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Thread poster: Colette Kinsella
What to charge for proofreading/editing

Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 18:13
German to English
Jul 5, 2006

I'm looking for some pointers on what one shoudl charge for proofreading/editing. I usually charge per hour but a new outsourcer is asking for a word price.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Thanks.


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:13
French to English
+ ...
not the same! Jul 5, 2006

Hi Colette,

First ask your client if he/she wants proofreading or editing. They are not the same!

It is usually wise to bill for editing on an hourly basis as sometimes there can be a lot of rewriting involved. Recently, though, I had to quote by word also and averaged out the difference between what I would charge for translating and proofreading. In the end though, the job ended up requiring so much work that it reminded me once again editing should be billed hourly!

Good luck.

Patricia


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Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 18:13
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the suggestion Jul 5, 2006

Hi Patricia

Thanks for the suggestion. For proofreading I was thinking of charging a quarter of my translation rate per word and was wondering what other people would suggest.

I prefer an hourly rate, but this agency wants per word.

Thanks again.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:13
French to English
+ ...
have you seen the text? Jul 5, 2006

If you can see the text first and work out how much work needs doing, then you could estimate how many hours it would take you - then you can divide your hourly rate by the number of words to get a per-word rate for this project.

I'd be very wary of offering a per-word revising rate for a text I hadn't seen.


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xxxCSsys
Hungary
Local time: 19:13
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Agree with Angela Jul 5, 2006

Yes, maybe you should have a look at the text fisrt.

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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:13
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Variable charge Jul 5, 2006

Just to add some thoughts to the excellent advice from Patricia Lane - check whether the client wants proofreading (just checking the target text) or editing/reviewing (checking source and target).

Then Angela Dickson's important point -- look at the text first. You may then be able to estimate as Angela describes. When looking at the text, you may even decide that the text is not good enough to proofread, in other words it would take more time to proofread and correct than to translate again from scratch. That has happened to me a few times.

Assuming the text is good enough to proofread, a common rule of thumb is 1,000 words per hour, or for a very good text even 1,500. That provides a basis for calculating your rate per word.

One approach I have used successfully is to quote a minimum and maximum. I look at the text, and if it is good enough I offer to do a quick proofreading to get rid of the worst problems, ranging up to a comprehensive proofreading for best results. That gives the customer some flexibility on quality and pricing.


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Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 18:13
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Excellent advice Jul 5, 2006

Thanks to you all for the excellent tips. Not having done this before, it's hard to know what to use as a basis. And the rule of thumb of 1,000 words per hour is also very helpful.

Thanks to you all for your invaluable tips!


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zabrowa
Local time: 19:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Rates Jul 5, 2006

Would it be rude to ask what standard rates are for editing mid-quality work (ie those rendered by non-natives with a good-to-excellent but not fluent command of a language)?

I understand that this is not an easy question, but I'm looking for a range of hourly rates.

Thanks!


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:13
French to English
+ ...
a last suggestion Jul 5, 2006

When hourly pricing is used and the final bill not specifically known until the job is done, it is a good idea to keep an uncleaned "track changes" visible file in case the client feels the amount of editing work done doesn't correspond in his mind to the amount of work you did.


Patricia


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 19:13
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
33% Jul 5, 2006

I offer 33% of my translation rate as a standard answer depending on the difficulty of the task (it can be 15% if it's easy and 50-100% if the text is a disaster)

I concur with the wise advice never to give a definite price before you have seen the translation.


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:13
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Two versions - Track Changes and Clean Jul 5, 2006

To pick up on Patricia Lane's point - I always deliver 2 files - one with Track Changes switched on, with all my changes visible, plus comments to explain why I've changed various things. A second file which has been cleaned of Track Changes, and is therefore ready for use.

That pre-empts any queries by customers who believe they can English wery vell.


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:13
French to English
+ ...
track changes Jul 5, 2006


Peter Linton wrote:

To pick up on Patricia Lane's point - I always deliver 2 files - one with Track Changes switched on, with all my changes visible, plus comments to explain why I've changed various things. A second file which has been cleaned of Track Changes, and is therefore ready for use.

That pre-empts any queries by customers who believe they can English wery vell.


I tend to send the uncleaned file only if requested or there is a question in the wings. I figure the client just wants his work done, done well, and he is not necessarily concerned with all the travails we go through.

Moreover, I hold off the uncleaned version for two main reasons: my final proof is on the clean file (which thus has possible additional nit-picky changes!) and second, out of courtesy to the (unknown) translator. It may not be necessary to render visible all the changes that were made by necessity or were made because of difference in levels of writing style "polish".

If explanations are necessary in the final clean copy, I use the function "insert comment" to do so.

Each person has to figure out what works for them - and their clients - best!

Patricia


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:13
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Difference between proofing and editing Jul 5, 2006

Please do consider that the two are not the same.

What I do is charge about 30% of the per word translation rate for proofing and 50% of the per word translation rate for editing.

For proofing, only the target text is needed. In this case, the proofreader only checks that there are no typos, syntax errors, spelling errors and that the document reads overall as if it were written in that language in the first place. He/she basically checks that the document reads fine and that there are no errors in it. However, he/she does not compare the target text with the source text, which involves much more work. That's what editing is for.

An editor will compare source and target segments and will often do some research to confirm that the terminology used is correct and that the idea, not just the words, was correctly rendered in the target language. He/she will occasionally insert comments either using track changes or some other method (e. g., commenting tool in Adobe). Most importantly, he/she justifies the corrections so that the original translator has information to base their ultimate decision whether he/she will accept or refuse the correction. It comes close to translation, however, it usually takes much less time as only a minimum amount of typing is involved in this task.

So, while most anybody who understands and correctly writes the target language, as well as understands the subject of the text, can proofread a text, only a translator can really edit a text - hence the difference in rates.

For more information on this, please read the following article: http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/543/

Best of luck!

[Edited at 2006-07-05 17:43]


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Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 18:13
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jul 6, 2006

Thanks, Viktoria, and the others for the explanations and advice. I now feel more confident about knowing what to charge customers for my work.

Cheers!


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archtrans  Identity Verified
Canada
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
checking the source Jul 8, 2006

Victoria's exposé on proofreading is very welcome. The one point I would hesitate about is the idea that only the target text is needed. As good as translators are, sometimes they get the odd word wrong, and this may or may not be readily apparent to the proofreader. In such cases, it is vital to have the source text, which I usually have open in window next to the target text, scanning it occasionally.
This seems especially true for highly technical translations, but I am sure it would apply to literary works as well.
Thanks!


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