Charges for repeated words
Thread poster: Jon Fedler

Jon Fedler
Local time: 07:20
German to English
+ ...
Oct 29, 2012

I am a non-user of CAT tools.

A company has offered me work for 0.05 EUR per source word. but wants asks how much I want for repeats?

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Jon Fedler


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:20
French to English
+ ...
Choices Oct 29, 2012

You can either:

not use CAT tools and charge in full for everything, as you presumably do as a matter of course;

use CAT tools and (at your discretion) levy a small discount for repetitive content (NOTE: not "words" but segments).

However, at that rate, I think you'd be well-advised to turn the work down completely. Can you really live on the income generated by translation at that rate, at your normal speed of work?


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:20
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
The options Oct 29, 2012

Angela Dickson wrote:


You can either:

not use CAT tools and charge in full for everything, as you presumably do as a matter of course;

use CAT tools and (at your discretion) levy a small discount for repetitive content (NOTE: not "words" but segments).

However, at that rate, I think you'd be well-advised to turn the work down completely. Can you really live on the income generated by translation at that rate, at your normal speed of work?


I agree with Angela. The rate offered doesn't leave any room for discounts. Even though a CAT tool comes in handy, you still have to check the results it produces so that they actually fit into the context of your translation.


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Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
What good is it to get CAT tools if it lowers your profit? Oct 29, 2012

What is the incentive of investing in TRADOS if it means you hardly recoup the investment since potential clients pay you lower rates?


[Edited at 2012-10-29 15:41 GMT]


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:20
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Reasons for investing in a tool, and fuzzy grids Oct 29, 2012

Michelle Kusuda wrote:

What is the incentive of investing in TRADOS if it means you hardly recoup the investment since potential clients pay you lower rates?


The incentive is increased productivity and consistency. You get ROI within a few projects.


Fuzzy rates depend on the actual project, but this is one grid I use:
Repetitions 25 % of full rate
100% match 25 % of full rate
95% - 99% matches 40 % of full rate
0% - 94% matches 100 % of full rate

However, I have a feeling that the agency that has offered you €0.05/word may be looking for something more like this:
Repetitions 0% of full rate
100% matches 0%
95%-99% matches 5%
85%-94% matches 10%
75%-84% matches 20%
50%-74% matches 40%
No match 100%


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Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks. Oct 29, 2012

Thank you for all the details. My question is that if one invests on a cat tool to be more productive and therefore more profitable, doesn't the discount on the repeated words and fuzzies negate the increase in profitability?

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Elizabeth Joy Pitt de Morales  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:20
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Low rate Oct 29, 2012

Emma Goldsmith wrote:

The incentive is increased productivity and consistency. You get ROI within a few projects.

However, I have a feeling that the agency that has offered you €0.05/word may be looking for something more like this:
Repetitions 0% of full rate
100% matches 0%
95%-99% matches 5%
85%-94% matches 10%
75%-84% matches 20%
50%-74% matches 40%
No match 100%



I agree 100% with Emma and I'd also like to say that whether or not using a CAT tool is beneficial really depends on what kind of translations you do. I do a lot of technical translations and many of them are from a handful of companies. Since there is so much repeated or similar text, Wordfast (my main CAT tool) really makes a difference in consistency, productivity and therefore profitability. Remember, too, that a CAT tool can put one or more specialized or personal glossaries at your fingertips and -- this is a big deal in my mind -- it means that if your power is cut or your word processing program crashes, you won't lose much, if any, of your work.

As far as the rate you're being offered, I think the rate is already too low and that asking for discounts for reps and matches -- especially if the agency is looking for Emma's second grid -- borders on the abusive. Unless you're desperate for work, I'd say you'd be better off spending your time and energy marketing your skills to serious agencies...and/or learning to use a CAT tool. There are several good ones out there that won't cost you a penny to try, Wordfast being one.

If you start out working with this new client under these conditions, my experience is that you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to get a decent rate on future projects.



[Edited at 2012-10-29 17:21 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Discounts shouldn't apply in this case. Oct 29, 2012

Angela Dickson wrote:
use CAT tools and (at your discretion) levy a small discount for repetitive content (NOTE: not "words" but segments).

The poster states he is not currently a CAT tool user. I think that, even if he used a free one (or a paying one on a free trial basis), he wouldn't actually see any savings because he'd have the overhead of learning how to use the tool. It doesn't make sense to start giving discounts until you are actually seeing savings.

However, at that rate, I think you'd be well-advised to turn the work down completely. Can you really live on the income generated by translation at that rate, at your normal speed of work?

