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Setting minimal limit on time spent for editing.
Thread poster: Serge Driamov

Serge Driamov  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 22:08
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Feb 27, 2009

An outsourcer has sent me a number of short texts for editing recently. I charge per hour of work spent on proof-reading. The outsourcer has suggested that the payment should be also connected to the amount of text processed, and a certain amount of text is supposed to be done withing certain time period. It results in very little payment for the short texts provided by the outsourcer. However, the time spent on the jobs was not as little at all. There were plenty of questions after the texts have been sent back to the outsourcer, like: What belongs where on the layout? Are you sure this phrase created by our translator has to be changed? Could you please prove this again? And so on, and so on.
It looks that it would be reasonable to set a minimal limit on time, for each I charge for the editing job. I think, many translators have it. The question is: what is the minimal editing time, for each you charge if you have such a limit? One hour? More?

Thanks in advance


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Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 22:08
Member (2004)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
one hour Feb 27, 2009

My minimum charge is equal to my hourly rate. I don't always apply it, though.

Regarding the follow-ups, you may charge for it separately, or you may include the cost in your hourly (or per-word) rate, or you may try and minimize the time spent on it (suppose you may be willing to give detailed comments at the beginning, to establish credibility -- consider it as your investment, but later on you may limit your responses to simple yes/no, and/or straightly tell your client that it is also work that takes time).


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:08
Finnish to English
charge your minimum rate Feb 27, 2009

Otherwise you are going to get into the sort of problems you have.

Furthermore, remember that the end product is not necessarily your responsibility, and that your remarks are purely suggestions and that they should be sent back to the translator for final editing (in a good - but all too rare - scenario). An exception to this would be where you have special expertise in the subject matter, in which case it might have been better if you had done the translation in the first place.

best

spencer


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Serge Driamov  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 22:08
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
equal to my hourly rate... Feb 27, 2009

Thank you Roman,

I will consider your suggestions. I also thought about setting minimal charge equal to my hourly rate.


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Serge Driamov  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 22:08
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... they should be sent back to the translator ... Feb 27, 2009

Spencer Allman wrote:

Otherwise you are going to get into the sort of problems you have...




Thak you for expressing your sound attitude.
Regarding sending translation back to the translator for final editing: I have been amazed to discover that the translation itself has been done by someone, who is not native in the target language (Russian). Strange, isn't it ???!!! Sending the text to this person for final editing would have been even more strange. However, I do not quite understand the policy of the agency...


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dd dd
Local time: 03:08
English to Chinese
+ ...
I don't know what is the situation with other editors, but ... Apr 1, 2009

an agency that I am currently working with (which gives me 90% of the work) agreed with me on the hourly rate for proofreading first, and then THEY decide how many hours I am going to spend on the proofreading.

Last time I proofread a 28-page document (Times New Roman, font size 10) for them. I actually spend 3 whole days (10+ hours per day), but was only paid 16 hours' pay.

I wonder what is the situation with other translators? Do you get paid for the actual hours you spent on the proofreading job, or the agency decides how many hours you spent on it?

And what if the translation is substandard and you almost have to re-do it? In that case, you are actually doing the translation job but only being paid the proofreading price.

[Edited at 2009-04-01 15:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-04-01 15:12 GMT]


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Getting burned with proofreading Apr 2, 2009

Laura Liu wrote: Last time I proofread ... I actually spend 3 whole days (10+ hours per day), but was only paid 16 hours' pay.

Hi Laura, this is a situation that often crops up in the world of proofreading, which (I suspect) is why so many translators start refusing proofreading jobs.

I don't proofread very often anymore for just this reason. But when asked, I will quote an hourly rate and will refuse to accept x hours set by the client, and I explain that this is due to my own experience with translations of varying qualities.

The only exception to this is that I will accept x hours as long as the client understands from the beginning that I may contact them during the proofreading (before reaching the halfway point) to advise them that the quality is too poor, the work too disjointed, etc. to complete proofreading in the time allotted.

At that point, the client will have the option of approving the required work, which I will then bill according to the actual hours spent, or of having me continue to proofread until the specified hours have been reached, at which point I will turn in the (incomplete) job.

Neither of these procedures is very popular with clients (agencies), but I now insist on them. If I don't do a lot of proofreading because of this, it certainly doesn't bother me.

I wish you luck with this in future!


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dd dd
Local time: 03:08
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thanks Janet! Apr 2, 2009

You have been very helpful.

I had wanted to settle down with this client and stop my marketing efforts, but now it seems that I still need to actively keep searching and find more outsourcers/clients so that I can have more bargaining power.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:08
English to Dutch
+ ...
What do they pay you for? Apr 2, 2009

There are many definitions for 'proofreading'. It seems you're doing a lot of work on this project.
Whenever clients set a time limit of offer a flat fee (which is basically the same - if they say five hours, 30 dollars per hour, they are basically offering you a flat fee of 150 dollar), I find it helpful to specifically ask what they expect me to do in that time, and to set priorities.

This means that I indicate what I'm going to do, and what I'm going to do first.
Like:
- read the text
- check for missing parts
- check spelling
- mark mistranslations and errors (syntax/error)
- fill out/write an evaluation/report
- correct mistranslations and errors
- make comments and document these
and so on and so on.

They then let me know what they think is most important, so if the work takes a lot of time, it is simply a matter of doing first things first, and see how much time there is left for the rest.

If time is short, this usually means I only mark and correct errors and mistakes, without providing reference or documentation. Evaluations and reports are the next casualties.

If they want the whole list, I let them know halfway how much of the text I've done, send them the part I've already finished and ask if they want me to continue this way. If the translation is really bad, they usually ask me to just correct it after seeing the first part. Always with track changes, of course.

Still, I don't like proofreading if I don't know what quality to expect. Recently I've done a lot of evaluations of test translations, which is even harder to do. Some are really good, but there have been other ones that were terrible. My conscience is never at ease then. Do I nip someone's translation career in the bud, or do I save the industry from disastrous translations? Hmm...

Edited for errors (syntax/grammar)

[Edited at 2009-04-02 11:39 GMT]


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