Paid per source or target language
Thread poster: eva75

eva75
English
+ ...
Jul 31, 2006

Up to now, I've been charging per source language. What is the usual industry pratcice for english translators?

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Nadia-Anastasia Fahmi  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 11:41
English to Greek
+ ...
Depends... Jul 31, 2006

I usually quote a target rate. However, some clients want a source rate so that they can calculate the cost.

In this case, and because of the increase in word count in Greek, I quote a higher rate and everyone is happy!!

Cheers,
Nadia


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:41
Member (2004)
German to English
I prefer source unless ... Jul 31, 2006

In my language pair most (but not all) agencies seem to pay by source language - and in my view that is the best way, because then both translator and client are completely clear from the outset what the cost is going to be. In my view that is a significant advantage - if you charge by target words you can never give a firm quotation. So I always quote in source language terms. But in individual instances where the source word count isn't known or isn't readily countable (e.g. scanned or handwritten documents) it's perfectly all right to charge by target word count, without feeling that that means you should change to always charging by that method.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
I agree with Armorel Aug 1, 2006

I do the same, mostly source but sometimes target if the original is not readily countable.

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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 11:41
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Depends on language Aug 1, 2006

Some languages are word efficient, such as German and Hebrew. The word count can rise anywhere from 20-60%, depending on the context, when translated into English. In Hebrew, I only do target document since the exact amount is so variable.

Stephen Rifkind


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 10:41
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
With Henry and Armorel Aug 1, 2006

This is what I do too - source count if readily countable and target in case of scanned copies, pdf files etc.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:41
Flemish to English
+ ...
Depends on language (family) Aug 1, 2006

Except for counting the number of translated units, in the "industry" there a NO norms and rules.

So, it is wise to take the most advantageous way, which is :

Germanic>Germanic: Source.
(except for G>E)
Romance> Germanic : Source
Romance> Romance : Source
Slavonic> Romance : Target
Slavonic> Slavonic : Source
Oriental > Germanic : ??
Oriental > Romance : ??
Oriental > Slavonic : ??
Baltic > Germanic : ???
Baltic> Romance : ???
Baltic> Slavonic : ???

Reason:
Romance languages like French are more descriptive, whereas Germanic languages like German are more synthetic and the meaning can be derived from the word itself. You can almost "see" the meaning in the word.
Can I conclude that, based upon my beginners knowledge of Russian, Slavonic languages tend to be more synthetic than Germanic and Romanic?
The same question for all the other families with ???

[Edited at 2006-08-01 07:10]


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IwonaASzymaniak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:41
English to Polish
+ ...
Unfortunately Not At All Synthetic Aug 1, 2006

My native language is Polish (Slavonic). I have been translating from English and Spanish into Polish for many years, and I have always charged by the target language simply because Polish is the least concise language of the three, and I have rarely had a text in source language available as a file with readily countable words/ characters.
I would rather say that a text in English is about 30 to 40% longer in Polish, and not because I am so talkative. Polish is more descriptive and somewhat redundant as compared with other languages I know and speak. Russian is similar but perhaps to a lesser extent.
A Spanish text will be about 20 to 30% shorter than a Polish one.


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:41
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
English text will usually have some 10% more words than Polish Aug 1, 2006

SzIwonka wrote:

I would rather say that a text in English is about 30 to 40% longer in Polish, and not because I am so talkative. Polish is more descriptive and somewhat redundant as compared with other languages I know and speak. Russian is similar but perhaps to a lesser extent.
A Spanish text will be about 20 to 30% shorter than a Polish one.


It all depends how you measure the text: in Poland we usually do not count words, but number of characters and is such a case, yes, Polish text is always longer then English (don't have experience with Spanish). That's because our words tend to be much longer then English words. If you however do a wordcount - and I guess in this thread we talk about the number of words, English text will actually be longer - at least 10% or even more. In other words, Polish (and other Slavonic languages) uses less words but more letters. I guess it makes them more synthetic

It's worth to remember when you make your price-list.

Magda


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gad
United States
Local time: 04:41
Member
French to English
It depends upon the language pair Aug 2, 2006

In general, whichever version - source or target - typically contains a higher word count, that is what you want to use for your word count. This obviously changes based upon the language pair.

That is basically what Williamson and SzIwonka have already said.:)


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Usually by source word Aug 2, 2006

eva75 wrote:
Up to now, I've been charging per source language. What is the usual industry pratcice for english translators?


Only once in my 8 years of translation did I encounter a PM who wanted me to charge by target word. It was a large project and the PM was actually surprised when I invoiced on source words, and it seemed that he never even considered nor encountered a situation where the price was based on source words. He said that "translators should be paid for the words they type, not the words they read". But this is an exception, really.


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eva75
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Aug 5, 2006

Thank you all for your help. In fact, I've counted the words in the source texts, in my case French and German, and these are always more than the target English. English, or at least my English, seems to be more concise.

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