"Post-DTP" review and charging for it
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:16
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Mar 5, 2015

Dear colleagues,

I would like to ask you if you charge your clients for the so-called "post-DTP" review? E.g. when the source files are made into Word format from PDF, then sent for translation, and then, from translated Word format files, the DTP specialists of the client, put your translation "back" into the PDF file.

Asking this because I am getting tired of one client who always "forgets" to mention that I have to revise the "final PDF translation files". These files are rather big, with complex formatting, let alone their DTP specialists often make quite a mess (e.g. insert whole sentences or even paragraphs from OTHER languages, each time I have to explain that my target language diacritic letters are distorted and need to be corrected). Plus all this shall be done "ASAP" - if this client appears, it means I have to put aside all the rest, and rush for correction of their DTP specialists errors...

I already told the client in a diplomatic manner that the DTP person makes a big mess and that I cannot always promise to do all what they need on a "rush basis" (it distracts very much, makes upside down the schedules, especially when I have other ongoing work), I end up correcting things I should not correct, and wasting a lot of time...

Shall I simply tell them in plain text that I want to get paid for my time, i.e. that this work is "subject to my usual rates and availability"?


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 13:16
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Never again Mar 5, 2015

This happened to me once and never again. Post-DTP editing was mentioned in the original agreement but not that it would be without pay. It included first making the edits in both the PDF and the Word file and then a final edit of the PDF, each time sprung on me without any prior warning. When I asked to be paid, the agency reluctantly agreed to pay for a few hours but not nearly enough compared to the time it took.

 

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:16
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
hourly rate Mar 5, 2015

Dear Tina,

Do you think it would be fair to ask them to pay my usual hourly rate for the time actually spent on their mess? If they do not agree, let it be their problem.


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:16
German to English
Proofreading Mar 5, 2015

Marius,

This is generally referred to as “proofreading”, meaning reviewing the typeset text, mainly for typos, omissions, formatting errors, that sort of thing - rather than revising the translation as such. As a rule, printouts are proofread using standard typesetter’s marks (it’s also possible to do this electronically in the PDF, but considerably more time-consuming for both the proofreader and the typesetter, and consequently much more expensive for the client).

This sort of work is always billed separately, on an hourly basis. We do this regularly for published documents such as annual and interim reports for corporates and funds.

Robin


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 13:16
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Definitely Mar 5, 2015

MariusV wrote:

Dear Tina,

Do you think it would be fair to ask them to pay my usual hourly rate for the time actually spent on their mess? If they do not agree, let it be their problem.


Hi Marius, yes definitely and I suggest making that agreement with the client right away, before you start the translation.


 

Jacques DP  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 21:16
Member (2003)
English to French
Adjust rates Mar 5, 2015

"Post-DTP review", sure, and after that expect the dreadful "Client feedback" step, with changes which are not always the best and that you need to implement and put your name on in the TM (hoping no-one will find them in the future), unless you prefer to go back to agency to discuss client's changes, which is even worse.
I have rarely had these things paid by the hour (which would be complicated for me because as a fast translator my hourly rate is high and I usually prefer not to disclose it at all).
What I do is estimate the cost for me, and after a few jobs I go back to the client, saying: Now that I know all what's implied in your process, I am adjusting my rate to such and such (typically +20%).
If by then they have realized you are good they will typically accept it.
This is how I do it but other approaches are possible of course.
I try to make things simple for the client. Time-based charges for small post-delivery checks is not simple. But these things are burdensome and you need to take them into account and get paid for them in one way or the other.


[Edited at 2015-03-05 18:18 GMT]


 

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:16
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Mar 5, 2015

Dear Tina, thank you very much for encouraging me. Sure, sometimes it is really good to review "own" translation (for possible typo errors, and other things), but when it comes to correcting numerous and repeating (told them many times, but they do not react) DTP person's errors, I really feel it is not quite fair to spend a lot of time and do a lot of work free. Let alone, they always try to "save" on translation, proofreading, and possibly, DTP rates (ah, that killer phrase "our budget is limited").

 

brg (X)
Netherlands
My opinion Mar 5, 2015

MariusV wrote:

Dear Tina, thank you very much for encouraging me. Sure, sometimes it is really good to review "own" translation (for possible typo errors, and other things), but when it comes to correcting numerous and repeating (told them many times, but they do not react) DTP person's errors, I really feel it is not quite fair to spend a lot of time and do a lot of work free. Let alone, they always try to "save" on translation, proofreading, and possibly, DTP rates (ah, that killer phrase "our budget is limited").


Just keep in mind that DTP specialists are far more expensive than translators, that they charge hourly or preferably on a per day basis. And that every word that is not their own fault will have to be paid by the client. As I understand from your description, the DTP person is attributed a budget too low to deliver good work, and both (client and DTP) count on you to have things corrected. This should not happen, for two reasons: the biggest part of the work should be done by the DTP and he should deliver files that are 99,9% correct, and secondly all decent CAT Tools are equipped to handle InDesign and Powerpoint correctly in one workflow, and as far as I understand also Quark (but I wonder if this expensive package is still used).
As for the argument that this is "your own translation": you deliver files you already proofread, aren't you?
So just charge on an hourly basis, at least the same as your hourly translation rate. And ask other DTP experts what their hourly rate is. The problem is that this will have to be assessed before you will be working on the files: maybe you can do 1 or 2 pages and then extrapolate the cost.


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:16
German to Swedish
+ ...
CAT is not a solution Mar 6, 2015

houtberg wrote:

all decent CAT Tools are equipped to handle InDesign and Powerpoint correctly in one workflow



"Correctly" just means that the text (if it is accessible, and not contained in an image) ends up in the correct text frame.
That's a very, very long way from having a printable target DTP document.

The text then needs to be edited to fit the alotted space, or the layout altered to accommodate the text.
This can introduce editing and formatting errors, deleted text frames, overflowing text, line-break and hyphenation issues and so on.

Let's not even mention translators doing "correct" translations in their CAT tool without bothering to see whether their text has any chance of fitting the layout.

[Bearbeitet am 2015-03-06 10:31 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:16
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A solid contract comes before the work Mar 6, 2015

Tina Vonhof wrote:

MariusV wrote:

Dear Tina,

Do you think it would be fair to ask them to pay my usual hourly rate for the time actually spent on their mess? If they do not agree, let it be their problem.


Hi Marius, yes definitely and I suggest making that agreement with the client right away, before you start the translation.



Hi Marius,

it seems that you do need to craft a solid contract with your client. One that provides you with payment for each hour that you work (unless it's a charity organization).

Since you've mentioned that, whenever this client "appears", you have to literally drop everything else to work on his projects in order to deliver them - preferably "yesterday". This does not only call for your regular hourly rate (as I always say: an hour of your time is an hour of your time regardless of how you're spending it!), but also for a rushed delivery surcharge.icon_biggrin.gif

Much success!

Thayenga


 


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