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

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:34
SITE STAFF
Apr 29, 2015

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

This poll was originally submitted by Ramona Ali. View the poll results »



 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:34
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Yes, if there are enough to make a difference Apr 29, 2015

I have just made out an offer for a rare direct client, who wants three sets of documents translated.

I quoted my usual rate for the word count before seeing them, and that was far more than she can pay or would be willing to pay. (In her position I would feel the same way.) It is a lot for a private individual, but se doesn't know about Trados or that kind of thing.

However, when the documents arrived, I could see they are more or less identical, covering three different years. I can give a good discount and still be paid for my time.

One small table in each set cannot be translated with Trados, so no discount for those...

I set the rates to cover the real work I do, and everyone gets a fair deal.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:34
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Apr 29, 2015

Long experience has shown me that the same word or phrase is often translated differently depending on the context. Bean-counters don't understand the translation process.

I do so much research for my translations that I figure I'm entitled to a break when I run across a term that can be globally replaced.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, under certain circumstances Apr 29, 2015

My main specialty in translation is complete HRD training programs/packages, including AV multimedia, the works!

The simplest typical structure for such a program would comprise a course leader's guide, participant's workbooks, and possibly a PowerPoint or similar presentation.

In most cases, the leader's guide will include pages from the workbooks, as well as the PPT slides, to spare the busy instructor from shuffling papers all the time.

As the need to cut costs grew, some clients began to send me only the course leader's guide to translate. Afterwards a sesquilingual staff member of theirs would copy and paste the translated segments from the guide onto the two other publications.

It is obvious that every phrase MUST be exactly identical on all three. A course will flop if the trainee sees "time management" on the workbook, "managing time" on the screen, and hears "management of time" from the instructor following the script on the guide. Three items for one take up too much memory space to retain.

However not all of the workbook & slides is always shown on the leader's guide. When anything is missing, e.g. instructions or supplemental readings, the sesquilingual staffer will take a(n often deadly) stab at translating that, or will merrily use free online machine translation.

If enough "trashlation" is included in the material participants will actually see (presumably they'll never see the the leader's guide I translated), someone may get curious about who translated that @#$%&. My reputation will be at stake.

So I give all repeated segments for free in these cases. The client is happy because they save money. For me, it's just one keystroke for each repeat. And the entire program gets professionally translated.


P.S.: I give NO discounts for fuzzy matches, EVER!

[Edited at 2015-04-29 10:56 GMT]


 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:34
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
It's not a discount Apr 29, 2015

I don't offer discounts for repetitions, I charge for them. The charge for repetitions will usually be lower than that for translating new text but that's because it are two different tasks which are charged at different rates.

I am not being paid for individual words and phrases I am paid for my time. So when quoting for new projects my main consideration is how much time I will spend on this project. If the number of repetitions is high then I will have to spend less time working on the project. And if the nature of the project is such that for some reason repetitions won't reduce the effort needed, then I would have to charge those repetitions at the same rate as new text.

And I am talking of repetitions in the CAT sense (ie. phrases and paragraphs repeated in the same context), not of "terms which appear more then once".


 

Jon Hedemann  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:34
English to Danish
+ ...
Cheating Apr 29, 2015

So more than 60% of Proz.com translators are actually cheating their clients...!? Hmm...

 

Teddy Okuyama  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 00:34
Japanese to English
Discounts for fuzzy matches Apr 29, 2015

I think it's ethically sound to inform clients of repetitions, if they haven't noticed them. It's true that there are times when clients will assign jobs without running it through a file analysis. But it's fair to run the analysis for them, and to show them the amount of repetitions and fuzzy matches. And this would also be fair to the translation buyers as well.

Another question is the difference between "repetitions" and "in-context repetitions." Repetitions that are not in context need to be double checked for consistency, so I believe it's fair to charge around 30%, or at least 10%, just to skim through them to ensure accuracy.

But, a more difficult question, I believe, is whether to offer discounts for fuzzy matches.

For example, the Japanese language (the language in which I work) is a very "context-oriented" language. A segment that may "seem" reusable based on file analysis will actually be translated in different ways depending on context. In some cases, a sentence in the end of a paragraph may need to be moved to the front; a title of a subsection may need to be deleted; a culturally awkward phrase may need to be discussed with the author for revision.

When taking such factors into consideration, I think fuzzy matches are still not well established for some languages (like Japanese) as a fair way to calculate discounts. Fuzzy matches may be useful to a certain extent, but they need to figure out a way to analyze context better.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Apr 29, 2015

Not usually. I offer an average to low basic rate, but no discounts for matches, fuzzy or otherwise. I like to think it more or less works at the same as someone who offers a rate 50% higher, but then allows the client or agency to whittle away on the basis of repetitions, fuzzy matches etc, until at the end of the day there probably isn't a great difference in the net amounts earned.

However, I may occasionally allow spontaneous, unsolicited discounts if I think the situation merits it. Clients on the receiving end are usually pleasantly surprised and therefore more likely to continue to use my services.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Judge not, lest ye be judged Apr 29, 2015

Jon Hedemann wrote:

So more than 60% of Proz.com translators are actually cheating their clients...!? Hmm...


If this comment is intended humorously, fair enough. Otherwise, I think we need to be careful about judging others by our own personal moral standards, and take a close look at the several definitions of "cheating"...

