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A contract specifying an hourly rate when no. of hours for the job is unclear
Thread poster: David Lavie

David Lavie
United States
Local time: 21:44
Russian to English
+ ...
Nov 15, 2003

Greetings,

A new client would like me to sign a very simple, contract-like letter (below) which would define my compensation in terms of an hourly rate. Unfortunately, I do not know how long the project will take and therefore cannot judge whether it is worth undetaking.

[X XX Films, LLC
Street Address
Sandy, Utah 84092-4866
I agree to work as a Russian – English translator for the X XX Films, LLC production of “Still in St. Petersburg” at a rate of $15.00 per hour. Payments will be made subject to the receipt of timesheets detailing time worked. It is understood that this is a “work for hire” assignment and that all translations, transcriptions and transliterations become the property of X XX Films, LLC. Bi weekly timesheets should be either e-mailed to e-mail address or faxed to (310) 555-1234 or mailed to the business office at:

X XX Films, LLC
Street Address
Beverly Hills, CA. 90210
]

I have to transcribe AND translate a 45-minute-long documentary from Russian into English (that is, trabscribe the audio by ear into Russian, and then translate that text into English; then, submit both transcription & translation to client).

Juan Jacob, a Proz member who translates for subtitles professionally in Mexico, offered that a 45-minute film (w/o the benefit of special software, and considering that I have no experience in this particular kind of translation) might take 2-3 days just to translate. Of course, there is the mater of transcription as well.

Thus, the dilemma. Should I tell the client that it will take me, say, 5 full days to transcribe and translate? At $15 an hour, considering an 8-hour workday, that's $600.

Is that too much? Any thoughts on how I could best approximate the number of hours this will take me? Anything I should add to the contract?

Thanks in advance for the advice.





[Edited at 2003-11-15 22:17]

[Edited at 2003-11-15 22:18]


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 20:44
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
hourly rate Nov 16, 2003

Gennady Pritsker wrote:

A new client would like me to sign a very simple, contract-like letter (below) which would define my compensation in terms of an hourly rate. Unfortunately, I do not know how long the project will take and therefore cannot judge whether it is worth undertaking.


I'm not sure if I understand you correctly here. The only thing that really matters here is your hourly rate, since you (& the company/agency) don't know how many hours it'll take you.

In other words, if you're willing to work at 15 USD/hour, then any work you perform should be worth undertaking, no?

What you could do is agree on a maximum of hours you're going to bill (e.g. 40 hours), or submit an estimate, clearly stating that this is an estimate only and that you'll update the company when you completed the first half of the assignment.

Your timesheets will do the rest.
No need to say that honesty and trust is the key here.

By the way, I'd like to add that 15 USD/hour is not a rate I would accept. Can you actually live on such rates in the States?

Good luck,

Evert Deloof-Sys






[Edited at 2003-11-16 13:48]


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:44
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
The hourly rate seems low Nov 16, 2003

It seems to me that you do not have to give a total number of hours because you do not know exactly how many hours you will work.

Your timesheets will tell the company how many actual hours you have worked and the payment will be based on that.

I agree with Evert, though, that the amount per hour is low - I would increase it to at least USD 25-30/hour and depending on the subject matter and difficulty of the transcription you may even go higher.

If it is a longer project, perhaps you could agree on a weekly or forthnight payment schedule. That is up to you.

Make sure that you get a clear, signed work schedule (Puchase Order) before you begin. I did not do that once and am still waiting for these folks to pay me - it has been close to a year now.

Good luck!
Lucinda


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 20:44
French to Dutch
+ ...
Your hourly fee is far too low Nov 17, 2003

and transcribing and translating a 45 minute film should not take more than about 8-10 hours, perhaps more (2 days?) if you have little experience or if it is very technical.

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David Lavie
United States
Local time: 21:44
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rate IS low, but... Nov 17, 2003

Nicolette Richy wrote:

and transcribing and translating a 45 minute film should not take more than about 8-10 hours, perhaps more (2 days?) if you have little experience or if it is very technical.


Ideally, I would charge twice the rate per hour; I just thought it would be good experience. If the client is not limiting the number of hours up front, then I can take my time and go slowly as I need to (since it'll be my first time transcribing by ear) to get the job done.

This wouldn't make a very good full-time job, but it might be interesting as a single project.

Thank you all for your input.

Gennady


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