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Poll: Different clients send you the same file to translate. You ...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:55
Member (2005)
French to English
Not quite the same, but symptomatic of client trepidation... Jul 11

Once or twice, I have been offered a job by one agency, which then said the end client had changed its mind. Shortly after, apparently the same work was offered via another agency, and I got the go-ahead. Probably a matter of the agencies' margins.

I feel I ought to issue a government health warning about being offered urgent assignments via agencies at about Friday's close: I have on several occasions wasted time assessing the file only to be told to proceed no further. Wiser and s
... See more
Once or twice, I have been offered a job by one agency, which then said the end client had changed its mind. Shortly after, apparently the same work was offered via another agency, and I got the go-ahead. Probably a matter of the agencies' margins.

I feel I ought to issue a government health warning about being offered urgent assignments via agencies at about Friday's close: I have on several occasions wasted time assessing the file only to be told to proceed no further. Wiser and sadder for the experience, I have come to the conclusion that I must avoid such phantom assignments at that particular time.
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Kevin Fulton
 

IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:55
Member (2005)
French to English
Sounds as though the same work is being passed from hand to hand... Jul 11

Egmont Schröder wrote:

... it happened quite often for Chinese translations.

Sometimes I get an offer for the translation of a Chinese document which I have to reject (time or lack of expertise) only to get the same document from other agencies or sometimes even translators.
Of course, every offer the rate will decrease for two or three cents.

This is an example how shady this industry can be.


If the rate drops so consistently, then it looks as though the work has been through many hands each time before being presented anew.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
double wrong makes no right Jul 11

Robert, we may polemicize for a while, if you wish)

A product (a result of a manufacturing process or labor) is:
- tangible;
- measurable and countable;
- storable;
- returnable;
- ownerable;
- and usually comes with a limited customer care/support.

The result (product) of translation is (1) tangible (as a book/hard copy), (2) measurable and countable (wordcount/kilobytes/A4 and quality-wise), (3) st
... See more
Robert, we may polemicize for a while, if you wish)

A product (a result of a manufacturing process or labor) is:
- tangible;
- measurable and countable;
- storable;
- returnable;
- ownerable;
- and usually comes with a limited customer care/support.

The result (product) of translation is (1) tangible (as a book/hard copy), (2) measurable and countable (wordcount/kilobytes/A4 and quality-wise), (3) storable (HDD/SDD or paper), (4) returnable (e.g. for reviewing/amending), (5) ownerable (ownership is transferred at the moment a transaction), and may have some (6) post-sale support.


So far, translation is more of a product, than of a service. Moreover, a translation is always unique and tailored--a silver bullet, a valuable troubleshooter/lifesaver and moneymaker, otherwise they wouldn't care...

Perhaps that's why my local direct clients pay me $0.25-$0.50/word with no "discounts" and other funny terms  

[Edited at 2019-07-11 17:00 GMT]
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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never 'appen Jul 11

On only a couple of occasions, different contacts from within the same company have sent me the same document to translate, but at different times. I just tell them about it and proceed as normal.

 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:55
Member (2012)
French to English
This has never happened to me, but... Jul 11

... what is to be gained by telling both clients? Presumably you wouldn't mention the name of the other client, for confidentiality reasons.

 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:55
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
My case is just an example... Jul 11

Samuel Murray wrote:

Egmont Schröder wrote:
Sometimes I get an offer for the translation of a ... document which I have to reject (time or lack of expertise) only to get the same document from other agencies or sometimes even translators.


Yup. Sometimes when this happens, i.e. when I refuse a job, I change my mind later when other agencies contact me about it, and then I end up working on the job for one of the agencies that contacted me later. In my case, each agency usually quotes whatever rate they usually pay (and with some of them there is room to negotiate, and others not). This shows that end-clients do not always select an agency based on price.


These requests with the dropping rate show how agencies outsource a work from one contractor to another, and everyone is taking his piece. It is sometimes really scary.


 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:55
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
interesting ethical question Jul 11

The argument is that if you charge both clients full price, you are somehow cheating because clearly your effort for the second client was much less than for the first. However, it is applicable only if you charge per hour and then you are inflating the time spent on work for the second client.

