Non-Payment for 100% Matches
Thread poster: James McVay

James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
Russian to English
+ ...
Sep 6, 2013

This article presents one of the most cogent arguments against non-payment for 100% matches I have seen:

http://www.velior.ru/blog/en/2013/09/06/not-paying-for-100-matches-is-not-an-option/


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Marvin Sun  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 14:05
English to Chinese
interesting... Sep 7, 2013

It has been a strange trend in this industry that every agency or outsourcer spares no effort to consider how to cut down the cost and squeeze the margin, while no not a single one leads the direction of how to add more value to translation services and then charge more against end clients. This mechanism seems totally opposite to other services industries, where better and more efficient services are almost always paid better.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:05
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
An ongoing trend Sep 7, 2013

Although I do understand that a business must find ways to cut costs, not paying for 100% matches is not the right way.

If agencies insist on not paying for 100% matches, I might consider informing them that these 100% matches will not reviewed (which strongly goes against my business rules and standards). This means that I will not take on the responsibility of their accuracy. (Again, a terrible thought). If all translators would operate like this, then agencies might realise that they are trying to save costs at the wrong end. But there will always be translators who would still include these 100% matches into their review process, thus working for free.

Somewhere I read that quality matters. I guess not to these 100%-matches focused agencies.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:05
English to Polish
+ ...
Yes Sep 7, 2013

Marvin Sun wrote:

It has been a strange trend in this industry that every agency or outsourcer spares no effort to consider how to cut down the cost and squeeze the margin, while no not a single one leads the direction of how to add more value to translation services and then charge more against end clients. This mechanism seems totally opposite to other services industries, where better and more efficient services are almost always paid better.


Well said, sir.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
Russian to English
+ ...
What is a 100% match Sep 7, 2013

in an inflectional language, especially. How many such matches can you really find in a piece of writing -- 10 perhaps in a hundred pages? Even the same phrase may have a different meaning in a different context, even slightly different. Even "No" and "No" may not be the same, from a morphological point of view.

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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:05
English to Polish
Exactly! Sep 7, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

in an inflectional language, especially. How many such matches can you really find in a piece of writing -- 10 perhaps in a hundred pages? Even the same phrase may have a different meaning in a different context, even slightly different. Even "No" and "No" may not be the same, from a morphological point of view.


That's what I tell my clients when they try not to pay for matches. I don't give any discounts for any matches at all, be it 1% or 100%.

A table, a book, and the Sun are all "yellow" in English, but in Polish they won't be 100% same "yellow" and changes are necessary.

The last time I tried to explain that to the agency, they told me that the end client doesn't want to pay for 100% matches (which was about 1/6 of the whole text). The agency told me that "we" couldn't do anything about it. I thought, "No, you can't do anything about it after you've agreed to it. It's not my problem."

Of course, all that on top of a rate that isn't even a half of my standard rate.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My reply there Sep 7, 2013

I often say that the best tool for translators, since long before anyone ever thought of CAT, is COMMON SENSE. It helps us in both the simplest and the toughest decisions, as well as those in-between.

There are some cases where repeated segments justify the translator giving them for free. Here are two examples of mine, and there are possibly more.

1. Parts-list-type translations

I had this situation in my second full-time job. This was long before the microcomputer (and consequently CAT tools) age. Also, as I was earning a salary, it was a matter of cost (my time), not price. Of course, these translations were done from hard copy, using a typewriter (later someone would re-type them on a typesetter).

I received "international" parts lists in SV/EN/FR/DE; had to deliver them in PT only. As the company was Swedish, the parts names were translated, however only the SV had the part specifications (e.g. Hose 2-1/2" - 20 m). So I had to translate from EN and get the specs from SV. After a while, I had memorized the part names in SV, so that whenever I got a new product's "domestic" parts list in SV, I could translate it directly SV > PT without a hitch. For the record, I wouldn't know how to say "Good morning!" in Swedish.

I had a similar job - as a freelancer - just a few years ago, when I had to translate an immense list of trade description labels and their subdivisions. Repeated segments were 60%+ of the job. This time I had a CAT tool to do most of the work for me.

2) Training programs courseware (my #1 specialty in translation)

In such cases, this is absolutely normal: The very same segment gets repeated on a) the course leader's guide; b) participants' workbooks; c) handouts; d) PPT slides; etc. Otherwise the entire course will be a mess, compromising retention.

In the old days when clients were wallowing in cash, and CAT tools weren't developed nor popular, clients hired me to go the full nine yards, translate and DTP them all.

When cutting costs became a forceful trend, they had me translate only the leader's guide, which supposedly contained most of the phrases. Then they had a staff member of theirs painstakingly copy & paste phrases from my translation onto the other pubs, as well as attempt translating anything left behind. Of course, this led to somewhat lower quality (attempted translations), and higher costs (the staff member's time on their payroll) than "my" solution.

My solution was to offer them all the repeated segments for free, on jobs larger than 5,000 words (a threshold I arbitrarily set). They'd get the complete program uniformly translated, and I'd get the extra translation of any text not included in the course leader's guide.

3) Some market surveys, standard financial reports

I'll leave it to the reader to figure out the details on these, which should be pretty obvious.


Therefore, out of common sense, in SOME cases it is fully justifiable not to charge for repeated segments, if they should definitely represent - at most - one keystroke each for the translator (or using auto-translate until fuzzy). However this certainly doesn't apply everywhere.


P.S.: I don't give ANY discount for fuzzy matches, ever!


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 07:05
English to Russian
+ ...
A curious example Sep 7, 2013

Even perfectly legitimate cases like those given by José sometimes contain pitfalls. A curious example I worked on a few years ago was a huge file containing countless pages of tabulated equipment specifications for an oilfield development project - everything from compressors to computers. Most segments were only 1-3 words long, and most of these were repetitions. The catch was with just one abbreviation - HP, which sometimes meant "high pressure", sometimes "horsepower", and sometimes "Hewlett-Packard"...

