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Help! Quoted source word count is 1/3 of the actual word count!
Thread poster: DJHartmann

DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Aug 21, 2015

Thai is a language that has no spaces between words. This makes providing a source word count quite difficult and usually a little inaccurate. To avoid any inaccuracies, most of my clients accept a target word count. However, one client in Singapore refused and insisted I quote using a source word count. Liking the content and the rate, I complied, only to find out that there was a massive glitch in my source word count and instead of 9,xxx words its 30,xxx words!!!!!!

Job is due Monday morning... what do I tell the client?! Help!

I need 2 things: PO to be adjusted to the new count and the deadline extended accordingly!

DJH


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:55
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
I suppose that you should also adjust your rates. Aug 21, 2015

Anyway, you should contact the client right away and explain the situation. However bad it may look from your point of view, being open is the solution in such situations. (imho)


DJHartmann wrote:

Thai is a language that has no spaces between words. This makes providing a source word count quite difficult and usually a little inaccurate. To avoid any inaccuracies, most of my clients accept a target word count. However, one client in Singapore refused and insisted I quote using a source word count. Liking the content and the rate, I complied, only to find out that there was a massive glitch in my source word count and instead of 9,xxx words its 30,xxx words!!!!!!

Job is due Monday morning... what do I tell the client?! Help!

I need 2 things: PO to be adjusted to the new count and the deadline extended accordingly!

DJH


[Edited at 2015-08-21 22:46 GMT]


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Yes! Aug 21, 2015

My point is, what is the best way to tell him?

I wrote this post after writing and then deleting 3 emails in a row!

This will cause the agency problems, as they'll have to renegotiate with the client, so I want to frame it in the best possible light.


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:55
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
Is it a difference between the same source word count? Aug 21, 2015

DJHartmann wrote:

, I complied, only to find out that there was a massive glitch in my source word count and instead of 9,xxx words its 30,xxx words!!!!!!

DJH


or is it after the conversion to target words. I mean, did they state that some 9xxx words are to be translated but then you found out that it is 30xxx? In this case, this should be more of their problem.

In the other case where their PO is correct but your "assumption" is wrong, it might be beneficial to be positive and constructive and an apology maybe.


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Technical glitch in my source WC Aug 21, 2015

My source word count was wrong in the first instance. For some reason the MS Word on the first computer that I used to do the WC gave these figures.

I didn't realise until I put one of the larger files that I thought was 2,xxx words into my CAT and saw there were over 800 segments!!

I then ran the word count on a different computer and saw that instead of 2,xxx there were 6,xxx words!

Ran the rest of the files and saw how vastly wrong my first WC was.

Further compounding my need to insist on target word count for Thai


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
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MODERATOR
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MS Word for Mac doesn't do Thai word counts Aug 21, 2015

A note: Thai word counts are the only reason I ever have to use a PC because MS Word for Mac doesn't do Thai word counts. Now it seems there are different results when using different versions of PC Word !

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Jenae Spry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:55
French to English
Acknowledge your mistake but call them immediately Aug 21, 2015

Don't email them, call. It's the weekend and you need to catch them before they leave if they haven't already.

1) You said it was your mistake in quoting the job so acknowledge that and apologize profusely.
2) Offer to discount the job for the hassle. For example, charge full price at 30k words and give a 20% discount or something. This will make them feel better about the last minute change and help them in negotiating with their client.
3) You didn't mention whether you are capable of still delivering Monday. If not, then offer to roll it so that their proofreader can get started. If they don't have a proofreader then offer to roll it anyway as a gesture.


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
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Thank you! Aug 21, 2015

I also thought that calling would be the best way to approach this.

I was working on a schedule of 9k words, so there's no way I can deliver on Monday.

Thanks for your suggestion... I'll call as soon as it's a respectable time in the morning in Singapore.


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:55
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
Agree with Jenae, calling is necessary. Aug 21, 2015

Btw, clients, especially if there is an problem, don't like to into deep detail. Just summarize the situation, admit your mistake by pointing out that this is a technical error due to different operating systems.

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Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:55
Chinese to English
Agree Aug 22, 2015

Jenae Spry wrote:

Don't email them, call. It's the weekend and you need to catch them before they leave if they haven't already.

1) You said it was your mistake in quoting the job so acknowledge that and apologize profusely.
2) Offer to discount the job for the hassle. For example, charge full price at 30k words and give a 20% discount or something. This will make them feel better about the last minute change and help them in negotiating with their client.
3) You didn't mention whether you are capable of still delivering Monday. If not, then offer to roll it so that their proofreader can get started. If they don't have a proofreader then offer to roll it anyway as a gesture.


I think Jenae pretty much covered everything, very good advice. I might go more with a 10% discount given the high word count and the fact that the agency probably should have gone over the word count as well before quoting to their client, so think a bit about the exact level of discount you want to give.

You're not alone, I've under counted before--the main thing is to take this as a lesson and double-check in the future (although to be honest, if my WORD WC was off for a large project I'd probably be in the same spot you are now.)


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Jenae Spry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:55
French to English
One last thing -- focus on the solutions and not the mistake Aug 22, 2015

I should have added this but better late than never.

When you talk to them don't spend too long discussing the mistake as above posters said. They don't care about how it was your software's fault and not you, etc. A simple "I'm really sorry but a technical glitch led to me misquoting the word count for this job..." is enough. Then immediately move on to your plan to solve the problem:
"...so what I can do is roll the file to you so that your proofreader can get going on at least 9k of it by the original deadline or even earlier. I will then deliver x words by Monday night and x words Tuesday (or however you plan it)." Just be sure to be specific and clear so they can plan. Then say something like "I realize that this means the final estimated price will be increased due to the increased word count. I would like to offer you a discount of...for your trouble."

Assuming everything above goes well, after the job is complete and you send in the final file and invoice, this is a good time to state how you will prevent this issue from happening in the future to regain their trust. You said that Studio is better at providing the word count so perhaps say that all Thai jobs will be quoted by Studio word count to prevent this issue from recurring in the future.


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
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Thai to English
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"You may have to eat bitter fruit" Aug 22, 2015

"You may have to eat bitter fruit"

This was the quote of the agency. He said that while he is very understanding, we have an agreement, he may be able to extend the deadline but the price cannot be negotiated. "This is very unprofessional" he said, and that he will forward the email to the client.

He then suggested that if the client does not accept the change in price, we may cancel the project and deliver nothing.

He asked me to think about whether I want the original fee, or could I accept being paid nothing.


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Jenae Spry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:55
French to English
Agency? Aug 22, 2015

2 questions:
Is this client a translation agency?
Do you work with this client on a regular basis?


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Yes/Yes Aug 22, 2015

Yes, at least 1 project/month for the past 3 years.

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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:55
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
I believe that the client is quite unprofessional and/or opportunistic Aug 22, 2015

DJHartmann wrote:

"You may have to eat bitter fruit"

This was the quote of the agency. He said that while he is very understanding, we have an agreement, he may be able to extend the deadline but the price cannot be negotiated. "This is very unprofessional" he said, and that he will forward the email to the client.

He then suggested that if the client does not accept the change in price, we may cancel the project and deliver nothing.

He asked me to think about whether I want the original fee, or could I accept being paid nothing.





as this is a mistake which can happen. A translation agency should not make a fuss out of it. I hope that it is not a regular client of yours. In any case, while a rational discount is possible and wise, I wouldn't accept the original price as they suggested. Maybe it is better to cancel it all together. Mistakes happen, but this doesn't mean that you are treated like this. A professional agency would know better.


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