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Selling a translation memory - feedback needed
Thread poster: infactglobal
infactglobal
Local time: 22:40
Sep 12, 2012

Hello to all

One of my biggest, oldest and most faithful clients has recently been bought out by a multinational that uses Across for their translation projects. My client is required to buy it, too. They are also asked to buy my translation memory with 80.000 segments and about 800,000 words. I have no idea how to evaluate the memory. But to keep working with them, it's a requirement... (thank you globalisation).

Can anyone help me out?

Cynthia


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infactglobal
Local time: 22:40
TOPIC STARTER
no one? Oct 3, 2012

Hello all,

Silence from the proz community! I've never seen that before. Does this mean that no one has been confronted with the situation? No one's client has asked to have the TM? I can't believe that I'm the only one.

This is a real question that needs answering since more and more clients are going to learn about CAT tools and how they can directly gain by using them.

I really hope someone will express their opinion soon. I have no idea what to do with this request by my client and wonder how (and if) anyone else has been in the same situation.

Please comment.

Thanks!
Cynthia


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 22:40
English to Hungarian
+ ...
name your price Oct 3, 2012

The reason why you didn't get an answer is because most people have never received a query like this. Most of the time, when a client asks for a TM, it's related to the most recent job you did for them and they want it free. I tend to hand them over without second thought. I'm not interested in keeping TMs hostage to keep a client.
In your situation, because the TM is so large and was presumably amassed during a longer period, during which they never told you they'd want it, it's reasonable to ask for a fee... Especially if they proposed to pay in the first place. What that fee might be I don't know. You could perhaps make a ballpark estimate of what you charged for all the translations that are in the TM. Then I'd charge a couple (1-5) percent of that, and let them know that this is the calculation I used to get that figure. Or just slap a random fee of 200EUR on it or whatever.
Translators tend to feel all entitled when it comes to handing over TMs but I think that's completely unreasonable. First of all, they already bought that content from you. They just want it in a different format now. If it's not too much trouble to generate it in that format, it's a nice goodwill gesture to make. Second, on the practical side, if you get really stubborn, they could in theory align the translations themselves. Most clients don't know about autoaligners (or how good they are) so it's very unlikely that they'd do it, but it's possible.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My opinion Oct 3, 2012

infactglobal wrote:
They are also asked to buy my translation memory with 80.000 segments and about 800,000 words.


First, remember that if you sell your memory and glossary to them, they can stop working with you without any penalty, and simply hand your memory and glossary to a cheaper translator.

Secondly, I tend to view a translation memory is a byproduct of the translation process, so there is virtually no effort in creating it. There may be effort in maintaining it, though. Can you estimate how much time you spend on it tweaking it (not during a translation, but between jobs)? If you were to redo that tweaking in one session, how many hours would that take? You could take that into account when you sell the translation memory.

Remember that your translation memory may contain information that you may wish to hide, e.g. dates and times. See if it is possible to convert all date/time stamps into just the day.

I'm assuming that this memory is for this client only, and does not contain any segments from other clients' work. Is that so?

Thirdly, a glossary is not a byproduct of translation but is created by the translator in a manual effort. So charging for the glossary should be higher, in theory. The advantage of offering your glossary to the client is that his translations will remain consistent, even if you are eventually asked to proofread the work done by the cheaper translators who may eventually replace you.

Fourthly, I don't think you should sell the glossary or translation memory altogether. In other words, make sure you retain your rights to those documents. In a sense, you're not asking for money to sell the memories but to share it.

Finally, have you asked your client what they believe is a fair price?

Looking forward to your comments.

Samuel


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infactglobal
Local time: 22:40
TOPIC STARTER
ah! finally :) Oct 3, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:

In your situation, because the TM is so large and was presumably amassed during a longer period, during which they never told you they'd want it, it's reasonable to ask for a fee... Especially if they proposed to pay in the first place. What that fee might be I don't know. You could perhaps make a ballpark estimate of what you charged for all the translations that are in the TM. Then I'd charge a couple (1-5) percent of that, and let them know that this is the calculation I used to get that figure. Or just slap a random fee of 200EUR on it or whatever.
Translators tend to feel all entitled when it comes to handing over TMs but I think that's completely unreasonable. First of all, they already bought that content from you. They just want it in a different format now. If it's not too much trouble to generate it in that format, it's a nice goodwill gesture to make. Second, on the practical side, if you get really stubborn, they could in theory align the translations themselves. Most clients don't know about autoaligners (or how good they are) so it's very unlikely that they'd do it, but it's possible.


