How do I quote for a book translation?
Thread poster: Diana Loos
Diana Loos  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
German to English
+ ...
Aug 16, 2008

I know it's not policy to mention specific fees on proz. forums, but I don't know how I'm going to get the information I need otherwise: Having worked for thirty years as a translator of specialist texts (music, theatre etc.) I've received an offer to translate a book and of course have to quote a fee. I have no idea how to work out a reasonable fee! I realise one can't calculate on a per-word or per-character basis, so how is it done???
I'd be grateful for any concrete advice!


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Tarja Braun  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member (2008)
German to Finnish
+ ...
I have always been paid per page Aug 16, 2008

The German publishing houses I have worked for have always calculated per page (non-fiction book translations, mostly about arts, architecture and music). My last book translation this year about history of music was paid per page as well, and a page consisted of 1800 characters.

Tarja


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:53
English to French
+ ...
per standard page Aug 16, 2008

Per page fee, at least for my language pair (German to French - Spanish agency).

The page consists in 1800 characters in Word, blanks included, in the target language.


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
English to Norwegian
Excuse my ignorance Aug 16, 2008

Diana Loos wrote:

I realise one can't calculate on a per-word or per-character basis,


Why should you not charge your regular fee? Why should publishing houses get a special discount? Is that why books often are hasty translated?


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:53
English to French
+ ...
could be same fee, but different way of quoting Aug 16, 2008

[quote]Per Magnus wrote:


Why should you not charge your regular fee? Why should publishing houses get a special discount? Is that why books often are hasty translated?



It is possible to charge your regular fee, but it is better to present your quote in a manner which is appropriate for the publishing market.

Publisher usually know about pages in the target language, not about words. Because they will also have to deal with printing/binding etc. so they need to know the volume of the finished translation.

It is up to you to make your maths.


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
It depends... Aug 17, 2008

I translated a lot of art catalogues, and the tariff depended, among other factors, on the country where my clients were based.

If I were you, I would ask other colleagues in your client's country, which already performed this kind of translation.

In my case, I always work on a standard page basis: I found out that in Europe, usually, tariffs are based on a 1800/2000 characters per page.

Hope this helps
Giusi


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Diana Loos  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everybody! Aug 17, 2008

Thanks for all your help and advice!

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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:53
German to English
+ ...
Further points to bear in mind? Aug 17, 2008

I have no experience in that field, but I did hear of these aspects before:

Random extracts from here :http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/322

"The Translator shall receive an advance of [ X dollars ] for the translation. The Translator shall receive [ X dollars ] upon signature of this contract by both parties, and the remainder due shall be paid upon delivery and acceptance of the completed translation.

...The above sum shall be considered as an advance against a royalty of [ X percent ], based on the retail sales price of the hardcover edition and its net sales. The Translator shall also receive a royalty of [ X percent ] on any paperback edition.

...An alternate wording for the royalty clause is shown in section 5 of the Model Contract provisions. The new clause is structured so that translators will receive a fee (which should not be considered an "advance") as well as royalties, such royalties being paid on all copies of the work sold.

HTH
Chris


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why not do the same as always? Aug 17, 2008

[quote]Diana Loos wrote:

I realise one can't calculate on a per-word or per-character basis, so how is it done???

Why do you realize that? Between German and English I have heard that characters or lines are used instead of words due to all those compound words in German, but you know about that.

So why would you charge for a book on any basis other than the one you have always used?

[Editado a las 2008-08-17 15:07]


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Anastasiya Stepchenko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:53
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Convenience Aug 19, 2008

To my mind, the main thing for a customer is not your price for word or price for lines or page, the main is total sum.
Just count according to your rate the total sum and say the total sum to the customer (basing on the criteria that you have chosen).
Also, it is important that spent time and efforts will be woth money that you will receive for translation.
I had experience of translating a book, it's rather interesting as it's long-term projet and beneficial!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:53
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Per word, as usual Aug 19, 2008

Well, I've translated several books and have always quoted and been paid per word, as usual. This didn't raise any difficulties. For a long job such as a book, some clients are prepared to pay in instalments, as and when each section is delivered (or 30 days after the section is delivered). This also means that if there is any special terminology or style to be decided upon, it can be established before the whole job is completed. There is usually some editing to be done on completion of the whole job.
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Αlban SHPΑTΑ  Identity Verified
Albania
Member (2008)
English to Albanian
+ ...
As always - per word Aug 19, 2008

I do not see the point of charging per page. All the books I have translated are charged per word. If you say that you charge per 1800 character page, then accept it or not, you always will end up charging per word, won't you? 1800 characters equals to a certain amount of words, so why not charge per word? After all, the 'per word' is a standard most translators are used to and we all know what difference even 1/2 cent can make when one is dealing with several K's of words.

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