Rate Per New Word vs Source Word
Thread poster: Dickson Man

Dickson Man
Local time: 05:07
Chinese to English
Apr 8, 2019

Hi all

I have recently applied for a gaming translation job (Chinese to English), and the company is currently asking for my 'rate per new word'. According to the email I received, pay is based on the match percentage of Trados Word Count Analysis Framework. For example, if the match percentage is below 85%, the company will pay normally according to the rate per new word. For documents with match percentage above 85%
... See more
Hi all

I have recently applied for a gaming translation job (Chinese to English), and the company is currently asking for my 'rate per new word'. According to the email I received, pay is based on the match percentage of Trados Word Count Analysis Framework. For example, if the match percentage is below 85%, the company will pay normally according to the rate per new word. For documents with match percentage above 85%, they will pay only a percentage of the agreed rate per new word, the lowest being 20% of the agreed rate if the percentage match is at 100%.

As I am new to the professional translation scene, is this something normal? Also, how is the match percentage calculated? As far as I know, it is related to matches between translation memory and the document. In this case, whose translation memory will be used to calculate the match percentage? I'm also struggling to decide on what rate to ask for. My initial application was $0.05 per source word, but should I apply for a higher rate per new word to accommodate for the possible decrease in payment?

Thanks for all your help in advance,
Dickson
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Yoana Ivanova  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 23:07
Member
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Do you work with CAT tools Apr 8, 2019

The first question here would be whether you work with Trados or any other CAT tool, if you don't and cannot use whatever terminilogy memory their analysis is based on, you can't accept match discounts.

Otherwise, yes, match discounts are quite normal these days and usually calculated differently in different agencies, unless you already have your own to offer and it's accepted. Some people choose not to accept such discounts, some agencies even pay zero percent for 100% matches.... See more
The first question here would be whether you work with Trados or any other CAT tool, if you don't and cannot use whatever terminilogy memory their analysis is based on, you can't accept match discounts.

Otherwise, yes, match discounts are quite normal these days and usually calculated differently in different agencies, unless you already have your own to offer and it's accepted. Some people choose not to accept such discounts, some agencies even pay zero percent for 100% matches.

You say your initial application was per source word. Unless I'm terribly mistaken the rate for languages like Chinese or Japanese is per character, given that one character could end up being many words, your rate would be terribly low.

Edit: I charge per target word when I have to translate PDF files or original documents and can't reliably get a source word count. If I worked with Chinese I would also be open to charging per target word.

[Edited at 2019-04-08 09:40 GMT]
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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Really, $.05/word as 100% ? Apr 8, 2019

Dickson, only you decide what is "normal" for yourself.

So, did you guesstimate the sum total and projected amount? (flat vs accrued rates)

Are you really ok with giving "internal fuzzy matches", "per new word", and other fuzzy discounts without a compensation?

Also as Yoana mentioned, in some languages and cases it's better to estimate not L1, but L2.


* Shortly, the game localization niche is not very profitable now, but if you like it,
... See more
Dickson, only you decide what is "normal" for yourself.

So, did you guesstimate the sum total and projected amount? (flat vs accrued rates)

Are you really ok with giving "internal fuzzy matches", "per new word", and other fuzzy discounts without a compensation?

Also as Yoana mentioned, in some languages and cases it's better to estimate not L1, but L2.


* Shortly, the game localization niche is not very profitable now, but if you like it, then having a good name with some luck you could win better clients with more favorable terms.
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Dickson Man
Local time: 05:07
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Apr 8, 2019

The first question here would be whether you work with Trados or any other CAT tool, if you don't and cannot use whatever terminilogy memory their analysis is based on, you can't accept match discounts.

Yes, I do use the free version of Wordfast and OmegaT. The company said Trados is preferred but any other CAT tools will do, so I guess it should be fine.

Otherwise, yes, match discounts are quite normal these days and usually calculated differently in different agencies, unless you already have your own to offer and it's accepted. Some people choose not to accept such discounts, some agencies even pay zero percent for 100% matches.

I see, so it's a normal thing these days. I was slightly surprised because I was not expecting it, which was also why I made a low initial offer. I guess I should raise it considering that they could constantly give me tasks that only pays a portion of the agreed rate.

You say your initial application was per source word. Unless I'm terribly mistaken the rate for languages like Chinese.

Unfortunately the company only makes payments based on rate per new word or per hour. To be honest I'm fine with it, but I'll keep it in mind when I look for other jobs in the future. Thanks a lot!


