Would you charge again if you already have text translated?
Thread poster: Joel S

Joel S
Local time: 09:42
English to Spanish
Jan 31, 2012

Hi,

I have a client for whom I translated a document and have invoice for it. They have asked me to translated another document in a different format, but the content is essentially the same. I am not sure if people charge as a new translation in this case?

Thanks for your help!


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:42
Italian to English
Honesty pays Jan 31, 2012

If it's in a different format, maybe your client doesn't realise it's the same text.
They might realise when they see your translation though or, worse still, they might find out after you've submitted your invoice.

It sounds as though you don't use a CAT tool. Those of us who do are familiar with analyses that show the wordcount of segments repeated within the text or in previous documents for the same client (with the offer of or request for discounts on the repetitions).

I would recommend telling your client straight away, agreeing the extent of work required and the price to be paid. You should still charge at least a revision rate (e.g. one third of translation rate) for checking whether the text is actually identical.

Most clients would appreciate your honesty; this approach (if not the individual client) should pay in the long run.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Be fair Jan 31, 2012

Hello Joel,

This has happened to some people who have translated a text for one client and then get a request from another to do exactly the same. In that case, it's down to your own ethics and whether you would be happy with "cheating". However, that isn't the issue here: your client knows exactly what you have already done. So, you clearly have to be fair to both of you.

You don't say if you used a CAT tool for the original translation. If you did, then this one should take very little time. Not zero time, but nothing like translating from scratch. If you didn't, then you'll have a lot of cut and pasting to do, which will take a bit longer. Any formatting has to be done anew, of course.

Personally, I'd work out how much it will actually cost me to do it, then subtract that amount from my normal word-rate total. Then I'd divide the difference by two so that we both benefit. Is that clear?icon_eek.gif

An example: Text A and B are both 1000 words. Text A was invoiced at 100 EUR (0.10 EUR per word). Text B is identical text, different formatting. Assume a CAT tool was not used and hourly rate is 30 EUR. Estimated time for translation (cut/paste + a quick check to ensure there really is a 100% match) and formatting is only 1 hour = 30 EUR. I would invoice the client between 30 EUR and 100 EUR (depending on how much I valued their custom), but most probably around 65 EUR.

Of course, that's just what I personally would do. There are no rules. It's a juggling act between keeping the customer satisfied and optimising profits.

Sheila


 

Pompeo Lattanzi
Italy
Local time: 16:42
English to Italian
+ ...
Wrong word, perhaps... Jan 31, 2012

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Of course, that's just what I personally would do. There are no rules. It's a juggling act between keeping the customer satisfied and optimising profits.

Sheila

Sorry I'm such a nitpicking beggar, I would suggest using a different word, namely "maximizing" i.p.o. "optimizing".
On one extreme you maximize your revenue (for the moment) by charging as much as you can get away with. Very much like a bank, really... but this is only an opinion and I have been known to be wrong before. Chance is the Client will sooner or later find out and will simply walk out on you. So the long term prospects are sub-optimal.
On the other extreme you decrease your right-now revenue, but you in fact increase prospects for the future. Revenue, considered now over a longer period, is probably nearer to "optimum/best", or "optimized".
No need to say, most professional managers and companies nowadays prefer the first option, the reasoning being that the customer will abandon you anyways when it finds somebody willing to do the job for one cent less. So it boils down to whether you share such a view of your customers or you think they are decent folks.
In the end, this is really just a sophisticated version of the famous "better an egg today or a hen tomorrow?" dilemma which I believe exists in every language.


 

Joel S
Local time: 09:42
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you!!!! Jan 31, 2012

Thank you, Sheila and Russell, for your responses. They made my decision very simple. The new project is in a different format and I don't use CAT tools, so I have to reformat everything, on top of adjusting translation to variations in the original text.

This had not happened to me before, so, although intuitively I knew what to do, it is reasuring to hear your opinions.

Thank you again for your help,

JSC


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
@ Pompeo Jan 31, 2012

Hmm. You may be right about word choice, and I probably should have said it's a juggling act between maximising and optimising profits.

