Charging for numbers
Thread poster: LucyPatterso (X)

LucyPatterso (X)
English
Oct 31, 2007

I was recently asked by an agency to translate some financial documents for a company and was told the word count was 5000. They have sent a PO for payment of 5000 words.

Having looked at the document, I have noticed that there are closer to 2000 words - and 3000 numbers!

Should I tell the company that they are overpaying me, as I will only need to translate 2000 words - or just accept the money?


 

VIBOL KEO  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:37
Member (2009)
English to Khmer (Central)
What are the requirements of their PO? Oct 31, 2007

Hi!

I think you must make sure whether you should follow its requirements or advise the PO issuer to modify it as well.

However, you should consider this project triangle (time, money, scope of works) and goal & objective of the PO issuer as well then I hope that you would be able to make your decision as well.

I hope that you find my suggestions useful.

Good Luck!


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:37
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Overtyping the source file? Oct 31, 2007

LucyPatterson wrote:

I was recently asked by an agency to translate some financial documents for a company and was told the word count was 5000. They have sent a PO for payment of 5000 words.

Having looked at the document, I have noticed that there are closer to 2000 words - and 3000 numbers!

Should I tell the company that they are overpaying me, as I will only need to translate 2000 words - or just accept the money?


Hullo Lucy,
I presume you're overtyping the source file, in which case you will not need to copy the figures - an extremely time-consuming task. However, watch out! You may have to substitute stops for commas and commas for stops in those figures, making the whole task much more tedious and time-consuming. In that case, you'd definitely earn your fee.
Best wishes,
Jenny.


 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:37
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree with Jenny Oct 31, 2007

If you need to swap around both commas and full stops (say there's a mixture of 1,07 and 100.000, for instance) in a single table, it has to be done manually so you should definitely charge for it.

If you've only got one type of format per table (or section of table), you can do a simple "search and replace" (making sure you restrict it to the individual table or section) and in this case you might want to offer a discount. The agency will certainly appreciate your honesty. But you should still charge something to cover your time.


 

Marc P (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:37
German to English
+ ...
Charging for numbers Oct 31, 2007

Important distinction: they are not "overpaying" you; you are overcharging them, or not, as the case may be.

Why not exercise your professional discretion?

As to the actual procedure, there is no hard-and-fast rule, no consensus, and the procedure itself is likely to differ depending upon what tools you are using. For example, for some texts and with some tools, it may be practical to delete numerical data from tables before starting, then restore the data before final compilation. Other tools may carry out such tasks as converting decimal commas into decimal points for you.

Marc


 

Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:07
English to Tamil
+ ...
There is no question of not charging for numbers Oct 31, 2007

I use PractiCount & Invoice software for preparing my invoices and it includes numbers as well. The idea of word count is just to give an inkling of the file size you are handling and nothing more.

If one were to follow your reasoning, one should not charge for the proper nouns either. It is a sure way to becoming insane.

If a client were to ask me to deduct for numbers, I politely ask him to take a dictionary and do the translation himself and save much more in the bargain.

Regards,
N.Raghavan

[Edited at 2007-10-31 14:17]


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:37
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends what the numbers are and whether they require reformatting Nov 1, 2007

Consider a document that contains 10,000 words if you count the numbers and 200 words if you don't.

If the numbers require no reformatting at all, I wouldn't dream of charging for them. In that case, they're much like photos in the document; they can be left alone. If, however, any significant portion of the numbers requires reformatting or conversion, I would charge for them.

[Edited at 2007-11-01 00:21]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Perhaps they just used a tool Nov 1, 2007

LucyPatterson wrote:
Should I tell the company that they are overpaying me, as I will only need to translate 2000 words - or just accept the money?


Let me state that I believe numbers should be counted as words. In your case, they probably just counted using some word count tool. I would not worry about it -- they're charging the same number of words to their client, after all.

If you feel it is not normal to charge for numbers, then you should inform them, because for you this would be a matter of principle. I would also inform a client if I discover that the word count is grossly incorrect.


 

aruna yallapragada  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:07
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Give a discount Nov 1, 2007

Since no translation is involved and some formatting may be necessary, it might be a good idea to reduce the word count - I generally count three numbers as a single word. In such a situation, everyone would be happy.

 


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