how do I bill identical documents
Thread poster: frenchenglis (X)

frenchenglis (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:09
French to English
Feb 15, 2008

I have received 20 documents.

1 document is new text and then 9 others are a 70% identical version of the 1st doc


a 2nd document has new text and another 9 documents are again a 70% identical version.

These are engineering specs.

I have billed the 2 original documents on a per word/cent (eur) basis

and the other 18 documents I have specified 70% identical repeat and I am billing a per hour fee for

Presentation, copy/pasting, checking references and content and proofreading.

Is this ok? what would you do?

thanks for advice


Force Majeure
Local time: 16:39
French to English
+ ...
maybe not Feb 15, 2008

I don't think using different units for billing for the same lot is a good idea. you could consider giving a discount (say 50%) for the documents with 70% ressemblance. But if the client is fine with your solution, why not?


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:09
English to Dutch
+ ...
No CAT-tool? Feb 15, 2008

Sounds like you're not using a CAT-tool.
This is the kind of stuff a CAT-tool is good for...

Anyway, if it is truly identical text, I would give a discount per repeated word.


frenchenglis (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:09
French to English
how do I bill identical docs Feb 15, 2008

tks for your replies. Good suggestions.

For the CAT tool, no I am not using one (Ive started last year in Freelance and have been translating in companies for 10yrs).
secondly even if i did use a CAT Tool, that doesnt mean that there is absolutey no work to do on it. it needs to be proofread, mesurements and references checked etc. different pictures and designs between the identical text.

the text is not exactly identical and would not come out the same on the CAT tool.
the technician who wrote this has written badly in French (grammar and spell mistakes) and on top of that has said the same thing in one document just in a different way. for ex.
we transferred the mechanical part from one table to the other.
and in the other document
we moved the component from one support to the other

see what I mean. I have suggested to the company to create a template (much cheaper for them.
They are not interested and want the docs trad asap ...


Joeri Van Liefferinge  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:09
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
No discount at all! Feb 15, 2008

frenchenglish wrote:

(...)see what I mean. I have suggested to the company to create a template (much cheaper for them.
They are not interested and want the docs trad asap ...
If they are not interest in aligning their documents nor in creating consistent documents in the source language, and the texts are not really identical, I would not even consider giving a discount!
If they are not prepared to make an effort, then why should you?

My two cents...



Local time: 13:09
French to English
+ ...
in addition Feb 15, 2008

to the template idea I have a set rate for cut and pastes rather than fiddling around with counting repititions.


frenchenglis (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:09
French to English
how do I bill identical documents Feb 15, 2008

lol Joeri!
Totally agree, it is very frustrating. However Im in competing with an agency and there is alot of work for the next year on the way.
So I'll adopt my WYGIWYG policy (what you give is what you get policy)


Cetacea  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:09
English to German
+ ...
Strange attitude Feb 15, 2008

Joeri Van Liefferinge (King Darling Communications) wrote:
If they are not prepared to make an effort, then why should you?

Maybe because they're the client, and you're the service provider? Just a thought...

Clients need translators to handle documents that they cannot handle because they don't know the source or the target language and/or the subject matter well enough to do the job themselves. And if they -- for some reason or another -- haven't created consistent documents, so what? Do the job, and charge them for it. (Actually, charging by the hour is what I do in cases like that.) So I know from experience that frenchenglish's WYGIWYG policy is exactly what creates repeat business.


Milton Guo  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:09
English to Chinese
+ ...
You are a good guy Feb 21, 2008

You did the right thing and your client would appreciate it. I did it, too when I found two files from one clinet was 70% identical. The response from my client was very positive.

I strongly recommended you use Cat-tool like trados 7.0, you will see a remarkable increase in translation efficiency. It's easy to use, too.

[Edited at 2008-02-21 14:35]


bgranger  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:09
Member (2005)
+ ...
Note from the other side Mar 13, 2008

It is interesting that this is a recent posting. Here is a note 'from the other side'.

There was a recent project here which involved many files, Dutch to English. There was an incredible amount of repetition; some of it was obvious immediately, with, for example, several separate files of equal length which clearly contained the same (at least 80% to 90% the same, or more) text. The translator who did this group of files understood this immediately, we agreed on an hourly rate for the editing work, him billing only the first core file produced at full rate. This worked out well for him, as he received full rate for all new translation and an hourly rate for editing the same file over and over again, some 30 times. All new sections in the subsequent (pasted files) were of course billed at full translation rate if this worked out better for the translator.

One other file was another matter . . . it had two agreements in it which repeated themselves around 17 times between the two of them; it was copy and paste the original translation, then edit as needed.

The translator for this file has refused any discount, as only a translation rate was noted in the PO and nothing was said of the repetition. I was not alerted of the repetition and when the proofreading stage (second step) came, it was clear to me that the core two agreements had been reused several times. There are small variations (names, numbers, etc.) and some changes in content, but they are not major.

This translator, who was new to the company, has refused any lower rate for these parts.

So I am left with a bill quite beyond the budget of the project as a whole. Just a note to your discussion here (there is no question, the core of what has happened here is understood) . . . it is just a story from the other side of a similar situation.

All the regular translators with the company noted the repetition immediately or kept us posted as they were doing the project, and their bills reflect this (as our bill to the client reflects this).

Honour, decency, clean dealings . . . all strength to that and to translators and agencies who uphold these values.

We've now added a disclaimer to POs to avoid this kind of situation in the future.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

how do I bill identical documents

Advanced search

WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search