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How much to charge for an editing job??
Thread poster: Andrea Riffo

Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:51
English to Spanish
Jul 7, 2005

I was recently asked to edit a translation, and I have no idea how much I should charge for it. Do you usually charge per hour or per word (I think this person will be more willing to accept if I charge her per word)?


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:51
Member (2005)
German to Spanish
Usually Jul 7, 2005

is a 1/3 of your rate per word. But be careful, take first a look at the job. Sometimes it is better/easier to translate all again as to edit it


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rate varies Jul 7, 2005

Imagine a translation so good that you only need to read it, and perhaps mark a change or two, or even fewer, per page.

Now imagine a translation that is so bad that some of it is unintelligible, and the parts that you can understand are only comprehensible because of your knowledge of the source language.

Clearly the difference in time required for these two cases will vary by a factor of 10 or even more.

Most editing jobs are somewhere in between these two cases, but both of the above extremes are realistic scenarios.

The best way to price editing is, therefore, by the hour. If the client needs to know your quote for the entire job before you start, calculate it on the basis of some sample passages. Be sure to review the whole document before making your estimate, to ensure that your samples are representative of the entire document.

[Edited at 2005-07-07 19:57]

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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:51
French to English
+ ...
I agree Jul 7, 2005

Good words to go by, GoodWords!

[Edited at 2005-07-07 19:37]

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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:51
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Let the customer decide Jul 8, 2005

A different approach that I have used successfully on a few occasions is to let the customer decide.

After all, some customers want full proofreading ahead of publication, others want an improved text but not necessarily perfect, yet others may want the text purely for internal purposes and just want the worst mistakes removed.

First I look at the text and decide whether it is good enough to be edited rather than retranslated.

Let's take as an example a text of say 3,000 words written by a non-native speaker, of a good standard but with some spelling or grammatical errors, some strange expressions etc.

Normally I would estimate that it needs a minimum of two hours just to read through and apply basic proofreading. More time could be spent on refining the text.

So I tell the customer that two hours work is the minimum - that will clean up the text and get rid of the worst mistakes. But 4 or 5 hours work will produce a much more refined text. The customer can choose any length of time between two and five hours. That way the customer gets the level of quality wanted, and I get some work - and both sides are happy.

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Marion Sadoux
Local time: 20:51
English to French
+ ...
Proofreading rates Jul 8, 2005

I totally agree with Peter.
In the UK there seems to be a standard rate (but is there ever?)of £20.00 per hour for proofreading translations. I think that it is extremely important to accept this sort of work with great caution and indeed ask to see a sample of the translation first, then negociate how long you believe that it may take once you receive the text. Two hours for a first overview of 3000 words seems right to me.
My latest job in this field took overall 8 hours for approximately 4000 words.
Beware of texts that need to be entirely retranslated though!

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