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What to charge for 1800 pages and turnaround time?
Thread poster: Iris70
Iris70  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:29
English to Dutch
Mar 29, 2004

Hi everyone.

I am sure this has been asked before, but can't seem to find the right answer. I have just been asked to translate a book with 1800 pages ( 350 words a page) and to give them an estimate as to how much it would cost and in how many weeks I can complete the whole project. I normally translate about 3000 words per day. As for my rates, I can't very well ask my "normal" rate can I?

Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
You will know it afterwards Mar 29, 2004

after you will have refused many well paid job offers..

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:29
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge normal or do flexi time Mar 29, 2004

Iris70 wrote:
I have just been asked to translate [90 000 words]... As for my rates, I can't very well ask my "normal" rate can I?

You translate 3 000 words per day, yes? Well then, tell them you can translate 2 000 words per day for the book and keep 1 000 words for other clients who might contact you during this project.

In other words, 45 days.

Charge your normal rate. You'll have very little other income, so you'll have to charge your normal rate to maintain your normal level of income during the project.

Or, charge them a 30% discounted rate but only promise 1 000 words per day so you'll have the freedom to do other well-paid work when it comes your way.

Edited: Whoops, yes, I made an error in my calculations... 630 000 words (not 90 000). Darned PC calculator.

[Edited at 2004-03-30 06:15]

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Bob Kerns  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:29
Member (2002)
German to English
Of course you can charge your normal rate Mar 29, 2004

Hi Iris,

As far as the turnaround time is concerned, only you can decide how much you can translate per day and whether you are prepared to work 6 or even 7 days a week to ensure that you get the job. I was faced with a similar situation at the beginning of this year and having worked 7 days a week for nearly 3 months I'm exhausted but my bank balance is looking good

As far as rates are concerned, I don't believe in "bulk discounts". When I buy petrol for my car I pay the same price per litre whether I buy 100 litres or 10 litres.

The question is, do you believe that your normal rate is sufficiently competitive compared with that of other possible bidders to make sure that you get the job? If you feel that your normal rate may be a little high, then you have to decide whether you can afford to reduce it in order to make sure that you have work for several months. On the other hand there's no point reducing your rate so much that you're left with little profit. And if you quote a low rate then it will be difficult to increase it when the next job (hopefully) comes in from the same customer.

I'm not sure if this has helped you at all but in any case I wish you luck with your bid.

Regards from Germany

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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:59
English to Tamil
+ ...
No point in being timid. No volume discounts. Mar 29, 2004

The trouble with many translators is that they themselves are overwhelmed by the amount to to be paid by the client. Well, it is his headache. If he wants a book to be translated, it means that he wants it bad. Don't be nervous that he will go to someone else, if you don't give discount. Even if you are nervous, don't show it, for God's sake.
And by the way did you check the wordcount yourself or you are accepting the client's words at face value? If it is hard print, just give an estimate, and make it clear that you will charge as per the wordcount given by the computer in which you have typed the translation and do not allow the client to browbeat you. Ask for advance payment and settle the pro-rata payment schedule as and when you reach certain stages in the document. Always have time enough to do other works too. Don't be tied down to this work only.
Lastly, keep calm and don't get flustered.

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Patricia Fierro, M. Sc.  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:29
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Over 600 thousand words Mar 29, 2004


I think it is over 600 thousand words and that would mean that if you translate around 2 thousand per day it will take you a whole year to translate this book. I would try to split the book with other translators unless it is a fascinating subject that you are willing to translate every day.


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Pablo Grosschmid  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
negotiate IPRs Mar 29, 2004

if the book is interesting, and you think that it may have more than one editon, charge half your rate for the first edition, reserving IPRs for the future, and give a deadline of twice the time you would need full-time.

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Iris70  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:29
English to Dutch
Thanks for all the feedback! Mar 30, 2004

Hello Harry, Samual, Bob, Narasimhan, Patricia and Pablo.

Thank you all for the words of advice and feedback. I think I have a pretty good idea now on how to proceed. And yes the amount does seem like a lot when you add it all together, but then is the amount of time that will go into it!
Thanks again

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