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Logic between CAT Tools, Repetition Discounts and Trados
Thread poster: Adsion

Adsion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:33
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Apr 28, 2010

Maybe this topic is a little too big, but I would like just present two points as follows:

1) Is CAT tools' coming really or always good news for translators? It's almost sure that, it's always translators who pay for their own CAT tools, while clients and/or agencies often ask discounts upon repetitions (sometimes even zero pay for repetitions!) and fuzz matches. Is that fair and reasonable for translators?

2) SDL Trados is presently one of the most popular CAT tools for which translators pay the most money among expenses of same category, however, I occasionally found their words counter sometimes eats words (counting less than MS WORD or some other ways including manual counting). In this sense, does it really deserve the money translators pay for them? I really don't wanna touch disadvantages or even bugs with Trados as each software tool could have its own weaknesses, but as everyone can't avoid surviving on money, I'd like like to discuss and make discuss on this issue in term of economy.

This does not mean at all to injure or damage the reputation of any tool or corporation, but only to disuss about the stuff flooding in our circle. Hope this topic could enlighten or even promote sth. good in our community.

[Modifié le 2010-04-28 15:09 GMT]

[Modifié le 2010-04-28 15:11 GMT]

[Modifié le 2010-04-28 15:12 GMT]


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:33
Flemish to English
+ ...
Obsolete scheme Apr 28, 2010

Adsion Liu wrote:

Maybe this topic is a little too big, but I would like just present two points as follows:

1) Is CAT tools' coming really or always good news for translators? It's almost sure that, it's always translators who pay for their own CAT tools, while clients and/or agencies often ask discounts upon repetitions (sometimes even zero pay for repetitions!) and fuzz matches. Is that fair and reasonable for translators?


No, it is not

I'll bet that in spring 2011, a certain website for translators and a couple of beta-testers (who get a hefty discount on the tool or even get it for free) will start making a lot of noise about SdlxTrados2011 and praise it skyhigh.

Why they don't make a lot of noise about the other tools, remains a mystery to me?
The ignominious scheme was introduced in an effort to sell the tool to corporate clients with the marketing argument of cost-reduction.
But who bears the brunt of that reduction.
Not the corporate clients.

Some translation agencies' business plans are based upon those reductions.
Otherwise, they would not make a fast buck and would not be around.
For some, it is their reason of existance, their life-blood.
On their website, you will find a reference to Trados as a means of consistency and terminology management, not as a means to give discounts.

It may be that there are exactly the same sentences in a translation, but why give a discount for that . If an interpreter repeats a word or a phrase for the umpteenth time, does he or she give a discount?
So, why should a translator?
Besides, there are ways to avoid it, such as counting hours, number of signs, phrases as a payment unit.

For me it is quite simple: If I am asked to give my best rates and take into account tradosscheme, then I mention my best rate (for me) and no reductions for trados.
If everybody did this, the agencies and companies would be forced to abandon this obsolete scheme.


 

milinad  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:03
German to English
contradiction Apr 29, 2010

I think translation is only business where service provider buys tools to improve his efficiency and as a result client expects reduction in cost. In most other businesses / industries whenever a new efficiency improving tool is bought the manufacturer increases the price of the product to recover the cost of the tool.

 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 15:33
English to Czech
+ ...
Contradiction indeed Apr 29, 2010

In my opinion, all the previous posters have a point. The reason for me to use CAT tools is that they can increase my efficiency, thus giving me an advantage over my competitors.

Williamson wrote:
I'll bet that in spring 2011, a certain website for translators and a couple of beta-testers (who get a hefty discount on the tool or even get it for free) will start making a lot of noise about SdlxTrados2011 and praise it skyhigh.

Why they don't make a lot of noise about the other tools, remains a mystery to me?


I use Trados (whatever version) for 95% of my jobs, so perhaps I may be one of the "Trados praisers". Why? Because I simply like the tool and because it suits all my needs. Nothing less, nothing more. And yes, I am one of the Beta testers; not because I'm so fond of spending my time on testing, but because I want to learn all the new features before the official version is released.

BTW, Trados one of the least expensive tools if purchased (at full price, BTW) from the Czech distributor.

[Upraveno: 2010-04-29 09:38 GMT]


 

Adsion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:33
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Apr 29, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you all for the replies. I have to make clear that, I just make questions as initial, but neither for nor against. Please check again my open post for confirmation.

Therefore, I was posting this thread for neither support nor contradication but only for you to express your opinions.

I still wanna highlight my questions to:
1) Contradiction holders: do you actually accept discount upon repetitions and/or fuzz matches? if so, till which percentage?
2) Williamson: I share your idea about your way to treat rates, but do you think we translators have tendency to accept this obsolete scheme in natural way? or there will be surely some actions to make a balance between acceptance and refusal of the mentioned discounts?

Thank you again!

[Modifié le 2010-04-29 15:07 GMT]


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:33
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Not really... Apr 29, 2010

milinad wrote:

I think translation is only business where service provider buys tools to improve his efficiency and as a result client expects reduction in cost. In most other businesses / industries whenever a new efficiency improving tool is bought the manufacturer increases the price of the product to recover the cost of the tool.


