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Poll: Do you give discounts for repetitions?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:26
SITE STAFF
May 1, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you give discounts for repetitions?".

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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:26
German to English
+ ...
Not a single comment May 1, 2013

So far, there have been 44 respondents, and not a single comment.
So be it!


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 1, 2013

Only when I think it's justified, and rarely when pressed.
For example, last week one client told me they would be sending me a 6000-word manual to translate, and mentioned that it was very similar to a previous one. They also said they plan to send me around 25K of similar texts in the next month or two and asked if I could give them a discount for volume. I replied, explaining that translation isn't like buying bulk dog food, where the more you buy, the cheaper it gets, but nevertheless I would offer them a discretionary, one-off set discount of 12,5% on my basic rate. They were quite happy with this arrangement and so was I.
However, once I got into the translation I found that there were indeed large swathes of repetition, several whole paragraphs, so then, and only then, did I decide to give them an additional discount, equivalent to 1000 words, which I announced when I delivered the job. They hadn't expected this bonus and were very appreciative. I imagine that if any of their colleagues asks them about translators in future, they are likely to recommend me, so my "generosity" could pay off then too.
Sometimes it's nice to be nice.

PS: @Alison. Patience is a virtue! (sticky-out tongue icon)

[Edited at 2013-05-01 08:28 GMT]


 

Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:26
German to English
Discretionary May 1, 2013

I'm always happy to discuss a possible discount for a large job which has many 100% repetitions. What I am not prepared to do is to accept a job where the agency "tells" me in advance that they are going to reduce my word count/payment by around 30% on the basis of their Trados grid.

Steve K.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No May 1, 2013

When I tried to use Trados, I found that the same "matches" needed to be translated differently in different contexts. I wasn't getting paid to do a proper job. Theoretically, I should be paid for the judgment to know when to repeat the same translation and when it needs to be varied. No software that will ever be able to figure that out.

In support of this statement, I should point out that I have used machine-translated drafts as part of my work since 1980. This isn't the place to argue the merits of MT, but one thing is certain: with a draft, the translator has the freedom to leave or change the translated text depending on the context. The concept of "matches" leaves no room for this kind of judgment.

OK, so I admit that sometimes I cut and paste repetitions. But on the next page I might have to do a lot of research. It balances out in the end.

I'm reminded of the repairman who kicked the washing machine and it started working again. Presented with a bill, the housewife complained that he hadn't done anything, and he explained that he was being paid for knowing where and how to kick it.


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:26
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
No May 1, 2013

I don't use translation software, so every word has to be processed through my brain. In fact, for many factual documents, repetitions can add to the workload because I have to go back and check that I have translated particular terms consistently. On the other hand, for more creative texts where style is important, I would translate the same or similar term in different ways, my trusty thesaurus at my side. Perhaps I might see things differently if I was a software user, but I am inclined to think that discounts for repetitions is just an excuse to pay as little as possible. Every word must be considered on its own merits by the translator, even if it has already appeared before. The software may translate based on what is in its memory, but the translator still has to check it and decide whether that is the best translation.

It reminds me of a story someone once told me, where a customer said 'I know that 'le' and 'la' mean 'the' in English, so I've translated all of those myself and deducted them from the word count'!


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Classic! May 1, 2013

Helen Hagon wrote:

It reminds me of a story someone once told me, where a customer said 'I know that 'le' and 'la' mean 'the' in English, so I've translated all of those myself and deducted them from the word count'!


We had a customer who started going through files and highlighting names and taking them off the word count as they didn't need translating. Needless to say we were less than impressed and it soon stopped.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No May 1, 2013

Like Helen I do not use translation software. But I must say that I decided voluntarily to give a small discount to two clients who have been giving me very repetitive work for a few years now...

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Different situations May 1, 2013

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:
When I tried to use Trados, I found that the same "matches" needed to be translated differently in different contexts. I wasn't getting paid to do a proper job. Theoretically, I should be paid for the judgment to know when to repeat the same translation and when it needs to be varied. No software that will ever be able to figure that out.


As I wrote yesterday on another thread:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

My major specialty in translation is management development training packages. Such a program usually has at least a course leader/instructor/facilitator's guide, participants' workbooks, PowerPoint presentation(s), and often a few other things that we'll ignore for the sake of this exercise.

Many segments get repeated verbatim in all three items, for the sake of course consistency. The budget-conscious client will have me translate only the leader's guide, which usually has most of - if not all - the content in the other two. Then they'll get a potentially sesquilingual staff member to painstakingly (i.e. manually) locate, copy and paste in the proper places and format the translated segments from what I delivered, and translate the best way they can whatever is missing (e.g instructions on workbooks, speaker notes on PPTs, etc.).

