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Should word counts be based on Source? If so, where can I find industry proof?
Thread poster: tglobalinc

tglobalinc  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2015)
Feb 21, 2017

I have always quoted source for most Latin based languages. I feel it is fair as the source is known and there is some frame of reference. However, I am finding that clients want to go with whatever is "best". I believe one should go and stick to one way, not whats best from a clients point of view. Does anyone know where this "standard" can be verified?

 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
English to French
+ ...
Customer is king Feb 21, 2017

What happened to "Customer is king" anyway??

There is no standard, except the one which says "whatever the market can bear."

If one can't agree with a customer, then there is no business relationship, and this is not a customer.

tglobalinc wrote:

I have always quoted source for most Latin based languages. I feel it is fair as the source is known and there is some frame of reference. However, I am finding that clients want to go with whatever is "best". I believe one should go and stick to one way, not whats best from a clients point of view. Does anyone know where this "standard" can be verified?


 

tglobalinc  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2015)
TOPIC STARTER
I believe you mean "the Customer is always right", there is no such saying in English. Feb 21, 2017

JL01 wrote:

What happened to "Customer is king" anyway??

There is no standard, except the one which says "whatever the market can bear."

If one can't agree with a customer, then there is no business relationship, and this is not a customer.

tglobalinc wrote:

I have always quoted source for most Latin based languages. I feel it is fair as the source is known and there is some frame of reference. However, I am finding that clients want to go with whatever is "best". I believe one should go and stick to one way, not whats best from a clients point of view. Does anyone know where this "standard" can be verified?


 

tglobalinc  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2015)
TOPIC STARTER
Customer is always right Feb 21, 2017

JL01 wrote:

What happened to "Customer is king" anyway??

There is no standard, except the one which says "whatever the market can bear."

If one can't agree with a customer, then there is no business relationship, and this is not a customer.

tglobalinc wrote:

I have always quoted source for most Latin based languages. I feel it is fair as the source is known and there is some frame of reference. However, I am finding that clients want to go with whatever is "best". I believe one should go and stick to one way, not whats best from a clients point of view. Does anyone know where this "standard" can be verified?


Agreed. However, if the quoting is always based on Source and the project is being managed through a CAT tool, in all fairness to everyone, the source would be the "king".


 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Word counts Feb 21, 2017

"the customer is king" is from Japanese ("okyakusama wa ohsama").

 

tglobalinc  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2015)
TOPIC STARTER
We are speaking English Feb 21, 2017

Michael Newton wrote:

"the customer is king" is from Japanese ("okyakusama wa ohsama").


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:00
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Does it matter that much? Feb 21, 2017

tglobalinc wrote:
I am finding that clients want to go with whatever is "best". I believe one should go and stick to one way, not whats best from a clients point of view.

Well, if you let a client pay two different amounts for the same job, they'd be daft not to accept the cheaper. But if you can estimate the amount of work involved then you can arrange to charge them the same total figure, however it's broken down. What you can't do is charge a specific price per wood regardless of whether you're charging by source or target word.


 

tglobalinc  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2015)
TOPIC STARTER
CAT tools Feb 21, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:

tglobalinc wrote:
I am finding that clients want to go with whatever is "best". I believe one should go and stick to one way, not whats best from a clients point of view.

Well, if you let a client pay two different amounts for the same job, they'd be daft not to accept the cheaper. But if you can estimate the amount of work involved then you can arrange to charge them the same total figure, however it's broken down. What you can't do is charge a specific price per wood regardless of whether you're charging by source or target word.


We have always based our translations on source, even to their benefits, i.e. English into French/Spanish. We base these word counts from our CAT tool, as the translators need to know as well as the client. Apples to apples. This particular project was a large transcription project of over 75 hours, we transcribed the French and then translated the transcription. We informed the client that word counts were unknown as we needed to transcribe first - there was no mention to source versus target. Our PM let the client know the word counts all along the way, after each file was completed and delivered. Only after the submission of the invoice did they contest the word counts, source versus target. In this case, it was French into English. I would like to resolve this fairly and am open to all input.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Yes Feb 21, 2017

Source is standard because customers like to know the price before you start. If they wanted otherwise they should have said beforehand. But then again you should have said what your terms were beforehand. Perhaps best to meet in the middle on this occasion.

By the way, "customer is king" is perfectly good English!


 

tglobalinc  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2015)
TOPIC STARTER
Great solution Feb 21, 2017

Chris S wrote:

Source is standard because customers like to know the price before you start. If they wanted otherwise they should have said beforehand. But then again you should have said what your terms were beforehand. Perhaps best to meet in the middle on this occasion.

By the way, "customer is king" is perfectly good English!


If so, would you be so kind as to provide this standard or where we can find this?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:00
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Fair would be 50/50, I imagine Feb 21, 2017

tglobalinc wrote:
Only after the submission of the invoice did they contest the word counts, source versus target. In this case, it was French into English. I would like to resolve this fairly and am open to all input.

If neither party at any time mentioned the exact charging mechanism, then it's a misunderstanding. The target count is often used for one-step transcription plus translation, I believe, so I don't see that you can claim 'normal practice'


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:00
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
There is no standard Feb 21, 2017

tglobalinc wrote:
Chris S wrote:
Source is standard because customers like to know the price before you start.

If so, would you be so kind as to provide this standard or where we can find this?

I disagree with Chris on this. It depends on the client, the country and the language pair.

When dealing with Japanese clients I always count by source character. I have had clients in the US insist that I invoice by target words, which to me makes little sense because it means that the invoice amount cannot be known in advance. But that's what they wanted. I have a client in Germany who wants me to use lines instead of characters, which causes a different set of problems. And that's just in one language pair. You are on a wild goose chase. You will find nothing definitive to present to your customer/s to "prove" they should use one method or another.

In any case, as several people have already commented, you should be trying to fit in with what the customer wants instead of getting the customer to fit in with what you want. If the customer has no preference then it is not a problem in any case. If the customer has an opinion, then the sensible thing to do is to heed the customer's opinion. They're the people who are paying you.

If you leave the customer with the impression that you are difficult to work with, they will find reasons to not come back and work with you again.

Dan

PS Oh, and Chris is right - "Customer is king" is perfectly acceptable English


 

tglobalinc  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2015)
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Feb 21, 2017

Thanks to everyone who contributed. It has helped!

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
No such animal Feb 22, 2017

There is no set "industry standard", just as there is no legislative body, association or Royal Academy governing use (and abuse) of the English language. However, conventional wisdom and accepted standard practice do tend to level the playing field a bit.

But as an operator offering translation services in 150 languages, surely you knew this already?

PS: My colleague mainly translates into Spanish, and we always base our rates on the source wordcount. As mentioned above, you need to have a basis to quote your estimates on. When it's Spanish to English, we win out, and when its EN-ES, it usually favours the client.

[Edited at 2017-02-22 10:24 GMT]


 

Walter Moura  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:00
English to Portuguese
You made two different jobs Feb 24, 2017

"This particular project was a large transcription project of over 75 hours, we transcribed the French and then translated the transcription. We informed the client that word counts were unknown as we needed to transcribe first - there was no mention to source versus target."


I think you should bill this client for two jobs, as you mention you first had to transcribe the text from French (one job), which must be invoiced separately according to a transcription price table.

And then you should charge for the translation job. This should indeed be invoiced according to the number of source words.

Sorry, I never learned how to paste text in that neat PDF-style everyone use in these boxes.

Regards,

[Edited at 2017-02-24 22:13 GMT]


 
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