Poll: Do you turn down work if it is provided/expected in certain formats?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Local time: 10:05
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Sep 14, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you turn down work if it is provided/expected in certain formats?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 18:05
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Sep 14, 2017

If the file does not come in one of the formats I usually use (doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx), I’ll deal with it case by case.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Sep 14, 2017

My working conditions stipulate that I only work with comfortable formats - TXT, Word, Excel or PPT. No scanned PDFs or anything fiddly and time consuming. Saves me a lot of frustration.
PS: One of my major clients switched over to Open Office a few years ago, but I told them that none of my translation tools or software were compatible with it, so they're quite happy to convert their documents into compatible formats before they deliver them to me for translation. Others might not be so amenable, but that's their pigeon.

[Edited at 2017-09-14 09:32 GMT]

PS: At this time of year, just after the holiday season, beggars can't be choosers. Nothing to do with formats, but I had to reject a translation today of roughly 7000 words for a regular client, because they needed it by Tuesday and I'm already up to my ears in work until then. None of my immediate colleagues is available either, they are all busy, even my Spanish friend, who occasionally panics because she hasn't had any work for a few weeks... icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2017-09-14 14:23 GMT]


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:05
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Sometimes Sep 14, 2017

Depending on how busy I am

 

Nilton Junior  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:05
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Sep 14, 2017

I usually turn down about 99.99% of scanned PDFs sent my way, especially they are to be translated from Japanese.

 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:05
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends on a couple of factors Sep 14, 2017

Once or twice, I received files in formats I didn't know and I couldn't open. But the client will usually send an alternative format in these cases (for example, I don't have InDesign. MemoQ reads it and generates the output, but I can't see the results).
Also, I've had clients several times send me mobile pictures of documents, and even one who sent me an entire Atlas photographed. And sometimes, they send us some very bad scans as images and don't agree to pay for the time spent recreating the thing. In extreme cases like these, it's a "no, thanks", no doubt.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:05
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Illegible material Sep 14, 2017

These days, I decline illegible handwritten material or badly photocopied and uneditable PDFs in faint and/or tiny print.
They simply aren't worth the hassle.
Like Mario, I'm sometimes offered documents which look as if they were photographed with a mobile phone on somebody's duvet, all wrinkly with large areas of dark grey or black. I definitely decline those.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends on the format, not the client Sep 14, 2017

One of my tenets is that "I charge for everything I do, but I'll try my best to dissuade my clients from requesting anything I know they don't need".

The most typical example is a client requesting video translation + subtitling AND transcription. I'll ask them what they need the transcript for, and explain that *I* don't need it at all, as I translate directly from the video. If they still insist to have the transcript, I'll charge for it.

I don't do DTP using MS Word. If they want neatly laid-out DOC(X) translations, especially when the layout is complex, I'll price this DTP work sufficiently high to make them give up. I will, however, distill any DOC(X) file into a PDF, and translate it using Infix, which will enable me to fix all layout issues from text swelling/shrinking/getting misaligned, for an additional per-page charge. I set this DTP cost at about half of what it would be, e.g. if a translator not having a DTP app "invaded" InDesign files with a CAT tool to translate, and later a DTP operator had to fix the translation layout.

This above already gave the answer on how I handle translation requests involving any DTP or other layout files: get me a PDF, and I'll translate and fix the layout.

On DTP, I stuck to PageMaker (InDesign's "father"). If I am expected to translate (properly) scanned PDFs or JPGs, I'll re-create the publication using PM, and deliver a PDF. The DTP cost per page here is twice as much as for the Infix translation & layout fixing process on "live" PDF files.

However if the client insists that I MUST translate and deliver finished DTP files on InDesign, FrameMaker, Quark, etc., I'll turn the job down. Likewise, I don't work on CAD files.

I hate PowerPoint. Had the brave Astound Presentation folks persevered until Windows XP came up, PPT today would be less popular than its brother MS Publisher. If the client wants a PPT translated, I give them the option to fix layout issues for an extra charge of 20~30% of the translation cost. If they want this done for free, I'm out.

On video, I have a host of very effective video converters, and use a PC. So, if I get a MOV (Mac native) video, I'll convert it to a more PC-compliant format. However if the client wants a subtitled MOV, I'll turn it down, as I can't deliver a reliable MOV video from a PC.

And finally, there is Trados. I only have WordFast Classic. Though it's pretty bad as a piece of software, it neatly relieves me from grappling with the text formatting issues in MS Word (anyone who has ever used PageMaker or InDesign will know what I'm referring to). I have no objection to clients who will lend me a portable license of their CAT tool; have done it with MemoQ, Memsource, and Passolo.

However Trados creates a special situation. I see just too many translation clients demanding Trados sine qua non on jobs where often NO CAT tool will be of any use, and who are mostly oblivious to any translation skill beyond 'having Trados'. So I decline each and every request where I "must have Trados", or that involves XLIFF or any other "jump off the cLIFF"-sounding file suffix.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
What about me? Sep 14, 2017

neilmac wrote:

My working conditions stipulate that I only work with comfortable formats - TXT, Word, Excel or PPT. No scanned PDFs or anything fiddly and time consuming. Saves me a lot of frustration.
PS: One of my major clients switched over to Open Office a few years ago, but I told them that none of my translation tools or software were compatible with it, so they're quite happy to convert their documents into compatible formats before they deliver them to me for translation. Others might not be so amenable, but that's their pigeon.

[Edited at 2017-09-14 09:32 GMT]

PS: At this time of year, just after the holiday season, beggars can't be choosers. Nothing to do with formats, but I had to reject a translation today of roughly 7000 words for a regular client, because they needed it by Tuesday and I'm already up to my ears in work until then. None of my immediate colleagues is available either, they are all busy, even my Spanish friend, who occasionally panics because she hasn't had any work for a few weeks... icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2017-09-14 14:23 GMT]


I'm a “colleague”

icon_biggrin.gif


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, illegible takes the cake Sep 14, 2017

Jenny Forbes wrote:

These days, I decline illegible handwritten material or badly photocopied and uneditable PDFs in faint and/or tiny print.
They simply aren't worth the hassle.
Like Mario, I'm sometimes offered documents which look as if they were photographed with a mobile phone on somebody's duvet, all wrinkly with large areas of dark grey or black. I definitely decline those.


I have a client (we're in a hiatus right now) for whom I did a large number of Spanish transcriptions from PDF files and then English translations. During the years we were busy with this large project, there was the occasional illegible PDF file. In those cases, I politely declined to do the transcription.

Come to think of it, there were many more illegible pages. Since each medical report (the core of the project) had from 5 to 20 pages, chances were at least one was illegible. In those cases, I accepted the job but marked the transcribed page as (you guessed) illegible.


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:05
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
CAT tools I don't use Sep 14, 2017

I have no problem with scanned PDF, as I am not much used to CAT yet and will just do it manually. But many clients will provide "Trados package" or "Memsource package", which I simply cannot deal with. Illegible material? Oh yes, I see a lot of it - why do so many Bulgarian registrars write by hand, or rather by their left foot by the look of it? I mostly try to figure it out, though.

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I avoid PDFs Sep 14, 2017

I made an exception recently for a client that pays very well and I'm stuck with an enormous job that I can barely see and have to reformat in myriad ways. One of my eyes has started to totally blur my vision but seems OK after I give it 24 hours rest. Monday isn't everything...

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:05
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
pfff Sep 15, 2017

I just handed in a word file converted from a pdf. Gave me a right headache, because the print was blue on a seascape background. Should have charged more for that.

 


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