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Common sense Sep 7, 2013

Anton Konashenok wrote:

Even perfectly legitimate cases like those given by José sometimes contain pitfalls. A curious example I worked on a few years ago was a huge file containing countless pages of tabulated equipment specifications for an oilfield development project - everything from compressors to computers. Most segments were only 1-3 words long, and most of these were repetitions. The catch was with just one abbreviation - HP, which sometimes meant "high pressure", sometimes "horsepower", and sometimes "Hewlett-Packard"...


As I said, the translator's best ally is always common sense... it already was in the days I translated with a Parker 51 on ruled notepads, and hopefully will remain so when the next generations of CAT come to be.

Common sense will lead you to check on such possibilities before turning the auto-pilot on. Yet this is why I consider CAT tools' "auto-propagation" a potentially dangerous weapon, if used carelessly.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:05
Dutch to English
+ ...
Another example that shows that paying for matches is a good idea Sep 7, 2013

I translate a lot of health and safety documentation. There has been a slight shift in terminology during the last few years. A hard hat is no longer a hard hat but a safety helmet. If you receive a TM with hard hat in it, you will end up with a very confusing document where half the time hard hat has been used and the more up-to-date segments all say safety helmet.

Much better to have the full document reviewed!


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:05
Member
English to French
The only sensible reply Sep 8, 2013

Thayenga wrote:

Although I do understand that a business must find ways to cut costs, not paying for 100% matches is not the right way.

If agencies insist on not paying for 100% matches, I might consider informing them that these 100% matches will not reviewed (which strongly goes against my business rules and standards). This means that I will not take on the responsibility of their accuracy. (Again, a terrible thought). If all translators would operate like this, then agencies might realise that they are trying to save costs at the wrong end. But there will always be translators who would still include these 100% matches into their review process, thus working for free.

It is all about common sense indeed: an agency sends you a file with 10kwords of 100% matches and 500 "new words": would anybody with a brain expect me to spend a number of hours rereading the file against the source while being paid for 500 words, making sure that eg. "No" negative vs. "No" number is conveyed correctly?

Actually, some agencies know what not paying for 100% matches implies, and they have a thorough revision step at a later stage. Some of them also want to keep their 100% matches untouched for future consistency, and locking (or not paying) 100% matches is a way to achieve it. Problematic 100% matches may be changed later without updating the TM or within another alternate TM. Whatever the reason, not paying for 100% matches can be a valid way of reducing costs.

To me, 100% matches not paid means:
* the CAT tool features a way to hide/skip 100% matches
* I don't read them.

For new contacts, I anticipate any misunderstanding: I tell the agency my scope of work considering the payment schedule, and if I have the original bilingual text, I point to one wrong 100% match to make my point. I advise them - free of charge - to have a serious reread of the whole content because consistency and relevance will not be guaranteed within 100% matches and between 100% matches and "new" content.

The same goes with repetitions.

Overall, I don't have a problem with not being paid for repetitions or 100% matches. My work will be less thorough, but cheaper. It can lead to serious problems in the translation, but as long as agencies are aware of it and bear liability for 100% matches (and consequences of not having them reread at translation stage), they can save money that way if they wish. They just can't expect me to work for free.

Philippe


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It definitely makes sense! Sep 8, 2013

Just one observation...

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Overall, I don't have a problem with not being paid for repetitions or 100% matches. My work will be less thorough, but cheaper. It can lead to serious problems in the translation, but as long as agencies are aware of it and bear liability for 100% matches (and consequences of not having them reread at translation stage), they can save money that way if they wish. They just can't expect me to work for free.


Your work will not be cheaper, you'll just have less work, your assignment will be smaller.

Whenever I have such a situation and a say in it, I advise the client not to ask/pay for translating repeated segments, however to ask/pay for the full word count in proofreading. If there is any "false repetition", the proofreader should spot it and fix accordingly.

Let's do some calculations with round numbers (I'm not suggesting them, nor implying any currency: $ means just "money units"):

Assumption:
Job: 10,000 words, 50% repetitions
Rates: 10¢/w translation, 4¢/w proofreading

Conventional way:
Translation: 10,000 words @ .10 = $1,000
Proofreading: 10,000 words @ .04 = $400
Total = $1,400

Free repetitions:
Translation: 10,000 words x 50% @ .10 = $500
Proofreading: 10,000 words @ .04 = $400
Total = $900

Client saves ~36% from having the more expensive translator do less work. The outcome is supposedly much better than using a cheaper translator. If the proofreader had a chance to see that supposedly worse cheaper translator's output, what would prevent them from demanding a higher rate to proofread it?


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
Russian to English
+ ...
If there are many 100% matches Sep 8, 2013

let the outsourcer take them out completely, so I would not have to read them, or at least highlight all of them, so we get a better idea what they consider 100% matches. Matches may make some sense sometimes, in catalogue lists, but other than that -- I don't believe in any matches.

They can always insert the words after the translation is completed.



[Edited at 2013-09-08 13:01 GMT]


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ferreirac  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:05
Member (2013)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
100% Matches - Two possible behaviors for agencies Sep 8, 2013

In my translation journey, I have heard about two types of agencies' behavior that do not pay for a 100 % match. The first type includes those who have a structured team of reviewers. These QA teams do reviews before sending the translation to the end client. These agencies pay for translation and for QA. The other type of agency I have not had the opportunity to meet and hopefully this will never happen.

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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:05
German to English
Non-payment Sep 8, 2013

Non-payment for 100% matches = non-acceptance of translation job.

Your mileage may vary...

Steve K.


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