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Word count fees
Thread poster: Christine HOUDY

Christine HOUDY
France
Local time: 08:54
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
Oct 4, 2006

Hi there:

FYI in order to avoid to be fooled: It seens that some translation agencies consider the fee according to the source word count to be translated instead of the translated target word count. Take care before agreeing a project. I've noticed that this unusual word count fees come especially from Asia and Italy.

[Edited at 2006-10-04 06:36]

[Edited at 2006-10-04 06:36]


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Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:54
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Not A Way To Cheat You.... Standard Business Practice Oct 4, 2006

Hi there,
I thought that everyone used the source word count. It's not really a way to cheat you (in some cases, it even works to your advantage); it's a way to know how much the project is going to cost prior to beginning so that the end client, the agency, and the translator all know what they are going to have to spend/what they are going to make. For me, the only time that isn't the case is when the text is in a PDF, JPEG, etc. file.
Best,
Lindsay


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Word count Oct 4, 2006

Hello Myrthe,

I'm a little confused - in your own profile you give rates per source word. If you don't want to charge in this way then perhaps you should change that, but as far as I'm aware it's fairly standard.

Becky.


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Christine HOUDY
France
Local time: 08:54
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
word count fees Oct 4, 2006

Hi there:

The translation agencies didn't contact me from ProZ.com. I think that I have been happy though most of the time, I count my translated words from english into french and I hadn't any complaint!

Most of the time the French text is longer than the English one.

Anyway, thanks for your comments. I am going to charge more for source word count translations.

Cheers,

Christine


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:54
German to English
Depends on the language combination/country Oct 4, 2006

In Germany it's standard practice to charge per *target line* (1 line = 55 characters inc. spaces). That works out better for the client for German-English, for example, where the target text is normally slightly shorter. (Charging per line makes sense for the translator when you translate into German with its long words.)

Rebecca Hendry wrote:
in your own profile you give rates per source word. If you don't want to charge in this way then perhaps you should change that


Is there some way to put a different payment method on your ProZ profile? I never charge per source word, but I can't find any options to change to a rate per target line.


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rates in profile Oct 4, 2006

Anne Koth wrote:

Rebecca Hendry wrote:
in your own profile you give rates per source word. If you don't want to charge in this way then perhaps you should change that


Is there some way to put a different payment method on your ProZ profile? I never charge per source word, but I can't find any options to change to a rate per target line.


Hi Anne,

I'm not sure if you can do that in the set fields provided by the Proz.com profile, but myrthe has manually entered her rates in the free text area. Perhaps you could do that.

Becky.


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:54
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Stick to source word count Oct 4, 2006

I thin you should stick to the source word count, for the reasons so well explained by Lindsay Sabadosa.

Look at it from your customer's point of view. When you go t a hairdresser, would you prefer to pay an agreed sum -- or to pay depending on how many hairs the hairdresser actually cuts?

Counting target words (unless it is an agreed convention, as in Germany) strikes me as unbusinesslike.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Neither is unbusinesslike, IMO Oct 4, 2006

Peter Linton wrote:
Counting target words strikes me as unbusinesslike.


In my opinion, neither is unbusinesslike. As a translator, you want to get paid for the work you do. And what better way to calculate the work you've done by counting the words you've typed, after all?

However, since there is usually a common ratio between source word count and target word count, the translator can be quite certain that a price based on source word count is equally "fair".

I quote per source count, where possible, and it is indeed the standard practice where I'm from. But I would not think strange of any client or agency that insists on paying for target count.


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 08:54
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Unwritten convention Oct 4, 2006

Peter Linton wrote:

Counting target words (unless it is an agreed convention, as in Germany) strikes me as unbusinesslike.


It is standard practice (albeit an unwritten rule) to charge per target line in Germany. Charging per target word is also possible over here, but not as standard as charging per target line.

No matter whether you're charging per target line, target word or source word - it's vital to clear this up BEFORE you start translating

FWIW

Alison


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
German to English
+ ...
Word count fees Oct 4, 2006

Alison Riddell-Kachur wrote:

It is standard practice (albeit an unwritten rule) to charge per target line in Germany.


