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Rates for large volume of work
Thread poster: Norskpro

Norskpro
Sweden
Local time: 09:29
Member
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Mar 6, 2013

What is normal practice when giving a quote for large volume work? If a poster has a text of 50 000 words, should a translator give a discount on the regular per word rate? I would think this is the case, but I am interested in hearing what others have to say.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:29
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Give a discount, if... Mar 6, 2013

Norskpro wrote:
If a poster has a text of 50 000 words, should a translator give a discount on the regular per word rate?


1. The reason you get a discount if you buy a large quanty of something is because you save the seller effort (and a small portion of resources spent on marketing, distribution, etc). As a translator, you would give a discount for translation services for the same reason, namely that buying 50 000 words once instead of five times 10 000 would save you effort.

But how much effort would you save? That is what you must calculate. How much less time would it take you to translate one job of 50 000 instead of translating five jobs of 10 000 words? Only you can answer that.

2. There is another side to the story, however. While you are occupied with the 50 000 word job, you can't accept any other jobs from other clients, which means that the time and money spent on marketing so that you can get those other clients were wasted. Shouldn't the client who sends you the 50 000 word job compensate you for that loss? Or am I just playing devil's advocate?


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:29
Danish to English
+ ...
If you want the job, charge the rate that will get you the job Mar 6, 2013

If you reckon you can translate more words per hour than the amount on which your hourly standard rate is based, then you have the basis for a discount. If the text is complicated and you know that you will only be able to translate the normal amount of words per hour, then you simply decide whether or not the job is worth it.

For a job of 50,000 words of average difficulty, I would be willing to consider a discount of 10-20 %, depending on the client.

But there are no rules in this game, it's entirely up to you.


 

ahartje
Portugal
Local time: 08:29
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
With point 2 of Samuel's comment... Mar 6, 2013

...and therefore I do concede discounts if the huge volume projects come combined with a generous deadline, giving me some flexibility.

 

Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
No. Mar 6, 2013

Norskpro wrote:

What is normal practice when giving a quote for large volume work? If a poster has a text of 50 000 words, should a translator give a discount on the regular per word rate? I would think this is the case, but I am interested in hearing what others have to say.


No. You should not. That's a bad and unfair practice introduced in the industry by some agents who do not understand the difference between trading cabbage and translations.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:29
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
I agree with point 2 too! Mar 6, 2013

but adding another condition: that the subject doesn't change on every page. If you do 50,000 words on the same subject, the research you do for the first ten pages will likely stand you in good stead for the rest of it, and you can fairly clip along.

If, however, it's like a general-interest magazine with an article on a totally different subject on every page or even half page, you're starting over the whole time and need to explore whole different avenues each time. It may be infinitely more interesting, but the time consumed will be in proportion to that interest.

And yes, if you're going to give a discount you'll need a generous deadline so you can fit in other work too.

Ah and you might consider a pay-as-you-go approach (with staggered delivery in instalments of 10,000 words at a time, for example) so you don't starve in the meantime either!


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 16:29
Chinese to English
No discounts Mar 6, 2013

Norskpro wrote:

What is normal practice when giving a quote for large volume work?

Normal practice is: client asks for a discount, translator says no.

I'm just in the middle of a 40,000 word piece, and wishing I'd charged more. I've been asked to bid on 300,000, and that bid is going to include a premium for all the additional work involved in maintaining consistency and managing a project of that size.

There are no economies of scale in this job.

...

I've just seen what Texte says - and that is right sometimes, but not all the time. my 40,000 word piece is just a single article, but the last third is proving just as slow and challenging as the first third. You've got to see the text before you can make that kind of judgment.


 

Michal Fabian  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:29
Member (2012)
Dutch to Slovak
+ ...
Dear Project Manager, Mar 6, 2013

so you're saying I get to work MORE for LESS money? Sounds lovely!icon_smile.gif

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The 'filler' - that's how I translate books Mar 6, 2013

ahartje wrote:
...and therefore I do concede discounts if the huge volume projects come combined with a generous deadline, giving me some flexibility.


If a large-volume project has an ample deadline, I can work on it, push it forward, only when I have otherwise 'idle' time between more profitable projects. Yet the discount in such cases is usually limited to 30%. It may get to 40% (but no further), if the deadline is "whenever you can get it done; next year is okay".


 

Norskpro
Sweden
Local time: 09:29
Member
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Maybe one should charge more Mar 6, 2013

After considering all your replies, this subject has me thinking that it would be a better idea to charge more. With no time to get other jobs, combined with managing the large amount of text, a discount does not seem like a good idea.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:29
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
What about your other clients? Mar 6, 2013

Phil Hand wrote:

Norskpro wrote:

What is normal practice when giving a quote for large volume work?

Normal practice is: client asks for a discount, translator says no.

I'm just in the middle of a 40,000 word piece, and wishing I'd charged more. I've been asked to bid on 300,000, and that bid is going to include a premium for all the additional work involved in maintaining consistency and managing a project of that size.

There are no economies of scale in this job.
...


Absolutely agree.

What is the deadline like?
How many better paid jobs are you going to lose from other clients, while you are working on this one?
Not to mention possibly losing clients if they have to find another translator.

Discounts for large quantities assume that you are taking up some slack somewhere, or filling in time when you would not otherwise be earning, or that you make some kind of saving. Freelancers rarely have that much extra capacity.

When do you get paid for this job? How long are you giving the client credit and living on previous earnings? There is more than a month's work there, for me at least.

So no discount from me! Indeed, unless the job was spread over several months and I could keep up with my regular clients as well, I would want a really good rate for a job that big.

Don't give a discount for saying no to better paid work and losing clients - you have to think of your own business!

icon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gif


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:29
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Another point Mar 6, 2013

Norskpro wrote:

After considering all your replies, this subject has me thinking that it would be a better idea to charge more. With no time to get other jobs, combined with managing the large amount of text, a discount does not seem like a good idea.

As you say, it can be a thoroughly bad idea. OTOH, there's the nice feeling that the bills for the next few weeks or months are going to be paid, which is not the usual feeling when all your jobs are small and you're constantly worrying about where the next one will come from.

But one thing is for sure: NEVER offer a volume discount until that volume is shown to be real. Far too many translators have embarked on a 50,000-word job, offering a large volume discount, only to find that the job fizzles out for some reason after 5,000 words. I've only ever offered a volume discount once, and it kicked in on the 10,001st word.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:29
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
. Mar 6, 2013

Phil Hand wrote:



I've just seen what Texte says - and that is right sometimes, but not all the time. my 40,000 word piece is just a single article, but the last third is proving just as slow and challenging as the first third. You've got to see the text before you can make that kind of judgment.


Oh dear am I generalising again?icon_smile.gif

Seriously you are quite right, you do need to cast your eyes over the entire thing before you see whether things might speed up.

bon courage Phil!


 

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
No discount Mar 6, 2013

I will not give a discount for a large job. Or maybe I would give a small discount if I get a decent downpayment, but the probability of that happening is close to zero.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:29
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Why? Mar 6, 2013

Norskpro wrote:

What is normal practice when giving a quote for large volume work? If a poster has a text of 50 000 words, should a translator give a discount on the regular per word rate? I would think this is the case, but I am interested in hearing what others have to say.


Why should you charge less for doing more work? I don't understand the logic.


 
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