'Translation of numbers' as part of fee
Thread poster: Mary McCusker

Mary McCusker  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
German to English
+ ...
Sep 14, 2005

I have been translating financial documents for some years now and have just had a new experience. A client sent me a text including tables. I translated the text in Trados as well as all the column headers, etc. then went through and modified all the numbers (changed commas to full stops and vice versa) to reflect US usage, not using Trados. My client now indicates (this is different from the p.o.,which included the entire word count, but not the Trados analysis) that they are excluding the numbers in calculating payment. In part, I see their point, but this is the first time for me that a client is arguing this point, and I did lose a few hours editing the tables, so presumably I should be charging an editing rate. I'd be interested in other translators' experience in this area (i.e. inclusion of financial tables in translating fee).

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Satto (Roberto)  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 01:40
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It happens ! Sep 14, 2005

Mary McCusker wrote:

I have been translating financial documents for some years now and have just had a new experience. A client sent me a text including tables. I translated the text in Trados as well as all the column headers, etc. then went through and modified all the numbers (changed commas to full stops and vice versa) to reflect US usage, not using Trados. My client now indicates (this is different from the p.o.,which included the entire word count, but not the Trados analysis) that they are excluding the numbers in calculating payment. In part, I see their point, but this is the first time for me that a client is arguing this point, and I did lose a few hours editing the tables, so presumably I should be charging an editing rate. I'd be interested in other translators' experience in this area (i.e. inclusion of financial tables in translating fee).


Hello Mary,
I never have included numbers in my quotes and always advise the client of this. I would clearly state the work you did on the number editing but I would tell them that this work is a one time deal and would treat it as a compliment. That you will not touch this in the future and that the format should be XX,xxx,00 or whatever...
I have had clients make deductions on my invoice for the most stupid reasons. But in honor of being the client I accept, taking notice of their particular likes and dislikes and abinding to them for the future. The client rules...there is notting to it!
Regards, Rob


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Aleksandra Kwasnik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:40
Polish to German
+ ...
German thread Sep 14, 2005

Hi Mary,

this German thread might be interesting for you (as I assume that you are also a German translator):
http://www.proz.com/topic/34153.

Aleksandra


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge editing rate for editing Sep 14, 2005

Mary McCusker wrote:
My client now indicates ... that they are excluding the numbers in calculating payment. In part, I see their point, ... and I did lose a few hours editing the tables, so presumably I should be charging an editing rate.


When I do financial statements, I copy the numbers as-is and tell the client in the e-mail that he needs to change the numbers to the target language format. What I find, is that the numbers given to me by the client is often deliberately the wrong numbers (financial clients don't trust anyone, not even the translator), so editing the numbers would be a waste of time.

If you feel strongly about this, then charge an editing rate for the numbers. If the client is going to publish the text in the target country, then he'd have to make those changes anyway, unless the numbers he gave you is not the final numbers.


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Mary McCusker  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Sep 14, 2005

Thanks, Aleksandra. I reviewed the thread. Seems to me the topic should probably be in this forum! Could be good to get some input from non-German translators, too...

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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 08:40
French to English
What was the original agreement? Sep 14, 2005

Hi Mary,

If the original PO included the full word count (i.e. the figures) and you went ahead and modified them, then stick to your guns. I hope that the customer is not trying to change the conditions on you after the fact!

If not, then it seems that you should have asked for clarification on what exactly the word count included before doing the work.

This comes up with French-English translations sometimes. I usually just tell agencies that if it isn't included in the word count then I don't touch it.

I guess you need to figure out what the real issue is...was it just a misunderstanding that you could have cleared up by asking about it before doing the work, or is the agency trying to shave a bit off the invoice after the fact?

I know how annoying this kind of thing can be! If it doesn't work out, consider it a lesson learned and try not to lose too much sleep over it!



Sara


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:40
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Why should we do numbers for free? Sep 14, 2005

I agree - you should charge your editing rate or something like that for numbers.

