Cat reductions
Thread poster: Josephine Cassar

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:40
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Feb 27, 2014

Hello, I know the issue has been discussed several times, but each case is different. An agency asked if I was willing to do a test and I answered that it was okay, so long as the text was in my subject area and so long text did not exceed 250-300 words. I was sent the result yesterday but the agency then asked me if I were willing to consider the following deductions/discounting rates. Next time, I will agree terms in advance, before doing the test. I do not like these endless rate deductions, but would like your opinion before answering/refusing/accepting. These are the deductions: Translation X language into Y language:
Translation - New Words( 0-74%) = full rate
Translation - Repetitions - 2% of full rate
Translation - 100% Matches = 10% of full rate
Translation - 95-99% Matches = 15% of full rate
Translation - 85-94% Matches = 35% of full rate
Translation - 75-84% Matches = 50% of full rate
What do you think? Frankly, I do not like these deductions because you end up wasting time making calculations, or maybe even haggling over final sum. Thank you for your responses.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:40
English to Dutch
+ ...
Two things Feb 27, 2014

One: whether you consider these deductions reasonable or not and whether you accept them, negotiate them or refuse them, is entirely up to you. You are an entrepeneur, and you can set your own terms. To me, this particular matrix seems a bit lopsided to the agency's side (just 2% for full matches? That should be AT THE VERY LEAST 10%, if you ask my opinion).

That said, you also mention the time consuming part of the process. But it is so easy to just create an Excel template - you just fill in the numbers from your CAT analysis and you're done. I find that the whole process takes less than two minutes.


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:40
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Acceptable percentages (in my book) Feb 27, 2014

Translation - Repetitions = 35% of full rate
Translation - 100% Matches = 35% of full rate
Translation - 95-99% Matches = 50% of full rate
Translation - 85-94% Matches = 75% of full rate
Translation - 75-84% Matches = 85% of full rate
Translation - New Words( 0-74%) = full rate

[Edited at 2014-02-27 09:24 GMT]


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:40
German to English
+ ...
Unacceptable for a test in my point of view Feb 27, 2014

It seems to me that an agency that requires CAT tool discounts for a TEST will be nothing but a pain in the neck to work with in future. I'd rather do a short test for free than fiddling with these different price tiers for such a small amount of text. My policy (and I've written this here before) is to not take any jobs for which the time spent writing the invoice will exceed the time spent on the translation!

I only accept discounted rates from clients in rare cases, but in my main fields of specialization (marketing, advertising), CAT tools are generally not very useful, in any case, even if I always translate with them for my own TM. Repetitions/matches are pretty rare in my experience, though others may differ.

So it's really up to what you want to do. You can set any conditions you want, and define for yourself what is acceptable to YOU. I have never been asked to do a paid test using CAT tool discounts, to be honest, and I would refuse such a proposition, if it ever happened, but I would not presume to suggest you do the same thing. Often it is a gut feeling that tells you if this a good, potential long-term client or not, and if it's worth the extra effort to win them over.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:40
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
test with CAT tools Feb 27, 2014

Thank you for your answers. I would like to clarify that the test was not conducted with CAT tools; these were mentioned as CAT deductions after I received the results. It seems the rate the agency is offering is too low, and that is why I asked. I had no idea if they were low or not. When the agency contacted me, there was no mention of any CAT tools or any tools whatsoever. I'll make sure next time that the agency knows I only use Word/Excel/Powerpoint. Thank you The gut feeling was that I did not like the suggestion.

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Little Woods  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Member
English to Vietnamese
Leave them if you dont feel it right from the start Feb 27, 2014

You can never raise your rate working with this type of agency because they just want to cut costs by cutting your earnings. You can't expect a loyal and friendly relationship with them too. Low discount and rates would never be a wise stratergy, It is just like you cutting your own flesh.

We work on many type of text and nothing ever easy from any angles. A serious translator who spend time reading pages of reference and doing research for a job should know how demanding and how tiring this job is. Saying that I believe you should set a limit where you can still afford your living, continueing education and save something for the rainy days.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:40
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agency response Feb 27, 2014

Thank you all. Good thing I asked. The agency came back that it was accepting a rate close to what I charge, as I had replied saying I did not use CAT tools, so problem solved. I think it took the hint, but still, thanks, as next time, I will negotiate conditions before I do the test-no point otherwise. It is a case where you do a test, never expecting to hear about the result, even if the text consisted of just 249 words which is acceptable. Thank you all once more.

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Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:40
Member (2011)
Spanish to French
+ ...
CAT deductions Mar 1, 2014

Since we are once more debating about the same topic, if you were a bus driver, would you agree to be paid less because you've been driving the same route for more than, say, 6 months? Or would you ask your doctor a discount because it's the third time over the winter you see him for a flu? I don't really think he'd agree to that! Sorry, not CAT discounts. At all!
Hope we would all agree to that...


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:40
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
NO Deductions Mar 2, 2014

Yes, Christopher, I agree with you- that's why I asked- to see other people's experiences. No playing about

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Analogies Mar 2, 2014

Christophe Delaunay wrote:
If you were a bus driver, would you agree to be paid less because you've been driving the same route for more than, say, 6 months?