Standard practice is derived from the JVEG, the legislation for translations for the courts; this legislation specifies the use of the target text (for European languages) for count purposes. Application of the provisions of the JVEG in other areas of translation is only a convention and not a requirement. So, it would be accurate to say that this practice itself is more than just an unwritten rule, but that its application outside the court system is only a convention.

Marc


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Ara Mkrtchyan  Identity Verified
Armenia
Local time: 10:54
English to Armenian
+ ...
Source word counts Oct 4, 2006

HI,

I almost always use source word counts except in the mentioned special cases such as pdf, scanned illegible documents etc.. Not because I'm a freelancer and can benifit from that sometimes (and on the contrary). You see, I think there's a risk in the case of target word counting that a translator might be spurred on to superfluous wordiness in order to charge more, e. g. "Though it was cold" - "In spite of the fact that it was cold".
As for target lines, I personally find it inexpedient because a line can contain a word or 15 words and you have to charge the same in both cases.

Rgrds,
Ara Mkrtchyan


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tianhe51
Local time: 14:54
English to Chinese
Agree. Oct 4, 2006

This is interesting in the case of Chinese to English translation, because sentences written in Chinese words are always significantly shorter.

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Mutarjim97
United States
Local time: 02:54
French to Arabic
+ ...
Depends on the language pair Oct 4, 2006

I have to agree with Lindsay in that it is hardly unfair to pay linguists according to source word count. For me, it has always worked to my advantage, considering that my native language (Arabic) has a good extention percentage though sometimes it is not based on the source nature.

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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 23:54
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Depends on the location of the client Oct 4, 2006

I do charge per source word, since it's the most common way of measuring how much work you'll have to get done. If you know that the document has X words and you can translate a maximum amount of Y words per hour, you can have a good estimate if you can comply with the deadline or not and learn how much you would be making in an hour.

I have only been charging per target language when I receive "hard copies," that is, image files (scanned, faxed) or paper documents that I cannot process through a word count software. If the document is pretty small (let's say, half a page), I go ahead and count the words manually. But if you have pages and pages of a printed document, there's no way you'll be wasting your time counting every single word... Nor you can rely on some clients to give you "guestimate," since most will not count numbers and names, for example — even though they expect you to type these "untranslatable terms" into the translated document...

Anyway, we wrote a Business Practices Guideline and have our new clients read it through and let us know if they agree with it. If they try to push on guestimates or tweak things to get it their way, we say we're not interested.

However, as far as I know, charging practices in the translation business vary according to the country. If I'm not mistaken, in Mexico they usually pay per line, establishing how many lines there are in a standard page. And in Brazil, the publishing field pays per page, having also a fixed amount for how many words there are in a standard page.

Well, I guess you have to talk to clients first and quote on a project (after taking a look at the file, of course) to see if it's within their budget. Some clients you'll meet out there are not very good businesspeople and will only try to pay the least amount possible for a translation. But there are great clients that know how to balance expenses, production, quality, prompt delivery and will stick with you if you do a good job.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
typed? Oct 4, 2006

Samuel Murray wrote:

Peter Linton wrote:
Counting target words strikes me as unbusinesslike.


In my opinion, neither is unbusinesslike. As a translator, you want to get paid for the work you do. And what better way to calculate the work you've done by counting the words you've typed, after all?

However, since there is usually a common ratio between source word count and target word count, the translator can be quite certain that a price based on source word count is equally "fair".

I quote per source count, where possible, and it is indeed the standard practice where I'm from. But I would not think strange of any client or agency that insists on paying for target count.


But there's more to translating than typing! In fact, word-based pricing is a crude method: e.g. I did 30 or 40 works from a marketing leaflet and charged my usual rate, yet I spent a lot of time persusing the images and assessing word choices, which would have justified an hourly rate or double my typical word rate.

I agree with source count based pricing, though, as it's simpler to give quotations; there are exceptions, based on format, language combination etc. where target words or another system is more equitable.


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