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Poll: A customer assumes that you will check the DTP layout of your translation for free. You...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:32
SITE STAFF
Dec 12, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "A customer assumes that you will check the DTP layout of your translation for free. You...".

This poll was originally submitted by Julian Holmes. View the poll results »



 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:32
English to Russian
+ ...
Other Dec 12, 2013

I do not offer DTP services

 

dasein_wm  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:32
Member (2009)
Italian to English
+ ...
Other... Dec 12, 2013

If the customer is assuming this, it is unbeknownst to me as it has not been spoken to or agreed.
I always try to match document layout as closely as possible but, if the customer wants DTP services then he/she will have to find the right person for that particular job.

[Edited at 2013-12-12 08:37 GMT]


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:32
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Just for clarification Dec 12, 2013

- You do the translation and deliver the translated text to the customer.
- The customer gives it to a DTP person to lay it out.
- The customer sends the DTP layout back to you to check for line feeds, hyphenation, layout mistakes, unnatural use of fonts/kerming/line spacing, etc.

The customer assumes that you will do this for free.

FYI, this is part of my Translator Nightmare series.

[Edited at 2013-12-12 13:44 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Ask for more money, of course Dec 12, 2013

Why would you do anything for free?
Why would a customer assume you will do anything for free?



PS I should add that I too misread the question originally, I saw the dreaded word "DTP" and instinctively answered "refuse", so I think the results might be somewhat unrepresentative


[Edited at 2013-12-12 09:02 GMT]


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:32
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Dec 12, 2013

If this has not been clarified in advance, then I just deliver and wait, generally I do not hear anything about it again.

I just let my customers know that I do not do DTP layouting, no time, not even if I am payed for it.

Hey Julian, do you have a direct line to the Poll server?


 

Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:32
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Its not part of my standard service. Dec 12, 2013

I voted to say that I would negotiate and do it for a fee, but that would only apply if I felt that the DTP was not overly complicated and was within my ability. I also voted before I read Julian's clarification:

Julian Holmes wrote:

- You do the translation and deliver the translated text to the customer.
- The customer gives it to a DTP person to lay it out.
- The customer sends the DTP layout back to you to check for line feeds, hyphenation, layout mistakes, unnatural use of fonts/kerming/line spacing, etc.

The customer assumes that you will do this for free.


That changes the ball game. I make it clear that the price I quote is for translation only. If the client only asks me to do DTP at a later stage, then that is not something that was included in our agreement. If the DTP is relatively straight forward, within my ability and I am not battling deadlines for other projects at the time, I may agree and negotiate for an additional fee to reflect the time the additional work will take me.

However, Julian's reference to a DTP person being involved in the chain implies that the work involved would be of greater than normal complexity, in which event I would probably be inclined to refuse the additional work.

Julian Holmes wrote:FYI, this is part of my Translator Nightmare series.


Agreed Julian, DTP issues can be a nightmare at times. On a couple of occasions in the past I have been offered projects that would have entailed more work on DTP than they would have on the translation. Naturally, I declined the projects, because they would have given me a headache.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:32
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Included in the first fee, or else as a separate job paid by the hour Dec 12, 2013

If it is my translation, I usually do it without a separate line on the invoice, because it is part of a regular agreement I have with good clients and it was mentioned before I even started the job.

In fact I do this regularly.

A couple of my clients nearly always send a PDF with the layout for checking if the job is an illustrated brochure or anything where it matters. I know in advance and the rate covers it.

Often it only takes a few minutes, and these are considerate clients, so they can usually wait until I have a convenient break in my workflow - a coffee break or something like that.

I use the text-editing tool in Acrobat that marks the text to be deleted and provides a blue window for what you want to insert. Separate yellow notes for comments and explanations.

It's not a job I am fond of, but I like to know someone takes a careful look. In another life I worked briefly at a printer's , and I am always annoyed if silly things like excessive hyphenation, bad line breaks and sloppy layout spoil my work and the photographer's best efforts...


