How to prepare an ideal Quote for a curved pdf source file?
Thread poster: Gopinath Jambulingam

Gopinath Jambulingam  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 02:45
Member (2013)
Tamil to English
+ ...
Aug 5, 2013

Hi,

Quoting for translation of restricted/locked pdf source files that do not open Word Count softwares is always a task for linguists. There remains a risk of losing that project or burning our fingers due to over/under quote, caused by approximately done word count. How can we successfully overcome this issue?

[Edited at 2013-08-05 14:36 GMT]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:15
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Quote per target text Aug 6, 2013

In such cases you cannot give a final quote but require to be paid according to your final output. Should not be a problem for decent clients.

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Gopinath Jambulingam  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 02:45
Member (2013)
Tamil to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My question is intended only in case of clients who do insist a concrete offer Aug 6, 2013

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

In such cases you cannot give a final quote but require to be paid according to your final output. Should not be a problem for decent clients.


Hi Heinrich,

Thanks for your reply. There are a number of clients who would not accept the suggestion put forward by you. Indeed, my question is intended only in case of clients who do insist a concrete offer on such source files, that we cannot do the word count. I am looking forward to acquire some software capable of doing word count in manuscripts too.

Regards
Gopinath Jambulingam


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:15
Member
French to English
+ ...
Target text + capped price Aug 6, 2013

In situations like this, what I usually do is to carry out a quick OCR conversion of the PDF (without correcting formatting and other errors), which will yield a file close enough for the purpose of just counting the words.

I think it's important not to be TOO attached to the precision of the word count; in general, even in the worst cases where I have under-estimated a word count, in practice it has never amounted to a very great loss — at most, say, a half a day's work. Very often, giving an off-the-cuff guesstimate price is enough — and particularly when I am very busy with other work, it is not economically worthwhile for me to take time out to quote for what may well be only a 'potential' job.

In my former profession, I had a boss who quoted very often off the top of his head; in one famous case, he said "Oh, £10,000" but my other colleague said "Oh no, this is too big a job to make a mistake, we'd better cost it out fully." So he spent two days preparing a detailed quote — which came out at £9,500! If you add to that the cost of his time for those two days... well, the boss was right in the first place!

As Heinrich says, resorting to the use of a target word count is often the simplest solution — depending on the compression/expansion ratio of your language pair, you might need to make allowance for that. For example, I work in FR > EN; overall, I have found that FR word counts are on average about 10% higher than the EN equivalent — so I base my quote on the target word count + 10%.

As Heinrich also says, for any decent customer, this ought not to pose a problem; however, I do understand that for a first-time customer, or one who is not used to commissioning translations, this can appear alarming. In such cases, I use another approach: I first make a guesstimate of the word count, then add a bit for safety, and calculate a price which I round up to some convenient figure. I then explain to the customer that I will base my invoice on the final actual target word count, BUT that under no circumstances will the price exceed this X amount.

This way, I am protected from seriously under-quoting, yet my customer is assured of getting a fair deal (and usually appreciates the honesty of the gesture!) In practice, I usually find my guesstimate quote is not too far out anyway (after over 16 years of experience, I suppose I ought to be able to get it right by now!), but I usually make sure the final bill comes out at least slightly under the ceiling price, just to prove to the customer that the system works — and psychologically, it is good for them to feel they paid less than expected

Whilst I don't agree with consistently practising unacceptably low rates, I do think one needs to guard against being overly attached (slavishly) to a particular rate; it is often best to consider a job as a 'loss leader' in order to catch a new customer — naturally, if one is not already in the fortunate position of having an excess of better-paid work in hand! In terms of rates, I ALWAYS make a point of billing at my full rate, where necessary bringing the invoice total down to an agreed price by deducting a 'special discount' — this has the psychological advantage of planting in my customer's head what the proper rate should be; and also giving them the impression they are a valued customer and lucky to be getting a special deal So for example, I will sometimes offer a settlement discount for early payment, or an introductory discount for a new customer.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:15
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
OCR may be impossible if the file is protected Aug 6, 2013

Tony M wrote:

In situations like this, what I usually do is to carry out a quick OCR conversion of the PDF (without correcting formatting and other errors), which will yield a file close enough for the purpose of just counting the words.


Gopinath mentioned that the files are locked. Depending on the selected level of pdf security, this can prevent the files from being OCR'd.

Various software programs are available that will unlock password protected pdf files.

One is:
http://www.verypdf.com/app/pdf-password-remover/try-and-buy.html#dl

There are some limitations. For example, it can't remove passwords that prevent all access to the file (such as a password to open), but does pretty well with pdf files that can be opened but are protected for editing (or printing, etc.).



[Edited at 2013-08-06 12:53 GMT]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:15
Member
French to English
+ ...
Protection Aug 6, 2013

Thanks, Rudolf, for that helpful suggestion.

I have never personally encountered a locked PDF in this sort of situation, so I guess I've been lucky; however, I suspect OP's use of the word 'locked' was a little ... fuzzy... and I assume he was probably meaning 'uneditable because an image format'.

Even with such a 'locked' file as you describe, assuming one can actually display it on ones screen, my workaround is to use screen captures (not viable for huge docs!), paste them all roughly together, and then OCR that. Works well enough for the purposes discussed here...


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:15
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
PDF file Aug 6, 2013

I had the same problem for a job for which the agency decided per word-I did not quote, but was contacted by the agency-and suggested a lump sum. There were some 150 pages-in reality there were 195 pages. I managed to copy/paste PDF file on a new Word document so I could see word count, font used, which font was used. I sometimes get legal documents like that and have to do the same, otherwise I cannot tell the number of words. Maybe you can try this out. Hope it helps.

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