Should we charge more to work from hardcopies?
Thread poster: Catherine Bolton

Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Oct 4, 2002

Here\'s my problem.

About 2-3 times a year, I translate a trade journal that is published quarterly in Italian. The job is commissioned through an agency, which hands me photocopies of the printed pages from the Italian magazine, and often even computer printouts (in Times New Roman, point size 12!) of articles written by Italians who work for the association that publishes the magazine.

Time and again I have asked for files, particularly since there are lots of names in the articles, which I must obviously type and double-check since the spellchecker doesn\'t help here.

I\'ve been told they aren\'t available, yet I know that the typesetter receives files to print the Italian version, which is put out before the English one.

At this point, it sounds to me like they simply can\'t be bothered to dig out the files.

Last week, I told the agency that if I am forced to work from paper, when files obviously exist, I think I should get paid more. I also mentioned that I heard somewhere (but I can\'t remember where!) that translators are starting to charge extra if they have to work from paper instead of files.

A translator friend suggested not-so-tongue-in-cheek that I print out my translation and give them BACK a printed copy! Tempting, but not a solution.

I can understand working from paper if a customer says \"I need you to translate an article from such-and-such a newspaper\" and only paper exists! But this?

Any ideas? Is it urban legend? Is it the new trend in the business? If not, should we start one ?

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-10-04 14:19 ]

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
English to German
+ ...
Definitely yes Oct 4, 2002

Obviously, this depends on the size of the project - I wouldn\'t charge extra for a couple of pages.

We recently had a few examples where a significant number of pages (70 in one case) needed to be converted into a text file. The customer accepted that this meant extra work, and therefore extra cost (the alternative being delivery of a file from the outset...).

Sometimes it\'s not a cost issue, but one of awareness: frequently, when a PDF file \"is all we have\", there\'s a chance to get a Quark file, or even a Word original. As you suspect, it takes a bit of effort digging them out - I have found an extra processing charge to be quite a good incentive...

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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
Definitely yes, as well Oct 4, 2002

I fully agree with Ralf.

Whenever there\'s a lot of work involved (I\'m not talking about a couple of pages),I simply charge more (and I know quite a few colleagues who apply similar rules):

Hard copy/Locked PDF texts: ADD € 0.02 (or whatever).

Good luck


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Dora O'Malley  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:01
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
hard copies Oct 19, 2002

1) You can charge more if you have to do more work, of course.

2) If your customer sends you files in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) you can select the text and copy it into a Word file or save the PDF file as a Word rtf file, so you have the text on your computer.

3) Depending on the time that will take you, you can charge something extra as well.

Be fair and require fairness.


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