you can find a measurement unit to charge for that, or if it's simply straigtenhing up a 'fruit salad' into TEXT, you may charge for the hour of your time spent in that. Many DTP operators charge by the hour, and most video dubbers (not translators) too. So it's a matter of separating/itemizing what they want from you and assigning price tags to each item. Maybe they don't want some of them, so itemizing will be the only way to identify these. Maybe they don't want formatting, so you may just deliver a TXT file.


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adremco
Local time: 06:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Word Nov 9, 2009

Thanks for the reactions. It's a wordfile. Source and target text are both the same way. I think I'm just nog going to spend too much time on lay-out (they have to add all the bits together themselves anyway), and devise a system where I select bigger chunks of text that have some sentences in it that I didn't translate, and then ask if they're okay with that in exchange for the lay-out work. There was no way around this: I just took a risk because they didn't have the text available for review before sending them. Thanks for the advice!

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