Ask any architect what would be cheaper: a hand-drawn design of a house or a CAD one? Ask any furniture maker: would he make a chair for less, if he were not to use electric tools? Ask yourself: would you charge less if a client asks you that you use your pen and not your computer?

Efficiency-increasing tools make your work more cost-effective, not more expensive...


 

Adsion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:33
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Our major concern Apr 29, 2010

Jabberwock wrote:

milinad wrote:

I think translation is only business where service provider buys tools to improve his efficiency and as a result client expects reduction in cost. In most other businesses / industries whenever a new efficiency improving tool is bought the manufacturer increases the price of the product to recover the cost of the tool.


Ask any architect what would be cheaper: a hand-drawn design of a house or a CAD one? Ask any furniture maker: would he make a chair for less, if he were not to use electric tools? Ask yourself: would you charge less if a client asks you that you use your pen and not your computer?

Efficiency-increasing tools make your work more cost-effective, not more expensive...


I 100% agree that (really good) tools increase efficiencies everywhere, but our question is: should WE TRANSLATORS offer discounts naturally upon repetitions and fuzz matches? Prices in general sense are surely functions of marketing factors, but our concer is the acceptance or refusal of such discounts...

Hope are clear, my ideas...


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:33
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Confusion Apr 29, 2010

I think the source of the confusion is the blind acceptance of the common metrics we use in the industry - wordcounts. However, it is sometimes a very poor indicator of the actual effort that the translator undertakes.

If I give a 50% discount for work which requires only 25% of the effort, am I worse or better off? After all, I make twice as much in an hour...

Naturally, it would be nice to charge 100% for everything (or make it 150%! why nobody ever thought of that?), but there is a competition out there, isn't there? In the end, all that really counts is the bottom line. As long as I make what I intended (or more), specific arrangements are rather irrelevant.


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:33
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well... Apr 29, 2010

The same word can mean so many things in different contexts, repetitions do not represent less or faster work a lot of the time, but if you're working with the same client and the same style of document I can understand the discount, I guess.

What I don't understand is why many agencies demand a certain CAT tool, AS IF others couldn't do the same job, and as if the quality of the work depends on the tool rather than the translator. When they demand one it is normally the most expensive one, and the translator has to bear the costs.

Also, some clients go around telling the agencies: "I'll only accept work done with [insert specific CAT tool], because I've been told that's the only way to guarantee quality. Yes, yes they came to my office and told me that, and they also told me that this would make it waaaaay cheaper, so I'm not willing to pay as much as I've been paying" (lower rates, anyone?)

It gets tricky when different clients want different tools and expect you to pay for all of them (in the end you end up losing some).

They certainly improve efficiency, but in my opinion the problem is the fairy tales the clients seem to believe in, on how magical and amazing they are! A misleading belief implying that the translator's job becomes really easy and quick by using these incredible tools.

End of rant, sorry.


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:33
Flemish to English
+ ...
Some tips to keep a balance. Apr 29, 2010

Try to avoid agencies, who champion reductions for whatever reason as much as possible.
Try to specialise in those types of texts, which don't lend themselves to reductions because of matches, texts where nuances and understanding by using your head and applying your specialisation are important.
For a example .05 eurcents to translate a balance-sheet.
Words will be always the same, but if you want to understand the balance-sheet, you have to have studied accounting and analysis of the balance sheet too. This comes at a price.

Try to find other ways to get clients than translation portals. The rates proposed are too low.
Try to say no to discounts as much as possible for whatever reason and explain why.
If not possible, calculate by the hour. Don't be shy for the love of languages.
Calculate. Business is about making money, not about love.

I know you are in Canada, but into Chinese equals "Made in China" equals low rates in the head of a customer. Up to you to convince them that you are delivering a personalised service.

Given the many glitches and defaults and the hours spend on trying to find out what is wrong, does Trados makes you more competitive?
I always compare CAT with voice-recognition. Do you give discounts for using a voice-recognition tool, which btw, comes at a lower price than Trados.

Last year, four or five Beta-testers praised the tool skyhigh only for users to notice that it was a tool full of glitches which came on the market.

Whereever possible,say "no" to reductions for the use of whatever productivity enhancing tool.
If you can, get out of translation and into interpreting from English>Chinese, a big market.


[Edited at 2010-04-29 19:19 GMT]


 

Adsion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:33
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good idea! Apr 30, 2010

Jabberwock wrote:

I think the source of the confusion is the blind acceptance of the common metrics we use in the industry - wordcounts. However, it is sometimes a very poor indicator of the actual effort that the translator undertakes.

If I give a 50% discount for work which requires only 25% of the effort, am I worse or better off? After all, I make twice as much in an hour...

Naturally, it would be nice to charge 100% for everything (or make it 150%! why nobody ever thought of that?), but there is a competition out there, isn't there? In the end, all that really counts is the bottom line. As long as I make what I intended (or more), specific arrangements are rather irrelevant.


