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Duplicate jobs from different client, what would you do?
Thread poster: Peng Liu

Peng Liu
Australia
Local time: 22:57
Chinese to English
+ ...
Jan 29

A week ago I accepted an assignment from a migration lawyer. A few days later, another lawyer engaged me for the same document to be translated. I feel guilty charging the second lawyer for actually doing nothing coz it is already completed for the first client. However, I don’t think it is appropriate to let the two clients know the duplicate jobs because I don’t know what the true situation is. It might just be an oversight of the lawyer’s client but it is not up to me to find out. Confidentiality should apply. What would you do in my situation?

 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
translation, not speculation Jan 29

Initially the idea of computer-aided translation (CAT) was to speed up and streamline the routine part for the very translator. Of course, clients also got some time boost, until greedy agencies went into indirect CAT regulation, imposing infamous repetition “discounts”.

While translation is not one-to-one process, it’s ok when readers have the same copy of translation.

Furthermore, one cannot translate some official papers, so I know many cases when happy translators copy-pasted the official translation and with a clear conscience charged full--legally)



P.S. It’s none of the unbiased translator’s business whether some clients/papers are from the same parties or not, only the result matters


 

Chris Schröder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Take the money Jan 29

Never look a gift horse in the mouth!!

Thomas T. Frost
Kevin Fulton
Oleksandr Ivanov
Liviu-Lee Roth
IanDhu
Tom in London
Ivana UK
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 20:57
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Charge Jan 29

There is no ethical basis for the second lawyer to get the translation for free.

This doesn't apply to every situation. I had a case where a client engaged a certain translation agency which gave the job to me, then the client flipped to a different agency which also gave the job to me. I chose not to charge for the part already completed and paid for by the first agency, though I also disclosed the situation to both agencies.


Oleksandr Ivanov
Dan Lucas
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Depends what the assignment is Jan 29

I translated the same piece of legislation for two different clients, some months apart in time. It was about property rental, and I don't think there was any connection.

As others have said, there is no ethical reason to give the translation free to the second client.

I check with legislation whether there is already an accessible translation anywhere, and I would let the client know if there is, instead of translating it. But often there is not, or it may be an earlier version, and of course, the client needs all the latest amendments, so then I translate it anyway.

I have also been asked to include passages of the Bible in a translation! There I refer to a modern translation as well as the King James Bible. There are plenty to choose between in English, and the favourite passage for weddings does actually sound better to modern ears in up-to-date language.

If you actually have had to do the work, then just enjoy some easy money. Think of all the times you have ended up with extra work and not been able to charge for it - you win some and you lose some. So do clients!


Kevin Fulton
Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Eliza Hall
Rachel Waddington
Liviu-Lee Roth
David Lin
Josephine Cassar
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:57
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Charge Jan 29

When I was working as a sworn translator in Belgium every time I was asked to translate divorce papers I had to “translate” the same clauses of the Civil Code over and over again…

Roy Chacón
Kevin Fulton
Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Eliza Hall
Christine Andersen
David Lin
Daryo
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
almost prophetic Jan 29

When agreed, the client wants his job done timely and properly: no common sense abuse, no NDA breaks, including possible private data disclosure to any third party. So, provide the translation as agreed. Full stop.

Just now my direct client again asked me to re-translate a recent document for a different audience (read: client). And guess what? As far as it is a new task, they will pay me in full. Shortly, I showed myself off well, so for me a CAT tool is but the translator's tool, not a discount pretext, let alone a drawback.

Why did I mention it? It's just biz, yet [if required] you could ask the second client about (1) the preferences and (2) the audience, adapting/restyling the translation to lighten conscience


 

nini24  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:57
English to Chinese
+ ...
CAT tool is a discount pretext Feb 21

[quote]DZiW wrote:

so for me a CAT tool is but the translator's tool, not a discount pretext, let alone a drawback.




