What rate percentage to apply to a translation of an updated healthcare document?
Thread poster: dsessano

dsessano
Italy
Local time: 10:12
English to Italian
+ ...
May 24, 2017

I was wondering what would be a honest rate to apply in the following case:
- a friend asked me (and a couple of other translators he knows) to translated two chapters (a total of 23 pages, 11600 words) updated compared to the previous edition of the book;
- he sent me (I don't know if he sent it to the other translators too) the same two chapters in the previous edition;
- he also sent me the translation of the previous edition two chapters;
- whereas the first chapter has some changes (so the translation for the previous edition is more than useful), the second is almost totally rewritten.

Now, if I didn't have the translations of the previous edition, I wouldn't be here asking for advice.
But as I have the translation (of course I'll do my own, but let's be honest it helps) and as I know that he has a limited budget for this task, but he also needs it done by the 6th of June, my question to more experienced colleagues is:

what discount should I offer on my normal rate?

Thanks to anybody who's willing to give me an advice, as you might have had similar experiences.

Deborah

Please, keep in my that I live in Italy and my language pair is English-Italian


 

Yakov Katsman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:12
Member (2016)
English to Russian
Try align, make TM and evaluate repetitions May 25, 2017

You can try align old translations of both chapters and see how such TM helps translate new version.
Based on this decide about discount.
Yours
Yakov


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:12
Member
English to French
CAT tool May 25, 2017

As Yakov, I'd align source and target of the previous edition, create a TM, run the TM on the new edition and see what leverage there is.
Without CAT Tool, it will be difficult (and risky) to assess the extent of changes and the amount of effort needed just comparing versions side-by-side.

But it depends if you want the discount to be based on the time you save leveraging the old version, or if "friend", "limited budget", "honest rate", etc., attributes have any weight in your decision.

At any rate, make sure the customer confirms that the old version is perfectly suitable and can be used verbatim. If they want translation alternatives, there is no point in offering a discount. At least not on that basis.

Philippe


 

dsessano
Italy
Local time: 10:12
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Alignment and verbatim use of old version May 25, 2017

Thanks a lot to both of you, Yacov and Philippe,
I hadn't thought at first to align source and target of the old version, because all the files I received are in pdf format.

I had already used the OCR scan of Acrobat Pro (but I have an old version) to get the text and copy it to a word document. The strange thing is that the older documents came out almost perfectly after the OCR scan, whereas the newest give me a lot (i.e. 1 word per line) of wierd words.
I tried to use some free online tools to extract the text from PDF to Word, but the problem is that either they extract an image instead of a text or the the files are too big, around 3 MB. Do you happen to know a good PDF to Word tool or OCR tool online and free (I work on a Mac for now)?

Otherwise, I'll do it the old way and correct each word manually.

Thanks also for the reminding me to ask if I can use the old version verbatim, that changes a lot of course!

Thanks a lot for your help and advices,

icon_smile.gif

Deborah


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:12
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What does your client want? May 25, 2017

dsessano wrote:
as I have the translation (of course I'll do my own, but let's be honest it helps) and as I know that he has a limited budget for this task, but he also needs it done by the 6th of June, my question to more experienced colleagues is:

what discount should I offer on my normal rate?.

Do you really need to retranslate? Is that what the client wants? You call it an update, in which case you would normally only touch those sentences that have been modified or added. I'm assuming here that the client was happy with the previous version. If you or your client have a way to identify them then there's no need to charge for the rest of the text, apart from some time to read surrounding sentences to make sure the change hasn't messed things up (e.g. changing a singular noun to a plural, when the next sentence refers to "this").

The question is how to identify what hasn't been amended. There are several ways to do this that I know of, and probably many I don't. The easiest and cheapest would be for your client to provide a version where all changes and additions are highlighted. The second would be for you to spend some of your time, and the client's money, aligning the old source and target texts in a CAT tool. Or if everything is in Word, you can run a compare between the old and new source files to identify the text to translate.

I would advise you to discuss the possibilities with all concerned. A few minutes discussing it could save a vast amount of work - in other words, money. And saved money makes for happy clients.


 

Agneta Pallinder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:12
Member (2014)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Charge by time spent May 25, 2017

In cases like this I would sooner charge by time spent.

Just completed a document that was an update of an earlier version, with new material that was partly available in translation already once I found the source, partly genuinely new and needing translating, some of this in chunks, some sprinkled around in the form of wording improvements.

It took me less time than translating it all from scratch would have done, and the client ended up paying 55% of what the payment by word would have been.

This client trusts me not to inflate a time based invoice, and, I imagine, so would your friend.


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:12
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Most agencies want to know the cost upfront May 25, 2017

Agneta Pallinder wrote:

In cases like this I would sooner charge by time spent.

Just completed a document that was an update of an earlier version, with new material that was partly available in translation already once I found the source, partly genuinely new and needing translating, some of this in chunks, some sprinkled around in the form of wording improvements.

It took me less time than translating it all from scratch would have done, and the client ended up paying 55% of what the payment by word would have been.

This client trusts me not to inflate a time based invoice, and, I imagine, so would your friend.


It is great if you can agree to such arrangements. However, my own experience is that most clients (and especially agencies) want an upfront quote of total cost prior to agreeing to assign such a project. This creates a problem for persons like myself who do not use CAT tools. Specifically, I would have to carefully look over the document to see what changes were made and on that basis estimate time needed and thus generate a quote.

In the end, and especially if the document is long, it takes so much time to calculate a quote, and there is so little money involved, that I end up rejecting such jobs out of hand.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:12
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Possibility? May 25, 2017

Instead of spending the time aligning the jobs just to give an initial quote, couldn't you just create a "new project" with both files and then run an analysis. This would give you the number of "new" words to use for your quote.

Without CAT tools, you could:

1) Run a track changes on both documents to highlight changes, select each change individuallly with a calculator in hand to add up the words.
2) Print out both documents on paper, go through them page by page (there are only 23 pages in this case), circle all sentences / paragraphs on the revised edition that are "new" or substantially different, then do a quick manual word count / estimate.

[Edited at 2017-05-25 14:09 GMT]


 

dsessano
Italy
Local time: 10:12
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all the good advices May 25, 2017

I took different bits of advices and managed to come up with a quote that sounds fair to me.
I had already started inserting the old version of the 1st chapter and its translations in the CAT tool.
Then, after spending a full day in correcting the OCR scan I git from the pdf I inserted the new version of the same chapter and saw that I had a 60% of that translation already available.
So I called up my friend/client, who told me it was fine to use previous translation for the parts where it was available.
I also convinced him to provide me with a decent text file for the second chapter, as my OCR made a real mess with that, because it was full of tables.
So I told him I would make him a 30% discount on my normal rates.
Now I sent him the quote and... I just have to wait and see!

Thanks to all of you and to all the good advices each of you gave me.

Deborah


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:12
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
I'd charge by the time spent May 26, 2017

In such cases I charge by the time spent.

 


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