Why fuzzy matches should be paid at a higher rate
Thread poster: Paula Hernández

Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 1, 2012

I am working on a highly technical text, most of which is made of fuzzy matches and I am starting to believe that in this case fuzzy matches should be paid at a higher rate since I have to check back and forth the source text to make sure that I have erased the correct terms and added what is missing. All in all I think it is taking longer to fix those segments than to translate the empty segments.
What do you think?


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:12
Russian to English
+ ...
I think you have to assess the overall difficulty of the text Jul 1, 2012

I don't believe in fuzzy matches and repetitions, and things like that. I think you could assess the overall difficulty of the text and raise your rate, if you feel you are not getting paid enough, taking into consideration the time you have to spend on the translation.


Local time: 19:12
Italian to German
+ ...
Hourly rate... Jul 1, 2012


first consideration: taking out of a document what has not to be translated, is a PM's job, not the job of a translator who would have to wonder if taking into account fuzzy or 100% matches.

I will personally only do any matches for free if I don't have to deal with them at all. At all means, no editing and no cross-references for the job whatsoever. If your client asks you to adapt your translation in the light of existing 100% or fuzzy matches, then I will charge him on a hourly rate basis, as I would when reviewing a document.


[Edited at 2012-07-01 13:15 GMT]


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
For certain types of text Jul 1, 2012

Paula Hernández wrote:
All in all I think it is taking longer to fix those segments than to translate the empty segments.

For certain types of texts, I ignore the fuzzies altogether and translate from scratch since it is easier. You can't always convince the client, though.


Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
My rates are alright, but... Jul 1, 2012

I don't have to look at the 100%, it's rather the 80(something)% that are driving me crazy. I am getting paid for those, it's just that a lower rate and I believe in these cases, shouldn't it be paid better if you have to invest more time?

I am only saying this because agencies tend to pay less with the excuse that we are using CAT tools, when sometimes that means more work instead of less.

I am doing that, but I still have to check the TM for each term. In this particular case, it was a very long segment and in the end I had to count the terms one by one to make sure I had not left anything out!

As I said the text is highly technical and I am getting paid my "technical-text rate", but what bothers me here is not that, but the fact that using CAT tools tends to make the agency pay less according to matches when sometimes, some matches are more difficult to "fix" than the 0% matches.

[Editado a las 2012-07-01 13:25 GMT]


Local time: 19:12
Italian to German
+ ...
Nothing for free... Jul 1, 2012

Paula Hernández wrote:

it's just that a lower rate and I believe in these cases, shouldn't it be paid better if you have to invest more time?

That's exactly the reason why I'm generally not accepting any special discounts for fuzzy matches.
In order to keep my client in a good mood, I will instead ask him to lock the segments he doesn't want me to translate or to take them out from the document.

And this is only true for agencies, of course. Private clients from the industry are not supposed to know anything about "fuzzy matches" or some chinese expressions of that ilk... My rates would for obvious reasons also be totally different.

Also, what primarly determines your rates should be the domain in which you translate. A sophisticated medical text has to be rated differently than a medium difficult localization text. That's also why: In order to accept any project, I have to see it first and give my client the green light for the go within a short delay.



Matthew Olson
Local time: 02:12
Japanese to English
"Matches" shouldn't be discounted Jul 1, 2012

This is why I don't think matches should be discounted. You still have to take the same amount of time, or more, to make sure everything "fits." Often, especially when translating languages that aren't closely related, the same sentence may need to be translated differently depending on context. I feel that CAT tools, if a translator chooses to use them, are best for ensuring unity in a text.


Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:12
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Evens out Jul 1, 2012

In my experience, things tend to even out, if not in regard to this particular project, then in general.
More often than not, my 80% matches and up often are corrections of typos in the source, one or two tags added or deleted, a new comma or period, etc. In most cases, I don't have to do much or nothing at all.

But you could always try to explain this specific situation with the client, give a couple of examples, and see whether a different rate might be negotiable for this one project. Most of my clients are very reasonable in this regard.


Thomas Rebotier  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:12
English to French
sometimes you're lucky and sometimes not Jul 2, 2012

The whole idea of fuzzy matches has been pushed heavily especially by SDL Trados salespersons who:
(1) pushed it to freelancers as a way to increase their productivity
(2) pushed it to agencies as a way of paying the freelancers less (raising margins)
(3) are now pushing it to larger end clients with the same argument of making savings, with the result that the end clients are putting pressure on agencies. Large tech corporations and automotive industries I believe are entirely converted to TM operating mode...

