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Rates per character / line
Thread poster: María Teresa Taylor Oliver

María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 06:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 5, 2005

Hello, dear ProZers!

This issue has probably been raised before, but I cannot find a post in the forums that relates to it, so I will ask again (sorry if I'm repeating a question here).

I'm curious about per-character and per-line rates, since I'm only familiar with per-word and per-page rates.

I have no idea where these characters or lines come from! I mean... per character? per line? Aren't we translators supposed to work with, well, whole WORDS? I'd think a per-word rate should make more sense and/or be the standard, well, standard.

Anyway, I need to know how the current per- character rate goes for English into Spanish, since I have no idea.

I would really appreciate it if someone could orient me a bit.

Thank you!

P.S.: sorry for the typos, mistakes, etc., it's 2am and I'm dozing off.


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:26
Member
English to Turkish
May depend on the language Sep 5, 2005

Hi Maria Teresa,

Per-line rate is applied in Germanic languages, as far as I know. When you have to write Krankenversicherungsinstitut, for example (I hope a German speaker will correct me if the spelling is wrong), how can you charge by the word? As for charging by the character, I don't know if there is any language-peculiar characteristic that justifies it, but in my pair (English-Turkish), I don't accept per-character rating, because the next step in asking for it, on the part of the client, is suggesting a character-based rate without spaces. Heh! There was a very witty suggestion on that, here in Proz forums, I'll link to it if I can find the thread, and according to that one, if a client asks for it, you can well answer, "OfcourseIcanchargeyouwithoutthespacesandyoucanaddthespacesyourselflateron!"


[Edited at 2005-09-05 07:28]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:26
German to English
+ ...
Rates per character / line Sep 5, 2005

Maria Teresa Taylor Oliver wrote:

I mean... per character? per line? Aren't we translators supposed to work with, well, whole WORDS? I'd think a per-word rate should make more sense and/or be the standard, well, standard.


How long is your standard word going to be? Five characters? Please explain the reasons for your decision, using words of five characters only.

Here in Germany, the standard billing unit is the line of 55 characters. We even have legislation defining it. It does have its advantages, one being that differences in the number of characters between the source and target language (at least where European languages are concerned) tend to be much smaller than differences in numbers of words. Another is that it is easier to define a "character" than a "word".

Marc


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 14:26
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
You type characters one by one, dont you? Sep 5, 2005

Prices calculated on the basis of text-volume (in Word you get it from the Statistics function) is more friendly to the translator than on the basis of "words". Every software uses another algorithm for counting words, so you never know what you actually get when an outsourcer claims "10000 words".
When you save a text as .txt you see already from the filesize how many characters there are.
In GErmany 55 characters is one standard line, in Scandinavia mostly 60 chars.


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Momoka  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:26
Japanese to Spanish
+ ...
In Japanese Sep 5, 2005

Charge based on character count is the standard in Japan, at least when it comes to translations from Japanese. We don't have spaces here, so if you don't understand the language you won't be able to say where a word ends and the next starts. It was really hard for me at first, not knowing where to stop to look up a "word?" in the dictionary, and even sometimes attaching prepositions to the words they followed or preceded.
So at least in Japan, rates are based on character count.
Just one case!


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:26
German to English
+ ...
Anyone for word rate roulette? Sep 5, 2005

Rules of the game:

1. Forget to agree whether the job is to be paid by source or target language. Depending on your language pair, the resulting fee could differ by 30 per cent or more. Invariably, the translator will then believe that the higher rate is payable, but the agency or translation buyer will be convinced that the lower fee should be paid. This would be a glorious gold mine for lawyers, except that translators can't afford lawyers, so even the lawyers don't make a fortune out of this game.

2. Have a standard word rate for all jobs without differentiating the type of text or length of the words.
Go and get a grip on yourself = 7 words.
Excruciating verbal diarrhoea = 3 words.
(These two samples are equal in the number of characters, but players of "WORD RATE ROULETTE" will notice the exciting potential for variations in the fee at the end of the day.)

Adherents of the game will notice that under rule 2, translation buyers must make sure that they only send heavily specialised texts with long and complicated words for translation, because this is the best way to put the translator in his or her place and make him /her thankful for every one-cent-a-word job that comes along.

HAPPY GAMBLING TO ALL OF YOU.


P.S.
Serious sub-text:
I normally charge by defined lines (55 ***keystrokes***, which is not necessarily the same as 55 characters, depending on how you define the word characters). Sometimes I charge by other quantities (e.g. 1000 keystrokes), but I don't think I have ever charged by words, and I have no plans to do so.

