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Discounts for word repetitions
Thread poster: carly

carly  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:27
Italian to English
+ ...
Feb 9, 2012

Last week I lost a job over my refusal to offer a discount for repeated words in the text. I found the mere notion ridiculous. First of all because the translation of a single word depends on the context, and second because I still have to physically type the word into the text.

My response to the agency in question was that if they provided a list of the repeated words, I would translate them the first time, and then they could fill the rest in themselves.

Needless to say the job went to someone else.

Is this a normal request? It's been playing on my mind over the past few days. Who offers discounts for repeated words (and words, mind, not segments)?


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:27
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
How much experience did they have? Feb 9, 2012

If the average person indeed has a working vocabulary of 8,000, by that argument it stands to reason that one size could fit all but literary works.

Oh well, I once was told to strike all proper names off the word count. When I didn't have time, they made a secretary do it (probably spent more on the man-hours than they saved).


 

Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:27
English to French
+ ...
Money,money, money to be made, perhaps? Feb 9, 2012

Carly, I too was quite surprised at first, but sheepishly got to accept such silly "rules" which all agencies use now.

When I translate for private clients, they never get into those details: they just want their text translated, full stop.

Therefore, I wonder whether in fact, that saving that agencies make at our expense, is indeed passed on to their clients or whether it turns out to be a "perk" that feathers their bed.

What do you think, readers on both side: translators and agencies ? We are talking of 100% repetitions of course.

Claudette


[Edited at 2012-02-09 09:54 GMT]


 

Emin Arı  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 03:27
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
CAT grid discount Feb 9, 2012

All the CAT grid discount must be based on context match and moreover any match below 70% is practically of no use for the translator (proved by experience). So if they request word based discount (discount for every "the" in a sentence!!!) then I really suspect their professional skills or ethics. Simply ignore!!!

 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 02:27
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
It depends on Feb 9, 2012

whether the words were standing separately (such as in tables, lists and so on). If so, the requirement was justified, as you could simply skip the words and "translate" them finally using mass replacement. If the words had been included in sentences, then the requirement would be have been justified only in the case of long and repeated titles and names (such as Office for Dealing with Constitutional Matters of Highest Importance at the Government Office of the Republic of Italy). In such cases, I would use my own abbreviations, such as offx or offq, replacing them in mass after completion of translation.
If they requested to skip other words contained in sentences, the request was unjustified.

Important question - Did you see the translation before rejecting it?



carly wrote:

Last week I lost a job over my refusal to offer a discount for repeated words in the text. I found the mere notion ridiculous. First of all because the translation of a single word depends on the context, and second because I still have to physically type the word into the text.

My response to the agency in question was that if they provided a list of the repeated words, I would translate them the first time, and then they could fill the rest in themselves.

Needless to say the job went to someone else.

Is this a normal request? It's been playing on my mind over the past few days. Who offers discounts for repeated words (and words, mind, not segments)?


[Edited at 2012-02-09 10:58 GMT]


 

Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:27
French to English
+ ...
I really doubt... Feb 9, 2012

... that your client wanted a discount for repeated *words*. They were probably talking about repeated *segments* (in a CAT tool). Did you find out which they meant, before you argued with them?

Note that repeated segments are usually expressed as a number of words.

[Edited at 2012-02-09 10:39 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-02-09 10:39 GMT]


 

Josephine Isaacs  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:27
Dutch to English
+ ...
Is this a normal request? Feb 9, 2012

This is what I recently received at the end of a lengthy sign-up procedure which included a 400 word test:

>>Our CAT price model is structured as follows; please confirm whether
>> you can agree with this.
>>
>> (Please note that this does not apply to legal translations)
>>
>>
>> Translation Only CAT Model:
>> 0% FWR for 100% matches and repetitions
>> 60% FWR for 95-99% matches
>> 60% FWR for 85-94% matches
>> 60% FWR for 75-84% matches
>> 100% FWR for 50-74% matches

I explained why I did not agree with this model, but gave them my word rate range and told them that I would be happy to quote on each document individually.

Josephine Isaacs


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree Feb 9, 2012

Emin Arı wrote:

All the CAT grid discount must be based on context match and moreover any match below 70% is practically of no use for the translator (proved by experience). So if they request word based discount (discount for every "the" in a sentence!!!) then I really suspect their professional skills or ethics. Simply ignore!!!


Many agencies apply this system, so that what sounds like for example, a 7-cents-per-word rate ends up being about 3 cents per word after they apply all the reductions for repetitions and any other ruses they employ to try to claw back every last iota of worth from you, the translator. Their reasoning behind it is that repeated words and phrases can be automatically inserted by most CAT tools. However, in practice you will find that this time saving is offset by other CAT issues (for example, a quick glance at the forums page will show that most problems and queries have nothing to do with the act of language translation per se - which is dealt with in the kudoz section - but concern technical issues arising in CAT use).

