Problems with editing and editing rates
Thread poster: Dawn Montague

Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:52
German to English
+ ...
Dec 13, 2008

I would like to know how those of you who are successful in the editing part of your business ensure that you make about the same income editing as you do translating. Or if you have stopped editing other translators' work, how do you address this with clients who request the service (yes, I know you just say "no", but how do you address it with clients you value). I talked last year with another ATA member who actually preferred editing, but she only edited the work of certain translators, and therefore she knew what she was getting.

In my experience, with many agencies, once you have proven yourself as a translator, they start asking you to edit. Unfortunately, the editing jobs usually end up paying less, on an hourly basis, than translation, so what was intended as a promotion becomes a demotion. With most agencies, charging by the hour is really no different from charging by the word, since you are told you can only charge for a certain maximum number of hours regardless of the quality of the translation.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:52
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Here's how I handle it Dec 13, 2008

Hi Dawn,
I don't say "no" as a general rule, but I'm very careful about how I handle editing and proofing jobs. I ALWAYS ask to see the job first, before I make a decision, and if there's an original I ask for that, too. I have never charged by the hour, instead I charge per word according to the quality of the text. If it's a real disaster, I say that it needs to be retranslated from the original (if there is one) and charge my usual translation rate. If there's no original, as in the case of someone writing a text in a language which is not his/her native tongue, if it is comprehensible I'll do it, otherwise, obviously, I won't. Hope this helps.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 12:52
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
My experience as well ... Dec 14, 2008

...I don't say "no" as a general rule, but I'm very careful about how I handle editing and proofing jobs...

I can just second Amy as regards her experience and ways of doing (or not doing) it.

Hint: sometimes it is very hard to be the bearer of bad news. In my case it helped when I just quoted the number of spelling mistakes in the text. It is a very convincing argument when it comes to breaking the bad news (i.e. the text is a complete write-off, cheaper to translate from scratch). I mean, NOT doing the spell checking?! It's the pits for anybody with some common sense.

Regards

Vito


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Estefanía González  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:52
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
My 2 cents Dec 14, 2008

I ALWAYS ask to see the job first, before I make a decision


Hi Dawn,

I couldn’t agree more with this piece of advice. It is essential to request the document to proofread/edit, so that you can have an idea of the translation quality. By the way, I prefer to charge by the hour by the same token and in my opinion, it is fair for both editors and clients. If the translation quality was not as good as initially thought, then the payment by the hour guarantees that you won’t be at “loss” and if not so many corrections were implemented, then the client only pays the actual work done.

Regards,

Estefanía


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 07:52
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Previous threads Dec 14, 2008

Hi Dawn
I suggest you have a look at previous threads at this forum concerning the matter:
http://www.proz.com/topic/79990
http://www.proz.com/topic/112313
Best,
Fabio


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
translating vs editing Dec 15, 2008

I rarely edit translations any more, part of the problem is that it's work for agencies who don't pay as well as direct clients, the quality is rarely decent, and the agencies often impose the number of hours. And so it works out as less profitable than translating usually.

I now edit a lot of non-natives, and I very much like the work, and it pays well. BUT there's a problem with editing compared to translation, assuming you get to earn the same from both: it can't be automated like translation can (using a CAT and voice recognition) and it requires a lot of mouse clicks, so it's very punishing physically, in comparison with translating.

So there's more than just a money issue at stake. It's also good to maintain the balance between translating and editing for health reasons. So maybe you can use that as an additional argument:-)

Meanwhile maybe you can just take on some jobs, just to keep the agency happy, but agree with them beforehand that you reserve the right to reject it if it's sub-standard.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 17:52
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Mandatory editing Dec 15, 2008

I always get request from a big New York translation agency to translate for m English into Thai or Japanese.
Due to different time zone, I frequently reply late.
Mext, the agency writes to me "The translation has already been placed. Can you edit/proofread instead?"
I get good payment due to this process. The editing rate is hourly based while the translating rate is source word based etc..
But I always feel strange with such the contact. Why the agency cannot fix for the one who translate or to edit?

Soonthon L.


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Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:52
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Health issues important too Dec 15, 2008

Lia Fail wrote:

BUT there's a problem with editing compared to translation, assuming you get to earn the same from both: it can't be automated like translation can (using a CAT and voice recognition) and it requires a lot of mouse clicks, so it's very punishing physically, in comparison with translating.

So there's more than just a money issue at stake. It's also good to maintain the balance between translating and editing for health reasons. So maybe you can use that as an additional argument:-)

Meanwhile maybe you can just take on some jobs, just to keep the agency happy, but agree with them beforehand that you reserve the right to reject it if it's sub-standard.


Yes, I have to agree. Thanks for the observations! I've noticed that editing seems to be harder on the eyes, too. I print both the source and target out and compare, but for me, going back and forth between the two documents is worse than translating.


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Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:52
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
We probably all experience this to some extent Dec 15, 2008

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

I always get request from a big New York translation agency to translate for m English into Thai or Japanese.
Due to different time zone, I frequently reply late.
Mext, the agency writes to me "The translation has already been placed. Can you edit/proofread instead?"
I get good payment due to this process. The editing rate is hourly based while the translating rate is source word based etc..
But I always feel strange with such the contact. Why the agency cannot fix for the one who translate or to edit?



PMs are always under pressure to get things assigned as quickly as possible. This happens to me, too. Sometimes the other person refuses their part of the job, too, so things get switched around.


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
About that maximum Dec 15, 2008

Dawn Montague wrote: ...so what was intended as a promotion becomes a demotion. With most agencies, charging by the hour is really no different from charging by the word, since you are told you can only charge for a certain maximum number of hours regardless of the quality of the translation.

Hmmm, I've been asked to proofread by several of the agencies I work for at one point or another, and it never appeared to be anything of a promotion. Even agencies I've never worked with ask whether I do proofreading, simply requesting information about it as a different service. As a matter of fact, way before translating was my main job, I 'cut my teeth', so to speak, with proofreading and editing.

But that aside, if and when I accept proofreading jobs - which I rarely do anymore - I always tell the agency that, depending on the quality as I go along (which I find difficult to assess ahead of time even with copies of the translation and original provided in advance), I may report back to them while the process is underway and tell them that more time is necessary.

In other words, they have to agree ahead of time that there is not going to be a "maximum number of hours".

I explain that the reason for this is simply because I have seen so many poor translations, I know for a fact that some virtually need to be rewritten, and that I don't intend on donating my time free of charge to do so.

They usually understand, and accept my "terms" with the caveat that I get back to them ASAP about the quality of the translation and any extensions needed.


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