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how much to charge for translation of poems?
Thread poster: nolensvolens
Russian to German
Nov 25, 2008

i have agreed to translate several poems from german to english. of course, i would like to get paid for the work, but i have no idea how much to charge. does one really charge by word/sign count? has anyone here experience with this type of translations?

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:35
Italian to English
How long is a piece of string? Nov 26, 2008

Hi there,

The UK Translators Association suggests 0.85 pounds sterling per line but to be honest, there's nothing wrong with charging a flat fee for the whole job once you know what's involved. Usually, there's little point in holding out for a royalty as the sales are likely to be minuscule.

The trouble with translating poetry is that it's far too interesting. If the poetry is even half-decent, the hours will fly past and you'll find you're working for next to nothing! I'm afraid I have turned down poetry projects in the past for that reason.



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Ignacio Mainz  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:35
English to Spanish
poetry Nov 26, 2008

I studied a lot of English poetry (British and American) for five terms during the university years at the US (Double BA), but have never translated it professionally. Also, I had to deal a lot with poetry in Spanish during my school days.

I can not talk about standards here though I can and will say that you may not talk about pricings until you have read and gone through a good part of it.

You must be able to identify the use of metaphors, metrics, irony, assonant and consonant rhythms….. . Whether they just want to “read” over it, it is OK. Otherwise, and above all, I do truly believe that a poem CAN´T be transformed or adapted, and is untranslatable, as for its mere ends and principles.

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