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With well over a decade of experience working as a fulltime freelance translator, I have learned the importance of maintaining business relationships based on clear communication, transparency, and well-defined terms and procedures. Therefore, in an effort to do better business with my clients by preventing or addressing potential miscommunications and pitfalls before they occur, I have set out the following procedures and terms for accepting, performing, and billing translation projects.

Please note that a link to this page is provided in all client communications and any translation project that I accept will be subject to these procedures and terms.

1. Project Assignment and Acceptance

I am happy to provide quick general translation rate and availability estimates, but in order to provide an accurate rate and delivery quote I will need to see the actual source files for translation. Once I receive the source files, I will identify the project’s requirements and determine whether the subject matter is within my areas of competency. If I am able to accept the project, I will provide a rate and delivery quote.

  • Rate and availability estimates are not final or binding until I have had the opportunity to review the actual source files for translation.
  • Rate and availability quotes are subject to change at any time until a PO or written project confirmation is issued.
2. Purchase Orders or Written Project Confirmations

Once the terms of a project have been agreed, I will ask for a Purchase Order or written confirmation to ensure that all parties involved are aware of exactly how the project will be performed, delivered, and billed. A Purchase Order (PO) is preferred but e-mail confirmation is also an acceptable form of written confirmation for repeat clients or clients with a solid reputation according to the Blueboard or another payment practices database.

  • The Purchase Order or written project confirmation should be considered a binding service agreement, and once issued and confirmed, its terms may not be changed except under extraordinary circumstances, in which case a rate adjustment may apply (please see 3. Changes and Cancellations).
  • I am not able to start any project until I have received a Purchase Order or written project confirmation.
  • The PO or written confirmation must indicate the basic project terms, including at least the following:

    files for translation  (specifying file names, and if appropriate, the page numbers or sections of the file(s) to be translated)

    agreed rate  (specifying whether billing will be target or source,  as well as any hourly services or discounts)

    final or estimated word count  (word counts and repetition discounts  must be transparent and verifiable)

    special requirements  (specific software or file formats, project glossaries, references, etc.)

    delivery instructions  (delivery date, time, and time zone, as well as where the final work product should be sent)

    terms of payment  (stating how and when payment will be made and invoice submission instructions)

3. Changes & Cancellations

I understand that the business and legal circumstances of my clients can change at a moment’s notice and I will do everything within my power to accommodate changes or cancellations. However, as a freelance service provider with my own business expenses to cover, I do need to charge fair compensation in the event of any changes or cancellations after written confirmation has been issued.

  • Any change to project terms after a written confirmation has been issued (adding files, changing deadlines, changing instructions, etc.) will naturally result in a rate and/or deadline adjustment.
  • Any additions or modifications to the source files after written project confirmation has been issued will be billed as new work.
  • Once the translation has been delivered, any future additions or modifications to the source files will be considered new work and will be subject to a minimum fee.
  • If a confirmed project or file is cancelled within 24 hours, the portion of the translation that has been started will be billed at the agreed rate, even if in draft form.
  • If a confirmed project or file is cancelled after 24 hours, 50% of the total estimated rate for the project or file in question, or the portion of the translation that has actually been started, whichever is greater, will be billed as compensation for having set aside my availability and declined other work opportunities during that period.
4. Communication

Once a project has been assigned, I will be available to respond to inquiries immediately during business hours and within approximately 4-12 hours on evenings, weekends, and holidays. I ask that my clients or project managers be available to respond to my own consultations or requests within a similar period.

  • Any failure to respond to requests for vital project information in a timely fashion may result in an adjustment to the project deadline without any fault or responsibility on my part.
  • While I will always respond to all inquiries and job requests that are addressed to me, I choose not to respond to bulk e-mails.
5. Translation Memory and Repetition Discounts

I have been trained on SDL and Kilgray products and I am an advanced user of SDL Trados 2007/2009/2011 and MemoQ Translator Pro and am an intermediate user of many other leading Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. In many cases, these tools improve the efficiency and consistency of the translation process by leveraging individuals segments (translation units or TUs) from previous translations. I am happy to work with the CAT tool or file format of my client’s choosing and to apply reasonable repetition discounts based on the source text analyses provided by CAT tools. However, since these tools and any resulting repetition discounts have a significant effect on how a project is processed and billed, I ask that the specific CAT tool to be used, any repetition discounts to be applied, and the appropriate source word count calculations be clearly stated as part of the basic terms indicated in the written project confirmation.