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:07
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
@Dickson Apr 8, 2019

Dickson Man wrote:
For example, if the match percentage is below 85%, the company will pay normally according to the rate per new word. For documents with match percentage above 85%, they will pay only a percentage of the agreed rate per new word, the lowest being 20% of the agreed rate if the percentage match is at 100%.


The match discounts are on a per-segment basis, not per document.

Being paid 20% for 100% matches is not bad at all. And although some agencies try to get discounts for matches as low as 66%, the fact that they don't request a discount below 85% is also a positive sign.

As I am new to the professional translation scene, is this something normal?


Requesting or offering discounts for fuzzy matches is normal in our industry. However, it makes no sense to offer or agree to fuzzy match discounts if you don't actually use a program that allows you to translate fuzzy matches faster than non-fuzzy matches. So: do you have a CAT tool?

Also, how is the match percentage calculated?


Every CAT tool calculates it differently (for some, it's a trade secret), but they usually try to base the match on the number of overlapping words. This means that different CAT tools will yield slightly different weighted word counts, but you don't have to insist that the client's weighted word count matches yours exactly.

I'm also struggling to decide on what rate to ask for. My initial application was $0.05 per source word, but should I apply for a higher rate per new word to accommodate for the possible decrease in payment?


Ideally, you should apply your usual rate for both jobs with and without match discounts, and then over a year or two discover whether the rate is fair for your language combination, your field and your types of clients. So, don't raise your rate simply because there are match discounts, unless you know from experience by how much you should raise your rate. For a beginner translator, keep it simple and learn eventually. With some clients, you should be able to tell after just one job whether the discount scheme is bad or not (and if so, politely tell them that you need to raise your rate for the next job).


[Edited at 2019-04-08 14:46 GMT]


 

Dickson Man
Local time: 05:07
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Apr 8, 2019

DZiW wrote:
Dickson, only you decide what is "normal" for yourself.
So, did you guesstimate the sum total and projected amount? (flat vs accrued rates)

I did some calculations and decided that $0.05 per source word is my lowest acceptable rate for flat rates. Taking match discounts into consideration, I'd say it's below my expected pay rate, which means I'll probably have to bump the rate up a little.

Are you really ok with giving "internal fuzzy matches", "per new word", and other fuzzy discounts without a compensation? Also as Yoana mentioned, in some languages and cases it's better to estimate not L1, but L2.

If it's a common practice within the industry, I see no problems with accepting it. I was just worried that the company was trying to lower my pay rates with some random rules. I'll keep the L1 and L2 issue in mind as well.

* Shortly, the game localization niche is not very profitable now, but if you like it, then having a good name with some luck you could win better clients with more favorable terms.

I see. I'm not exactly looking to earn a lot from the job, it's more about the experience. As long as the rates are not extremely low, I guess I'm fine with it. Thanks for your help!


 

Dickson Man
Local time: 05:07
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Apr 8, 2019

Samuel Murray wrote:

The match discounts are on a per-segment basis, not per document.

Being paid 20% for 100% matches is not bad at all. And although some agencies try to get discounts for matches as low as 66%, the fact that they don't request a discount below 85% is also a positive sign.
Requesting or offering discounts for fuzzy matches is normal in our industry. However, it makes no sense to offer or agree to fuzzy match discounts if you don't actually use a program that allows you to translate fuzzy matches faster than non-fuzzy matches. So: do you have a CAT tool?

I see, so it's a completely normal thing, and the discount rates aren't too unreasonable either. I've only worked with OmegaT and the free version of Wordfast, and I don't rely on translation memories too often either. It does seem that both softwares can read Trados translation memory files though.

Every CAT tool calculates it differently (for some, it's a trade secret), but they usually try to base the match on the number of overlapping words. This means that different CAT tools will yield slightly different weighted word counts, but you don't have to insist that the client's weighted word count matches yours exactly.

This is interesting. So I suppose it's fine as long as the client's weighted word count is within around 5% of my own weighted word count?

Ideally, you should apply your usual rate for both jobs with and without match discounts, and then over a year or two discover whether the rate is fair for your language combination, your field and your types of clients. So, don't raise your rate simply because there are match discounts, unless you know from experience by how much you should raise your rate. For a beginner translator, keep it simple and learn eventually. With some clients, you should be able to tell after just one job whether the discount scheme is bad or not (and if so, politely tell them that you need to raise your rate for the next job).

Thanks for pointing this out. $0.05 per source word is actually pretty low for my language pair, and it's the minimum rate I'll accept at flat rates. But yeah, I'm still relatively new to this so it's a good idea to keep it simple. I guess I'll ask for a slightly higher rate, maybe $0.06 or 0.07. Thanks a lot!


 


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