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30% upcharge for using Trados? August 3, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.

I received the following e-mail first thing this morning:

Dear Sirs,

I am a freelance translator with more than ten years experiences. I am a Korean but leave in China with my husband who is a Chinese. So I can do English<>Chinese<>Korean natively.I can use Trados myself.The rate is 0.08-0.12USD per word,extra 30% fee if use Trados. First cooperation, I can provide a free testing. If need, I can send you my CV.


Wow, this is just good stuff. There are so many things wrong with this I’m not even going to get into it. The thing that made me go “hmmm, I need to write about this!” is the “extra 30% fee if use Trados.” I think I’m going to have to give that a try with my customers. Do you think anyone will go for it 😉 ?



1. Lisa Carter - August 3, 2010

I got the same e-mail this morning and had the very same chuckle you did!

2. Dondu N. Raghavan - August 3, 2010

I too will not go into the language errors in the email but will confine myself to the Trados premium.

What the translator has said is logical. After all we invest good money in a software and the client gets the benefit in the form of consistent translation which is delivered faster.

It is hence only reasonable that the clienty pays for it. But then what do we see? The translator is slapped with a sliding rate structure based on the so called matches.

This is one reason why I never go in for these fancy CAT tools.

Dondu N. Raghavan

Jill (@bonnjill) - August 4, 2010

I used to feel the same way, but once I started using a CAT tool my productivity increased and my terminology became much more consistent. That said, I try not to work for agencies that insist on sliding rate structures. My favorite clients do not insist on Trados discounts and probably don’t know or care that I use Trados. I use it for almost all my jobs. It really has helped me in the long run and paid for itself a million times over. Especially with the help of well-translated parallel texts that I have aligned and imported into my translation memory.

3. Torsten - August 3, 2010

“leave in China” – made really my day (despite my German style pidgin English).

The email means she usually does not use Trados – this seems fairly reasonable to me, but obviously in this case she does not use any CAT at all. Best wishes for terminology then. In any case I’d mail back and ask if she charges less not using her computer or not working in her office (but I’d suppose she does not have any).

4. Alex Eames - August 4, 2010

I LOVE the idea of charging more for using Trados. Can I charge more when I’m in a bad mood too? Extra 30% when it’s above 35 degrees C.

I doubt that many would go for it.

Oh, I know. Perhaps it should have read “extra 30% fRee if use Trados.” 😉

What’s one more typo in a message like that? (I’m just joshing. I know it wasn’t meant to read that way).

I do like the fact that someone is taking this line though. It’s a refreshing change from the “let’s cut our rates at every opportunity” way of thinking that is so prevalent. Pity about the overall quality of the email though. 😦


5. Tess Whitty - August 5, 2010

Perhaps it is a 30% surcharge for using Trados as a CAT-tool, instead of other, easier to use tools. 😉

6. Kevin Lossner - August 5, 2010

Why not? When asked to use Star Transit, I’ve said “Oh yuck, that’ll be an extra 20%!”, so I don’t see why someone who isn’t fond of Trados shouldn’t do the same.

If a certain environment makes me work slower or clouds an otherwise sunny work day, of course I’ll surcharge it!

And indeed, Alex, bad mood days cost more. That’s how I usually inch my rates up. “Oh no! Not another new client! Let’s add 10% to the highest rate and send him packing…” – doesn’t always work. Sometimes the bastards say “yes” and the I eventually find myself running short of time for those who would keep me poor and honest. Life is tough.

7. Álvaro Morales - August 16, 2010

Ha! That was so hilarating, I can’t but agree Kevin…

But it’s true, it’s amazing how many translators see CAT tools as a hinder and not as an advantage. In my agency-worker days, I had a nice bunch which just rejected working with Trados (not to mention TagEditor). I think they mostly saw it as something for the repetitions thing.

8. Guohua - September 25, 2010

For someone new to the CAT tools, they only slow down translating speed. The Korean woman has a steep learning curve in front of her. So do her tools.

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