IMO the major bonus of TM tools is not fuzzies but concordance, I don't think it's even possible to remain consistent in term choice over a large project without them. In any case you will always have situations where fuzzies are overpaid and situations where they are underpaid. Just like the same word count will sometimes take you 5h of work and sometimes 8h... Typically, the TM quality matters enormously: are you working on the fuzzies because the source segments are different or because the translation you get from the TM leaves you unsatisfied? In the latter case, you're actually adding an editing job you are not paid for. Also, I think fuzzy percentage matters a lot and how it's computed. I had a client who counted 100% match without respect for case or placeables. That's unfair. A 100% means I should not have to do anything except verify it (and these were paid like 10% of normal words). A bit more experienced now, I don't discount as much; I;ve let go of high volume lower pay clients but I still have some big name corps as end client. FYI my scale is:
+ Editing: between 25 and 50% of my translation rate depending on who makes it (it starts at 50% and I ask the translator ID from my client, lowering my editing rates for translators who consistently give me easier jobs with a higher starting quality and raising them on the worst cases)
+ I consider 100% repeats FROM THE TM another pass of editing over (hopefully) acceptable quality, so at 37.5 %
+ Internal repeats are in general not discounted, since I pay for my TM tools myself. If a project includes heavy repetitions I'd accept to discount them, it's negociable. Note that apparent repetitions are sometimes errors (e.g. the same one-liners were sometimes the button title, infinitive, and then the instruction, imperative), and that the TM tool does not auto-propage corrections, so when I see a better wording on my proofread for example, a 100% internal match is extra work to locate and insure consistency...
+ fuzzies 85-99% from the TM, not internal at 60% of my normal rate
+ fuzzies below 85 % (including at 75 for example) are not much help in my experience so I don't discount them


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:12
Chinese to English
Agree with Heike & Thomas Jul 2, 2012

Mostly, fuzzies aren't a big issue - the vast majority of my jobs are composed overwhelmingly of 0%s and 100%s (where I use Trados at all). I was arguing to a colleague just the other day that fuzzy rates are mainly irrelevant, and you can use them as a free bargaining chip against outsourcers.

Just sometimes, you get caught out. But like Heike says, these things balance out.

It sounds like what you've got is just a really tough text! With long segments where you're having to count off terms, however you translate it is going to be hard work. Does seem harsh to be only getting a discounted rate, though.


Local time: 19:12
French to Chinese
+ ...
CAT tool, productivity and income: a freelancer's point of view Jul 2, 2012

Actually, I'm getting more and more frustrated in using CAT tool.
Surely, at the beginning, I did believe the argument that CAT tools would increase freelancer’s—i.e. “my” productivity and logically, "my" income. The good news is that I do come to increase my productivity. But the bad news is, with the practice of fuzzies and 100% matche discount, I come to lose that income growth which would otherwise be the logical result of that productivity increase.
It is very weird. It was me who paid for that CAT tool. So it’s “my” investments in my business with a perspective to increase my productivity and, logically, my income. But in the end, it’s not me who take advantage of that increase in productivity, enjoying that income growth. It’s agencies having more gain margin, and clients saving more money. Weird, weird...


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:12
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I know the sort of thing you mean Jul 2, 2012

I had a series of product declarations that were a nightmare, and I ended up translating from scratch.

They were in fact cakes with many of the same ingredients in all of them, but in different proportions, and therefore in different orders in the declarations. They registered as high match percentages, but it was really easier to insert the source and ignore the fuzzies!

Is it possible to split these segments into smaller units?
This may increase the chances of 100% matches in some texts, especially if there are internal matches within the text. It does depend a lot on the type of text, and with complex sentences it probably will not work so well, but it might make things less complex. It does often work with lists, for instance using the semicolon as a segment divider.

In Trados Studio dividing segments is easier than with the Workbench. Be careful with 2009, though, and check at frequent intervals that you can still "Save target as" in the original format. Then back up your file before continuing. If you run into problems, continue using your backup file and the same TM, but don't divide any more segments!

I ran into a bug when I split too many segments once... Or at least that was what the person on the hotline suggested might be the problem, but Studio 2011 is supposed to be more stable on that point.

Best of luck!


Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Member (2008)
German to English
Depends on the type of text, but... Jul 2, 2012

I have consistently stated over the years that many so-called fuzzy matches (in my specializations) take the same amount of time or more time than translating from scratch.

Depending on the source, the TM, the original translator, the language variant, etc., the CAT tool may display 1, 2, 3, 4 or more fuzzy matches - and each of those represents a combination of words that is statistically relevant in some way to my sentence - but (usually) not identical.

That means that I have to take the time to review each of them to see if the words and phrasing fit, which words and phrasing fit (and which don't), which terminology is correct for the context, what syntax needs to be changed/rearranged, etc. ...

This is why I tell all new clients that I rarely if ever grant discounts for fuzzy matches, but that I am willing to review each project on a case-by-case basis.

Unfortunately for you, this is the kind of arrangement you have to be very clear about in advance. In this particular case, you might have to chalk this up to a "live and learn" situation.

Best of luck!

[Edited at 2012-07-02 23:16 GMT]


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