It does seem unlikely that it will be at all profitable with discounts - as you say, it's barely profitable at the full rate unless it's very cheap to live where the poster lives. A word of advice Jon: check the average rates here: http://search.proz.com/employers/rates . It's likely to be reasonably accurate in German>English, but I don't know about your other pair.

@ Michelle: Nobody should feel pressured into giving any discounts, and in fact it's something I very rarely do because they just don't sem appropriate in marketing or tourism: I don't actually want to be too repetitive - I'd rather find a slightly different way of saying things. The stock phrases, such as you see on all websites, are far too infrequent to warrant discounts.

On the other hand, if a client has many jobs which are reasonably similar, then it's good business practice to share the savings with them. Not give them all the savings, but some. Not really for them; it's so you keep their business. Mind you, with the one job I do that conforms (updates to a clothing catalogue) I prefer to work for a lower rate per word than worry about CAT grids etc.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:20
Dutch to English
+ ...
All depends on the work you translate Oct 30, 2012

Michelle Kusuda wrote:

Thank you for all the details. My question is that if one invests on a cat tool to be more productive and therefore more profitable, doesn't the discount on the repeated words and fuzzies negate the increase in profitability?


2 examples:
1.
2 translation agencies want a legal document translated for their respective customers. Agency A's document has 9000 words. I translate this with Trados. Agency B's document has 9500 words but 8500 are full matches when compared to the prior job because both documents have been drawn up by the same firm of lawyers. I have signed NDAs with both agencies and cannot tell them about this situation and charge in full for both jobs. I just got paid twice for the same job and the second job only took me 2 hours to complete.

2.
Repeat topics such as Health and Safety, Project Management, Specific Manuals, etc. when it is important to use the same terminology consistently. The memory is a way to keep track of terminology so that you do not have to remember it all. If every time I have to recheck what a specific translation was, I am wasting time and not earning.

You are looking at the issue from a job-by-job basis and you should really view it as a whole. When a job comes in, I first determine whether I've translated something similar before. If I have, I use the appropriate memory for this job too. It means that my output is around 6000 words a day at times.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
No discount Oct 30, 2012

The starting rate is pretty low, so I'd treat it as a flat rate and allow no further discounts. Or (unless for some reason I really, really, really wanted/needed the work) tell them to take their "business" elsewhere.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, it does Oct 30, 2012

Michelle Kusuda wrote:

Thank you for all the details. My question is that if one invests on a cat tool to be more productive and therefore more profitable, doesn't the discount on the repeated words and fuzzies negate the increase in profitability?


My attitude is that the company is trying it on. Chiselling away at you. Such haggling is undignified IMO and betrays their overweening self-interest and a galloping lack of respect for you as a professional.


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Jon Fedler
Local time: 07:20
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nov 30, 2012

Thanks for all your contributions. In the end they settled for 0.05 Euros per word,

I know that's a negligible rate but my overheads are minimal, and work is hard to come by. Below that, its not worth it - even for me.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:20
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
CATs and reductions - it depends how you set your rates. Dec 1, 2012

Michelle Kusuda wrote:

Thank you for all the details. My question is that if one invests on a cat tool to be more productive and therefore more profitable, doesn't the discount on the repeated words and fuzzies negate the increase in profitability?


If the rate per word you charge for 'new' text when you use a CAT is the same as the rate you charge without a CAT, then you need to be very careful about giving discounts for fuzzies and repeats.

If, on the other hand you charge a higher rate because now you can use your CAT to provide higher quality - which you often can in terms of consistency and keeping track of terminology, even without repeats and matching segments - then it makes sense to differentiate between new text and sections where there are a lot of repeats.

This helps you to keep good clients whom you know well, because you can find their special terminology quickly and re-use information about them that is stored in the TM and shows up in a concordance search as well as matches. But wher ethe CAT really does take over a lot of the work, you can make it cheaper for the client to come back to you than go over to a competitor who has not yet built up a TM on that client.

If your CAT does not pay for itself one way or another, then you are setting your basic rates too low.


[Edited at 2012-12-01 17:19 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:20
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It's for you ;) May 7, 2016

Michelle Kusuda wrote:

What is the incentive of investing in TRADOS if it means you hardly recoup the investment since potential clients pay you lower rates?


[Edited at 2012-10-29 15:41 GMT]


If you want to buy a CAT tool, then it should be to your advantage. And nothing compels you to tell anyone that you do owen one.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:20
French to German
+ ...
Rate too low May 7, 2016

The rate offered is much too low anyway. I'd not accept that project with or without reductions.

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