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Proofreading rates
Thread poster: Libero_Lang_Lab

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:25
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jan 12, 2007

Hi,
I don't tend to take on proofreading jobs, but have been approached about one that I am tempted to take on because of the subject matter. I was wondering what rates people generally charge - by the word. Any feedback would be most appreciated.

Many thanks,
Dan


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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Half.. Jan 12, 2007

your translation per word rate or, as most agencies do in the US, your per hour rate. Please remember to check the client's budget for proofreading - do not be shy to ask. Couple of times I had a problem - the proofing time varies significantly depending on the subject and quality of translation - and now I always ask to see the text first and then discuss the necessary time and budget.

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Cecilia Di Vita  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:25
English to Italian
+ ...
have a look here Jan 12, 2007

Dear Daniel,
please have a look at this previous thread in this same forum. Maybe it can help you in taking the right approach.

http://www.proz.com/topic/62554

Regards
Cecilia


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:25
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Make sure to get the translation to be proofed beforehand... Jan 12, 2007

... remembering that a rate by the word could become very costly in case of poor quality. I also charge by the hour whenever possible.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:25
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Standards Jan 12, 2007

Hi Dan,

Averages in the convention industry calculate an output of 500 translated words/hour and 1,200 proofread words/hour (the ratio is hence 500/1,200 to assure equity in output). Translation bureaux further refine such conditions as applying to texts not containing more than 4 errors for every 1,200 words. This would yield a 40-50% rate over translation rate or the equivalent hour rate for 500 translated words.

This is by way of orientation. As Steffen says, quality (see above figures on error margin) is critical in calculating your final figure.

Hope it helps.

Ceci


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 04:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Hi Dan Jan 12, 2007

It's 3-4 cents/word. I'm sure you'll stop and start negotiating again the minute you feel like being forced into editing.

I would provide all the rates - proofreading, editing and translation, accompanied by the remark addressing possible charges in the event of poor quality. This way you'll have a reference point for further negotiations and/or a legitimate reason to politely return something unacceptable for mere proofreading.

Better read it first:-)


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Alexandre Coutu
Canada
Local time: 04:25
English to French
Per hour Jan 13, 2007

In Canada, the vast majority of people charge per hour and it's usually in the $CAN 40-45/hour range.

Per word might work with someone whose work you know. Otherwise, per hour is far more advantageous and you can hand in a better product without rushing.

Parrot: WHO CAN CONTINUALLY OUTPUT 500 WORDS/HOUR?!? It's much closer to 200-250 or maybe 300, but certainly not 500. The Canadian government asks of its employees that it translate 210-220 words per hour.

[Edited at 2007-01-13 04:01]


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 04:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Not quite, IMHO Jan 13, 2007

Alexandre Coutu wrote:

In Canada, the vast majority of people charge per hour and it's usually in the $CAN 40-45/hour range.

[Edited at 2007-01-13 04:01]


Alexandre, I believe you are quoting editing rates.

As for 210 words/hour - looks like government employees everywhere are much more comfortable than mere mortals:-).


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xxxMalik Beytek
Local time: 12:25
That's a reasonable employer! Jan 13, 2007

Alexandre Coutu wrote:

"... The Canadian government asks of its employees that it translate 210-220 words per hour...."[Edited at 2007-01-13 04:01]


That's a reasonable employer!

I probably average higher than that, but in making work plans, I take 200 words per hour as basis, so that's 1500-2000 words per day. Most agencies in Ankara spurn that (that'all? poor thing! you'll never survive?) and they immediately mention their translators who do 600 words per hour, or 25 pages a day!

Does that Canadian Gov'mint standard happen to be found on the web? Maybe we could promote that as some sort of official standard?


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:25
English to French
+ ...
Charge by the hour Jan 15, 2007

In order to avoid sleepless night unpaid for and ripping your hair out over poor quality text, I would also go with the hourly rate. Just make sure you don't charge a separate, lower hourly rate for proofing - an hour of your time is an hour of your time and no matter what you do during that hour, it should always be worth the same thing.

Also, make sure that when you and the client say proofreading, it is what really is meant. If they use the word proofreading when they mean editing, you will be giving them a rebate - unless of course you charge by the hour, hehe...

I invite you to read an article in which the difference between the two services is outlined, along with some tips and tricks on proofing and editing: http://www.proz.com/doc/543

All the best!


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Alexandre Coutu
Canada
Local time: 04:25
English to French
Or less! Jan 19, 2007

I actually just learnt that the Manitoba provincial government asks 800 words a day of their novice translators and 1000 once they are more experienced. Now I agree that that seems pretty low but they often translate texts that will have a lot of visibility in the public.

I consider myself a rather fast translator - at intermediate level, I would say - and I can do maybe 300-350 words an hour on a simple text and only over a few hours. Now, come on, an average of 500 words an hour?!? Seems very unlikely. That would mean that the average translator in Canada would make around a $100/hour, or $180 000 CAN annually with one month holidays. The actual number is much closer to a third of that. Which brings us back to the 200 or less words an hour range.


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TTilch  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
English to German
+ ...
Rates based on 1,000 words proof-read by hour / about one third of translation rate Jan 23, 2007

Hi,

Our experience is that it is usually assumed that you can proof-read about 1,000 words per hour and payment is usually about one third of the translation rate.

Of course, this concept only works on the assumption that the translation was done by an experienced, mother-tongue speaker with extensive experience in the subject matter of the text. The text should not have to be completely re-written, i.e. there should only be very few spelling mistakes (usually of the kind which are not found by spellcheckers, spellchecking is the translator's job), minor grammatical mistakes, improvements in style, correction of misunderstandings, etc.

As to the rate: If you assume, for example, that the agency itself gets about 14 cents per word and pays 7 cents to the translator for translation, then the proof-reader will get about 2.5 cent per word for proofing, as the agency itself will need the remaining 4 cents to cover its own expenses. With 1,000 words per hour that gives you an hourly rate of about 25 euros/dolllars. This should give you an idea how to calculate what to charge.

The reason why it is necessary to agree on a rate per xx words is that the agency cannot forsee how fast you actually work and they, too, need to quote a price in advance and cannot just re-adjust it without any sensible reasoning.

Best regards,

Tanja


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Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:25
English to Spanish
a bad experience with proofreading Feb 16, 2007

Hi

I do not know which agency contacted you, but I hope is not the one I have in mind* and that you deal with the situation better than me. It may serve as a warning to people considering doing proofreading work.

I was not long ago offered to do, for the first time, proofreading work. I like the subject the agency is specialised in and would very much like to learn about the field , but because I was not specialised in it, they offered me a low hourly rate. I accepted the rate after being told it would be just a temporary arrangement.

The surprise came later though, when I saw that the quality of the first text was simply appalling (lines, paragraphs, pages missing, lots of typos, and a long etc.) and, when it came to calculating the PO, they assumed I could proofread 2000 words per hour.

Because the first translation was unusually bad, they made an exception and paid more than hours in the original PO, but this is not the case in the following assignments, where they insist in working out in the PO the exact hours I will be paid on a 2000words/hour basis.**

I wonder if any one knows how to get out of this one. I have insisted they do their PO on a 1500words/hour basis and that I would charge only the amount of time it took me, but to no avail. I suppose I will eventually have to say "No" to the jobs from this agency, even if I like the field. Very discouraging indeed.

Regards,

Marta


*I will not mention the agency, but I will, in due course (when I work a bit more for them, if I do), rate them in the BlueBoard

**The translations are generally very long (20000-30000 words) which makes it very difficult to work out whether the PO estimation is fair or not

[Edited at 2007-02-16 10:38]


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