Thanks for answering)

Using such a mathematical solution is actually quite interesting. Makes it sound less random when I give a number. So thanks!

As for translators feeling entitled to the TM well, I have to say that I feel like the TM is my intellectual property and must be protected as such. My terms state that the documents I translate are co-owned with my client. My TM is solely mine, since I paid for the program that enabled the database AND I maintain it, too.

IT's true that they could align the documents and they DO know about alignment programs. The thing is, they are already swamped so that's not on the agenda... YET.

You give me food for thought. Thanks again!
C


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 04:40
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Diplomats Oct 3, 2012

infactglobal wrote:
But to keep working with them, it's a requirement...

In that case, they don't need the TM, you do. Strange requirement...

And the wise words of Sam:
...to proofread the work done by the cheaper translators who may eventually replace you.

If they give you the chance to proofread at all, that is.

I'd try to solve it "diplomatically" (my strong point, advising other people to act diplomatically), and tell them that you do the final proofing in the original format, not the CAT tool project/TM, so there will be mistakes in the TM. No use in sending it to them.

Cheers,

Hans


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Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
NEVER SELL IT !! Oct 3, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

infactglobal wrote:
They are also asked to buy my translation memory with 80.000 segments and about 800,000 words.


First, remember that if you sell your memory and glossary to them, they can stop working with you without any penalty, and simply hand your memory and glossary to a cheaper translator.

Secondly, I tend to view a translation memory is a byproduct of the translation process, so there is virtually no effort in creating it. There may be effort in maintaining it, though. Can you estimate how much time you spend on it tweaking it (not during a translation, but between jobs)? If you were to redo that tweaking in one session, how many hours would that take? You could take that into account when you sell the translation memory.

Remember that your translation memory may contain information that you may wish to hide, e.g. dates and times. See if it is possible to convert all date/time stamps into just the day.

I'm assuming that this memory is for this client only, and does not contain any segments from other clients' work. Is that so?

Thirdly, a glossary is not a byproduct of translation but is created by the translator in a manual effort. So charging for the glossary should be higher, in theory. The advantage of offering your glossary to the client is that his translations will remain consistent, even if you are eventually asked to proofread the work done by the cheaper translators who may eventually replace you.

Fourthly, I don't think you should sell the glossary or translation memory altogether. In other words, make sure you retain your rights to those documents. In a sense, you're not asking for money to sell the memories but to share it.

Finally, have you asked your client what they believe is a fair price?

Looking forward to your comments.

Samuel




I made that mistake once. All it is is the transfer of your work-product. They probably were promised a better rate and the savings is provided by your glossary. It takes time to develop a client-specific glossary. And if you decide to sell it, make sure that it more than makes up for five years salary!
Cheers!

Michelle


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infactglobal
Local time: 22:40
TOPIC STARTER
TM for sharing :) Oct 3, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

First, remember that if you sell your memory and glossary to them, they can stop working with you without any penalty, and simply hand your memory and glossary to a cheaper translator.


I totally agree and that's why I'm so allergic to this "buy-out"

Secondly, I tend to view a translation memory is a byproduct of the translation process, so there is virtually no effort in creating it. There may be effort in maintaining it, though. Can you estimate how much time you spend on it tweaking it (not during a translation, but between jobs)? If you were to redo that tweaking in one session, how many hours would that take? You could take that into account when you sell the translation memory.


Very interesting. I hadn't thought about the maintenance time I spent on it. Thanks. I guess I could estimate how much time I spend maintaining it, it'd be a ball-park guess though.

I'm assuming that this memory is for this client only, and does not contain any segments from other clients' work. Is that so?


No, just the other companies that make up the entire multinational group.

Thirdly, a glossary is not a byproduct of translation but is created by the translator in a manual effort. So charging for the glossary should be higher, in theory. The advantage of offering your glossary to the client is that his translations will remain consistent, even if you are eventually asked to proofread the work done by the cheaper translators who may eventually replace you.


The glossary is actually client-approved and client-fed. I give my list once a month and they approve and enter them into the glossary, so I won't be able to sell them that.

Fourthly, I don't think you should sell the glossary or translation memory altogether. In other words, make sure you retain your rights to those documents. In a sense, you're not asking for money to sell the memories but to share it.


Yes, the notion of "share" is really important. And it's also important to draw up a contract that stipulates that the memory is not be "shared" with another tranlsation agency. But how to enforce such a clause??? I'm meeting with an Intellectual Property specialist soon and will ask him all these questions...

Finally, have you asked your client what they believe is a fair price?


Yes, I have, and they are as evasive as I am on a price!!!!!

