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How would you charge for this?
Thread poster: Paula McMullan
Paula McMullan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:10
French to English
Jan 11, 2007

I have been asked to travel to a notary's office to translate a will in front of the notary so that it can be certified.

How would you charge for this?

a fixed rate
an hourly rate
if so, would you charge for travelling time?

It's an odd request and I'm not sure how happy I would be translating without my comfort blanket dicos and interweb....

Any advice will be gratefully received.

P


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Charge Jan 11, 2007

Charge an hourly rate and for traveling time unless it is insignificant. Be sure you are comfortable about the subject matter; you will probably be sight translating the document to the person, and you will not have all day to be thinking or searching in dictionaries or the Net.

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Paula McMullan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:10
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Good advice Jan 11, 2007

Thanks, Henry. The more I consider this, the more uncomfortable I feel about it.

They say they may be able to get me the text beforehand, but if not, then there's no way I'll do it.

I appreciate your taking the time to reply.

P


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:10
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Ask for a rough draft... Jan 11, 2007

Paula McMullan wrote:

Thanks, Henry. The more I consider this, the more uncomfortable I feel about it.

They say they may be able to get me the text beforehand, but if not, then there's no way I'll do it.

P


... otherwise, I too would definitely feel uncomfortable with a job like that.
Honestly, I doubt the notary will draft the will right then and there in front of you! If you can get a rough draft, you can translate it to use as reference. Any changes are bound to be minor (obviously, you have to check).
At that point, I'd charge a regular translation rate, plus the time you're actually at the office.
I have done quite a few jobs for local notaries, and I always get a copy ahead of time. Changes are often made while I'm there, so I always take my legal dictionary with me. I charge for the translation, and then by the hour for my time at the notary's office.
HTH
Catherine


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:10
Dutch to English
+ ...
From one lawyer to another ... Jan 11, 2007

Hi Paula,

I do quite a bit of ST (sight translation) at the local notary here in Portugal.

She reads out the will, deed of transfer, power of attorney, etc to the client in Portuguese. I then translate off it (i.e. "at sight") into English.

It's a borderline exercise between translation and interpretation because your input is written and your output is oral.

There is no time really for checking in dictionaries etc, although I keep a monolingual legal dictionary handy in case something really unusual crops up. (The bilingual legal dictionaries available in Portugal aren't worth the added weight!).

I never get the document beforehand (but that could just be the way it works here, everything is done at no. 99, at least in Algarve).

The notary lets me and the parties present (and/or their lawyers) read the Portuguese beforehand, so we can help spot any errors etc, amendments are made on the PC, it's printed and she reads out the final draft, as required under Portuguese law.

While she is doing this, I'm following on my copy and am expected to immediately follow on. If I spot anything unusual, I ask for a short recess to check it out before starting.

Accuracy is obviously very important. No need to say more, you're legally qualified too!

Whole thing from start to finish is usually over within half a hour IF everyone appears on time - punctuality isn't always a great trait down here, although most parties respect the notary.

With your background you should be fine. It was a bit nerve-wracking for me first time and I'm a lawyer too. But if you get over that hurdle, it's actually nice to get out and meet some people again for a change. You also build up good contacts with the notary, other lawyers, bank managers etc.

It's an ideal niche for someone who is legally qualified like you. Push for the draft obviously, but otherwise read up on law of succession beforehand and refresh your memory if it wasn't your area of practice - it's not as bad as you think: when you're done, you'll see what I mean.

How to charge? - I charge a (high) fixed rate for the assignment that takes my travelling time into account and the fact that to do this specific type of sight-translating properly requires a solid legal background.

I warn the client beforehand if we are kept waiting for any reason, I'm adding an hourly rate to that for every hour (or portion thereof) of standing time. I take payment there and then and issue my official tax receipt.

NB: remember to take ID with you (e.g. passport) and remind your client to do the same.

Hope this helps
Deborah




[Edited at 2007-01-11 19:06]


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Alp Berker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:10
Turkish to English
+ ...
Take or borrow a laptop with you if you have one Jan 12, 2007

Hi Paula,
If you have a laptop take it with you if it isn't too much trouble. you could look items during a recess or go online through a wireless card or plug into the LAN network with a cable. This would allow you to look up things online quickly. Even if you couldn't get online you might be able to run some dictionaries or other useful software that might assist you in the process.


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Paula McMullan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:10
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Deborah, thanks so much for this insight. Jan 16, 2007

Your posting was really helpful, Deborah. I have to say that I was a little taken aback by the request, particularly since probate law is not my area at all.

I actually decided not to pursue the offer - I would prefer to stick to what I am good at and fortunately do not have to take up every offer of work.

I am always a little anxious about being held liable as a solicitor for any legal translation I do. I am not practising and not holding myself out as such, but you never know! People always look for the deep pockets.

All the best and thanks for taking the time to reply.

Paula


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Paula McMullan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:10
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Alp, thanks so much for your reply Jan 16, 2007

As you will see from my posting to Deborah, I decided not to take this assignment. I always use at least 4 dicos (which are quite heavy) and very often don't find what I need in them.

It was too far out of my comfort zone to be honest.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.

All the best

Paula


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