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Poll: In terms of document word count, are you satisfied with the way you are paid?
Gijos autorius: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
SVETAINĖS PERSONALAS
Oct 7, 2020

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In terms of document word count, are you satisfied with the way you are paid?".

This poll was originally submitted by polskiexpert. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugalija
Local time: 23:19
Narys (2007)
iš anglų į portugalų
+ ...
Yes Oct 7, 2020

First of all, If I wasn’t satisfied I’d stop working with that particular client. With my regulars, I haven’t checked their word count for a long time as they have given me no reason to doubt them after hundreds (thousands?) of jobs. I always base the word count on the source document when quoting for a job from a new client.

P.S. I don’t work with CAT tools and I have a slight suspicion that this poll refers to CAT grid discounts…


Zibow Retailleau
Mariana Borio
Philip Lees
 

polskiexpert
Jungtinė Karalystė
Local time: 23:19
Narys (2010)
iš lenkų į anglų
+ ...
Wc Oct 7, 2020

Thanks for contributing, Teresa.
This poll refers to all clients (not just those using CAT tools). Unfortunately, I am having to work with clients who are a bit sneaky/get away with lowering their final POs... Quite annoying, actually! But they keep me busy, too! So, it's a matter of deciding - 'work or no work...'


 

Teresa Borges
Portugalija
Local time: 23:19
Narys (2007)
iš anglų į portugalų
+ ...
@polskiexpert Oct 7, 2020

polskiexpert wrote:

Thanks for contributing, Teresa.
This poll refers to all clients (not just those using CAT tools). Unfortunately, I am having to work with clients who are a bit sneaky/get away with lowering their final POs... Quite annoying, actually! But they keep me busy, too! So, it's a matter of deciding - 'work or no work...'


I had a client like that: late Pos, wrong POs, you name it, but I “fired” him long ago. After 40 years translating full-time, I’m trying to slow down a bit…


Angie Garbarino
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Vokietija
Local time: 00:19
Narys (2009)
iš anglų į vokiečių
+ ...
Yes Oct 7, 2020

First, I do the word count and let the client know my rate. Usually they agree to both. If not, then they are free to look for another colleague.

Katarzyna Skroban
Paul van Zijll
Jennifer Caisley
Philip Lees
Teresa Borges
Nurettin Ceylan
 

Katarzyna Skroban
Jungtinė Karalystė
Local time: 23:19
Narys (2010)
iš anglų į lenkų
+ ...
benefit of a doubt Oct 7, 2020

I always give the client the benefit of a doubt and don't question their intentions. Mistakes can happen. I check the wordcount before commencing work, clarify with the client if it's incorrect and then start the work once it's confirmed.

I don't think any client would mind if you do your own calculation and then notify them before starting the work.

But what would be annoying to every client is when the translator finishes the job and then goes... oh, by the way, the
... See more
I always give the client the benefit of a doubt and don't question their intentions. Mistakes can happen. I check the wordcount before commencing work, clarify with the client if it's incorrect and then start the work once it's confirmed.

I don't think any client would mind if you do your own calculation and then notify them before starting the work.

But what would be annoying to every client is when the translator finishes the job and then goes... oh, by the way, the word count was wrong by 30%, which will be reflected on my invoice... It's a deal-breaker.
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neilmac  Identity Verified
Ispanija
Local time: 00:19
iš ispanų į anglų
+ ...
Yes Oct 7, 2020

I mostly work with direct clients and the word count is whatever Word counts it as - no fuzzies or partial matches. I state this in my conditions. My rates are fair in terms of quality/price ratio or value for money.

Yesterday, one client - who uses Open Office - sent me a text for translation, which he'd counted as 775 words. When I converted the file to Word, which I work in, it was 110 words fewer, so I told him I'd charge the lower number as a "discount". He was delighted, and
... See more
I mostly work with direct clients and the word count is whatever Word counts it as - no fuzzies or partial matches. I state this in my conditions. My rates are fair in terms of quality/price ratio or value for money.

Yesterday, one client - who uses Open Office - sent me a text for translation, which he'd counted as 775 words. When I converted the file to Word, which I work in, it was 110 words fewer, so I told him I'd charge the lower number as a "discount". He was delighted, and as the document had about that many reps anyway, it was a win-win for us both.

I don't usually have any issues with the way the only agency I occasionally work for does things either.

[Edited at 2020-10-07 15:51 GMT]
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Chris S
Michael Wetzel
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:19
iš vokiečių į anglų
+ ...
I determine my fee Oct 8, 2020

Therefore I ought to be satisfied with "the way" (amount is meant?) I am paid.

Philip Lees
Chris S
Teresa Borges
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Jungtinė Karalystė
Local time: 23:19
Narys (2014)
iš japonų į anglų
Verifiable counts are good Oct 8, 2020

neilmac wrote:
the word count is whatever Word counts it as - no fuzzies or partial matches.

For jobs not provided in package form, I too like to use the Microsoft Word count. It means that the basis for the quote is transparent. In my experience there are no corporate clients that don't have access to some version of Word, and framing the quote in a way that allows them to check it for themselves is good for building trust.