No, but that is a false analogy. If you own a bus driving firm, and a client wants to pay less for a certain journey because the calculated route involves fewer bends, inclines and stops, would you agree to that? The fewer bends, inclines and stops will translate into lower fuel consumption, and both you and your client knows it, and can calculate it to a certain margin.

Or would you ask your doctor a discount because it's the third time over the winter you see him for a flu?


No, but you can still expect to pay less for the second and third visit because those visits will be shorter, especially if the first visit included a full medical history and physical examination. If the subsequent visits involve fewer things than the first visit (and if you live in a country where the doctors have freedom to decide what they charge), then I see no reason not to ask for a lower fee for the two subsequent 5-minutes visits, compared to the initial 30-minute visit.

In fact, even if you visit a different doctor the 2nd and 3rd time, you could still ask for a lower fee if you are able to provide that doctor with your medical history in a format that he is able to use instantly, because it means that that other doctor would not need to redo the history and physical. Think of when you move to another town and you can give your new dentist a flash drive containing all your previous X-rays in digitised format that is compatible with his software, so that he doesn't have to redo all the X-rays (and charge you for it).

In the same way, if your client can provide you with a TM that will reduce the amount of hours that you spend on the job, then it is perfectly reasonable for him to ask for a reduction in price.


[Edited at 2014-03-02 15:24 GMT]


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:40
English to German
+ ...
It's the translator who should assess the work involved and decide about the price Mar 3, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

In the same way, if your client can provide you with a TM that will reduce the amount of hours that you spend on the job, then it is perfectly reasonable for him to ask for a reduction in price.


[Edited at 2014-03-02 15:24 GMT]


IMO, that assessment (it's perfectly reasonable to ask for a reduction in price) should come from the translator, not the client. A TM does not necessarily reduce the amount of hours you spend on the job - and even if you spend less time on translating, maybe you want to spend more time on proofreading/reviewing your translation. If a TM enables you to provide a quicker or better service, it doesn't follow IMO to have to charge less.

The whole business of outsourcers asking (requesting from) a translator to accept arbitrarily specified rate percentages for certain word repetitions for using a CAT tool (and often providing a new/improved TM) is utterly wrong. The use of a CAT tool is certainly an additional part of the job when it comes to translating. Its use can be required, yes, but how it figures in the overall price is something the translator must assess, not the outsourcer, and the outsourcers' attitude that a TM is indeed "a TM that will reduce the amount of hours that you spend on the job" is not more than an opinion which should not have any bearing whatsoever.

It's the translator's job to review the original text and any provided TM thoroughly and make a decision on how much he/she needs to charge for the project.

It's very likely you are going to be disappointed if you simply accept the client's requests for price reductions or if you automatically apply such discounts simply because you are using a CAT tool or because you think it's customary.

This practice of CAT tool discounts and discount requests has been used often to the advantage of the outsourcer and the disadvantage of the translator. One should be careful not to get caught up in it. Just my thoughts.


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Mark Benson  Identity Verified

English to Swedish
+ ...
Just say no Mar 3, 2014

This is what I think: Who do you think you're kidding? It's purely and simply a way for the outsourcer to get cheaper service. When I take it like that, for what it is, it's fine. Why not be honest: I have never said no to a CAT reduction scheme.

But do I do it because I find it perfectly agreeable and reasonable as such? DEFINITELY not! I don't want any reductions at all.

I call this my 'service level.' I do genuinely want to accommodate those who want to work with me, and at the end of the day we're simply helping each other make money. Basically, I try to be at service on the client's terms to the utmost degree possible.

Like everything in this business - don't get stuck. Try to get to a point where you can simply say 'I don't work with CAT reductions' and that's it. You don't want to hear about it, and too bad for those who missed that point.

But until then, what can you do? Except to live with it...

On the up-side, I can mention that I can get some elegant offers too, with 'mostly repetitions' but full pay. Both sides exist. Some don't even talk about 'CAT repetitions.'

Honestly: I get a mix. I'm usually approached with CAT schemes where the client wonders what I can accept etc. I always say the same thing: I accept everything. But what exactly, they say then. I answer them to simply make me an offer, so that I can accept it. And it works; I have never had to turn down a job because of shenanigans in the CAT reduction department.

Sometimes the client has an established CAT scheme and they ask if I can accept it. Yes, of course.

I don't care about any eventual reasons, such as 'don't look at the 100% matches' or why etc. I want projects and I want to work. If I'm asked to accept a price point, that's fine! But if I'm expected to sell out my brain and believe in the various arguments for this or that(other than the relevant price point for the client) then the situation changes. I avoid that at any cost, because I get angry when stuff like that is smuggled into my business.

Sometimes the CAT reductions are stated in an agreement that I sign when I start working with a client. Sometimes they're stated on the PO for the respective project. Sometimes they're just discussed in an email thread.

Just like Bernhard indicates: The only professional practice is to use discretion. I'm only interested in knowing what it says after total, and then I take it from there, assessing the job and how much time I have for it.

That way I don't have to feel too bummed about this either, if there really is any reason to be.

Now please don't bully me, I just wanted to share my perspective. Not asking for advice either! Just participating. Hope that's ok!


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