charging my clients
Thread poster: Evgenia M Attebery

Evgenia M Attebery  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:34
English to Russian
Jul 9, 2012

Hi! My name is Evgenia. I'm a RUS-ENG translator-beginner. I'm about to get my first project to translate, but I don't know how I should charge my client.

Here's what I have problem with specifically:

1. The same word that appears multiple times in the text (charge only once?)
2. Words that are not translated into Russian: articles "the,a" (no charge?)
3. Prepositions (charge as a word?)
4. The tense indicators: will, have gone (counted as 1 word or 2 different ones?)
5. Abbreviations I don't need to decode: U.S., etc, i.e.


If you have anything else to add to the subject, I will greatly appreciate your help.



Thanks a lot


 

Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:34
English to French
+ ...
Charging according to number of words Jul 9, 2012

Hi Evgenia,

The most usual way of charging is per number of words. "A red book" will be three words just like "thirteen magnolia trees" You get wordcount tools to help, indeed on Word itself: great!
I believe some German clients pay per signs in a line. Very odd and I have never experienced it.

As to all the details you mention in your numbered question, they are all answered by the above. "A" is a word. I take it "USA" is a word too. As to "i.e" I would also count it as one word, but here again trust your wordcount!

In fact the client is the first to give you the wordcount when he offers the job. You can just check to make sure, but it gives you an idea.

Have a nice day and happy beginnings,
Claudette


 

Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 04:34
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Translation is not only words Jul 9, 2012

Dear Evgenia,

To translate means to transfer sentences and meaning.

Every word, acronym and abbreviation are important parts of that and you must see to it that the whole is good. Thus the prevailing convention is that you charge for all components of a sentence excluding figures.

So don't hesitate to charge for every word, which WORD defines as a word.

Mats


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Every word!! Jul 9, 2012

Charge for every word counted! This is the normal practice. This is the first time in 18 years that I hear about charging less for prepositions or for acronyms.icon_smile.gif

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 10:34
Chinese to English
Charge by the word because it's easy Jul 9, 2012

You can make linguistic arguments about whether one should charge by the word or character or sentence or meaning-unit, but practical considerations are more important.

Word/any word processor will give you a word-count which you and the client can agree on easily. It's the easiest way, and it's become the most common industry standard (though there are others). If you're translating for a direct client (not a translation company), they'll often appreciate knowing the full cost in advance. If you charge by source words you can tell them X words times Y cents per word = total price.


 

Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:34
English to French
+ ...
repetitions Jul 9, 2012

I come back as there are other things you should know - and will meet very quickly!

You did mention repetitions of the same word. Now the client will no doubt be the first to mention the number of repetitions in order to lessen the number of words to be paid (although typing them is still to be done by the translator...well, nowadays we do get some automatic help on this, fortunately, but when you think of it, some words like "date" can have three different meanings in French for example:

"My friend tells me that to date, she has not received the dates you promised to send before they are out of date, since the eat-by-date is in one week. As I have a date with her very shortly, I would be grateful for your help in the matter"...etc.

You would use 5 different words to translate that repeated word. See?

Just keep your eyes open about repetitions before acepting the job with a "mechanical" wordcount.

All the best,
Claudette


 

Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 05:34
English to Russian
+ ...
I've never seen so many weird ideas in one posting! Jul 9, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Charge for every word counted! This is the normal practice. This is the first time in 18 years that I hear about charging less for prepositions or for acronyms.icon_smile.gif

Ditto!

NK_TC_Logo_30x31.png


 

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 04:34
German to English
+ ...
Charging by the line Jul 9, 2012

In the German market at least it is not unusual to charge by the line (of 55 strokes, usually). Charging by the (source)word in German to English can be very disadvantageous for the translator, wince one german word can easily end up being six or seven in English.

 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:34
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Each and every word Jul 9, 2012

You charge for all the words in every sentence. It doesn't matter if the words are repeated or what the words are. If you use a CAT tool, discounts for repetitions may be given for identical sentences (100% matches), or even for sentences that partially match (fuzzy matches).

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:34
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Including figures! Jul 9, 2012

Mats Wiman wrote:

Dear Evgenia,

To translate means to transfer sentences and meaning.

Every word, acronym and abbreviation are important parts of that and you must see to it that the whole is good. Thus the prevailing convention is that you charge for all components of a sentence excluding figures.

So don't hesitate to charge for every word, which WORD defines as a word.

Mats


Why on earth would you not charge for figures?!
Figures also have to be typed and require more caution than words, because a spellchecker can't check whether they're correct or not. I constantly translate annual reports and accounts, so I should know.
So yes, charge for figures too, of course.
Jenny


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Every word Jul 9, 2012

For example, the Spanish preposition "a" can be translated in more than one way ("to"... "at"... "from"... etc); part of the translator's job consist of knowing the right one to choose for the context every time it appears. This is no mean feat, and we charge for it.

My terms (in English) would be something like this: "Translations are charged per source word, as calculated by the MS Office Word counting application". This way you can provide budget estimates for prospective clients quickly and easily.

[Edited at 2012-07-09 14:15 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:34
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Repetitions are repeated segments, not words Jul 9, 2012

Hello Evgenia and welcome to the site. Congratulations on your first job!

As others have said, the answer to your questions is simple: you charge for EVERY word, including numbers, acronyms, proper nouns (even though you rarely translate them)... As a freelancer, pricing is your right and your responsibility. You are providing a B2B (business to business) service. You are not an employee. So you should be examining the text and then giving a firm quote. However, agencies sometimes expect to dictate terms, and they always have the right to try to negotiate. So, let me explain what you might encounter in your next job.

Rather than counting simply the words, an agency may use a CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tool (SDL Trados, Wordfast...) to analyse the file. If this tool finds two segments (these are normally sentences) which are identical, then it will label them as "Repetitions". Imagine you're translating a website from English. In several places on several web pages, there are the words "Contact us." The first time the CAT tool encounters this, it will add 2 to the word count. The second time, it will again add 2 to the word count; but it will also add 1 to the repeated segments count and 2 to the repeated words count. As you can see, "Repeated words" does not mean that "and" is paid for once and the following 520 "and"s are free or discounted. NO WAY! Your client must pay for each and every "and" found UNLESS it's found within a repeated segment.

The way a CAT tool works (forgive me if you already know this) is by presenting each segment in turn for translation. However, when it finds the second occurrence of a segment, it will propose its translation automatically. If you agree that that's what you want the translation to be, then you only have to press one key and the tool will insert the translation. Of course, "contact us" doesn't take much typing, but segments are often much longer than that, so time can be saved.

If you use a CAT tool, and ONLY if you use a CAT tool, you may be prepared to charge less for repetitions. On the other hand, if you have paid for the tool and training, you may not. You still have to examine the text to make sure it's correct in the new context. If you are translating directly (using Word, for example), you'd need to find the first occurrence and copy it down to the second one, if it's correct. That would take LONGER than typing it again.

The CAT tool will also count "fuzzy" matches - segments which are almost identical but not quite. I personally never give discounts for these as they need manipulation or re-translation, but some translators do. And it does depend to some extent on the text. An agency may also supply you with the TM (Translation Memory) containing many segments which other translators have already produced. There again, be very careful! You may disagree totally with the translations proposed so you will want to retranslate even 100% matches.

I guess it's a little late for this first job, Evgenia, but I would strongly advise you to look through this forum and the "Getting Established" one so that you are more informed before embarking on your second job. You really must agree price, payment terms, deadlines, formatting requirements etc with your client before finally agreeing to take the job.

Sheila


 


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