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Working within illustrator, how much to charge in addition to regular rate? (EN>IT)
Thread poster: Serena Marangoni

Serena Marangoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:20
Member (2016)
English to Italian
+ ...
Nov 5, 2016

I've quoted for a project for which the source files are .ai that need to be translated in illustrator (I'll use T-windows) and prepared for printing. I know illustrator fairly well but I've never charged for a layout. What I've done is I've taken the total number of words (15000, trados count), calculated internal repetitions (there is no TM, I'm working for the final client for the first time), did a quick translation of part of the project to see how working with T-windows made me slower. I've applied a very consistent discount for internal repetitions because the translation has a lot of repetitions in specifics tables that are exactly the same (the numbers change but once the headings have been translated once I do not need to check them again) - I've finally given a rate €0.09/word (using the weighted count 12000).
This is a technical translation, in a field I'm competent in but for which I will have to do some research. The language pair is EN>IT. I think I'm giving a reasonable quote (my usual quote is €0.07) but here in Italy end clients seem to expect rates of around €0.01-0.02, and recently I've quoted a project for 150€ and it was refused because a local agency did it for 50€ (my quote was based on an estimate that proved a little too high when I later reviewed the quote to understand, but the word count was around 3000 words - so they charged less than 2 cents/word - I hope it's because it was something they had previously translated and only charged a nominal fee). I'm starting to get a little paranoid about setting up my fees though... On one side I know that when I'm working on a project for less than €0.07 I feel resentful, on the other hand I know it's full of agencies that pay 0.03 or less, and students who do it for almost free (and many end clients seem happy with the sloppy results they get...)


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:20
English to Portuguese
+ ...
One possible parameter Nov 5, 2016

I don't use Illustrator, however I have a somewhat similar situation with PowerPoint.

Translating EN>PT (forse lo stesso succede quando si traduce EN>IT) means that text will "swell" by something in the 0~20% range. Layout will often get cockeyed.

I have basically two cases, which I explain openly to the client:

Plain translation - The client tells me, "My secretary is a PPT wizard. She can tidy up messy slides in no time. Just translate the text and leave it in place. Don't bother about overflow and misalignment; she'll fix everything in a snap." As I use WordFast Classic, I can translate PPTs on Word using an OLE "bridge" within MS Office. In such cases I only charge my standard per-word translation rate.

Translation and layout adjustment - Other clients want a turn-key service, i.e. they want me to resize, align, and reshape all translated text, so that the PPT looks as if entirely (and neatly!) created in the target language. In this case I add a percent surcharge on the translation cost, which will be proportional to the volume of text I'll have to arrange.

This percentage varies from 20% to 30% of the translation cost. It is lower when the original is "neat", i.e. a sequence of bullets will make up a text box, so any changes to character formatting can be done once. It is higher when the original is "messy", e.g. the bullet and the first line are in one text box, the other line(s) are in separate box(es), and so on.

Maybe this could work for you.


Regarding fees, I have mine, and I know what I can deliver. I really care to make sure they represent good value in the marketplace.

If a prospect tells me they can can get it cheaper, I advise them to make sure that they are comparing the same level of service. If they tell me they can get it a lot cheaper, I tell them that maybe they don't need/require my level of service.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Two different services Nov 6, 2016

One service is translation. Typesetting, whether it's in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Quark Xpress or similar program, is another matter (and service) entirely, and it should be charged accordingly.

I'm unfamiliar with T-windows, but I doubt it's a desktop publishing or illustrating program. What is it?

If a client asks me to deliver .ai (Illustrator) files translated, then I charge for the translation and for the typesetting (so-called desktop publishing) separately. DTP is routinely billed by the hour, not per word.

Now, your first statement seems to indicate that your client wants the translation to be done in Illustrator. Is that correct? Then you will need to have Adobe Illustrator to do that.


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Serena Marangoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:20
Member (2016)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I dislike billing by the hour Nov 7, 2016

I dislike billing by the hour, especially with new clients (because I prefer to agree on money in advance and not have "surprises"), and in general because of how I set up my work routine (I want to feel free to spend an hour looking up a term if I have to, but I know I wouldn't feel OK doing that if I was charging by the hour, even if I feel research is an integral part of translation and just as important).

