Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
What to charge for menu translation
Thread poster: Klaudia Kowalewska
Klaudia Kowalewska  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
English to Polish
Dec 19, 2007

Dear all,
could anyone advise me in this matter. My master thesis was on translation of menus, but I haven't done it so far. I want to approach some of the local restaurants offering my translation services but not sure what I should ask for that. Menus are a specific kind of text and I don't think rate per word should be applied. In many cases I believe it will be necessary to talk to the chef/cooks in order to come up with the best translation. Do you think hourly rate is the best option? Tell me what you think.
Thank you,
Klaudia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:16
French to Spanish
+ ...
Interesting... Dec 19, 2007

...I have no idea about how to charge, but I (we) often see colleagues asking for translations like "Soufflé de jamón ibérico à la crème étouffée sur nappe de choux de Bruxelles au poivre de Cayenne". Gee!
As you say, dishes may often be only from that restaurant [You know: "cuisine d'auteur", they call it now] and that is a problem, except if you're in direct contact with the chef.

Well, best of lucks.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 06:16
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
No hope for that Dec 19, 2007

The chef will have other things on his mind than talking to you. I apply my usual rates for menus. At least its more fun than technical manuals. And after a while the dishes start to reappear and it becomes routine.
Cheers
Heinrich


Direct link Reply with quote
 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:16
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
flat fee Dec 19, 2007

As you will deal with restaurants owners directly they probably don't have a clue regarding translation practice.

Menus come in various size, but I suppose they are readable outside the restaurant. You could check what is on offer and propose a flat fee for the whole menu and also offer an up-dating service when they change an item.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:16
Portuguese to English
fun but unprofitable Dec 19, 2007

It can be fun and very satisfying translating menus, especially if you have a good understanding of your source culture's gastronomy.

However, I think most colleagues would agree that restaurants are not willing to pay very much to translate their menus, and the small amount of words involved (and therefore the fee) does not justify the large amount of research you need to do. I enjoyed all those that I've done but I lost money on all of them.

I think nordiste's idea of a flat fee is sensible, but it would have to be low and you must not expect to get rich (or even to pay the rent) from this.

I just wonder if translating cookery/recipe books might be more profitable. They contain many more words after all. I have no idea how one woulf go about that, however.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Try to team up with some local DTP artist Dec 19, 2007

Restaurants are in the food business. Certainly not in translation nor publishing. They want to sell their grub, and one of the most usual ways to do it is with menus. [Another, used mostly - if not only - in the USA is having waiters recite all the specials of the day as fast as they can.]

So they want a ready solution. Unless you can handle the graphic part of it yourself, and therefore offer the whole package, it's likely that some DTP artists are offering menus in the local language.

Again, these people are in the DTP business, not translation. (I'm an exception being in both.) So they could offer their clients professionally translated menus too. It's good for them, as they will have to typeset your translation, and good for you, because they'll be doing part of the legwork for you.

So next time you go to a restaurant, check if the menu shows somewhere who made it.

Just an idea...





On a side track, "Crêpes flambées à l'essence" sounds apparently delicious for speakers of any language... but French!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:16
French to English
Hourly rate Dec 19, 2007

I've done quite a few menu translations over the years and have found that an hourly rate is the most fair for all involved, given the research required sometimes. The clients never seemed to have a problem with this.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jennifer Hejtmankova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 05:16
Member (2007)
Czech to English
+ ...
Forget money - get food! Dec 19, 2007

I offer to proofread menus in exchange for a (three-course) meal....

Direct link Reply with quote
 
French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:16
French to English
+ ...
I disagree! Dec 19, 2007

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

The chef will have other things on his mind than talking to you. I apply my usual rates for menus. At least its more fun than technical manuals. And after a while the dishes start to reappear and it becomes routine.
Cheers
Heinrich


I did my MA on culinary translation as well, and I find that the chefs I work with are *more than happy* to discuss the details of their work with me to ensure the best translation possible. After all, the menu is a reflection of their work, it's their image at stake.
I price on a project-by-project basis. You're right, a regular per word rate would certainly not be profitable, given the amount of research that is often required. I tend to work on a per-dish basis, or a flat rate if the menu is short.
Frankly, I'm quite surprised at some of the replies posted about menu translation being unprofitable. I make very good money translating menus (through direct clients, not agencies), but I think it is vital to market yourself well when you approach chefs, hotels and restaurants. A menu is advertising for a restaurant, and if you pitch it this way, you can definitely convince them that it is worth setting aside a good budget for it.

PS I agree with Jen - I also try to convince them that I will be able to provide a more accurate translation if I can actually taste the stuff

[Edited at 2007-12-20 08:02]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:16
Member (2003)
French to English
Hourly rate Dec 19, 2007

An hourly rate is ideal because of the research involved - otherwise as a guideline I charge 30-35% on top of my standard rate.

Bon appétit!
Karen


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:16
Dutch to English
+ ...
MA in Culinary Translation? Dec 19, 2007

Not knocking it - as I can't boil an egg and so wouldn't touch creative menus with a barge pole (I know my limits and cuisine is one of them) - , but really curious - what *exactly* did this entail?

[Edited at 2007-12-20 14:08]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:16
Swedish to English
+ ...
Note from a non-foodie Dec 19, 2007

A dish could be anything from "Beans on toast" or "Waldorf salad" to "Grilled searated tuna on a bed of spicy roasted vegetables with a complement of fresh seasonal greens ". Or something more creative, depending on the chef. So how much do you charge for a dish?

Mara Bertelsen wrote:
I tend to work on a per-dish basis, or a flat rate if the menu is short.


And how much research do you actually have to do Karen? Unless the chef has been extremely creative, you could wake me up in the middle of the night and get an almost perfect translation for most menu items I've ever come across.

[Edited at 2007-12-19 23:02]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:16
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Usual rate Dec 20, 2007

I apply my usual translation rate for menus.

[Edited at 2007-12-20 03:57]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree, but... Dec 20, 2007

Erika Pavelka wrote:

I've done quite a few menu translations over the years and have found that an hourly rate is the most fair for all involved, given the research required sometimes. The clients never seemed to have a problem with this.


I think it depends on the client. I'd go for an hourly rate if possible, but some clients prefer a more tangible rate. An agency recently asked me to translate a menu; I told them I'd only do it if I could charge by the hour. They promptly found someone else to do it. I suppose it depends on whether the client is a direct client or not.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:16
Member (2003)
French to English
Research Dec 20, 2007

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

And how much research do you actually have to do Karen? Unless the chef has been extremely creative, you could wake me up in the middle of the night and get an almost perfect translation for most menu items I've ever come across.

[Edited at 2007-12-19 23:02]


Obviously it depends on the menu - which generally means it depends on the class of restaurant. If they're serving Waldorf salads and grilled tuna then none or very little, of course, but if it's a Michelin 3-star then the chef will be pretty creative! Certainly most of the things that come my way need a significant amount of time to do justice to the chef and give the diner a level of information that's useful to them.

I've run the occasional workshop on translating food and it's quite fun to get out-of-English translators thinking about how they would translate some British regional dishes into their language - try Eton Mess, Cullen Skink, Stargazy Pie, Hasty Pudding and Boodles Orange Fool to start and you'll see where the research comes in!

[Edited at 2007-12-20 07:00]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

What to charge for menu translation

Advanced search


Translation news





Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs