Customer requests Glossary development as part of job
Thread poster: escribien

Local time: 11:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 23, 2002

We are bidding on a substancial Eng-Spa job whre the contract specifies that we are to \"develop a glossary for use by future translators\". Besides the fact that it represents additional work, I would like to know if this is considered common practice, and possibly other translator\'s experiences with this.


Samy Boutayeb  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:50
German to French
+ ...
Extra work => extra payment Mar 23, 2002

Dear colleague,

Definitively :

Extra work => extra payment

Terminology work (i.e. terminology extraction, creation of glossaries, management of terminology databases, etc.) is time consuming and should be paid accordingly (ideally by hour)




tramont (X)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes it is common practice Mar 23, 2002

I have had some experience of this in a previous incarnation, with managing translation contracts where the end client was the European Commission. I think that it is quite common practice for large projects where there is a need to establish terminology and where the project is likely to run for a long period using different suppliers.

As a translator, it is easy to feel that one is merely making life easier for one\'s replacement in the event that the job is retendered in the future. However, there is no doubt that:

a) it can be of practical use, allowing one to regularise terminology between different translators

b) if the client wishes to write this into the contract, they are entitled to do so, and if you are tendering it would be foolish to make a big problem out of it.

c) if the glossary is a deliverable under the contract, the client then owns it and is entitled to do what they want with it.

The glossaries which we produced proved quite useful for the translators, they reassured the client that we were achieving consistency of terminology, and did not entail a vast amount of extra work. Each translator was obliged to contribute new terms as they went along, submitting them to the project managers at regular intervals. They did not receive any extra payment for doing this, and since they were only contributing a few terms at a time, they had no complaints. The project manager then queried terms with the client if necessary, and a revised glossary was circulated at regular intervals to the translators.

I would suggest that:

a) You define for yourselves how much work you are prepared to do on a glossary in order (hopefully!) to secure the contract and cost this into your fee.

b) As an insurance policy, and particularly if you suspect that the client may make unreasonable demands, you should define in your proposal the amount of glossary work you are able to do for the original fee.

c) You should then quote a supplementary charge for work which exceeds that limit.

The client would probably be happier if you define your limits and charges in terms of the number of glossary items (e.g. maximum 500 entries plus EURx per 100 entries extra), rather than quoting an hourly rate, which commits them to open-ended expenditure without the assurance of a fixed result.

Hope this helps.

Nicholas Fry


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:50
English to German
+ ...
No problem - as long as you get paid for it... Mar 23, 2002

I have worked on several jobs (mostly websites) where the development for a glossary was an integral part of the job.

But that means, of course, that you need to quantify the amount of work required, and to factor that in when bidding for the job.

HTH - best regards, Ralf


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