[Edited at 2005-09-05 09:04]

[Edited at 2005-09-05 09:06]


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María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 06:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! I need to know the standard per-character rate for EN>ES in Lat. Am. Sep 5, 2005

Hmm... Thank you all, you've elightened me about the usage of per-character and per-line rates over per-word...

I'm used to working with per-word rates because that is the standard where I live (well, not exactly, here, some people are still using per-page rates, which I find very inaccurate, but agencies all use per-word). I know it's not exact either (but what is, right?), since of course, say, 4,000 words in a legal text differ greatly from 4,000 words in a medical text, for example, and so on. But, well, that is what I'm used to. Maybe with time we'll evolve to other, more precise methods. In the meantime, that is what we're working with here

However, I still need to know what is the standard per-character rate from English into Spanish (in the Latin American region, to be more precise), since I have to send my quote to a potential client and I have no idea how to calculate this

Any ideas?

Thank you very much!


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 13:26
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
If you have a document at hand... Sep 5, 2005

...you could do this.

* Have Word do a word count (it will come up with word count, line count, character count with and without spaces and paragraph count);
* Apply you usual word rate to the word count;
* Divide the overall rate you come up with for the document with the number of characters - WITH spaces, I suggest ;=) - or with the number of lines, and then you will have something to tell your potential client.

Just a suggestion.
Good luck with this.


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María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 06:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you :) This is a handy tool... Sep 6, 2005

PCovs wrote:

...you could do this.

* Have Word do a word count (it will come up with word count, line count, character count with and without spaces and paragraph count);
* Apply you usual word rate to the word count;
* Divide the overall rate you come up with for the document with the number of characters - WITH spaces, I suggest ;=) - or with the number of lines, and then you will have something to tell your potential client.

Just a suggestion.
Good luck with this.


I did what you told me, but I came up with a very low rate and I had no clue if it was correct or not, and I was trying to figure it out, and then decided to search in Google for "translation rates" and such, and I came up with another thread here at Proz http://www.proz.com/topic/26006, in which Alison Riddell-Kachur talks about an online tool, I used it, and it's really easy to understand, you don't have to download anything, so I thought I'd post it here in this thread, too, for future reference

========
Alison Riddell-Kachur wrote:

I like to use "fee wizard" - you have to input some of your own statistics (from past translations you have done) before you can use it. It's available online or as a download, and allows you to calculate in various currencies per word, per line, and a whole host more!

http://www.amtrad.it/feewizard.php

HTH

Alison
==============

Thanks, everyone!

[Edited at 2005-09-06 05:59]


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 13:26
French to Dutch
+ ...
ANd... Sep 6, 2005

Victor Dewsbery wrote:

Rules of the game:

1. Forget to agree whether the job is to be paid by source or target language. Depending on your language pair, the resulting fee could differ by 30 per cent or more. Invariably, the translator will then believe that the higher rate is payable, but the agency or translation buyer will be convinced that the lower fee should be paid.

2. Have a standard word rate for all jobs without differentiating the type of text or length of the words.

3. Forget to read the PO. You will see that if your quote is in EUR, the PO will be stated in US dollars.


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diana bb  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 14:26
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
The trick worked! Sep 6, 2005

Xola wrote:

Hi Maria Teresa,

Per-line rate is applied in Germanic languages, as far as I know. When you have to write Krankenversicherungsinstitut, for example (I hope a German speaker will correct me if the spelling is wrong), how can you charge by the word? As for charging by the character, I don't know if there is any language-peculiar characteristic that justifies it, but in my pair (English-Turkish), I don't accept per-character rating, because the next step in asking for it, on the part of the client, is suggesting a character-based rate without spaces. Heh! There was a very witty suggestion on that, here in Proz forums, I'll link to it if I can find the thread, and according to that one, if a client asks for it, you can well answer, "OfcourseIcanchargeyouwithoutthespacesandyoucanaddthespacesyourselflateron!"


[Edited at 2005-09-05 07:28]



Here in Lithuania payment per-character is very popular and most agencies pay for a page consisting of a certain number of characters, from 1800 to 1600 per page.

As for 'ofcourseicanchargeyouwithoutspaces' - believe it or not, it worked for me on a couple of occasions! Once the client was shocked when I told them that spaces are included in the character count. 'It's OK with me, if you prefer the translation without them,' I said.

Regards,

Diana

PS: Here is the link to that excellent exchange between a client and a translator that Xola mentions in her posting:

http://www.proz.com/topic/22696

I can't stop laughing now

D.

[Edited at 2005-09-06 12:20]


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