I offer a basic rate for basic services. I do not usually admit discounts for repetitions, although I may grant a discount at my own discretion if the repeated material does actually mean less effort is required on my part.

My advice is not to let yourself be bullied into accepting any old demands from clients or they will take advantage of you every time.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:27
French to English
+ ...
Common but still ridiculous Feb 9, 2012

carly wrote:
Is this a normal request? It's been playing on my mind over the past few days. Who offers discounts for repeated words (and words, mind, not segments)?


Perhaps not in the exact form you mention, but it is common for agencies to request "discounts for repetitions" of some form or another. And yes, it is also slightly ridiculous.

Ignoring the issue you mention that what on the surface looks like a "repetition" may actually not be so, at first glance, it might seem logical to offer a discount for repetitions.

But this attitude assumes that (a) translators' "base" price was previously based on the assumption that a text contained no repetitions, and (b) prices and word counts are some kind of precision science.

Neither of these is really the case: translators will generally establish a rate that (a) roughly reflects their intuitive feel for the "repetitiveness" of a text (or of texts in general for a particular client, taking the rough with the smooth), and (b) is in any case just a rough measure of how much work is involved in a particular job.

And of course, before discounts for repetitions, translators were paid so fantastically well that it was sheer naked profiteering, right...?


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 02:27
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Feb 9, 2012



[Edited at 2012-02-09 10:57 GMT]


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 02:27
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Except for 0% for Feb 9, 2012

full matches, the rates are quite generous. I would try to agree on at least 10% for full matches and gladly accept other conditions (60% for matches between 95 and 99% is really fair).

Josephine Isaacs wrote:

This is what I recently received at the end of a lengthy sign-up procedure which included a 400 word test:

>>Our CAT price model is structured as follows; please confirm whether
>> you can agree with this.
>>
>> (Please note that this does not apply to legal translations)
>>
>>
>> Translation Only CAT Model:
>> 0% FWR for 100% matches and repetitions
>> 60% FWR for 95-99% matches
>> 60% FWR for 85-94% matches
>> 60% FWR for 75-84% matches
>> 100% FWR for 50-74% matches

I explained why I did not agree with this model, but gave them my word rate range and told them that I would be happy to quote on each document individually.

Josephine Isaacs


[Edited at 2012-02-09 11:05 GMT]


 

Kalevi Tirkkonen
Finland
Local time: 03:27
English to Finnish
+ ...
Just when I thought it couldn't get any crazier Feb 9, 2012

This is the first time I've heard of discounts based on word repetitions. I've been asked to translate partially repeated sentences for as little as 10 % of the base price and identical sentences for free, but never words. Either way, I don't like it one bit. The implication is that translators are just technicians piecing together snippets of text.

 

Valery Shapovalenko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:27
English to Russian
+ ...
This is an under-developed mindset problem. Feb 9, 2012

The business people just used to the bulk discounts - they would bargain against everything - whether there will be many uniform yellow spots at a painter's picture, or many musical notes in a musical air, or repeated words in a poem or roman - whatever. There is no difference to them even if a worker woul pick and install a number of tiles on the high wall - the larger number of same operations - the higher discount is likely to be asked.
I wonder whether the publishers also ask their authors for discounts for repeated words - hey, people who has authors nearby? Ask them please! I bet they would! Anyone to beat?


 

Valery Shapovalenko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:27
English to Russian
+ ...
Right you are! Feb 9, 2012

Kalevi Tirkkonen wrote:

This is the first time I've heard of discounts based on word repetitions. I've been asked to translate partially repeated sentences for as little as 10 % of the base price and identical sentences for free, but never words. Either way, I don't like it one bit. The implication is that translators are just technicians piecing together snippets of text.


I would even propose to the fellow translators not to accept this condition - otherwise it would last and worsen.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
define:contract Feb 9, 2012

...to enter into an agreement with (a person, company, etc.) to deliver (goods or services) or to do (something) on mutually agreed and binding terms, often in writing.

...a voluntary, deliberate, and legally binding agreement between two or more competent parties.
Guys, I see that you can read and type well, but you do make me doubt you can read and think! Look at the extra bold phrase and think not what it might imply, but what it really means.

Of course, at first I was a little shocked when after our job interview my German boss took a hardcopy contract and said to delete the things I didn't need, add and revise the necessary things or which I thought could be useful! Although a bit alarmed I didn't ask him any questions, then he checked my version, smiled, and asked a secretary to prepare two copies...

So the passages like
Many agencies apply (or force) this or that...
should read
Many translators agree to do this or that...
And if they agreed...

As for me, I always read contracts thoroughly, amend as required, and I don't trust verbal agreements. And no, I wouldn't accept such a 'generous' offer, because I wouldn't have considered it without retouching or negotiating.


Cheers


 
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