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Do you give discounts for matches, fuzzies?
Thread poster: Lutz Molderings

Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:05
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Mar 5, 2008

I know this has been discussed before, but I would like some fresh opinions on this topic, that is whether you give discounts for matches and fuzzies.

I don't and, quite honestly, don't see why I should. I've spent a small fortune on Trados tools and don't see why the only people profiting from my investment should be my clients. What's the point of spending money on software that allows you to work faster and produce more accurate translations, but then giving discounts on your work?

I would be interested in hearing what you do.
Best, Lutz


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Keren Terret
Israel
Local time: 21:05
Hebrew to English
+ ...
Good point Mar 5, 2008

You make a very interesting point. I've just purchased Trados in the last group buy and am in the preliminary stages of getting it up and running. Even after the discount it was still a fair amount of money, not to mention the time and energy involved in the learning curve, which I will still have to invest. I bought it to stay current and keep up with what is obviously becoming an industry standard, but also to make my work more efficient. I don't see why I should give discounts on fuzzy matches (that still have to be proofread and often edited). I've also been advised by colleagues to charge approx. 20% of my regular rate for 100% matches, since they are not always a perfect match.

However, it seems that like the continuous discussions on low rates, translators are willing to appease clients almost at all costs, as long as they have work. I suppose that at the end of the day it's about how desperate you are for the work.


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Julia Esrom  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:05
German to English
+ ...
two sides Mar 5, 2008

There are certain projects that might justify charging less for 100% matches and even fuzzies. Imagine, you are translating a bunch of clothing descriptions and you keep changing the size or color but nothing else for several items. If I was an agency I'd be crazy to accept a no discount policy. HAVING SAID THAT: this is not the rule and the gray area is large, so we have to consider carefully whether a discount is appropriate. As a general rule, I have decided to advice clients who ask for a substantial discount for fuzzies and matches that these segments simply won't get looked at as thoroughly as they would. Half asked translations are frustrating and I like to keep my job enjoyable. Refusing such jobs or renegotiating may be your best bet.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Payment for brain work Mar 5, 2008

I didn't and I won't buy Trados because of their muscle-marketing strategy that I abhor. They try to convince everyone that it's impossible to translate without it, and that any idiot can translate between any language pair by simply having it. Period.

So I have WordFast, by public demand. It also helps me keep things organized and preserve formatting in MS Word. Due to the amazing diversity of things I get to translate, it seldom helps me with TM, so I open a new TM for each set of related jobs.

I associate the idea of "fuzzy matches" with poodle or sheep breeding. Those partial matches require me to double my attention, as I have to look carefully to spot all the differences.

On the other hand, full matches, repetitions, are no-brainers. So I offer clients who demand discounts that, on jobs larger than 5,000 words, I won't charge for no-brainers, i.e. 100% repeated segments. All other words will be translated at my full rate. This should solve the problem with, e.g. recurring items in catalogs.

However some clients are just starving for discounts, and nothing will stop them. I had an end client from Miami, FL, who didn't want to know anything about my rates. He just kept asking what discount I'd give him on my regular rates, whatever they were.


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ivo abdman
Indonesia
Local time: 02:05
English to Indonesian
+ ...
My suggestion Mar 6, 2008

How about if we only translate the origin, and the fuzzy match of origin will do by second translator (fuzzy match-spesific translator).

Actually (I think) fuzzy match only provide decceleration the works of translator - check what different will be a time consumed won't it


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 20:05
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Personal choice and market conditions Mar 6, 2008

Hi all,

it depends on what you translate, for which "branch" of the industry you work, on the size and frequency of the projects, just to mention a few factors.

If you manage to do without discounts, well, go for it. I certainly agree that buying a software for professionals is a personal investment and the buyer should profit from it and (s)he does, even if discounts are granted.

Discounts are a standard in the two main fields I am in, but the key point, the way I see it, is the rate you start from and the fact that I have bought (and regularly bought and buy updates) only one software, which allows me to work on files I couldn't have processed without Trados (increase of business). The only other alternative would have been to buy various softwares, much more expensive in sum than a CAT, without the benefits it offers.

Without granting discounts you can't even come to those very interesting and long and regular projects (= steady business), outsourcers wouldn't be assigned those projects as well.