I can't take the short-term view of profit. I like to think of myself as a businesswoman, but not at the expense of common decency. So I won't be kicked by clients (as some agencies think they have a right to do), but neither will I treat them worse than I would like them to treat me. Fair's fair.

I know clients are free to leave at any time, so I suppose I ought to fleece them while I can. But I prefer to try to hold onto them (as long as they are decent). At least I'll be able to live with my own conscience after they've all gone.icon_smile.gif

Sheila


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:42
Romanian to English
+ ...
Be honest Jan 31, 2012

I agree with Russell: honesty pays.

I had a similar situation not long ago, when I discovered my text was already available in English on the end client's website - the subsidiary probably didn't know about it. I did have to check paragraph by paragraph and do some formatting, so there was work involved. I charged 30% for this part, which is my rate for full matches using a CAT tool. Time spent on it was actually 30% of what it would have taken to translate from scratch. Everybody was satisfied, and I'm able to live with my own conscience, as Sheila put iticon_smile.gif

Another important aspect is that you should explain what you are actually doing with the text now, even if you already translated it before - that way the client knows what they are paying for, or perhaps they choose to do it internally.


 

Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:42
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
* Jan 31, 2012

Joel S wrote:

Hi,

I have a client for whom I translated a document and have invoice for it. They have asked me to translated another document in a different format, but the content is essentially the same. I am not sure if people charge as a new translation in this case?

Thanks for your help!


You may offer him a discount if you wish. Or suggest to pay on per time basis.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Important point Jan 31, 2012

Annamaria Amik wrote:
Another important aspect is that you should explain what you are actually doing with the text now, even if you already translated it before - that way the client knows what they are paying for, or perhaps they choose to do it internally.


I quite agree, Annamaria. It's always wise to spell out exactly what the client is paying for. Above all, it would be very unwise to invoice in this case at a very low per word rate. The client would see that and might expect the next job to be at the same rate! It has to be (1) a total for the job, (b) an hourly rate or (c) your normal rate per word with a discount applied. Then it's clear.

Sheila


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Honesty is the best policy Feb 1, 2012

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is my philosophy. You just need to decide which is most important to you - making money, or your own personal integrity.

For example, in October one client sent me 2 texts that were very similar in content, so I only charged them half price. When I told them about it they were very pleased and I know they will come back to me in future.

However, I dont' see it as "cheating" if there are differences from the original text and the format is different too. If you have CAT tools, you would be able to recycle the first translation and likely make some improvements. In English, for example, you can draft the same document in different ways using synonyms and turns of phrase to make it stand out from other, similar texts or previous versions.

PS: Joel - I recommend you try out Wordfast, it is really helpful in cases like yours.

[Edited at 2012-02-01 08:31 GMT]


 

Paul Carmichael  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to English
Equivalents Feb 1, 2012

Pompeo Lattanzi wrote:
"better an egg today or a hen tomorrow?" dilemma which I believe exists in every language.


Probably "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" in English.


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 16:42
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Slovak version sounds Feb 1, 2012

"a sparrow in the hand is better than pigeon on a roof":-))
Paul Carmichael wrote:

Pompeo Lattanzi wrote:
"better an egg today or a hen tomorrow?" dilemma which I believe exists in every language.


Probably "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" in English.


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 16:42
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Essentially doesn't mean absolutely Feb 1, 2012

Recently, a long-term client of mine sent me a contract I have translated in 2009, with only minor changes made (of which he informed me in advance) . However, as the changes were not highlighted and as the original translation had not been required to be made using CAT (although I made CAT memory on my own initiative), I charged the client with full rate. I strongly recommend that you inform the client in advance, asking him if the texts are identical. If no and if changes are not highlighted, you should inform the client that you will make the translation for your standard rate. Alternatively, you could offer small discount (about 10%).


Joel S wrote:

Hi,

I have a client for whom I translated a document and have invoice for it. They have asked me to translated another document in a different format, but the content is essentially the same. I am not sure if people charge as a new translation in this case?

Thanks for your help!


 


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