For example, my terms and conditions state quite clearly that I prefer to work with Word-compatible documents, and that my wordcount estimates are based on the source text (even though my source language, Spanish, tends to be wordier and maybe 20% longer than its English counterpart), allowing no discounts for repetitions or matches etc, unless I decide to apply them myself. So, if Microsoft Word's counter says the document contains 5000 words, then 5000 words it is, and that's the end of that.

I don't see how this can be described as cheating, hornswoggling, flimflamming or anything other than a straight-talking, cards-on-the-table fair deal.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not necessarily Apr 29, 2015

Jon Hedemann wrote:

So more than 60% of Proz.com translators are actually cheating their clients...!? Hmm...


Translators pay for usually expensive CAT tools to do it. It's like taxi drivers who pay extra for automatic transmission and power steering, so they'll be less tired from driving. Are they cheating their passengers, who pay the same fare for covering the same distance?

On the other hand, a translator's per word rate may be lower when they see repetition-laden material.

In the mall near here, two shops located face-to-face at the food court sell soda differently. Burger King sells 'free refills' for more than twice the price Mei-Mei charges for each 12 fl.oz./355 ml can of the same beverage. My 6'5" stepson has hollow legs, so he can rip off BK guzzling free refills. I can share one can from Mei-Mei with my wife, and we'll be satisfied.

Now, is either BK or Mei-Mei cheating anyone?


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 00:34
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Apr 29, 2015

If I am translating tech stuff using a CAT tool which has its own built-in hit rate/repetition calculation system.

A discount on top of this? No, thank you!

Like fellow J>E translator Teddy Okuyama says above, repetitions cannot be applied to a lot of cases in Japanese since the language is 'context-based.' Also, subjects and objects are often left out, which means that the translator - muggins, in this instance - has to 'read between the lines,' augment and make up for linguistic 'deficiencies' in the source text and 'add' to the English equivalent of the source Japanese.

I often feel that the customer wants a mind-reader not a translator when they ask for J>E translation and discounts just cannot be applied to this kind of linguistic clairvoyance.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:34
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ditto! Apr 29, 2015

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

Long experience has shown me that the same word or phrase is often translated differently depending on the context. Bean-counters don't understand the translation process.

I do so much research for my translations that I figure I'm entitled to a break when I run across a term that can be globally replaced.



Like Neil I may occasionally allow spontaneous, unsolicited discounts if I think the situation merits it!


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:34
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
That depends on your perspective Apr 29, 2015

A long time ago, we used to charge full rate for "repetitions". In fact, rates were originally based upon the fact that there will be a certain degree of repetitiveness in longer documents and that any text we create could be later used again (either in full or as a starting template) and billed at the full rate. Twenty years later, people attempt to request lower rates AND ask for "discounts" on top of that.

As an extreme example, I remember translating a 120,000 word document, 70,000 words of which were "repetitions" and getting paid in full for all 120,000 words by a very happy client. The following year, the client updated the document making a few minor changes and again happily paid for all 120,000 words. The concept of "repetitions" did not exist until it was "invented" by....

Just because you offer a "discount" does not mean that this "discount" is being passed on to the end client. In most cases, the client is paying in full and it is the translator who is getting "cheated". In fact, all of the leveraging that used to be in the hands of translators has now shifted to agencies who happily bill clients at full rate, while translators happily pay out thousands of dollars to purchase tools and spend extra time using them, only to "give away" all the resulting benefits.

So you can see why some older translators (who think of themselves as a business and not an employee) resist the new trend to provide "discounts" for "repetitions" or "recycled text" simply because it's the "nice" thing to do, because our rates (which haven't increased all that much for inflation over the years) already took these kinds of things into consideration. It is true that we can do these things more productively now with computer algorithms and CAT tools, but if we are also giving a monetary discount for that increased productivity, then there has been no net financial progress, only a loss in income.

If we are going to change the paradigm for the way things are compensated, then the base rate needs to increase accordingly.



Jon Hedemann wrote:

So more than 60% of Proz.com translators are actually cheating their clients...!? Hmm...


[Edited at 2015-04-29 16:39 GMT]


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
French to English
No Apr 29, 2015

As a rule, no, I don't. If a word has to be dealt with, even to decide it is to be translated this time as it was the last, then that is work, that is responsibility and that translates as money. Time too is money.

However, of course if there are substantial chunks of strictly identical text, then to the extent that the client specifies which parts are identical, then that means less work. If the client leaves me to find out which parts are identical, then that is billable time. Some clients will try to bring the price down saying that there are sentences here and there, or even parts of sentences which are the repeated, then I will not reduce my cost. It takes times to identify them and they may need to be dealt with differently anyway.

Same thing with Trados and similar tools. They have to be paid for and (theoretically) guarantee consistency. It depends on the type of work you do, I suppose. In my field, it would almost be dangerous to use them. The translator is legally responsible for his/her work so in the event of a problem, neither repetition or Trados will make me "discount" my services.


 

Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Repetitions are work too. Apr 29, 2015

[quote]José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:


Translators pay for usually expensive CAT tools to do it. It's like taxi drivers who pay extra for automatic transmission and power steering, so they'll be less tired from driving. Are they cheating their passengers, who pay the same fare for covering the same distance? [end quote]

Or do you pay a doctor who has state-of the art-equipment less because he will arrive at a diagnosis much faster than a doctor who only uses a stethoscope or outdated equipment? The doctor paid a large sum for that equipment, and if it makes his work easier and faster, it is not only for his benefit, but that of his patients. The same applies to translation. A translator's investment in a CAT tool shouldn't be a means for him/her to be paid LESS!

[Edited at 2015-04-29 17:07 GMT]


 
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