I am talking about regular clients, who provide me with valuable TMs and a term base (and added value, in which they have invested, too, as there is always learning from solutions adopted by professionals, who have fed those TMs and term base, even if they aren't 100% quality products, a very rare occurrence in my case) and a high volume throughout the year, and I have already amortized my investments, so all it comes extra is a plus.

I don't feel deprived of anything when I accept or grant discounts, as I have a business to run and I take my decisions with business and its present, future and potential growth, according to the market, my interest in mind and mainly on simple commercial principles.
And these exclude for example discounts (or weekend work at no surcharge) for non-regular clients. I simply and always try to get the most and the best I can out of any proposed project or business, so if not granting a small discount meant not being assigned a project I am interested in and this small discount is acceptable for me in terms of business, I'd definitely grant it. I see it as a form of marketing and a chance for future business, as it has - in my case, proved to be so.

We can go back and discuss this over and over again, but each professional has different needs, a different market to be active in and a personal approach to business. And each professional has his reasons for granting and not granting discounts.

If granting no discounts is for you personally the best way to run your business and keep or increase you income p.a., then simply do not change your approach.


Giuliana

[Edited at 2008-03-06 08:40]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:05
English to German
+ ...
"Discounts" vs. "weightings" Mar 6, 2008

Hi Lutz and all,
To me, the concept of "discounts" is a misnomer - what we should be talking about is "weightings". On a related note, the relevance of the price per word (line, page, character...) is limited: it's the amount of income per interval of time (hour, day, month) that's essential.

Let's consider a text with 2,800 words. For argument's sake, let's further assume we can translate 400 words per hour, and that the target hourly income is EUR 70. In this example, that means we need to charge EUR 0.175 per word.

An analysis of the text shows the following results:

- 30% of the text (=840 words) are repetitions or matches of 95% or more.
- 40% of the text (=1,120 words) are matches of 75% or more.
- 30% of the text (=840 words) are below 75% = 'no-matches'.

To decide what to do, you need to know certain parameters:
- the quality of the TM (if it's not your own);
- the degree of efficiency achieved by using the CAT tool.
The latter point is crucial: of course you can ask in the forum, but the answers given by other people are irrelevant to what you can achieve.

We know that, on average, translating repetitions or 95%+ matches takes us 25% of the time it takes to translate from scratch, and 75-94% matches takes 50% (again, these percentages are arbitrary, for argument's sake). This translates into the following effective workload, using the statistical weightings:

840 words @ 25% = 210 words (effective)
1,120 words @ 50% = 560 words (effective)
840 words (no-matches require a 100% weighting)

210+560+840 = 1,610 words: based on the statistical analysis, we should be able to finish this job in 4 hours, as opposed to 7 hours based on the gross word count.

What are our options?
1. We can offer the translation at EUR 490, hoping to achieve an hourly price of EUR 122.50. The most attractive option, of course, but also exposed to competition.

2. We can offer the translation at EUR 280, thus giving away all the efficiency gains (now that's what I would call a 'discount').

3. We can use the efficiency gain to be more competitive, giving up some of the gain, but not all of it. Try weightings of 30% and 65% to see the effect.

Essentially, you need to achieve a trade-off between being competitive and raising your income per hour worked.

Hope this helps - best regards,
Ralf

[Edited at 2008-03-06 07:42]


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:05
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
what's next? Mar 6, 2008

Thank you all for your replies. I think we can all agree that discounts are sometimes necessary and even appropriate.

I do not, however, think that these discounts should be based on automatic, statistical text analyses.
If we agree to this practice, we might just as well introduce readability formula and give discounts for particularly "easy" sentences:

... "Well, this text has 211 sentences with readability scores below 55! Surely you must take this into account and give us a discount for this!

Or let's automatically mark up each text with part-of-speech tags before we agree on a price and determine how many function words there are compared to content words and then let's base our price on the lexical density of the text. Oh, and perhaps we could also take the type-token ratio into account, because ....I'll stop here.

Sorry, this is not how translation works for me.

Obviously one has to stay competitive, but, in my opinion, discounts should be based on other factors.