If you charge per word count, then there is another way how to look at this. Per word price is always very indirect. Sometimes you can spend hours on a single phrase or even a word and someti
... See more
The argument is that if you charge both clients full price, you are somehow cheating because clearly your effort for the second client was much less than for the first. However, it is applicable only if you charge per hour and then you are inflating the time spent on work for the second client.

If you charge per word count, then there is another way how to look at this. Per word price is always very indirect. Sometimes you can spend hours on a single phrase or even a word and sometimes you translate very fast pages and pages of text. What matters is that at the end of month you get the amount of money that approximately corresponds to your time and effort. You gain more from some clients and less from others but that's ok because it balances out. Conversely, the clients also sometimes gain and sometimes overpay. But strict billing per word helps them to budget their expenses and in long-term they are winners too.

In this case it is ok to charge both clients full price because it is never guaranteed that the price will correspond to your effort. They got to pay fair price that was advertised. Besides, your business risk towards each client is independent. Let's say if the first client doesn't pay you for some reason, the discount to the second client will turn into loss. You couldn't potentially then request additional payment from the second client. It is not his concern, so equally you shouldn't give him advantage just because you hedged your risks.

[Edited at 2019-07-11 23:40 GMT]
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Jorge Payan
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:55
Member (2018)
French to English
. Jul 12

Samuel Murray wrote:

ProZ.com Staff wrote:
Different clients send you the same file to translate. You ...
- Translate and invoice both clients


I would never translate a file that I have already translated for someone else, without informing both clients.


Why should either client know about what the other is ordering? If you don't mention names there's no breach of confidentiality but otherwise it's none of anyone else's business if someone asks you to produce a translation.
OK, if you translate a confidential in-house document on strategy for Toyota, which you then receive from Bentley, it would only be fair to let Toyota know that their strategy document has been leaked to Bentley. That's only one possible scenario though.

If you sign an NDA, you don't discuss files you've translated for Toyota with Bentley. They're the ones who want the NDAs, so they can pay the full rate for all translations. They have no way of knowing you translated the other company's version of the document.

Let's suppose that a lawyer specialising in the automotive industry advises Toyota on legal aspects of their strategy, then Bentley execs consult the same lawyer to find out whether what Toyota are planning is fully legal, because if so they might well roll out similar plans. The lawyer would have to tailor their response to each client, but the same body of legislation will apply, so it won't take them as long to do the research for Bentley as for Toyota. Hands up all those who think the lawyer won't charge Bentley as much as they charge Toyota.


Nikolay Novitskiy
 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:55
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
There are sensible reasons for multiple requests Jul 12

Maybe it's a test of sorts, and the client wants to see which agency will do the job better in order to assign future work, or the remainder of a larger assignment.
Maybe the job is so critical that they cannot risk failure of delivery and assign it to two providers just in case one doesn't come through.

It is no concern of mine why different agencies would want the same document translated, and it would be inappropriate to discuss other clients' assignments with them anyway.<
... See more
Maybe it's a test of sorts, and the client wants to see which agency will do the job better in order to assign future work, or the remainder of a larger assignment.
Maybe the job is so critical that they cannot risk failure of delivery and assign it to two providers just in case one doesn't come through.

It is no concern of mine why different agencies would want the same document translated, and it would be inappropriate to discuss other clients' assignments with them anyway.

I just provide each what they have asked for, using whatever reference materials I have available.

[Edited at 2019-07-12 14:55 GMT]
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Chiara Foppa Pedretti
Kevin Fulton
Jorge Payan
 

Nikolay Novitskiy  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:55
Member (2018)
English to Russian
+ ...
How rude! Jul 12

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Nikolay Novitskiy wrote:

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Nikolay Novitskiy wrote:

I had such situation once. One client payed three time more than another, so I translated the text for this client, and informed the second one. I was really surprised when the second client answered - no problem, translate the same thing for us too.

I made my translation somewhat clumsier (they payed less, you know) and delivered the result.

Conclusion: the one who pays more gets the best

[Edited at 2019-07-11 08:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-11 08:39 GMT]


When you accept a job, you always deliver the best, no matter what the rate, or don't accept it. That is the professional way.


