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Proofreading charge (Swedish)
Thread poster: Thomas Johansson

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
Member (2005)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Apr 15, 2006


I have a problem with how to calculate my price for a proofreading job.

I have been asked to proofread three academic papers. They are written in Swedish (original language), in the field of sociology (though not very technical in terminology), and have a total of 74 pages or 31,119 words. Overall, they are all pretty well written and appear to have received a basic proofreading by the authors themselves, but there remain certain issues with punctuation, sometimes spelling, consistency in the use of italics and quotes, unnecessary use of anglicisms, etc.

My question is:

What could my client (an agency) reasonable expect me to charge for this job, based on the total number of pages (74 pages) or the total number of words (31,119 words)?

Maybe it is relevant to know that when I translate for this client I usually charge 0.08 euro per source word. I suppose my charge for the present proofreading job somehow should be consistent with that price level.

I would be grateful for any feedback,

Thomas Johansson

PS! I will actually charge per hour of work for this job, but as it takes me a lot of time, I want to make sure that my total charge does not exceed what could be reasonably expected by my client.

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Ala Rabie  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
Japanese to Arabic
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Percentage? Apr 15, 2006

Have you considered charging like 60% of your regular translation rates?

Also, how about calculating per hour based on your capacity. i.e. 31,119 at 300 words per hour = 103.73 hours x your hourly rate = you do the math

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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
Member (2006)
English to Italian
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30-50%? Apr 15, 2006

I am what you might call a translator newby, but
it is my understanding that there is not a fixed rule.
My researches show that for a light proofreading/editing an amount ranging from 30 to 50% of your usual rate seems reasonable.
In your case 0.024 to 0.04 euro, depending on complexity.

You can also take a look at this useful site:



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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
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Estimate based on a sample Apr 15, 2006

When faced with the problem you describe, I construct an estimate based on a sample. I set a timer to run for a preset period (ranging from 20 minutes for a shorter text to 1 hour for a longer one) and go to work on a representative part of the text. When the period ends, I check how many words/pages I was able to complete, then extrapolate to produce an estimate for the entire text. When quoting, I add about 15% for unforeseen problems, telling the client that it will probably cost about X (the estimated figure), but that it may go as high as Y (the estimate + 15%).

It sounds as though you have already examined the papers thoroughly, so you will not meet any surprises, i.e. sections of text quite different in quality, difficulty or style from the section you might select as a sample. Nevertheless, you might want to do a sample from each paper, unless you can already tell that the three papers will be similar enough. In any case, for academic papers, I generally estimate the bibliography separately, as the types of corrections and research needed for these tends to be quite different from the main text of the paper.

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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:01
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
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Rule of thumb or let the customer decide Apr 16, 2006

I enjoy proofreading, but I have to admit it can be a more hazardous job than translation. For a start, if an error survives your proofreading, it is your fault even if it was originally written by the author or translator. Who pays for the re-printing?

The other problem is that if the text is well-written, proofreading is easy. But if it is not well-written, the proofreading job becomes more difficult exponentially, and you may find yourself spending a huge amount of time on trying to reconstruct the text.

Having said all that, I work on a rule of thumb of 1,000 words per hour for an averagely written text, rising to 1,500 words per hour for a well-written text.

An alternative approach is to let the customer decide. Let's assume that the text is, as you say, pretty well-written. By my rule of thumb, that suggests about 21 hours work.

But you could offer the customer a choice - 10 hours for basic proofreading, to get rid of the worst mistakes, 20 hours would give better results, while the optimum would be 30 hours careful proofreading for a perfect result.

That way the customer can choose the quality wanted, rather than having a single take it or leave it price, you get some work, and both sides are happy.

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Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
Member (2005)
English to Swedish
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Thanks! Apr 18, 2006

Thank you all! This was very helpful.

Based on the feedback, I decided to assume that 1,000-1,500 words per hour is a reasonable speed and thus found that the number of hours I have actually spent was reasonable and that I could invoice my agency the corresponding amount with good conscience.


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Proofreading charge (Swedish)

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