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Rate discount for translation of 214,000 word manual?
Thread poster: DIANNE BEREST

DIANNE BEREST  Identity Verified
Montenegro
Local time: 12:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 19

Hello everyone, I'm sure more than a few are sighing at the seeing yet again a question that has been discussed so much already. But I haven't seen any comments on such a large volume of work. My rate, USD0.08, is already at the low end (right at the low end of the rates listed on ProZ for my language pair - English to Spanish, although absolutely the average/accepted rate where I live) so I don't normally give discounts for any reason. However, this is a huge project (at least in my experience) and the total amount I would charge is so big for one project I can't quite get my head around it. Anyway,the question is, for SUCH a large job, are discounts expected, should I give one? I'm not a beginner, by the way, I've just never had a job anywhere near this large. The job is for a large international organization, if it makes any difference, and I would love to do it. The question really is just about if discounts are expected/normal for such a large volume. Thanks very much for your input.

 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
I would not Feb 19

You could say that such a large project will eliminate inactive periods for a long time.

On the other hand, when you are fully booked for months, you may lose clients because they will no longer be in the habit of contacting you when this large document has been translated.

You may be able to recycle much of the vocabulary through the text, but ensuring that the vocabulary remains consistent requires more effort in a large text than a small, so no gain here either. I have seen more than one large text where the translator forgets in the end what they called things in the beginning.

You can't just grab two cases of 100,000 words each and ship them to the client, as you can do with a case of 100,000 widgets.


 

Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:08
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I would not either. Feb 19

Why discounts? The amount of work and time will consume most of you schedule.

I would love to meet the one who invented the term 'discount'icon_frown.gif. Pricing someone's services or products is also lowering their quality.


 

Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:08
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Large translation projects Feb 19

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

You could say that such a large project will eliminate inactive periods for a long time.

On the other hand, when you are fully booked for months, you may lose clients because they will no longer be in the habit of contacting you when this large document has been translated.


End clients do not care about such aspects. This is exactly the reason why they generally turn to translation companies and agencies, not to get locked into a relationship with a "one-person show" risking a non-delivery, e.g. in case of translator's illness.

You wouldn't really discuss any of the above with your client, would you? You just either take it or leave it. If you are willing to take on a very large project, you come up with your quote taking into account, inter alia, the considerations outlined above.

You may be able to recycle much of the vocabulary through the text, but ensuring that the vocabulary remains consistent requires more effort in a large text than a small, so no gain here either. I have seen more than one large text where the translator forgets in the end what they called things in the beginning.


Creating industry-, client- or even project-specific termbases is fairly easy. For instance, my UN-related termbase for SDL Trados Studio contains about 40,000 terms, with several descriptive fields such as 'Agency', 'Definition', 'Note', 'Status'. I cannot praise it enough for helping me produce consistent translations quickly and smoothly.

Therefore, just factor in all pros and cons of dealing with a very large project, and make the decision. Mind you, you should first obtain all the material to be translated, and estimate the total word count (taking into account context matches, 100% matches, repetitions, fuzzy matches, whatever) and/or man-hours involved. Ultimately, you should be interested in your actual hourly earnings, regardless of whether any discounts have been offered.


 

Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:08
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Large translation projects - One note to add to my previous posting Feb 19

I don't offer any volume discounts, but I am prepared to consider quoting a lower total project cost to the client, if the project involves context matches, 100% matches, and repetitions (no zero rates for me, though:).

 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 13:08
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Depends on the deadline Feb 19

If the project would mean you have to work exclusively on it I would not think about a discount, only taking account the repetitions. But if the project would allow you to fill in your spare time for a considerable time-span, why not.
But who will read a 200 thousand word manual, I wonder. I'm on a 45 thousand word manual, with 320 pages.
Another issue to consider: is the project real or will they finally use your discount on a 10-page job and the big one will never materialize?


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:08
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A discount for your time and work? Feb 19

Now, if the project gets done more quickly - with the same quality and accuracy - because you give your client a discount, then go ahead.

However, in reality translating a small project with 7,000 words takes about just as long (or perhaps longer) as translating 7,000 words of a large project. That is, times the actual number of words of the larger project.

You might want to look at how long it will take you to translate the project in actual working hours. (After all, an hour of your time is an hour of your time and should be paid for.) Then figure out how much income you need to generate per hour.

An important factor is also whether you are able to attend to your other clients' needs as well while translating the big project (delivery deadline). If you have no time to work with your other clients - you might lose them on the go -, then the big project must cover all your expenses plus an income.