  • Repetition discounts must be based on verifiable analyses of the source text and must be calculated in a transparent manner. I reserve the right to delay confirmation or decline a project if analyses or discount calculations cannot be verified.
  • Repetition discounts must be agreed before a project is confirmed and apply to source file word counts only. Under no circumstances will a target file be subject to a repetition discount.
  • Given that repetition discounts are a vital component of the rate quoted for a given project, under no circumstances will a repetition discount not specifically stated and agreed in the PO or written project confirmation be applied post-production.
  • Repetition discounts may not be combined with volume discounts or any other discounts.
  • In the case of excessive repetition discounts (such as large amounts of text with little or no compensation), I reserve the right to raise my rate, apply minimum per-file fees, and/or decline translation projects.
6. Certified Translation & Sworn Translation

I am happy to provide a Certificate of Accuracy with every translation that I perform at no additional charge. If Sworn Translation is required, I am also able to appear before a notary public and swear that the translation is an accurate representation of the original source file and that I am qualified to perform Spanish-English translations.

  • Certificates of Accuracy are provided at no additional charge
  • Sworn Translation does have an additional charge to cover administrative costs, notary public fees, and DHL service. Fees for sworn translation must be indicated as a separate line item on the PO or written project confirmation.
7. Proofreading Service

I accept proofreading projects under the assumption that the translation has been translated and reviewed by a competent human translator and meets minimum quality standards for professional translation work product. I define acceptable translation as follows:

Acceptable quality translation means properly redacted and naturally phrased target language text using terminology appropriate to the subject matter that is essentially free from grammar errors or mistranslations, but in no case contains more than 2-3 minor errors or 1 major error per 1,000 words, and is entirely free from machine translation, inconsistent translation, and nonsense translation in general.

I ask that my project managers understand that submitting a translation to me for proofreading that does not meet a quality standard similar to the one above, even if unintentionally, amounts to assigning more work than what I have been contracted for and is a violation of the PO or written project confirmation. Therefore, if a file submitted to me for proofreading does not meet reasonable quality standards for professional translation work product, I will immediately alert the project manager and provide evidence that the terms of the proofreading project have not been kept and that the project rate and deadline will need to be renegotiated.

  • In the event that I receive unacceptable quality translation for proofreading, I reserve the right to return the file(s) in question to the translator (billing fair and reasonable compensation for time spent), bill additional hours, bill my full translation rate to redo poor quality translation, and/or extend the delivery deadline, without accepting any fault or liability on my part whatsoever due to missed deadlines, project budget overruns, etc.
  • Under no circumstances will I “fix” poor quality translation at a standard proofreading rate.
  • Any translation found to contain unedited machine translation, improperly edited machine translation, or nonsense translation in general will need to be retranslated and billed at my full translation rate.
  • In the event that I receive poor quality translation for proofreading, I reserve the right to raise my proofreading rate and/or decline future proofreading projects from that outsourcer.
8. Post Editing Service

Post Editing consists of reviewing the output of public Machine Translation (MT) engines such as Google Translate, or trained industry-specific or client-specific MT engines. While MT has been around in one form or another since the 1950’s, in recent years the technology has improved drastically it has become a valuable tool for improving the efficiency of the translation process. There is a general consensus in the industry that this advancement in translation technology, along with CAT tools, Cloud-based TM, etc. have created downward pressure on the per-word rates charged by professional translators. Put another way, today’s competitive translation rates have already factored in the efficiency gains obtained from applying modern translation technologies such as MT.

  • I bill my full translation rate for editing the output of public, untrained MT engines such as Google Translate.
  • I bill 90% of my translation rate for editing the output of trained, industry-specific or client-specific MT engines.
9. Collaboration on Translation Tenders

I understand that preparing bids that include the qualifications of the translators who would work on a potential project is an essential part of winning important translation contracts from government agencies, especially in the case of tenders for the European Union. I am happy to assist my clients in preparing such bids by providing detailed information on my experience and qualifications such as the information provided my Recent Projects page), giving permission for my clients to use my information in their bids, and filling out the required paperwork. However, there are cases in which translation outsourcers attempt to recruit qualified linguists, especially those with advanced degrees, just for the bidding process, only to send the work to bargain translators and/or renegotiate rates once the contract is won. In light of this unfortunate reality, I am not willing to collaborate on translation tenders free of charge for new clients.

  • I may require an hourly fee to collaborate on translation tenders. 
  • I may be willing to grant permission for outsourcers to use my information in their translation tenders. Please contact me to discuss this possibility.
10. Payment

When processing payments, I ask my clients to apply the same level of professional dedication that I apply to their translation projects. Unless otherwise agreed in the written project confirmation, the following general payment terms shall apply:

  • Payment is accepted via U.S. Check, Wire Transfer, or PayPal.
  • Payments are due 30 calendar days from the date an invoice is submitted.
  • Any delay in processing an invoice for reasons attributable to the client, such as failure to communicate invoice submission instructions or failure to receive, process, or verify an invoice in a timely manner, does not extend the agreed term of payment.
  • Non-corporate clients or clients without a solid track record as reliable outsourcers as verified by the Blueboard or a similar payment practices database may be required to make payments in advance.
  • I have never had a client default on an invoice for translation services in over ten years in the business. However, in the event of nonpayment or late payment of an invoice for translation services, I reserve the right to make public reports of non-payment (without violating NDA agreements) and to employ any and all mechanisms allowed by law to recover amounts owed to me.