Dash count
Thread poster: Inga Petkelyte

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:20
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Mar 23, 2015

Not a big deal but wanted to hear your opinions:
One of the biggest portions of my work is legal translation: contracts, law drafts, lawsuits, etc.
Quite often, the last line of a contract paragraph, where the text is not sufficient for a complete line, is filled with dashes or dots, in order to prevent additional inscriptions after the contract signature.
This past weekend I just had such a contract with various lines of dots rather dashes: one or two words in the last line and the rest is dots. Boring to the death, as I have to match those dots in the end of the line so that there wouldn't be a dot missing until the very end of the line or exceeding the line. Well, you know how that is.
And the agency comes today and says: let's not count those dots, ok? For they make almost a full page, let's skip them.
I like this agency and told them: ok, this time let's not count but next time you will put those dots yourselves.
Again, I like them and can give away my time this time for them, but something inside tells me it's not right, in general. They didn't warn me in advance the dots wouldn't be counted and I, as a translator, have to keep the translation formatting as close as possible to the original.
How would you have dealt with/what's your policy about... dots?


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Leave it out Mar 23, 2015

That's what I do with such things, I leave them out. They are of no importance in a translation.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:20
Member (2007)
+ ...
Why not? Mar 23, 2015

Inga Petkelyte wrote:
ok, this time let's not count but next time you will put those dots yourselves.

Seems totally reasonable to me


Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:20
English to French
+ ...
If they want the dots, they have to pay for them! Mar 23, 2015

How does word count count the dots?
There is no reason to do the dots for free, but maybe one could negotiate their price with the customer.

What I do, is I add only a couple of such dashes to show they are there. Rarely do I go into the trouble of making sure the dashes go all the way to the end of the line, and no more.

They are not "unimortant." The translation user might wonder why there are dashes or dots in a language they don't understand, and none in the translation.


Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Why would you count them? Mar 23, 2015

Maybe I just have a different way of looking at it, but why would anyone want to count the dots or dashes?

If the purpose is to fill space, can't you just use Word's tab function and choose the option to fill the space with dots instead of blanks? The other two options are dashes and underscores. That way, Word can fill for example the first or the last 7 cm of the line with dots, or any other defined space in the line. Maybe you simply didn't think about this option, as there are so many functions in Word.


Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:20
Chinese to English
Flat formatting fee Mar 24, 2015

If this only takes 5 minutes of your time for an entire project, I wouldn't charge the client anything, as there is something to be said for doing little favors for clients.

However, if this is more like 5 minutes of work for each page in a project, then perhaps you can come up with a flat formatting fee (15 USD for 5 pages?), and tell the client that this will be additional to your translation fee? This way you give the client a bit of a choice between doing the formatting themselves or having you do it.

By the way, are you sure the client (or their end client) cares about the dots being exactly the same between the translation and the source? And perhaps I've understood things incorrectly, but would copy+paste and a little bit of deleting work for these dots?


Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:20
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
My approach Mar 24, 2015

My approach is that I'll reproduce the original formatting as closely as using a CAT tool will allow. In other words: I do not do any manual editing to format the final translation. If a client wants this, I will offer it at my hourly rate, which is approx. 8 to 10 times as high as that of the average office assistant whose job this really should be.

Of course, this is just a nice way to say "I don't do this kind of work", but if a client really decides that he wants me to do this, I don't lose anything, as my hourly rate will exactly cover the amount of work done, and so I'm fine with it. It rarely happens.


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 17:20
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Never do them Mar 24, 2015

If I am paid by word count, that does not include dots or dashes. I never put them in and no client has every said anything about it. I do start on a new line, paragraph or page wherever the source document does to keep the documents comparable.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:20
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Use a TAB... Mar 24, 2015

... at the end of the line, with the leading character set to whatever you like. It shouldn't be counted as a character.


Local time: 07:20
English to Chinese
+ ...
Just leave a few dots or dashes Mar 25, 2015

Like JL01, I just leave a few dots or dashes, they will know what they are foricon_smile.gif


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