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100% Match and Internal Repetition Rate. Part 1


This post discusses Velior’s approach to charging for 100% matches against translation memory and internal repetitions. Generally, there are three opinions on this matter. Two of them are opposite: some believe that these matches and repetitions should be compensated fully just as any other words, while others maintain that no compensation is necessary, since processing these words does not require any specific effort. The third opinion, shared by Velior, is neutral: a reduced rate should apply to these words.

Reasons to Charge for 100% Matches and Repetitions

  1. The context where a 100% match or repetition occurs may be different from the context of the original translation. It is therefore important to check whether all such words fit the new context. The time spent on checking should be compensated. Processing 100% matches and repetitions without compensation and hence without checking is justified only when the client is absolutely positive that the context is always identical, e.g. in a data sheet or parts catalogue. However, in our experience, such texts are rather the exception than the rule: they account for about 3% of our workload (translation from Russian to English, English to Russian, German to Russian).
  2. 100% matches and repetitions often require the same amount of typesetting work as any other words. Even when 90% of your text are repetitions, you might end up spending just as much time on formatting them as if they all were new words. And unless this type of work is compensated separately, it should be included into the repetition rate.

Reasons Not to Charge Full Rate

  1. Because the amount of work associated with 100% matches and repetitions is normally reduced as compared to the new words, it does not make business sense to charge full rate for them. You do not have to translate them from scratch, but just check whether the previous translation fits the new context, and it usually does. Truth be told, sometimes such words do require adjustment or even complete re-translation. For instance, an English to Russian translator may render the word “position” as “должность” when it means job position. This translation however will be of no use as a 100% match in the context where “position” means simply location and should be translated as “положение.” Yet, as I mentioned above, this happens to a very low percentage of 100% matches and repetitions, and a discount is therefore completely justified.
  2. Translators who prefer full compensation for 100% matches and repetitions often refer to various examples from other industries to explain that a discount for repetitive work is unnatural. For instance, in the construction industry, you will not push the construction crew, which is building your new home, for a discount on the basis that one room is an exact match of the other. While this idea might have some truth to it theoretically, in real life, it is the actual amount of work/time/effort associated with the repetitive task that is important here. The new room might be indeed identical, but the amount of work required to finish it will still be the same. In contrast, the amount of work associated with 100% matches and repetitions is usually much lower as compared to the full-rate new words. Normally, the translation memory software inserts them automatically, and you only check whether the previous translation fits the new context. It is therefore fair to charge a reduced rate reflecting the actual time spent on checking instead of charging the full rate as if these words required the same amount of effort as the new ones.

This post is continued here.

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About the Author

Roman Mironov
Roman Mironov
CEO & Founder

As the founder of Velior, Roman has had the privilege of being able to turn his passion for languages into a business. He has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Roman has helped dozens of clients increase sales by making their products appealing for speakers of other languages.