Thanks so much for your full and informative answer. Again, you gave me food for thought. Thanks!
C


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infactglobal
Local time: 22:40
TOPIC STARTER
Not selling a glossary, but wondering about selling a translation memory Oct 3, 2012

Michelle Kusuda wrote:

I made that mistake once. All it is is the transfer of your work-product. They probably were promised a better rate and the savings is provided by your glossary. It takes time to develop a client-specific glossary. And if you decide to sell it, make sure that it more than makes up for five years salary!
Cheers!

Michelle


Hi Michelle,

I'm sure it won't change much, but it's not a glossary that I'm asking about, but the translation memory. I'm sure this doesn't change your input, but I just need to be clear.

Five years salary is one heck of a big number for this client... but your experience is interesting... do tell?

Cyn


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 22:40
English to Hungarian
+ ...
glossary Oct 3, 2012

Michelle Kusuda wrote:

I made that mistake once. All it is is the transfer of your work-product. They probably were promised a better rate and the savings is provided by your glossary. It takes time to develop a client-specific glossary. And if you decide to sell it, make sure that it more than makes up for five years salary!
Cheers!

Michelle


There is no talk of selling a glossary here, just a TM.
That said, I wouldn't have any great qualms about selling a glossary, either. I might charge a pretty significant amount for it simply because glossaries can be very time-consuming to prepare.


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infactglobal
Local time: 22:40
TOPIC STARTER
diplomacy ... not my strong point, but working on it!!! Oct 3, 2012

Meta Arkadia wrote:

In that case, they don't need the TM, you do. Strange requirement...

I'd try to solve it "diplomatically" (my strong point, advising other people to act diplomatically), and tell them that you do the final proofing in the original format, not the CAT tool project/TM, so there will be mistakes in the TM. No use in sending it to them.


They actually want the TM to do the files that come up with 100% matches. Honestly, those files I do not mind loosing cause they are mostly parts lists that are extremely annoying cause you have to make sure EVERY NUMBER is right... TM isn't 100% right for those... but they know that and think they'll save money by doing it themselves. I think they are right.

They will continue to need "me" (or any other agency) for the non-translated files. That's why we both need the TM. I'm sure they won't move onto someone else since they are very happy with the quality and price I give them. And we do really enjoy working together, but business is business and I need to protect my "grey-matter" as much as I can.

Interesting proposal to offer them proofreading services for those files that are translated by them. That could be a nice "meet me half-way".
Thanks!!
C


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Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:40
Member (2009)
German to Greek
+ ...
If I were the client... Oct 3, 2012

If I were the client and given that I had all the documents translated by you, I would be willing to pay for the TM the money that it would cost me to reproduce it through alignment plus a significant percentage of it for the time it would take me to find the files, learn to use the alignment software etc. and for the fuss.
Estimate how much it would take you to align the files, multiply by a decent hourly rate, add a 10-50% (sepending on the overall sum) and see what happens.


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infactglobal
Local time: 22:40
TOPIC STARTER
oh now that's interesting.... Oct 3, 2012

Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm wrote:

If I were the client and given that I had all the documents translated by you, I would be willing to pay for the TM the money that it would cost me to reproduce it through alignment plus a significant percentage of it for the time it would take me to find the files, learn to use the alignment software etc. and for the fuss.
Estimate how much it would take you to align the files, multiply by a decent hourly rate, add a 10-50% (sepending on the overall sum) and see what happens.



That's probably the best way to go. Client gets what he wants, I get to bill something that in the end I'll end up loosing anyway.

I'll think about that one...
Thanks!!!!
c


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:40
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
That's exactly what I wanted to say, you beat me to it Oct 4, 2012

Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm wrote:

If I were the client and given that I had all the documents translated by you, I would be willing to pay for the TM the money that it would cost me to reproduce it through alignment plus a significant percentage of it for the time it would take me to find the files, learn to use the alignment software etc. and for the fuss.
Estimate how much it would take you to align the files, multiply by a decent hourly rate, add a 10-50% (sepending on the overall sum) and see what happens.



Katalin


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:40
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Oct 4, 2012

Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm wrote:
If I were the client and given that I had all the documents translated by you, I would be willing to pay for the TM the money that it would cost me to reproduce it through alignment plus a significant percentage of it for the time it would take me to find the files, learn to use the alignment software etc. and for the fuss.
Estimate how much it would take you to align the files, multiply by a decent hourly rate, add a 10-50% (sepending on the overall sum) and see what happens.

The only reasonable way to go if you ask me. This is clearly what I would do.


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