Charging Source vs. Charging Target... When to do it?
Thread poster: Yaron Dahan
Yaron Dahan
Local time: 09:57
French to English
+ ...
Nov 15, 2006

When do you charge source and when do you charge target? I have been translating from French to English for a while now, and recently I started also doing from Hebrew to English. The problem is that hebrew texts always take up much less space, but it takes me just as long to figure it out...should I be charging target or should I just charge more for the source? When do you charge target? and when do you charge source?

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:57
German to English
+ ...
Charging Source vs. Charging Target... When to do it? Nov 15, 2006

One reason for charging by one or the other is the convention in your particular market. In Germany, for instance, the target text is almost always counted.

Marc


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 09:57
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Always source Nov 15, 2006

because that allows us to tell the client his costs with precision to a cent before starting the job, as well as to receive and issue POs before the job is started.

There are VERY rare occasions we charge target- these being when the source is a poor quality (or difficult layout) picture files, where in no way it is possible to count the precise volume (but also in these cases we agree with translators/clients on payment amount limits beforehand).

As to the language pairs where the volume source- target is very different (say, 100 English words will be 65-80 Latvian words, 100 English words may be just 50 Estonian words), we just use different rates, depending on direction of the translation.

HTH,

Uldis.


Yaron Dahan wrote:

When do you charge source and when do you charge target? I have been translating from French to English for a while now, and recently I started also doing from Hebrew to English. The problem is that hebrew texts always take up much less space, but it takes me just as long to figure it out...should I be charging target or should I just charge more for the source? When do you charge target? and when do you charge source?


[Rediģēts plkst. 2006-11-15 22:26]


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:57
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Multiple rate structures Nov 16, 2006

You should have a rate for source and a rate for target. That does not mean that the two have to be the same or even consistent. But if there are multiple possible translators and the client wants a target text rate, 40 potential translators are willing to quote one and you aren't, you're likely to miss out on this job.

I have been asked for (and have provided) quotes based on character count, standard pages (which differ from one country to the next) and a flat rate (based on being permitted to see the text first). It is relatively simple to do the conversions and come up with rates. And nothing prohibits you from charging more for a rate structure you don't like.

To avoid misunderstandings, you should come to an agreement with your potential client about whether you're charging source or target before you start working on the text.


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 13:57
English to Indonesian
+ ...
On one hand, it depends on the language pair. Nov 16, 2006

For example, for German to Indonesian the word count of the source text is much less than that of the target text. In this case, you had better charge the target text. Nevertheless, the main weakness is you cannot tell the client the translation cost in advance.
On the other hand, as suggested by Uldis, charging the source text enables you to inform the client of the cost before starting the translation.
In my personal experience, I translated various English documents to Indonesian to have a clear picture of the difference in word counts between the source and the target texts. Then, I compared the source and the target chargings for the difference percentage. If you have conducted this kind of research, you can charge either by the source or the target text.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Source for translation, target for proofreading Nov 16, 2006

When you have some projects to compare the word counts, you should be able to calculate a reasonable rate for whatever your clients prefer: source or target, per word, line, or page.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:57
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Ask the customer what he likes Nov 16, 2006

There is no rule for that, no matter what people may tell you. If the customer wants to know beforehand, you cite the final price after approximate calculation. Sometimes you lose, often you win. Mostly customers like to know how much they have to pay later, but in Central and Northern Europe we mostly invoice according the the final output.

Cheers
Heinrich


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
English to Arabic
+ ...
Source language, adjust your rates accordingly Nov 16, 2006

From my experience, clients, agencies and translators usually prefer charging on the basis of the source language, as everyone then knows in advance how much the job is going to cost (also, apparently, some clients worry that the translator will suddenly start using "too many words" to charge more!)
You could then adjust your rate accordingly. If, for example, 700 Hebrew words translate into 1000 English words, then your rate for translating 700 Hebrew words should be the same as your rate for translating 1000 English words.

Having said that, I don't do that myself. I have a flat rate for all language directions, even though we do use much less words in Arabic than in English.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
Flemish to English
+ ...
Language family Nov 16, 2006

It is a free non-regulated market.
So, you choose your rate-calculation yourself.
AFAIK, it depends on the language family:

Germanic->Romanic: target.
Romanic>Germanic: Source
Slavonic>Romanic : ?
Slavonic>Germanic: ?
Oriental>Germanic: ?
Germanic>Oriental: ?

whichever has most words in its language structure. .


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