[Edited at 2008-03-06 09:04]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:05
Flemish to English
+ ...
Trados strategy, not translator's strategy. Mar 6, 2008

"Matches" and "Fuzzies" is a Trados invention, which did not exist before the imposing of Trados due to heavy marketing at end-users. When the Trados-freelance market was saturated, Trados GmbH had to sell its stuff somewhere and used savings by means of the concept of matches and fuzzies as a marketing tool.
In a former thread a Hungarian colleague proposed a solution for this "strategy": Accept the discounts proposed and put either ... in your texts or the %-age discounts of words.
Neither Wordfast, Atril (Déjà Vu) nor other CATs ever advocated this strategy, but marketed their tools as way to enhance translator productivity and that is the way it should be.
Go to the website of any agency with a price-calculation tool on their website imposing CAT-deductions upon you and calculate what they ask their end-customer. Do you notice any price-reductions for CAT there?
I guess, it all depends which side are you on: From the agency point of view, it is means to gain an extra and from the translator's point of view, it is giving, taking and calculating a bit higher rate to earn the same amount of money.
Besides "have Trados", will translate" applies only to certain types of texts. I wonder if "have Trados, will translate" would apply if you had to translate a literary text of say Cortázar or Proust.


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:05
English to Norwegian
How long have you been in business? Mar 6, 2008


If we agree to this practice, we might just as well introduce readability formula and give discounts for particularly "easy" sentences:


Of course you have to give discount for easy sentences.
Sometimes I get a difficult technical text where I have to look up and check two or three words in each sentence. In other documents I can translate just as fast as I can type. Most customers understand and want different pricing for different texts. I will always try to get as high price as possible, but usually you have to give discount if:

- The text is repetitive.
- The text is easy.
- It is a large document (20 000 words instead of 200 projects of 100 words each).
- You get ample delivery time (allows you to do it in your spare time – but this happens very seldom to me
- You are desperate for work, as I was when I started out 15 years ago.

BTW, I use this discount model for matches:
0 - 75 % match: 100 %
75 % - 99 %: 50 %
Repetitions and 100 %: 10% without checking or 30% with proofreading.

Magnus


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:05
English to German
+ ...
Discounts vs. weightings (ctd.) Mar 6, 2008

Hi Per,

Of course you have to give discount for easy sentences.

Who says you have to? You may, of course, want to quote a more aggressive price for a text you consider to be easy. Rather than giving a discount for easy texts, what about charging more for difficult stuff?

(I know that's what you meant, but I believe it's important to express a different attitude to one's own pricing in the terms we use.)

Best regards,
Ralf


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:05
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
that's not what I was saying Mar 6, 2008

Per, I don't think you get my point. Obviously my rate is based on the difficulty of a text.

What I'm saying is that these statistical measures are ill-suited for determining how long it will take you to do the job. It's just not as simple as that.
A text can be repetitive and still take a long time to translate. You need experience to estimate how long you'll need for the job. Statistical figures are, in my opinion, of only limited value for determining this.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:05
French to English
For same, or different, customer Mar 6, 2008

In a nutshell:

same customer = some kind of reduction for 100% / fuzzy matches. Still needs to be checked, though. I usually charge about 30% for 100% matches/repetition. Many customers - particularly direct - do have an idea when a document has some repetition or quotes chunks of other documents and I don't want them to feel ripped off.

different customer = no reduction. E.g. if I have translated a paragraph out of a standard for widgets, then a completely different customer has quoted the exact same paragraph.

As Ralf says, it's earnings per day/week that are the key.


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't give any discounts Mar 6, 2008

No way, Trados cost me a lot of money. If you don't want to pay for the repetitions take them out of the text and insert them back in yourself afterwards, as simple as that. I don't charge any more for PDFs.

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Marta Parisi
Spain
Local time: 20:05
Member (2008)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Counting matches/fuzzies Mar 6, 2008

Hi!

Maybe this matter has already been discussed in this website elsewhere, but I am new here, I am became a member only a few months ago and I am founding out now all the resources that Proz offers. I had some problems with a client who sent me a text that was full of fuzzies and matches and I didn't have any tool which could help me to count all the repeated sentences and words. I don't have Trados, which I know is very helpful in this kind of tasks, because at the moment I cannot afford it. Do you know the name of any tool that can be used to perform this task?

Thank you very much!


Marta


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