Translating a handwritten German Gothic document, how much do I charge?
Thread poster: xxxRibanna
xxxRibanna
German to English
Dec 18, 2007

Hi,

Somebody wants me to translate his grandfather's 200 page Eastern Front War Journal. Handwritten. In Gothic German gulp....

The reading is not the problem. I am one of the lucky few who can still read the old pre-war German Gothic, both handwritten and print.

It's the pricing I am having problems with. As I see it, this job is actually two translation jobs in one:

1. Deciphering the Gothic German, which is already a job in itself.

2. Translating it all into English.

I have absolutely no clue as to what to charge. If I just charge the usual German-English translation rates, I have a feeling that my client will get off too lightly. I mean, how many people are out there who can even provide this service? It's going to be really hairy to make my way through this thing, I mean, my Gothic reading skills are not that great, it's more deciphering than anything else.

Any suggestions or ideas? Has anybody ever had to deal with this?

All help is very much appreciated.

Petra


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 19:47
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Try with two separate jobs Dec 18, 2007

Hi Petra

As you clearly say it: it's difficult to find a person able to do the whole task.
You can quietly consider this as two separate jobs here:
1) A monolingual German>German job, "transcription of Gothic manuscript into modern text" (I have seen a similar job posted already)
2) A normal German>English translation, which will be your work.
The cost of every job should be clearly specified to your client, to make things transparent.

Hope this suggestion helps
Best,
Fabio Descalzi

[Edited at 2007-12-18 10:38]


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:47
English to Dutch
+ ...
Agree with Fabio Dec 18, 2007

Perhaps you should charge for the transcription by the hour and apply your normal per word rate for the actual translation.

Re the reading of Gothic: I can read it too, so if you should need any help along the way, you're welcome.

Good luck,
Margreet


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:47
English to Swedish
+ ...
Split the job Dec 18, 2007

Margreet Logmans wrote:

Perhaps you should charge for the transcription by the hour and apply your normal per word rate for the actual translation.

Re the reading of Gothic: I can read it too, so if you should need any help along the way, you're welcome.

Good luck,
Margreet


It makes good sense to charge for the transcription by the hour first.
Ask to see a sample page, and make an estimate based on your time spent.

An added benefit is that you can outsource the transcription to other freelancers (as Margreet suggests), which might save you time and possibly keep the cost down!

/Jan


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:47
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Suggest some outsourcing to your client Dec 18, 2007

I don't know what they have in your area. You could suggest to your client that he/she/it hire someone to retype the document and then indicate how much it would cost if you did it (probably a bit higher). Of course, if you live in a place where no one else can read this handwriting, that might not be a good option.

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:47
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
By the hour Dec 18, 2007

It seems to me that splitting the job into transcribing and translating would make it more time-consuming and therefore more expensive for the client. Since you say you have no problem reading Gothic, chances are that you will be able to do it faster when you translate the text directly. I would simply charge for the whole job by the hour.

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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 19:47
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
A question of supply and demand + QA Dec 18, 2007

Tina Vonhof wrote:
It seems to me that splitting the job into transcribing and translating would make it more time-consuming and therefore more expensive for the client. Since you say you have no problem reading Gothic, chances are that you will be able to do it faster when you translate the text directly. I would simply charge for the whole job by the hour.

Costs count, of course. But, as in every aspect of the language industry, there is always a supply of human resources and a demand for services.
No doubt, if there are translators able to read Gothic manuscripts AND write in English as native speakers, the question is automatically solved. But... are there?

On the other hand, there is yet another issue: quality assurance. If Petra can read and translate the manuscript herself, then she will need an editor/proofreader able to read the Gothic text AND read in English as a native speaker. Do we have such proofreader available?

Maybe a special job post could solve the question.
Or, Margreet - can YOU do that proofreading job?

[Edited at 2007-12-18 17:37]


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:47
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not a native speaker Dec 18, 2007

Fabio Descalzi wrote:


Maybe a special job post could solve the question.
Or, Margreet - can YOU do that proofreading job?

[Edited at 2007-12-18 17:37]


I take that as a compliment, Fabio, thanks!
But I'm not a native speaker of English, alas.

Margreet


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 00:47
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Good advice Dec 20, 2007

Fabio Descalzi wrote:

Hi Petra

As you clearly say it: it's difficult to find a person able to do the whole task.
You can quietly consider this as two separate jobs here:
1) A monolingual German>German job, "transcription of Gothic manuscript into modern text" (I have seen a similar job posted already)
2) A normal German>English translation, which will be your work.
The cost of every job should be clearly specified to your client, to make things transparent.

Hope this suggestion helps
Best,
Fabio Descalzi

[Edited at 2007-12-18 10:38]


But you really should advise using target language natives to do the proofreading(s).

[Edited at 2007-12-20 06:56]


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:47
English to Dutch
+ ...
Indeed Dec 20, 2007

writeaway wrote:

But you should advise using target language natives to do the proofreading(s).


Absolutely.


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