For reasons nobody knows, English speakers reverse commas and full stops in numbers... and even if you do have a smart macro to change them, they still have to be proof read.

If there are single numbers in the text, they have to be checked carefully just like words that can be mis-spelled. Writing 1,234 when you mean 1.234 is technically a very small typo, but in practice it is probably a disaster in a translation.

I think we should all stand together and resist these over-smart ways of pressing rates.

Just my two pennyworth...



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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:40
German to English
+ ...
'Translation of numbers' as part of fee Sep 14, 2005

And this is at 0.07 (min)/0.12 (target) USD per word?!

Inform your customer that numbers will be free in future, and that you are raising your rates by 25%.

Marc


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Buzzy
Local time: 08:40
French to English
I always specify in my quoted fee whether tables are included or not Sep 14, 2005

so things are clear from the start, and have never had any problem with payment so far.
If I decide not to count the tables/figures in my wordcount I make that clear too, saying something like: "This fee is based on the number of text words but also includes the translation of table headings and adjustment of figure formats" which if nothing else at least makes your client aware there's some work involved in it (and might prevent them from "correcting" the commas etc in the figures back the minute they get hold of the translation).
Last year a client sent me a Word document(annual accounts) with the tables in "image" format. I asked him if he had the original excel/whatever files and he couldn't get hold of them (which wasn't very impressive really, they must have been in the company somewhere!). Having been caught out before spending ages messing about with image format files, I decided to charge a per-hour fee for creating the tables in English, and they agreed. I had thought they might have decided to find someone in-house to do it in view of my rates but no.
I suppose this is like many other issues: if it's all explained and clear at the outset, you can avoid problems later.
Tables and figures take up a lot of time, so if clients don't like having them counted as words (they generally don't), adjust your fee accordingly.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:40
German to English
Financial amounts in narrative text Sep 14, 2005

Mary,

Financial amounts in narrative text are *always* treated as text, and thus part of the word or line count. It may happen that the customer says not to convert amounts in tables, but I've never in all my years come across a customer who a) didn't want the amounts in narrative text correctly converted, and b) wasn't willing to pay for this.

I can only imagine that the client (agency?) forgot to include this in their own quote and is passing the monkey on to you.

And if Trados counts are the issue here, surely what matters is segments, not individual words.

Robin


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Mary McCusker  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Possible lack of clarity Sep 14, 2005

Thanks for all the reactions!
There was a lack of clarity originally as the p.o. stated a certain number of words, higher than the one the client had quoted to me. I queried this and the client sent the Trados analysis showing the word count. I wrote back asking if client wanted me to leave out the numbers. This was Friday evening in Germany and I had no response, so given the p.o. I went ahead and translated the document and edited the numbers, since I wanted to get the job done. I've translated hundreds of thousands of words of financial documents and this has never happened, so I was taken by surprise. Obviously I'll have to devise some policy for such clients. The client had very high proz ratings (that is how they had contacted me), so I wasn't expecting this little debacle. Probably I will simply charge them an editing rate and next time, if I accept work from them again, have them exclude the figures.
Marc, thanks for the heads-up on the rates. They are a little out of date.


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Rossella Cascone
Spain
Local time: 08:40
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
In my experience Sep 14, 2005

Hi,
unfortunately I understand the problem...
once I translated a lot of invoices for a process and the results was: a lot of numbers and tables!
my tables were better than the fotocopies they submitted me...
a lot of work and, evindently, i counted the numbers... if I didn't they would have paid me around two euros!
Now I normally add some rate for tables (around 1 € for an easy table), it doesn't need any translation but some of your time!


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:40
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Translation of numbers Sep 15, 2005

For those that need to "translate" numbers, there is a lot that can be done with regular expression tools and, in MS Word, "wildcard" searches: you can find a short article of mine about how to use MS Word "wildcard" searches to reformat numbers here:

http://aboutranslation.blogspot.com/2005/05/how-to-use-wildcard-and-format.html

Hope this may be useful to you,

Riccardo


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