Charging for a glossary to go with translation
Thread poster: John Simpson
John Simpson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:34
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Jul 29, 2004

I have been asked to provide a glossary with the translation (5000 words, semi-technical on mould production). How much should I charge for this?

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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
how long did it take you to build it? Jul 29, 2004

John Simpson wrote:
I have been asked to provide a glossary with the translation (5000 words, semi-technical on mould production). How much should I charge for this?


Hi John,

I don't know if there are any standard prices set, but thinking of the process of building a glossary, I guess you should have to take into account the time it took you to do it.
I mean, not only to write it down (or a per word basis), but including all the time spent on research. Some terms can be very tricky and make you spend hours trying to find the most correct translation for the appropriate context.

Just my two pennies
Grace.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:34
German to English
+ ...
Charging for a glossary to go with translation Jul 29, 2004

Graciela Carlyle wrote:

I mean, not only to write it down (or a per word basis), but including all the time spent on research. Some terms can be very tricky and make you spend hours trying to find the most correct translation for the appropriate context.


Erm, isn't that part of the task of translating?

I would think the time-consuming thing part of glossary building would be adding definitions and/or sources. On the other hand, a simple list of terms encountered in the source text and the corresponding translations used could be produced relatively quickly, and if you are asked in advance and can produce it as you translate, very quickly indeed.

Marc


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John Simpson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:34
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I haven't started the translation yet. Jul 29, 2004

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for spending time on giving me some feedback.

I am yet to start the translation so the client wanted some indication of price before committing himself to the project. I was thinking about a fixed price per word in the whole of the glossary (Fre > Eng / Eng > Fre) as a "per hour" fee could be too vague. This fee is the one I usually charge for translation. I wouldn't include references.

Any opinions?

Kind regards,

John


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
you're right Jul 29, 2004

MarcPrior wrote:
Erm, isn't that part of the task of translating?
Marc


Yes of course! I don't know why I got stuck on the glossary bit and forgot he also has to do the actual translation.

Then maybe a per word basis would be fine.

Cheers,
Grace.


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Brian KEEGAN
Local time: 07:34
French to English
+ ...
be careful... Jul 30, 2004

A glossary is knowledge, your proprietory knowledge, and you should think twice about selling it to your client or selling it too cheaply. As translators, our business and our core asset is knowledge, and we shouldn't sell off our core asset. I personally would never agree to sell a client my glossaries, and when I explain that in a professional and reasoned manner to my clients, they understand full well and respect me for it.

In your case, my reply to the client would be "I cannot give you my glossary, because it's one of my core production assets and it is my policy not to sell such assets. But please feel free to extrapolate what you want from matching words or phrases in my translation with the original. If you do that, however, please beware of relying on anything you might come up with because your business is not language and communication, but moldings, or whatever."

This looks like another case of the eternally recurring problem in the translation business: the "oh, I could do that myself" attitude. To be stamped out at all cost!!!

Cheers,
Brian


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:34
German to English
+ ...
Charging for a glossary to go with translation Jul 30, 2004

Graciela, perhaps this is the solution to the current misere over low rates?

We could stop charging for translations altogether, and calling ourselves translators. Instead, we would call ourselves "terminology consultants", and charge for producing glossaries from source texts.

The translation would be thrown in as a bonus for free.

Hey, it would solve the liability issue, too.

Marc


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Brian KEEGAN
Local time: 07:34
French to English
+ ...
addendum Jul 30, 2004

Dear all,

The more I think about it, the more I realize that this issue is crucial to the status (or low status) of the translation profession. I mean, your client really is too cheeky. Maybe you could offer to sell your brain too. One does NOT sell the tools of one's trade. It's a basic maxim in any profession, especially in the knowledge business. I mean, how could it be more obvious?

As a translator, one's role is to:
a) provide a professional and polished translation, and I mean "professional and polished", in accordance with the client's specific express wishes
b) answer any questions the client may have regarding the translation.

And that's where it ends. Full stop. We are under no obligation to provide glossaries or anything of the sort. If we do, we are undermining our status, and we are no longer translators per se, but somewhere in between translators and mediocre language trainers.

To be clearer, the IT guy who fixes your computer will not tell you how he did it. He is a computer fixer; that is his business. If he tells you how he does it, then you won't need him anymore, will you? The IT trainer who trains you to fix your computer is not in the same business as the computer fixer, and his activity is reducing the market for the computer fixer's services. Fair enough, we're living in free market economies, we'll survive.

The key issue here is policy. All translators should have a policy for dealing with these issues when they arise. Policy means professional, and professional means respect and status and higher earnings. No policy = no respect. And no respect = dwindling revenues and, ultimately, the tubes.

As translators, we have a service to sell. We should sell it properly, and not flog it like bananas at the market. What could be more simple?

Anyway, that's my rant over. Maybe I'm over-reacting, but these issues make me see red.

Good luck with your project, John.

Cheers,
Brian


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