Content repeating across several documents: What to charge?
Thread poster: MarieA

MarieA
Canada
Local time: 05:17
English to French
+ ...
Oct 22, 2013

Hello, I'm translating a legal website for a government agency, and I have a contract with them that states my rate per word. When I negociated the contract, they provided a few samples so I could evaluate the work. Turns out content is sometimes repeated from one section to the next, with only a few words changing (I couldn't have known that before I started the translation work and it wasn't pointed out to me by the client either). Right now, I'm charging my full translation rate (that is what was agreed upon), but as I expected, my client is asking questions whether it's "normal" that they have to pay the full rate even when the content repeats itself. They are not mad, they just want to discuss the matter. In a way, I feel like they should pay what was agreed upon, but at the same time, it's true that it's much faster for me to translate repeating content, and I wouldn't want them to end the contract early because the invoices add up too quickly.

What do you do when this happens to you? Do you lower your rate for repeating content? What would be a quick and efficient way to invoice without suffering the headache of separating repeating content and new content?

Thanks for your advice!


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Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:17
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Prepare for the deluge Oct 22, 2013

MarieA wrote:

Hello, I'm translating a legal website for a government agency, and I have a contract with them that states my rate per word. When I negociated the contract, they provided a few samples so I could evaluate the work. Turns out content is sometimes repeated from one section to the next, with only a few words changing (I couldn't have known that before I started the translation work and it wasn't pointed out to me by the client either). Right now, I'm charging my full translation rate (that is what was agreed upon), but as I expected, my client is asking questions whether it's "normal" that they have to pay the full rate even when the content repeats itself. They are not mad, they just want to discuss the matter. In a way, I feel like they should pay what was agreed upon, but at the same time, it's true that it's much faster for me to translate repeating content, and I wouldn't want them to end the contract early because the invoices add up too quickly.

What do you do when this happens to you? Do you lower your rate for repeating content? What would be a quick and efficient way to invoice without suffering the headache of separating repeating content and new content?

Thanks for your advice!


Prepare - questions about discounts for reps will get proz agitated!

I see both sides here. On the one hand, you have every right to just continue under the agreement you have. On the other, if you're using a CAT tool it takes almost no time to breeze through extra reps.

If I was in your position, I would not change your terms in the middle of the job - I think it could send a bad message.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Do you use a CAT tool? Oct 22, 2013

If so, it will have given you counts of all the repetitions. However, nobody should be forced to give discounts and I'm glad your client didn't go down that route. I use a CAT tool but never give systematic discounts.

However, I had a very similar situation once and, even though the (direct) client never said anything, I felt it appropriate to offer a discount. When it came to the invoice, I charged all the words at my full rate and then added a discount line of 10% due to the occurrence of repetitions. I didn't say how I'd arrived at that figure - it was just a commercial offer. With your client actually asking for one, you might want to be a bit more specific. Don't forget that once a discount has been offered in specific terms, this client will always expect it!


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
It depends on how much content is repeated. Oct 22, 2013

If it's a few sentences here and there, ignore it. If it's paragraphs and pages, you should give them a discount as a goodwill gesture, whether you're using TM or not. Of course, you're trusting them to pass the discount on to their customer.

[Edited at 2013-10-22 15:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-10-22 15:15 GMT]


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Roy OConnor
Local time: 11:17
Member (2009)
German to English
I always discount... Oct 22, 2013

... where I have translated appreciable parts of the text before, either in the same document or in any other translation for the same customer. I regard it as a matter of trust. It helps the customer a lot if they know they can rely on you in situations like this.

Most of my work though is for end-users. One might reasonably expect agencies to point out the degree of repetition in the document at the outset, particularly if a fixed price is agreed.


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Sone-Ngole Alvin Ngole  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:17
English to French
+ ...
All depends on your conception of a client/partner Oct 22, 2013

Are you in harmony with yourself or your value system if you charge full/contract rate even when there are so many repetitions?
What kind of relationship do you have with your client? If your relationship goes beyond client-supplier, if you consider each other as partners, it is but normal that you share some kinds of benefits like huge number of repetitions. It may even be more interesting if you took the lead like Sheila Wilson.

I read some pages of a book "the science of getting rich by Wallas Wattles". He talks of offering the client a "USE VALUE" greater than what we receive as payment.

You may think you will be the loser by acting that way, but you will be creating much value arround you...

[Edited at 2013-10-22 16:24 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-10-22 16:26 GMT]


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:17
Chinese to English
This is what agencies do for us... Oct 22, 2013

This is the kind of hassle that agencies take out of our work, and I'm usually very grateful for it. But I think that a CAT tool will do this for you, too. There's an analysis function somewhere in the CAT tool that looks for internal repetitions, I think. If you can use that skilfully, then you can get a clear idea of the scale of the issue, and then decide what to do.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@MarieA Oct 22, 2013

MarieA wrote:
My client is asking questions whether it's "normal" that they have to pay the full rate even when the content repeats itself. They are not mad, they just want to discuss the matter.


Well, you can bleed them for all they're worth, and you'll be the hero of many of your fellow translators... but in my opinion you should give them discounts for repetitions (particularly since the repetitions you are talking about here are true in-context repetitions).

I assume, of course, that you're using a CAT tool. You should be able to provide them with some statistics. Even if you're discounting only 100% matches and e.g. 98% matches, you'd still be making sense to them.


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Jean@LA  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:17
English to Chinese
+ ...
Asked to work for free for 1/3 of the job for its "repetition" Oct 22, 2013

This agency asked me to "skip" those "100% matches and repetition" so they can autopoluate the file by themselves, which means the time I spent on figuring out which should part should be left out and making sure nothing goes wrong will not be paid at all.

Even though I already started the job, I told them to assign it to another translator. I'm not desperate enough to be exploited.


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Agnes Lenkey  Identity Verified
German to Spanish
+ ...
Possibly agree on some kind of discount to the benefit of the client Oct 22, 2013

I had this situation before, for example when I had to translate 40 pages of facial skin care product descriptions from German into Spanish. Because there were many products belonging to the same product line, the ingredients or descriptions were very-very similar in many places of the document. It was easier for me to decide, because I asked to see the whole document before quoting, meaning that I could apply a discount to the overall price right from the beginning. Two aspects are important for me though: I never lower the price per word quoted, and maintain it even if there are repetitions, this way I don’t confuse the client and he will clearly know in the future what is my price per (usually source) word. The second aspect is that I consider it very important to state and express clearly to the client that I am able to offer this discount for this translation only – each job is different and I can’t promise anything for future translations, it will depend. I always inform the client that usually discounts can not be applied to translation work. For me it’s important that the client understands all the details – there is no time, but I belong to the group of translators who like to educate their clients and explain the process to them. Bearing always in mind that adding value for the benefit of the client is of utmost importance, like SonengoleA said in his answer.

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