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How much should I charge for a book as a novice translator?
Thread poster: Jenn_seo
Jenn_seo
United States
Local time: 16:36
Korean to English
Jul 15, 2005

I've just recently begun translating from Korean to English. I have completed a book, which is in the process of being published. Now, I was totally new in this career and the job was offered to me by a friend without my searching for them, so I accepted a minimal fee of $2500 per book. Now I have no background in translation. My B.A. was in English literature and M.A. in teaching English. Currently, another person offered me to translate 4 of his non-fiction books. I am trying to find out the average fee for the translation work. All of the books are about 250 to 300 pages long in Korean. How much rate should I charge per source word? Please advise me!

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Jussi Rosti  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:36
Member (2005)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Depends on many things Jul 15, 2005

Where do you live? Please find a translator assosiation - they should be able to help you. Better yet, join one.

$2500 sounds like much too little.

Just to give some understanding: In Finland, year 2003, for 32 000 character (about 16 pages), the average was €291, this for "good" literature. For less ambitious prose, €269. For children's books, €253. And finally, for non-fiction, €263.

For poetry, this spring, I got about €20 a page.

Thus, these are averages from the cold north, prices vary depending on books, publishers, languages, countries etc.

Hope this helps,
-jr


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Jenn_seo
United States
Local time: 16:36
Korean to English
TOPIC STARTER
More info. about my situation Jul 15, 2005

Thanks for that info.

Well, more facts about my situation--I live in California, U.S.A., and the person offering the job lives in Korea. In Korea, an average salary is about two-thirds of the average salary in U.S. How would that affect the way I decide on my rate? Should I even consider the person's situation, or should I just go by the average rate in the U.S., which would be costly for him?


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Jussi Rosti  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:36
Member (2005)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Hmm Jul 15, 2005

Difficult situation.

I guess they can't afford better prices. You should get twice as much.

Maybe you continue with this agreement and get some extra support from some instance, e.g. some foundation Korea-USA or something?

I don't know how it is in States, but in Finland even the local foundations may help in culturally important translation work.

I'd say you should join in some related association to get more information about the possibilities.

Good luck,
-jr


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:36
Member
English to Turkish
Professional Development forum Jul 15, 2005

Hi Jenn_seo,

To expand on Jussi's good advice, may I suggest you take a look at the Professional Development forum? You may learn about such possibilities mentioned, or at least have some ideas, precedents perhaps.

Best of luck


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