I can't agree with you. A client deserves what they pay for - that's a law of free market. You can't be payed for Toyota and deliver a Bently - it would be unfair to a person who payed for Bently and got Bently. That's true professionalism - acting like a businessman, not like a philantropist.

[Edited at 2019-07-11 13:42 GMT]


You make some logical errors:

- A car is a material product, you deliver a service.
- A Bentley is more expensive then a Toyata because the materials being used to built it are more costly, but does that means Toyota intentionally makes bad cars? You already translated the text for client A, but made it DELIBERATELY "somewhat clumsier" for client B.

"Acting like a businessman, not like a philantropist". (????)
I would say you are acting like the first swindler. If you do something, do it right or don't do it at all! That is what differentiate us profesional translators from amateurs. That is true professionalism!

And your philosofy about the "law of the freemarket", well.... that is another Forum.


[Edited at 2019-07-11 15:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-11 15:44 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-11 15:45 GMT]


I'm very upset that your looking at my point of view resulted in such a "burst of emotions" from your side. Still, I ask you not to envy me - it will bring you no good I wish you have multiple offers from multiple clients... sometime in the future.

And I kindly ask you not to insult me, or I'll have to report your aggressive behaviour to moderators. Take care


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:55
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Sorry to upset you Jul 12

Nikolay Novitskiy wrote:

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Nikolay Novitskiy wrote:

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Nikolay Novitskiy wrote:

I had such situation once. One client payed three time more than another, so I translated the text for this client, and informed the second one. I was really surprised when the second client answered - no problem, translate the same thing for us too.

I made my translation somewhat clumsier (they payed less, you know) and delivered the result.

Conclusion: the one who pays more gets the best

[Edited at 2019-07-11 08:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-11 08:39 GMT]


When you accept a job, you always deliver the best, no matter what the rate, or don't accept it. That is the professional way.


I can't agree with you. A client deserves what they pay for - that's a law of free market. You can't be payed for Toyota and deliver a Bently - it would be unfair to a person who payed for Bently and got Bently. That's true professionalism - acting like a businessman, not like a philantropist.

[Edited at 2019-07-11 13:42 GMT]


You make some logical errors:

- A car is a material product, you deliver a service.
- A Bentley is more expensive then a Toyata because the materials being used to built it are more costly, but does that means Toyota intentionally makes bad cars? You already translated the text for client A, but made it DELIBERATELY "somewhat clumsier" for client B.

"Acting like a businessman, not like a philantropist". (????)
I would say you are acting like the first swindler. If you do something, do it right or don't do it at all! That is what differentiate us profesional translators from amateurs. That is true professionalism!

And your philosofy about the "law of the freemarket", well.... that is another Forum.


[Edited at 2019-07-11 15:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-11 15:44 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-11 15:45 GMT]


I'm very upset that your looking at my point of view resulted in such a "burst of emotions" from your side. Still, I ask you not to envy me - it will bring you no good I wish you have multiple offers from multiple clients... sometime in the future.

And I kindly ask you not to insult me, or I'll have to report your aggressive behaviour to moderators. Take care


No hard feelings. I should have realised that a written message sounds 'harsher' then a spoken one, for which my excuses. I just don't agree with your attitude, which I still consider as unprofessional (and I am not the only one, see the number of Agrees). So no burst of emotion, but a personal opinion.

Futhermore, let me give you a good advice (no insult meant!!!!): 'Be carefull with what you publish on Proz (or any other platform for that matter)'. Everything you publish here, will also be published on the internet, and will stay there for eternity = accessable for potential future clients who may disagree with you. Bye, bye client. Be carefull not to act against your own (best) interests.

Last but not least: Could I kindly ask you not to threaten me? (or how else should I interpret 'or I'll have to report your aggressive behaviour to moderators. Take care'.

About the original topic, I never received a same file from different clients, but when I did, I would be curious why. One reason I can think of is that an end client sends the same text to different agencies to check them out (which one is the best, cheapest, fastest, etc.) for potential future collaboration.