[Edited at 2013-12-12 11:22 GMT]


 

Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:32
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Other Dec 12, 2013

Julian Holmes wrote:

- You do the translation and deliver the translated text to the customer.
- The customer gives it to a DTP person to lay it out.
- The customer sends the DTP layout back to you to check for line feeds, hyphenation, layout mistakes, unnatural use of fonts/kerming/line spacing, etc.

The customer assumes that you will do this for free.
I said other since I've never had th situation, I think. One customer applies the process you describe, for a large project twice a year, but they do offer to pay for the time spent.

Now if another custmer required the same for free, my reaction would depend on the customer and on the job size. If it takes 5 minutes for a very good client, I'd do it for free, sure!


 

M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:32
English to Polish
Other Dec 12, 2013

It happened to me once only and I was paid for it.

If it happened again, it would depend. If it's not much work and only an exception for a regular client with whom I have a good relationship, I could do it as a favour. That said, my good clients would want to pay me for it, as they pay me for test translations for new end clients.


 

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 13:32
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Other Dec 12, 2013

dasein_wm wrote:

If the customer is assuming this, it is unbeknownst to me as it has not been spoken to or agreed.
I always try to match document layout as closely as possible but, if the customer wants DTP services then he/she will have to find the right person for that particular job.

[Edited at 2013-12-12 08:37 GMT]



I leave DTP to those who are good at it...


 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:32
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Other ... Dec 12, 2013

I would include a fee from the start or negotiate a fee later.
I wouldn't edit the final copy without being paid for it, I don't think anyone has ever asked me to either.
Actually this final DTP check happens often with texts I do into Greek which go into brochures, onto packaging, etc. Usually this is not a small task: often in the DTPing they change the text, remove the accents on vowels, or change capitals to vowels and then there are no accents, they split words over lines in a way that is not permitted in Greek, etc. I wonder at the wisdom at having the translation done by a native speaker and then edited by an obvious non-speaker

[Edited at 2013-12-12 14:03 GMT]


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:32
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
How much work is involved? Dec 12, 2013

When I do a translation, I endeavour to make it look as much like the original document as possible, in terms of formatting etc. However, if the customer takes the completed translation, plays around with it, and then gives it back to me for checking, this is an additional job. If was only a short task and would take only a few minutes, I would be inclined to do it for free as a gesture of goodwill. However, if it turned out to involve a substantial amount of work, I would have to point this out to the customer and offer to do it at a certain cost (assuming I had the necessary skills).

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:32
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
I bill! Dec 12, 2013

I have often mentioned and even offered this as part of my service. I just hate seeing my work botched by DTP. Sometimes the layout guy will just quickly retype a heading rather than doing a copy/paste, thinking it's easy to type and not noticing that actually there's a word that looks very French but with one different letter and hey presto: a glaring mistake in the biggest boldest letters on the page.

It's mostly clients wanting to do a brochure or something that will be printed up or featuring prominently on a busy commercial website who I will suggest it to and of course this service is billed. I either charge a hefty price per word whereby even with three "final" proofreads I won't be losing out, or bill per hour. It's customers coming back after a nightmare with several proofreads who choose the former.

With one customer things were so dreadful I ended up saying I would only do it if they let me communicate directly with the layout artist (there had been much to-ing and fro-ing over hyphenation: the DTP software was still clearly set up for the French way of splitting words, and my contact insisted that the software could not handle the English way. So I had to go through the entire document, flagging all words with wrong cut-off points. The layout artist then changed these manually, only to find that other words were split wrong as a result...


 

Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:32
German to English
Exactly Dec 12, 2013

Helen Hagon wrote:

When I do a translation, I endeavour to make it look as much like the original document as possible, in terms of formatting etc. However, if the customer takes the completed translation, plays around with it, and then gives it back to me for checking, this is an additional job. If was only a short task and would take only a few minutes, I would be inclined to do it for free as a gesture of goodwill. However, if it turned out to involve a substantial amount of work, I would have to point this out to the customer and offer to do it at a certain cost (assuming I had the necessary skills).


Hi Helen, I agree that the translator should try to produce a final product with similar layout and presentation to the original. However, although a few minutes of post-translation "courtesy work" for a good customer is one thing, an hour or so is quite a different kettle of fish. Nobody wants to work for nothing!

Steve K.


 
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