Off topic: The difference of quoting price/source word and price/target word
Thread poster: Mirja Maletzki

Mirja Maletzki  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:36
Korean to German
+ ...
Oct 23, 2010

Just wondering...

I was wondering why sometimes the price per source word and sometimes the price per target word are quoted. When do you, personally, use which?

If someone asks you for your fee, do you name source or target price?

Or does it depend on which of the both customers ask for?

Or does it have something to do with psychological reasons? Like, the "shorter" language of the both might have a higher price per word as the "longer" one, so giving the customer the seemingly less expensive number gives you a psychological advantage?

Well, like I said, it was just something I was wondering. Personally, I always use the price per source word for business translations and a price per target page for literary translations (latter isn't by choice, but rather by the contracts that German publishers have proposed to me first).


Looking forward to hearing your opinions. ^^


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:36
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Source is easier for quoting Oct 23, 2010

My understanding of this (which may be quite wrong) is that agencies prefer to quote based on source word because then they can offer their client a firm price up front. However, sometimes it may be difficult or impossible to count the source words (PDF files containing images, with handwriting, official stamps, etc.) and so in those cases it's easier to base the price on the target word count.

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Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
I quote on per source word basis Oct 23, 2010

Agencies prefer to quote on source word since it's easier for them to figure out the budget for the project, as Philip mentioned.
Unfortunately, it means I will earn less in English to Chinese translation, for Chinese characters (target word) usually counts less.


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Error by poster, who posted again underneath.

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
Swedish to English
+ ...
Adjust your rates Oct 23, 2010

Jason Ma wrote:

Unfortunately, it means I will earn less in English to Chinese translation, for Chinese characters (target word) usually counts less.

To take this in to account. There's no law that says you have to charge the same for all language combinations/directions.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
Flemish to English
+ ...
According to language typology. Oct 23, 2010

Has been discussed before : http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/171799-do_you_charge_per_source_or_per_target_word.html

I quote according to family of languages.
For 1 word in say German, you have 3 words in French.


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:36
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Word count is only an approximate tool Oct 23, 2010

Williamson wrote:

Has been discussed before : http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/171799-do_you_charge_per_source_or_per_target_word.html

I quote according to family of languages.
For 1 word in say German, you have 3 words in French.


Thanks for the link. From that discussion and this one it's clear that word count (either source or target) is a very poor basis for assessing the work involved in a translation. We all know this, but we have to adapt to a system that makes it easy for the client. Charging by the page is probably a "better" way, as long as you can agree on what a page is. In truth, as others have said, the only fair way is to make an overall assessment of what you think is a fair price for a job and then work backwards to the word rate.


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Alex Eames
Local time: 13:36
English to Polish
+ ...
Have as many rates as you need, but be clear to yourself about them Oct 23, 2010

I think you can have as many rates as you like. But try to be clear about them.

For example if you do Eng-Pol, the word count will drop by 7-12% so you're better off charging on source, but if they insist on target, you can charge proportionately higher.

You should be flexible enough to quote the client a rate in whatever way they wish to be quoted, but it meas you have to understand the relationship between source and target for the type of job you are doing.

If it's a fax job, the client gets to count the words if they want source count (if it looks a long way off, we'll check it).

Alex Eames
http://www.translatortips.com
helping translators do better business


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The difference of quoting price/source word and price/target word

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