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Poll: Do you charge extra for layout/formatting?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:27
SITE STAFF
Nov 8, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you charge extra for layout/formatting?".

This poll was originally submitted by Hikmat Gumilar. View the poll results »



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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:27
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other Nov 8, 2013

I don't do layout/formatting (and I'm not asked to provide this service).

This should've been one of the options. Ho, hum.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 8, 2013

Same as Julian. Moreover, I don't consider formatting as part of my brief as a translator. It is a desktop publishing task which (as I see and experience it) has little to do with the text content. All it does is slow me down.

However, if I did do it, I suppose I should charge for it, considering the time and hassle involved.

PS: I do try to maintain the original format the documents arrive in though...

[Edited at 2013-11-08 19:33 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:27
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Nov 8, 2013

I have never been asked to provide layout/formatting! Of course, I try to preserve the original format as much as possible...

[Edited at 2013-11-08 10:28 GMT]


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:27
English to Polish
No Nov 8, 2013

If there is any fairly simple formatting (tables, etc.) in the source file, my CAT tool takes care of it.

I don't do any advanced DTP.


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:27
English to Russian
+ ...
It depends Nov 8, 2013

I do not do complicated formatting, but I usually negotiate deadlines and/or pay with clients offering to transalate from pdf scans

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 06:27
Turkish to English
+ ...
Sometimes, it depends Nov 8, 2013

When I quote a set price for an individual job following inspection of the text, this is a factor that I take into account.

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Gallagy
Ireland
Local time: 04:27
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
sometimes, it depends Nov 8, 2013

Tim Drayton wrote:

When I quote a set price for an individual job following inspection of the text, this is a factor that I take into account.


BUT I don't really like having to format and never do anything too complicated as I prefer to concentrate on translating and leave the DTP to those who can do it better and much faster than I could ever achieve.


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:27
Member (2006)
German to English
No Nov 8, 2013

Julian Holmes wrote:

I don't do layout/formatting (and I'm not asked to provide this service).

This should've been one of the options. Ho, hum.


And I do tend to turn it down if asked.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:27
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I often charge for it Nov 8, 2013

I'm not talking about tables. I don't expect compensation for tables. I'm talking about "tricky" formatting. Examples might be changing the size and language setting of text boxes inside figures to accommodate the translation or moving the arrows in a flowchart because they get skewed when the size of the boxes changes in translation. Or certain functions in spreadsheets that are difficult to perform while also translating.

Two of my best-paying clients include tricky formatting as part of the assignment and they pay extra, in one case a percentage of the word count and in the other case an hourly fee. Both these clients are international organizations. They have no clerical staff (if you don't count PMs). Also, formatting often involves knowledge of the source language, and you can't expect a PM or clerk to know all the working languages.

I don't have this problem with agencies, which rarely send me tricky formatting, and if there is some, they take care of it.

IMO, the extra money doesn't really compensate for this kind of stress, which has nothing to do with translation skill.


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:27
German to English
+ ...
Feline assistance Nov 8, 2013

M. Anna Kańduła wrote:

... my CAT tool takes care of it.

I don't do any advanced DTP.


I do tidy up the occasional bits of formatting in the final target text for clients who really don't care if I used my cat, dog or parrot to translate the text in the first place.

I also pay attention to the layout/formatting of the source text, as this often holds clues as to *how* one has to translate the text - something which is easy to ignore, to the detriment of one's translation. Sometimes the layout/formatting has to change in the target text, too.

No, I do not charge extra as a separate item on the invoice, but if quoting a new client, I adjust my rates accordingly if the formatting promises to be particularly time-consuming.


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:27
English
+ ...
Other.... Nov 8, 2013

Same as Julian, Neilmac, Teresa and Michael. Never been asked and wouldn't do it if asked. Not part of my job or expertise as an editor/translator.

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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Powerpoints Nov 8, 2013

I do make sure that my translations fit into the boxes in powerpoints or make them big enough to accommodate my translation. If this is not possible, I would change the translation so that it fits in its box. I believe that that is part of our job. But beyond that I wouldn't know what to do, I don't think that I've ever been in the predicament.

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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:27
German to English
Not normally Nov 8, 2013

I try to "filter in" clients who provide standard Word, Excel, PowerPoint or "virgin" PDF documents, for which my CAT tool retains format with little additional effort on my part. However, recently I have started to make an additional charge of around 20% for "dead" PDFs and photocopies, since they genuinely do take at least 50% more time to process than a standard file.. in some cases 100% or more.

Steve K.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:27
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, we are paid for our time and our skills Nov 8, 2013

Steve Kerry wrote:

....

However, recently I have started to make an additional charge of around 20% for "dead" PDFs and photocopies, since they genuinely do take at least 50% more time to process than a standard file.. in some cases 100% or more.

Steve K.


@Steve,
Most definitely!

Yes, any extra work beyond and above translation -- such as reformatting and scanning to make impossible formats manageable -- is time-consuming and should be charged for. After all, would you ask a plummer to fix the roof while he's at it?

I evaluate customers who send me very easy-to-handle data very highly. It means less ancilliary work (i.e. scanning or reformatting), which in turn means that I can use my core skills and focus on the translation with no other distractions, as others have said in this poll. And, I can produce a better translation.

Fortunately, as a CAT user, I do not get PDFs -- read Pretty Dead Format -- files to translate. They are so out of the ark over here now to the point that receiving digital data, i.e. data in a manageable format is now the new norm.

@Tatty
How can you not charge customers for resizing text or boxes in PowerPoint files? They are layout nightmares, and cause the most problems in data conversion!

Wonder what tech Wizard Mario's take on this poll is?

HTH

Julian H.


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