[Edited at 2019-07-12 11:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-12 11:51 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-12 13:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-12 15:49 GMT]


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:55
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
@DZiW Jul 12

DZiW wrote:

Robert, we may polemicize for a while, if you wish)

A product (a result of a manufacturing process or labor) is:
- tangible;
- measurable and countable;
- storable;
- returnable;
- ownerable;
- and usually comes with a limited customer care/support.

The result (product) of translation is (1) tangible (as a book/hard copy), (2) measurable and countable (wordcount/kilobytes/A4 and quality-wise), (3) storable (HDD/SDD or paper), (4) returnable (e.g. for reviewing/amending), (5) ownerable (ownership is transferred at the moment a transaction), and may have some (6) post-sale support.


So far, translation is more of a product, than of a service. Moreover, a translation is always unique and tailored--a silver bullet, a valuable troubleshooter/lifesaver and moneymaker, otherwise they wouldn't care...

Perhaps that's why my local direct clients pay me $0.25-$0.50/word with no "discounts" and other funny terms  

[Edited at 2019-07-11 17:00 GMT]


"double wrong makes no right". Mathematically it does, but that is not the point here.

If we look at it philosophically, it is a service (at least according to the Dutch tax authorities).

I agree with your point of view, only you are talking about "the result", not about the proces to realise that result. So, my service as a translator is just one step in the whole proces.

I don't sell an end product, but render a service to make it possible. That is the way I see it.

PS) Could I ask you where DZiW stands for?






[Edited at 2019-07-12 11:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-12 13:01 GMT]


 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:55
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Different clients Jul 13

I recently did the same translation for two different clients. It was a bidding sample for a large project. I handed in the exact same translation to the two agencies. One of the agencies got the contract and I got the work. The other agency didn't get the contract but paid me for the sample just the same.

Kevin Fulton
 

Nikolay Novitskiy  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:55
Member (2018)
English to Russian
+ ...
50 shades of good quality Jul 13

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

...

About the original topic, I never received a same file from different clients, but when I did, I would be curious why. One reason I can think of is that an end client sends the same text to different agencies to check them out (which one is the best, cheapest, fastest, etc.) for potential future collaboration.


[Edited at 2019-07-12 11:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-12 11:51 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-12 13:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-12 15:49 GMT]


That's it - the task was a competition among agencies for best (or cheapest, fastest, etc. - I don't know their requirements) translation.

I agree with you, that a professional translator allways does their job well.
But this "well" thing may differ... On the one hand, you can make a good translation with no mistakes, which also flows well. On the other hand, you can polish your translation several times, untill it becomes a kind of a masterpiece.

So, one client gets a masterpiece, and another one gets the same thing with a quality reduced to a simple good translation... I think you were confused by a word "clumsy" and thought about a poor translation. No. Any good translation is "clumsier" when compared to a masterpiece.

PS: If potential clients are reading this topic, it should greatly encourage them to pay at least 3 times more for sample tasks to get masterpieces.

[Edited at 2019-07-13 08:05 GMT]


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Never mind my bias Jul 13

For awhile let's ignore (1) the fact products also consist of one's labor and services, and forget (1) another truism often the only difference between cheap and expensive goods/services is but 'packing'--presentation and show... Pricing.

For example, let's take your favorite CAT--just a piece of software.
Of course, they surely offer 5%-25%-50% off, so show me your second best 90% discount, nope? Why, it's no 'product'. How come?
 And how good is a mobile
... See more
For awhile let's ignore (1) the fact products also consist of one's labor and services, and forget (1) another truism often the only difference between cheap and expensive goods/services is but 'packing'--presentation and show... Pricing.

For example, let's take your favorite CAT--just a piece of software.
Of course, they surely offer 5%-25%-50% off, so show me your second best 90% discount, nope? Why, it's no 'product'. How come?
 And how good is a mobile phone as a 'product' without any mobile provider 'service'?
 Not the case.


If they pay me more, I also spend more time on improving their job, of course. The problem is rat-racers (middlemen and bustlers) mostly require "good enough" quality aka PEMT, no decent translations, let alone masterpieces.
 And why should they offer better rates and terms, demanding chef d'oeuvres?)

[Edited at 2019-07-13 20:19 GMT]
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