Conversely if you say "AnyCount version 9 says there are 1,712 characters" and they can see that Word gives a count of 1,570 characters, then that potentially raises a question mark straight away. I don't want to have to explain why I depend on a piece of software that gives different results.

Regards,
Dan


Chris S
Teresa Borges
Michael Wetzel
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Prancūzija
Local time: 00:19
Narys (2018)
iš prancūzų į anglų
. Oct 8, 2020

polskiexpert wrote:

Unfortunately, I am having to work with clients who are a bit sneaky/get away with lowering their final POs... Quite annoying, actually! But they keep me busy, too! So, it's a matter of deciding - 'work or no work...'


If they tell you there are 1500 words at the beginning then that is what you must base your invoice on. "Lowering their final POs" is not standard business practice and you should not let them do that, especially if they lower the wordcount after you have started work.
At the agency I used to work at in-house, PMs would systematically give me a slightly lower wordcount than what Word indicated. I didn't care because I was on a salary, although of course it did add up over time and would affect productivity rates. I translated an average of nearly double the minimum expected of me, so it didn't really matter. But I remember thinking that if I were a freelancer I would have to either quibble every time or just let them get away with it and I'd probably resent them if I chose the latter route.


 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkija
Local time: 02:19
Narys
iš anglų į turkų
+ ...
Out of curiosity Oct 8, 2020

Teresa Borges wrote:

I always base the word count on the source document when quoting for a job from a new client.



Is there a remarkable discrepancy in word count after translating a document from English to Portuguese or vice versa (though I expect you live by the 'mother tongue' rule)?


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazilija
Local time: 20:19
Narys (2014)
iš anglų į portugalų
+ ...
Yes. I check all of them and question any incorrections Oct 8, 2020

Most of my clients pay per source word. If the word count they suggest doesn't match the actual count in my CAT, I'll question it and request a correction. No deal if this is not negotiable.

There are some clients, however, that pay per page, per target word or the Brazilian stupid and scam variant "lauda", which is a set of words or characters, none of which work fine. The word it the worldwide standard, the best measure, and the only one that works without leaving any margins for
... See more
Most of my clients pay per source word. If the word count they suggest doesn't match the actual count in my CAT, I'll question it and request a correction. No deal if this is not negotiable.

There are some clients, however, that pay per page, per target word or the Brazilian stupid and scam variant "lauda", which is a set of words or characters, none of which work fine. The word it the worldwide standard, the best measure, and the only one that works without leaving any margins for discussion.
However, since the CATs arrived, the discounts for fuzzies and repetitions made the word also an arguable measure. There are fair discounts, but now there are clients who want to pay zero or almost zero for repetitions >99%.
In other words, the clients/agencies will always find a wat to reduce our pay, so it's up to us to resist.

[Edited at 2020-10-08 17:20 GMT]
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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
Jungtinės Amerikos Valstijos
Local time: 15:19
Narys (2003)
iš ispanų į anglų
+ ...
Other: Sort of Oct 8, 2020

One of my main clients is awesome. They use source word count and add 10% extra for tricky formatting or a rush deadline. Another of my main clients uses the target word count, which I don't think is fair. I have tried to talk them out of it, to no avail. The practice got started back in the day when clients provided hard copy and translators delivered word-countable electronic copy. They haven't changed with the times.

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
Jungtinės Amerikos Valstijos
Local time: 15:19
Narys (2003)
iš ispanų į anglų
+ ...
It should be about the time spent using the brain Oct 10, 2020

As I see it, the word count should reflect the words you had to think about, not how many you type. (I realize that this is a disadvantage for people who work from agglutinating languages like German--so I won't go there.)

In this same line of reasoning, deductions for repetitions is also unfair because phrases have to be considered in context and a machine will never know whether the phrase is always translated the same way, or whether it requires a sentence to be reconstructed.... See more
As I see it, the word count should reflect the words you had to think about, not how many you type. (I realize that this is a disadvantage for people who work from agglutinating languages like German--so I won't go there.)

In this same line of reasoning, deductions for repetitions is also unfair because phrases have to be considered in context and a machine will never know whether the phrase is always translated the same way, or whether it requires a sentence to be reconstructed.

Word counting also doesn't reflect the need for research or problems with poorly constructed input. I remember translating a series of country reports that all covered the same outline and the same issues. Some of the contributions took twice as long to translate as others.

There are many reasons why word counting will always have flaws, like any other system for measuring the value of a translator's work. An hourly fee might be most realistic, but most of us get distracted by emails and other interruptions and it's really difficult to stick to the task 100% of the time. While it might be possible to invent a way to measure the time spent actually typing on a document, again there's the problem of research. The fun never ends!
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Nurettin Ceylan
Turkija
Local time: 02:19
Narys (2009)
iš anglų į turkų
CAT tool's log Oct 14, 2020

I always send them (sometimes upon their request) the log file (that includes all the fuzzy matches and total word counts) that the CAT tool produces before beginning the work.

 
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