T-windows is the utility to translate from the clipboard with trados. Basically it allows one to use a TM even if you're translating outside the program. Technically what I will do is cut the segment, translate, paste back - adjust the layout.

I have illustrator, as well as indesign. I often do graphic design, but I normally don't charge for that or ask for symbolic sums rather than a real pay, since it's for friends & family.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Time to charge like professionals do Nov 7, 2016

Serena Marangoni wrote:

I dislike billing by the hour, especially with new clients (because I prefer to agree on money in advance and not have "surprises"), and in general because of how I set up my work routine (I want to feel free to spend an hour looking up a term if I have to, but I know I wouldn't feel OK doing that if I was charging by the hour, even if I feel research is an integral part of translation and just as important).

T-windows is the utility to translate from the clipboard with trados. Basically it allows one to use a TM even if you're translating outside the program. Technically what I will do is cut the segment, translate, paste back - adjust the layout.

I have illustrator, as well as indesign. I often do graphic design, but I normally don't charge for that or ask for symbolic sums rather than a real pay, since it's for friends & family.


Charging by the hour on certain projects (DTP, translation, review, etc.) has nothing to do with you liking it or not. It's a matter of efficiently budget a number of hours devoted to a task. For example, if a 2-page InDesign file contains just two columns of text and two graphics, it may take me 1-2 hours to typeset. By comparison, a 2-page InDesign file contains different text boxes with different typefaces in various sizes, then I may have to charge 2-3 hours.

You shouldn't charge your clients symbolic or token fees for typesetting or DTP work as that reduces the value of a professional work, just as much as some bilingual or translator would charge 1 cent or nothing for professional-grade translation work. Any work that has value should be charged and billed if the professional wants to be accorded the respect from fellow professionals in his/her field and if such professional wants to be taken seriously by potential clients.


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Serena Marangoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:20
Member (2016)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Still, I would uncomfortable, unless I knew how long it would take from the start Nov 7, 2016

Mario Chavez wrote:

You shouldn't charge your clients symbolic or token fees for typesetting or DTP work as that reduces the value of a professional work, just as much as some bilingual or translator would charge 1 cent or nothing for professional-grade translation work. Any work that has value should be charged and billed if the professional wants to be accorded the respect from fellow professionals in his/her field and if such professional wants to be taken seriously by potential clients.


I agree, but I was talking about projects done for friends and family, such as designing a menu for a friend's dinner, or a brochure for my mother's business. I believe I could make typesetting and graphic layout one of the services I offer professionally, as I have the skills to do it, but this would be my first time. I obviously wouldn't do it professionally unless I felt I can charge as a professional.

I agree that for some jobs it's better to charge by the hour, but I still prefer to make an estimate of time needed to finish and then charge a fixed fee, especially with people I don't know.

The best option for me for a project like this would be to be able to say "translation is going to be X, for the layout and preparation for print I will have to tell you the exact sum after I've been working with the files, so I can see exactly how much needs to be done from scratch and how much can be kept from the original design" but I fear this is bad practice with new clients - I have no idea of how common this is in digital graphics, the friend who gave me this contact (who has agreed to help me figure out a more precise quote later today) has suggested I do that, but saying I should set up just a maximum value (ie. it's not going to be more than 2000€). I think I would find a quote like this unprofessional, at the same time I know it's common in certain professions, maybe it's the same in graphic design.

[Modificato alle 2016-11-10 11:49 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Offer a range of hours, then stick to it Nov 7, 2016

Since you haven't done desktop publishing for clients, direct or otherwise, I would suggest you offer a range of hours (say, 3 to 5 hours) and stick to those totals. That's what I do with clients, direct or otherwise, and I haven't received complaints.

Remember that the client may come back and try to negotiate your budget. That's up to you. Over time, you will learn how many hours a certain type of publication will take. For the novice, there's just trial and error. It happens to all of us when we start.

But you are in the best position to determine how much to charge. If you're uncomfortable charging by the hour (I repeat, it's a business decision, not to be based on feelings) then establish a range of amounts, say, 50 to 80 euros, but make sure you are charging a fair price (charge a novice rate, for example) for the profession.


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