Thread poster: Sandra Schlatter

Sandra Schlatter  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:18
English to German
+ ...
Mar 27, 2002


Would you mind giving me your views and experiences regarding the following matter:

A few days ago an agency contacted me. I could tell from the e-mail address they used that they had found me somewhere on the internet where I am not currently keeping a very well maintained profile - to say the least - so I was somewhat suspicious from the start.

The project was going to be quite small and very straightforward content.

I quoted my price and agreed to do the job for what would have been 24% less as a one-off instead of a test.

They calculated a total price based on this reduced rate and their wordcount and sent me a PO.

When I received the files and looked at the wordcount in Word, the project turned out to have 32.5% more text than they had stated.

I then got back to them and asked for a revised PO.

The reply was, that many of the words were repetitions (titles repeated etc.), names and addresses.

When I pointed out that I was not going to do 32% more work on top of a 24% discount- which brings the rate down to under 60% of my modest standard rate- they replied they had \"someone in-house who can do these translations\".

That\'s of course fine by me, but have I missed something in terms of how the wordcount-issue is usually handled? This project was certainly no loss, but I would hate to lose others by insisting if I was in the wrong.

Any comments on this would be highly appreciated! Thanks.


Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO) (X)
Local time: 18:18
German to English
+ ...
You were right to speak up; they were wrong to cheat you like that! Mar 28, 2002

They tricked you into taking on a job without giving you the full details and terms (or, in other words, by changing the facts around on you after accepting the job) - that\'s cheating!

Besides, unless you agreed to use CAT software, there was no justification for bringing up the topic of repetitions, etc.

Trust me, you\'re better off without them.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-28 02:35 ]


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:18
English to German
+ ...
Fully agree with Werner Mar 28, 2002

Unless you can \"see the goods\" before agreeing on a price, there is always the danger that the actual text is going to be longer than you/they/everybody thought.

If you\'re working with CAT tools, that\'s a different story (Werner, I know you don\'t necessarily agree with me on that one...), but even then, you need a chance to analyse the text before starting.

Personally, I never give a firm quote if I haven\'t checked the file.

HTH - Happy Easter!



Erika Pavelka (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:18
French to English
We're in service, not parts assembly Mar 28, 2002

If they didn\'t want to pay for the addresses, etc., they should have taken them out of the translation. You were right to question it (it does sound fishy).

Sometimes I think clients forget that we (and they!) are service providers not parts assemblers.



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-28 14:25 ]


PaulaMac (X)
French to English
+ ...
Mar 29, 2002

You could tell them if they don\'t want to include \"repetitions\", tell them you won\'t include them in the text.

I make it clear from the start that I determine the word count, which is normally machine plus 15%. I refuse to spend time counting words to give a quote, only to have them decide they\'ll look around. If a new client calls and wants a quote, I give them a ballpark figure, with the understanding that it is only an estimate. I haven\'t had a bad debt yet. If they quarrelling with you over the word count, it will probably only get worse when it comes time to pay. I\'d think twice about working for them.


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
I got a similar argument from a client who didn't want to pay for proper names Apr 15, 2002

So I told the coordinator I\'d send the translation in without the proper names and let the client insert them where he wanted.


AnneM (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Keeping the client happy Apr 15, 2002

I suggest:

- No charge for words THEY already knew

- 75% discount for words we know without having to look them up

- 80% discount for words which resemble the source word in +50% of the letters

- 25%+ discount for second+ translations as we are already familiar with the theme

- 10% discount for paper we save on sending text by e-mail

And of course we would pay for all their expenses in processing the translation. And while we\'re at it we might as well pay for the proofreading.



Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Word counts Apr 16, 2002

I had a similar experience recently. I did a Pt-Eng text for an agency in Spain, and to my surprise, when they confirmed the word count (target naturally, cos Eng is shorter than Sp) they had gone to all the trouble of excluding headings that were repeated.

I wrote to them and said that this was just not done, that it wasn\'t normal practice.

A translator translates ALL that\'s in a text, repeated or not (unless the doubt is so great that one actually decides, as a matter of professional ethics, to contact the client). If they don\'t want it translated, the onus is on them to remove parts and to make a word count taht you can check. Not only this, a translator manipulates text, has to read and process it, whether repeated or not, and there are other factors bearing on repetitions like how they fit into the text etc.

The worst of it was I haven\'t heard from them since, sop I don\'t know if my bill and VAT is correct (becuase it hasn\'t been agreed), which I consider to be extremely rude, particularly as I agreed to a rate much lower than my normal one. I will now wait until the pay is due, and once I see that they haven\'t paid, I will bombard them with emails and letters, and if necessary visit them, becuase as a matter of principal, this should not be allowed to happen.

Sharon, you should also see a word count question I posted some days ago in business matters, this time with a generally decent client, who may simply be unaware of the realities of translation.

And finally, why are they asking you to do the job, if they have in-house translators? DON\'T do the job, and if it\'s done, don\'t hand it in......

Please let us know how you get on.


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