Personally, I don't give discounts for anything. At best, I'd consider being paid a flat rate for a large project, which is, of course, well calculated.


 

Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:08
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Large translation projects - Real or "potential"? Feb 19

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

But who will read a 200 thousand word manual, I wonder. I'm on a 45 thousand word manual, with 320 pages.


icon_smile.gif

Another issue to consider: is the project real or will they finally use your discount on a 10-page job and the big one will never materialize?


Good point, Heinrich. You'd better quote a total project price with minimal breakdown of the services to be provided (e.g. translation per se, images localization, reproducing the original layout in case of scanned PDFs, etc.). By the way, you may consider charging a 10-20% markup for the translation of (scanned) PDFs and PowerPoint presentations. For instance, Russian tends to expand by about 20% as compared to the English source, which calls for additional time and effort to make all the text fit the appropriate boxes and cells.


 

ahartje
Portugal
Local time: 11:08
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
100% agree... Feb 19

...with Heinrich. A generous deadline may result in a small discount on my side.

 

DIANNE BEREST  Identity Verified
Montenegro
Local time: 12:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Feb 19

Thanks everyone for your quick and thoughtful answers.

 

Nina Esser
Germany
Local time: 12:08
English to German
If you still have to 'convince' the client... Feb 19

If you are kind of bidding for the job and are afraid the huge total amount might put the client off, I suggest listing all the various helpful points raised here (risk of losing other clients, difficult to ensure consistency of terminology, etc.) and say that despite all this, because it is a large project, you won't be charging anything extraicon_wink.gif

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What would be in it for you? Feb 19

Dianne Berest wrote:
My rate, USD0.08, is already at the low end

That would appear to be a good reason not to give a discount.

the total amount I would charge is so big for one project I can't quite get my head around it.

Do you think the client will see it that way? How much do you think they spend on paper in a year, for example? They don't buy it in little boxes like you and I, do they icon_smile.gif? They're used to dealing in five-figure numbers and more. You risk losing their respect if you treat this job as too enormous. You even risk giving the impression that it's out of your league.

The job is for a large international organization, if it makes any difference, and I would love to do it.

Ah, right, the crux icon_smile.gif. You're prepared to quote low to get the job? That does have to be taken into account, but how much is it really worth to you? Can you live on the money you'd earn from a discounted rate? Remember, this is going to go on for some considerable time. And as others have said, you run a very great risk of losing other good clients if you can't do their work. Also, how about further jobs from this client? If more work materialises, are you prepared to quote the same low rate for every job? Any higher rate quoted will be met with a reminder of this one.

I have a translation direct client who paid my rate happily for a while and then wanted me to do a job that benefited enormously from the TM and glossaries I'd built up. I told him that he could now benefit too from his loyalty, with a share of the time (i.e. cost) savings. So now his invoices sometimes show two lines for a single job: the full price, and the discount. I don't go into those "grid" details that agencies are so fond of, and he doesn't get a discount for every job, but if my CAT tool saves me significant time then I pass roughly half of the saving onto him. Hopefully that will help him stay with me rather than looking for someone cheaper icon_wink.gif. Maybe you could do something similar? Give them something to "sweeten the pill"? Run the text through your CAT tool and calculate how much time could be saved through matches etc and then say you could offer €n discount, but only if you do the whole 214k words.

By the way, I hope you're asking for a percentage in advance (around 30% is normal) and/or staged payments. You can't risk having no income for a long time, nor can you risk the whole amount being lost if the client files for liquidation. That would be unreasonable.


 

Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:08
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Large translation projects - A percentage in advance and/or staged payments Feb 19

Sheila Wilson wrote:

By the way, I hope you're asking for a percentage in advance (around 30% is normal) and/or staged payments. You can't risk having no income for a long time, nor can you risk the whole amount being lost if the client files for liquidation. That would be unreasonable.


One more vital point to keep in mind.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
It’s not just about the money Feb 19

I can’t think of anything I’d want to translate 200,000 words on. So 200,000 words at a discount would send me right over the edge.

 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
200 k Feb 19

Chris S wrote:

I can’t think of anything I’d want to translate 200,000 words on. So 200,000 words at a discount would send me right over the edge.


I translated 225,000 words of bogus clairvoyance, horoscopes, and the like in 2016 for the same client, but they were spread out over the year. Some of the stories were quite entertaining, and most of the texts were just a lot of blah blah that could be done pretty fast.


 
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