So, if they give me all three (in this example) publications to translate, they won't have to pay for segments repeated within the same nor the other publications. On the other hand, I'll translate (professionally, and get paid for) all "new" segments in the publications they'd otherwise not have me work on, and spare their staff from one helluva lot of work.

Repetitions in this case are no-brainers, I just Alt+Dn them (WF). So I'll be delivering my clients great value at practically no extra cost to me. On the other hand, they won't even think of any other discounts or lower rates.


Envision this, if in this case the translation of a segment weren't exactly the same:
A manager goes to a seminar on Time Management. At a certain moment in time:
  • The instructor says, "Managing time is all about setting priorities" from the course leader's guide;
  • Their workbook shows, "You'll have to rank your priorities in order to manage your time"; and
  • The PPT slide on the screen "Time management requires prioritizing your activities" displays.
... and all three were translated from the very same source phrase.

While this could improve understanding if the phrase were somewhat cryptic (it is not!), it requires 3x the "brain space" for idea retention, which will hence be "thinner".

A simpler example would be naming an identical, exchangeable part in a machine parts list as a screw once, and as a bolt elsewhere, considering that in PT both are parafuso.

However Muriel definitely has a point in our judgment being required there, to always consider whether this is the case or not.


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 13:26
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes May 1, 2013

I don't use CAT tools, but I am always happy to come up with an advanced fee for each particular job, if this is what the client would prefer, as opposed to using a fixed volume-based rate. In such cases, I will take factors such as the existence of blocks of text that can be copied and pasted, or things such as names and addresses that will only have to be copied, rather than translated, into consideration in calculating the fee.

 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Discounts for repetitions? Never May 1, 2013

I am loath to offer discounts except in extreme circumstances. For example, I miscalculated the time required to typeset a Quark document, even though there are no tables or text-on-graphics. Just a text box for each page, with minimum formatting.

However, it took me 6, not 3, hours to do it. So I billed the client 6 hours but added a 4-hour discount.

As for TEnT tools (Trados, Deja Vu, etc.), I don't offer discounts for repetitions. The main client that requires use of SDL Trados, however, pays for repetitions. How about that?


 

Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:26
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Interesting May 1, 2013

We're all forced to give discounts by agencies. But with direct clients I usually resist this, although sometimes I will give a % discount for a series of contracts that resemble each other, but I decide this at the end. And when they more or less resemble each other, I have to be doubly careful not to miss the differences. And CAD is not always reliable in pointing out the differences (at least WordFast often fails to highlight differences.)

On the other hand, I have regular clients (lawfirms) who re-use some template agreements or pleadings that I have translated before. I don't usually give a discount simply because these translations are in my TMs (in slightly different forms). They re-sell their intellectual property several times over, why shouldn't we?


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Forced? I don't think so May 1, 2013

Mark Hamlen wrote:

We're all forced to give discounts by agencies. But with direct clients I usually resist this, although sometimes I will give a % discount for a series of contracts that resemble each other, but I decide this at the end. And when they more or less resemble each other, I have to be doubly careful not to miss the differences. And CAD is not always reliable in pointing out the differences (at least WordFast often fails to highlight differences.)

On the other hand, I have regular clients (lawfirms) who re-use some template agreements or pleadings that I have translated before. I don't usually give a discount simply because these translations are in my TMs (in slightly different forms). They re-sell their intellectual property several times over, why shouldn't we?


I don't think any client can reasonably force any vendor to do anything. If you feel forced to do something, then your understanding of contract law is missing something. A contract or agreement to work for an agency requires voluntary participation of both sides.

As an independent vendor, I can pick and choose whoever I want to do business with. I don't force them to accept my fees nor do I feel forced to accept their terms. Whenever I find a contract clause that I find offensive or unfair, I point it out to the agency or client, and they usually strike it down at my request or change it until we both agree on the new content. That's called negotiation.

Same negotiation goes for which CAT or TEnT tools to use, deadlines, what file formats to accept, etc. In America, being an independent vendor means that nobody can tell you how to do your job, period. They may critique portions of a translation or request changes in the final document, but everything is subject to agreement and negotiation.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:26
Member (2006)
German to English
Yes May 1, 2013

of course I do. This is standard in the technical field and personnaly, I have no problem with that at all. As long as I do not have to check the 100% matches that have been translated, I always have a "discount" for the different % levels / grids of the TM analyses.
I must also say that I find it "not fair" to the customer when you use a CAT tool and charge the full price for translations, e.g., that are 100% repretitions. I do not translate repetitions for free, but there is always a range that one can negotiate the way they are charged.
Naturally, there are fields which such staging cannot be applied, but in the technical field, completely normal, that is the whole point of CAT tools.

[Edited at 2013-05-01 16:53 GMT]


 

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 12:26
English to German
+ ...
Other May 1, 2013

Yes, if an entire paragraph is repeated in the same job..
Yes, if a previous job of the same client contains the same paragraph.

Rolf


 
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