Translating from mobile phone images
Thread poster: Joan Berglund

Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:11
Member (2008)
French to English
Nov 19, 2018

In the past year or so, I've gotten a few small jobs from minor agency clients that were clearly mobile phone photos. These were one or two page items like birth or marriage certificates generally. Is anyone else seeing this trend? Do you have a surcharge for them or do you ask for a scanned file? My OCR conversion software generally can't deal with them at all.

 

Elif Baykara Narbay  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 08:11
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
Surcharge Nov 19, 2018

I don't translate in that field of certificates etc. But I know from my colleagues that this happens quite often (in Turkey, at least).

Usually, when you apply surcharge for this type of source files, they magically re-appear in word format.

You can always have templates in place but this belongs strictly to your workflow and the clients should not claim any discounts for your work. Actually, they shouldn't even know about that.

Elif

Edited to
... See more
I don't translate in that field of certificates etc. But I know from my colleagues that this happens quite often (in Turkey, at least).

Usually, when you apply surcharge for this type of source files, they magically re-appear in word format.

You can always have templates in place but this belongs strictly to your workflow and the clients should not claim any discounts for your work. Actually, they shouldn't even know about that.

Elif

Edited to add missing "surcharge".



[Edited at 2018-11-19 17:06 GMT]
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Thomas T. Frost
 

Axelle Hawkins  Identity Verified
Member (2017)
English to French
Last one .. Nov 19, 2018

was last friday. Unfortunately I was fully booked ...

[Edited at 2018-11-19 18:26 GMT]


 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:11
German to English
+ ...
How I'm handling this (I get this too often) Nov 19, 2018

For clients who contact me before sending me anything, I am proactive these days, and stress that I want a "proper scan that I can use professionally and work with". If it's on the phone I'm lighthearted about it, explaining what I sometimes receive,and how some of it seems like an "artistic abstract painting full of wavy lines". They will concede that you can't really translate what you can't see.

When an end client sends me an inadequate phone time image, I will ask them to plea
... See more
For clients who contact me before sending me anything, I am proactive these days, and stress that I want a "proper scan that I can use professionally and work with". If it's on the phone I'm lighthearted about it, explaining what I sometimes receive,and how some of it seems like an "artistic abstract painting full of wavy lines". They will concede that you can't really translate what you can't see.

When an end client sends me an inadequate phone time image, I will ask them to please send me a proper one, explaining what that is. If an agency sends me one of those, I ask them to get their client to send something I can work with. I actually think that agencies should be checking what they send translators before sending it, and if it's blurry or wobbly or a study in perspective with receding print etc., they should be catching this and talk to their client themselves. After all, an agency is supposed to be giving "added value" to the process.

I had two last week. One was paper taken out of an envelope with accordion folds which also changes the appearances of letters. The other was a side view embedded sideways in the message itself.

I prefer PDF format since I pay for a service that converts PDF to Word, which then gives me a word count most of the time, for quoting. Blurry wavy images won't convert.
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Viviane Marx
 

Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:11
Member (2008)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Being fully booked... Nov 19, 2018

Is often my go-to reply to this sort of thing, but I'm thinking I need to address it head on if it's going to keep happening. What (percentage wise, or as a number of extra hours per unit of volume) is an appropriate surcharge if they really can't get a quality scan?

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
@Joan Nov 19, 2018

Joan Berglund wrote:
Do you have a surcharge for them...


Well, I do take into account the fact that typing and formatting the content will take time.

... or do you ask for a scanned file?


No, that would be a bad idea. By asking the client for a scanned version, you are implying that if they send you a scanned version, you will accept it and not charge them extra. But if they're too cheap to use a proper scanner to scan the image, then they might also be too cheap to use a good OCR system, and you may end up with a very badly scanned document which will be useless for your purposes.

My OCR conversion software generally can't deal with them at all.


So do what you would have done before you had OCR: type it. If it's a lot of text, hire a typist (they're cheap, fast and accurate).

Joan Berglund wrote:
What (percentage wise, or as a number of extra hours per unit of volume) is an appropriate surcharge if they really can't get a quality scan?


If you want to give a detailed quote, what you can do is split it up into a typing job (charged per hour) and a translation job (charged per word).


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 15:11
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
I do not think it is a problem, Nov 20, 2018

when it comes to birth and marriage certificates. My clients often send me mobile phone images. I just ask for good quality/high resolution ones. First of all, I have already got the templates, and secondly, I always print the source documents out anyway - it is easier to check all the details.
Larger documents is a different story.


Viviane Marx
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I'm cheap too Nov 20, 2018

Samuel Murray wrote:

.... if they're too cheap to use a proper scanner ...



I recently bought a new printer that doesn't have a scanner. So any time I need an image of a document I take a photo of it. But I try to take a GOOD photo.

So I'm cheap too. What do you want - that I should buy a scanner just for ONE DOCUMENT?


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:11
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I insist on having a legible source document - Nov 20, 2018

- or I decline the job. i'm no longer prepared to try to decipher scruffy, crumpled and distorted documents which appear to have been photographed at a peculiar angle on someone's duvet.

 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
when proper device used knowingly Nov 20, 2018

I see nothing wrong in getting sharp pictures even via some 8+ MP mobile camera.

Once I had an old BearPaw scanner, which made pictures worse that my old iPhone 4S, let alone the speed and color rendering. Why, this is how I quickly digitized--and successfully OCRed--a lot of different books (mostly the uni workbooks and booklets).

Just use even lighting (a mobile flashlight) and the orthogonal angle (just fix it horizontally at the good height) not to gum up the
... See more
I see nothing wrong in getting sharp pictures even via some 8+ MP mobile camera.

Once I had an old BearPaw scanner, which made pictures worse that my old iPhone 4S, let alone the speed and color rendering. Why, this is how I quickly digitized--and successfully OCRed--a lot of different books (mostly the uni workbooks and booklets).

Just use even lighting (a mobile flashlight) and the orthogonal angle (just fix it horizontally at the good height) not to gum up the work
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Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:11
German to English
+ ...
answering Nov 21, 2018

Tom in London wrote:

I recently bought a new printer that doesn't have a scanner. So any time I need an image of a document I take a photo of it. But I try to take a GOOD photo.

So I'm cheap too. What do you want - that I should buy a scanner just for ONE DOCUMENT?

If you take good photos, that is fine. But I get customers who send me poor ones. To answer that particular question however: For customers who don't have a scanner, I tell them where they can go to have it scanned (off hand, Staples over here, some convenience stores, libraries) - or they can bring it to me and I'll scan it.

The bottom line is that I cannot translate something that I can't read. If I get a good quality copy I don't care whether a camera or scanner was used.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:11
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I'd agree but Nov 21, 2018

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

I recently bought a new printer that doesn't have a scanner. So any time I need an image of a document I take a photo of it. But I try to take a GOOD photo.

So I'm cheap too. What do you want - that I should buy a scanner just for ONE DOCUMENT?

If you take good photos, that is fine. But I get customers who send me poor ones. To answer that particular question however: For customers who don't have a scanner, I tell them where they can go to have it scanned (off hand, Staples over here, some convenience stores, libraries) - or they can bring it to me and I'll scan it.

The bottom line is that I cannot translate something that I can't read. If I get a good quality copy I don't care whether a camera or scanner was used.


Will a picture taken with a smartphone be that different to a scanned copy in quality? In what way? I just couldn't figure this out from the very first post.


 


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