Good idea, Jabberwock!

I decided to stress hourly rate from now on, especially with mutually trusted clients and for proofreading/editing jobs. In fact, I seldome accept such discounts, as CAT tools themselved cost also our time and money!


 

Adsion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:33
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good rant! Apr 30, 2010

Paula Borges wrote:

The same word can mean so many things in different contexts, repetitions do not represent less or faster work a lot of the time, but if you're working with the same client and the same style of document I can understand the discount, I guess.

What I don't understand is why many agencies demand a certain CAT tool, AS IF others couldn't do the same job, and as if the quality of the work depends on the tool rather than the translator. When they demand one it is normally the most expensive one, and the translator has to bear the costs.

Also, some clients go around telling the agencies: "I'll only accept work done with [insert specific CAT tool], because I've been told that's the only way to guarantee quality. Yes, yes they came to my office and told me that, and they also told me that this would make it waaaaay cheaper, so I'm not willing to pay as much as I've been paying" (lower rates, anyone?)

It gets tricky when different clients want different tools and expect you to pay for all of them (in the end you end up losing some).

They certainly improve efficiency, but in my opinion the problem is the fairy tales the clients seem to believe in, on how magical and amazing they are! A misleading belief implying that the translator's job becomes really easy and quick by using these incredible tools.

End of rant, sorry.


Very good rant, Paula Borges!

Many clients actually have not enough understanding or knowledge of us translators' work, but only have their ears to so-called "consultants"... Translation is really a complicated job, much more complicated than any CAT tool can draw up! If they do believe in their fairy tales, they can rely on Machine Translation...


 

Adsion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:33
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Appreciated! Apr 30, 2010

Williamson wrote:

Try to avoid agencies, who champion reductions for whatever reason as much as possible.
Try to specialise in those types of texts, which don't lend themselves to reductions because of matches, texts where nuances and understanding by using your head and applying your specialisation are important.
For a example .05 eurcents to translate a balance-sheet.
Words will be always the same, but if you want to understand the balance-sheet, you have to have studied accounting and analysis of the balance sheet too. This comes at a price.

Try to find other ways to get clients than translation portals. The rates proposed are too low.
Try to say no to discounts as much as possible for whatever reason and explain why.
If not possible, calculate by the hour. Don't be shy for the love of languages.
Calculate. Business is about making money, not about love.

I know you are in Canada, but into Chinese equals "Made in China" equals low rates in the head of a customer. Up to you to convince them that you are delivering a personalised service.

Given the many glitches and defaults and the hours spend on trying to find out what is wrong, does Trados makes you more competitive?
I always compare CAT with voice-recognition. Do you give discounts for using a voice-recognition tool, which btw, comes at a lower price than Trados.

Last year, four or five Beta-testers praised the tool skyhigh only for users to notice that it was a tool full of glitches which came on the market.

Whereever possible,say "no" to reductions for the use of whatever productivity enhancing tool.
If you can, get out of translation and into interpreting from English>Chinese, a big market.


[Edited at 2010-04-29 19:19 GMT]


I appreciate your recommendations, Williamson! I've to admit that, we Chinese translators' rates can't be on the same line as yours, however, mine are not little higher than average between Chinese ones, even in circle of many other languages and regions. Moreover, "Made in China" not always means low rates, except those, not few really, translators stressing "productivity" and "earnings". No matter how do they think, I stick to the idea that a really good translator should always have his/her stress on quality and naturally higher rates to survive which he/she deserves, so do clients, hopefully.

I believe I will go further on this lane, as I believe in my competence and possibilty for this, except that I would quit from our interesting and great circle of translation! As you meight have seen many good translators having run away from translation towards more or much more money in other circles...

[Modifié le 2010-04-30 10:31 GMT]

[Modifié le 2010-04-30 10:32 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:33
French to German
+ ...
Competence... Apr 30, 2010

Adsion Liu wrote:

I believe I will go further on this lane, as I believe in my competence and possibilty for this, except that I would quit from our interesting and great circle of translation! As you meight have seen many good translators having run away from translation towards more or much more money in other circles...

usually and naturally goes to where it is rewarded. When I changed companies, my new employer paid me some 20% more in net salary than my former employer did in gross salary.
So much about having an in-house translator who will never be "identified" as such because it is... guess what?

[Edited at 2010-05-01 07:04 GMT]


 

Adsion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:33
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good idea! May 1, 2010

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

Adsion Liu wrote:

I believe I will go further on this lane, as I believe in my competence and possibilty for this, except that I would quit from our interesting and great circle of translation! As you meight have seen many good translators having run away from translation towards more or much more money in other circles...

usually and naturally goes to where it is rewarded. When I changed companies, my new employer paid me some 20% more in net salary than my former employer did in gross salary.
So much about having an in-house translator who will never be "identified" as such because it is... guess what?

[Edited at 2010-05-01 07:04 GMT]


Laurent, I do share your idea, however, as a Chinese translator, I unluckily have no chance to be employed as an in-house translator, but only a freelancer for the moment...


 
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