In fact, aren't CATs used as a discount pretext by agencies and clients and always a drawback for translators?


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Orwellian: MORE is LESS Feb 21

Hello Justine.

aren't CATs used as a discount pretext by agencies and clients?
Unlike most direct clients, all* the agencies and some clients are impudent enough to abuse CAT tools for wholesale prices and fuzzy/repetition discounts, offering "future best rates" while easily turning even the said $.10/w to $.01/w or lower. That's how a top-notch translator's income equalizes a bottom-feeder's writer's.

Why do so many translators believe and agree to such a white-collar robbery? A lack of biz awareness and skills, no major (but translation), low entry barriers, mass produce, drop-shipping globalization, post-edit MT, no QA, the infamous acquisitiveness, and on. A wannabe translator sees a mass of other subdued and thinks about a bird in the hand..

and always a drawback for translators?
Besides the financial losses (aka reads "CAT" means "discounts") and the image damage, there're professional issues too.

Linguistically, any language is a system of systems--and a pro translator must consider at least TWO different languages [and cultures] in a certain context, mitigating the differences. One just cannot know and remember everything, so there comes a research phase. It's like specialized refreshment courses, but rarely the case with "time-free" CAT-operators, let alone PEMT. No wonder so many CAT users can't do without a specific CAT tool, without specialized TMs and glossaries or no MT--they just can't translate!

Furthermore, every language has its flavor, tempo, and flow, where even by-paragraph segmentation worsens the situation, requiring post-editing and polishing the chop-segmented joins... "No more time and $$!"
Most wanted agencies paying $0.35+/w for non-rush jobs, anyone?

Isn't it fancy, so many clients readily pay $3500+, say, for a promotion website, hesitate about paying a copywriter $500+ for the selling content, demanding no more than $0.03/w for translation?

The answer is obvious: there's still no real 'translation' market yet, not to mention self-regulation.

[Edited at 2019-02-21 11:32 GMT]


Christel Zipfel
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:57
German to English
+ ...
fairness to the first client Feb 21

Is it fair for the first client to pay full price for a product, while the second client gets the some product for free or a substantially reduced fee? (food for thought)

DZiW
Christel Zipfel
 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 13:57
English to Polish
+ ...
Use your common sense; I would probably know from the document whether I shall be guilty of Feb 21

any breach of ethics/conscience or not.

 

Liviu-Lee Roth
United States
Local time: 08:57
Romanian to English
+ ...
my take Feb 21

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

Is it fair for the first client to pay full price for a product, while the second client gets the some product for free or a substantially reduced fee? (food for thought)


If the second client gets the same product for a reduced fee, without me disclosing that I already did the translation for another client, might lead the second client think that this is my regular rate.


Kay Denney
Christel Zipfel
IanDhu
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:57
German to English
+ ...
Liviu-Lee Feb 21

Liviu-Lee Roth wrote:

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

Is it fair for the first client to pay full price for a product, while the second client gets the some product for free or a substantially reduced fee? (food for thought)


If the second client gets the same product for a reduced fee, without me disclosing that I already did the translation for another client, might lead the second client think that this is my regular rate.


I had not thought of that. Good point.

Thinking again of the issue. If I'm translating a document - say a series of annual statements for different years, or high school report cards where the student studied the same subjects every semester - for one project and client: In that case there will be a discount for that kind of repeated material. It will not be completely free, because I still have to copy over, and also proofread to check that they are indeed identical, rather than my assuming it must be identical. That is a different kind of scenario.


Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Gloria Teixeira
Brazil
Local time: 09:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
translated work Feb 21

I have not tried a subject like this yet, but you should charge for the translated work, you're doing your job. Now it is not fair to charge less for the second customer.
Good job!


IanDhu
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:57
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
If I'm offered by a translator to provide a translation I need for $0 Feb 22

I would worry about its quality and I would have to ask someone else to proofread it. I don't like it because it means more work for me.

 
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