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Proofing charge dilemma
Thread poster: Vibeke Koehler

Vibeke Koehler
Norway
Local time: 02:35
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Sep 19, 2008

Could you please help me with some advice on this one:

I have recently started freelancing for a major agency who provide a steady work flow.
I work from English to Norwegian, and usually charge 0.10EUR/word for translations and 0.03/word for proofreading, which I stated to the agency upon first proposal.

However, when I now sent my first invoices, they say that they pay proofrading per page or per hour, not per word. I have not been counting work hours because I supposed they accepted my rates from the start.

For me, accepting rates per hour or per page would mean a significant drop in income as they provide many and long proofing jobs. On the other hand I would be reluctant to risk loosing this customer.

Could I insist that they at least pay these first invoices on a per word rate?

Does anyone have knowledge of rates per page/per hour in my language pair? (ENG-NO)


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My solution Sep 19, 2008

Vibeke Breivik wrote:
I work from English to Norwegian, and usually charge 0.10EUR/word for translations and 0.03/word for proofreading, which I stated to the agency upon first proposal.

However, when I now sent my first invoices, they say that they pay proofrading per page or per hour, not per word. I have not been counting work hours because I supposed they accepted my rates from the start.


Yes, this is very strange, that they would first accept your rate and then came with a different rate later. Perhaps they saw your first mail as a vague indication of your rates and not as your rate for the project.

Well, if they want to pay per hour, simply convert your rate to an hourly rate.

I'd guess that a rule of thumb is to take your per word translation rate and multiply by 200. It would be nice to hear how other ProZians would do the conversion.

So in your case, your hourly rate would be EUR 20.00 per hour. Then take your current Euro invoice and divide it by 20, and round up to the nearest whole number, to get the number of "hours" that you spent on the job.

For me, accepting rates per hour or per page would mean a significant drop in income as they provide many and long proofing jobs.


Not really. The fact that they want you to quote per hour doesn't mean you have to count the hours. You can continue counting words, and simply convert to hours. I don't think this is dishonest. They're likely to win as much as you are (on some days, you are tired and you spend more hours, but you charge the same).


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
Some thoughts Sep 19, 2008

In the first place, the agency agreed to your terms, so they can't just go and change them at their leisure. Insist on payment according to the agreed terms for the work you've already done.
Then, personally I feel payment by the hour for review work makes MUCH more sense than by wordcount. The number of words tell you nothing about the amount of work you'll have to do. A 10,000 word job that's excellent will take you half an hour, a 1000 word job which sucks may take you twice that much to fix.
Of course, you have to calibrate your hourly rate to what you want to earn. But that shouldn't be too difficult. So my advice is to accept payment by the hour by this client for _future_ jobs.


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 02:35
German
+ ...
PO Sep 19, 2008

What did the purchase order say? Did it give a per-word rate on it or a per-hour rate?

In the professional translation business, it is customary for clients and translators to put the agreed conditions of their contract down in writing before any work is commenced.

And any "job" the translator undertakes is, in fact, an individual contract (barring any explicit "framework agreement" or other agreement to the contrary).


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Vibeke Koehler
Norway
Local time: 02:35
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Sep 19, 2008

Thanks for the suggestion and info Samuel. Your calculation actually turns out with quite realistic results in terms of work hours, and I can still get approximately the same pay at the end of the day! So I'll go with that!

tectranslate: the PO doesn't state the rate or even word count. Only names, project reference and deadline.

It is a serious agency though. My colleague has been with them on a regular basis for over a year, and they have always paid on time and been very tidy (with her at least )
But maybe they should update their POs


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 02:35
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
a point to ponder Sep 19, 2008

what we sell, is our time, whatever the units on the invoice. I have used Time stamp program for more than a year now and it has been a big help in determining a lot of things - like how much workload can I actually handle, how do the numbers vary between different types of text etc.

I do charge in words done but always keep an eye on how much of my time was spent on it. 50.000 words at 0.15E may look great at the first glance (who does not want to land a fish like this). It is different story when you realize you needed 750 hours for it, i.e. you have worked for more than 5 months for a 10E per hour pay.

Regards

Vito

PS: doing EN -> NO in Q8!? Let me guess ... for the Norwegian minority in Quwait, yes;P?

[Edited at 2008-09-19 10:48]


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