Rate for translation between English and Russian (German is my native language)
Thread poster: Sybille

Sybille  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Dec 14, 2004

I was asked by my former employer to do a translation between English (source) to Russian (target), while my native language is German.
Since I am very familiar with the topic (I have worked in-house for 28 years) I know all the terms in both languages, but never was asked to do such (transverse) translations (or how do you call them?).

Considering that it could be necessary to translate the text into German at first, if it turns out to be too complicated to do
direct English-Russian translation, which rate would offer (per word/per line) or percentual?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Sybille


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
charge as for any translation, but if feeling generous, with a small discount... Dec 14, 2004

If the translation goes from English to German for subsequent translation to Russian, then I think it's called a 'pivot' translation, with DE as the pivot language.

If I had to do this, I would charge for the first translation at my standard rate, and then for the second at a slight discount, becuase the only reduction in your work load is the in the reading and assimilation of the source text.

HTH:-)

PS! Curious how often the fact that 'reading' and 'comprehending' a text - as words, sentences, paragraphs, and finally as a text - is often disregarded as part of a translator's job.... It's why I'm very dubious about fuzzy pricing with CAT, becuase even if you have a 100% match, you still have to check how that sentence fits in with the sentences before, after, etc. And you still have to re-read the entire text on screen, and in print, to make sure that it's correct and cohesive, and that particular job is dependent on the total word count, you don't just exclude 100% matches...

[Edited at 2004-12-14 11:06]


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Sybille  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rate for translation between English and Russian (German is my native language) Dec 14, 2004

Thank you, Ailish.
But I'm afraid they expect me to do it without translating at first into German, because they know that I am familiar with the terms in both languages. However the structure of the sentence may
differ in the both (foreign) languages, so that there could appear the need that I have to translate it into German at first.

The main thought they have is: You are a translator for English and for Russian, and it is the easiest thing ever to translate from one foreign language into the other.
I'd like to tell them that it would cost some more than my usual rate (but how much more), because such complicated sentences might occur, which I have to translate into my native language at first.


Sybille

p.s. Let's wait for other comments


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 23:54
English to Russian
+ ...
I think, your usual rate, but I'm a bit puzzled Dec 14, 2004

In all honesty, I don't understand why an employer should pay for the translator's trouble to translate an assignment in English-Russian pair into German? But this world is full of miracles. If the value of your knowledge of the specific terminology is prevailing over extra pay and they clearly see the reasons pushing to chose you over someone who does not need an intermediate language, which is not only quite possible considering your 28-year experience, but also plain great, then probably editing hours would be the best choice? How lengthy the job is? There will be another Russian editor, right?



[Edited at 2004-12-14 11:29]


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 07:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Charge more than usual, and find a Russian-speaker for the editing Dec 14, 2004

Dear Sybille,

I'm also puzzled by the strange proposal of your client, but if you feel like to take the job, I would recommend to charge more than your usual rates and find a Russian-speaking colleague who would proofread/edit your translation before you deliver it. The way of your agreement with the Russian native may be different (money payment, a mutual courtesy, etc.), it's up to you.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:54
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Find a native Russian translator Dec 14, 2004

All Russian translators know English, and if you provide him/her with a glossary for the specific terms, then you save yourself a lot of trouble. You can sell the target text to your employer and make a small profit, I believe.
Even if you use a second native translator as editor, the result will be cheaper than doing it yourself into a foreign language.


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 07:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Or even direct outsourcing Dec 14, 2004

Dear Sybille,

There is yet another, more direct and simple way: just outsource the job to an English-Russian translator, then check the terminology and keep some part of the payment to yourself.
Outsourcing is quite a common thing among translators, so I believe it's OK. Your end client may know about the fact or may not know. Anyway, the responsibility is all yours, as usual.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 23:54
English to Russian
+ ...
Good ideas Dec 14, 2004

Kirill Semenov wrote:

Dear Sybille,

I'm also puzzled by the strange proposal of your client


Hi, Sybille, hi, Kirill,

I believe that client's proposal is 'normal' in terms of clients' knowledge of the translation profession:-). In the US I've heard it a couple of times: "Now, who is going to type it in Russian?" I'm talking about a translator's position in this case. If our colleague feels qualified to complete an English-Russian assignment (by all means, I'm not doubting it blindly, nothing like it at all), than all the intermediate troubles stay with her and her only since the clients do not care about the process, they care about the results. As an agency I would not even consider such a 'triple' payment option.

Yet with such lengthy relationship Sybille probably has a safe way to educate the client, explain everything involved and let the client make a choice. 28 years is no joke, there might be reasons why Sybille's experience beats the odds, like tables stuffed with standard hardware names and descriptions, and little general text. I'm not against 'non-natives', I have no reasons to undermind Sybille's knowledge of Russian and I do translate into English myself, but I live in the States for 15 years, and my work always goes to a native editor.

There is one danger to keep in mind - the client may not have a chance to verify the job, see Cyrillic and send it happily to Russians. It might backfire later and when it does, it always happens at a worst time possible. Russian translator/editor is definitely something to consider.

Sincerely,
Irina


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Sybille  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rate for translation between English and Russian (German is my native language) Dec 14, 2004

Okay, question is solved.
Thank you all for your comments. The client found a former German version now, which was translated into English (not by me, but another translator) about the topic concerned (which is not 100 per cent congruent to the text they want to have translated now). So I could have a look at the German version, if some English passages would be difficult to translate right from English into Russian.
Nevertheless I'd like to do the job, because I really know the topic they speak about, and I also know a Russian native speaker who could proof-read the text (also an engineer in this field).

Thank you all and have a good working day.


Sybille


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Dr. Salil Gupta, Ph.D.
Local time: 10:24
Russian to English
+ ...
I do not consider it necessary to translate to German and then to Russian Dec 14, 2004

Dear friend,

I am a native Hindi/ Punjabi speaker. I have learnt Russian by virtue of taking my higher education and living/ working in Russian for 20 years.

From my experience, I can say that it is highly impractical to translate into your native language first (say German for you and Hindi for me) and translate it finally to the target language. In this process, I feel you lose certain nuances and specifics of the source/ target language. So since then I try and avoid that - besides it takes longer translating twice.

Dr. Salil Gupta
salilsunita@yahoo.co.in


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
reply Dec 14, 2004

Sybille wrote:

However the structure of the sentence may
differ in the both (foreign) languages, so that there could appear the need that I have to translate it into German at first.

The main thought they have is: You are a translator for English and for Russian, and it is the easiest thing ever to translate from one foreign language into the other.
I'd like to tell them that it would cost some more than my usual rate (but how much more), because such complicated sentences might occur, which I have to translate into my native language at first.



That's your issue as a translator (the need to translate at least some into DE), an issue that you need to explain to them - that you are not going to be able to work as fast in the new lanaguage pair (for you).

As a first time experience for them & you, I would quote them the usual price for the translation PLUS a supplement that - if at all possible - you price AFTER the job. If they insist on a price beforehand, then you will have to put yourself on the line, and estimate the additional work involved (possibly in hours), taking the consequences if you are wrong (so above all, try to over-estimate rather than under-estimate).

Basically, the problem is the same as any pricing, whether for a new client or for an unknown text or for a complicated format, that it's difficult to assess the work involved but you don't want to err on the low side ...:-)

PS. I can understand perfectly why they prefer you to do the job. Your obvious expertise and years experience with the particular company would overcome any minor linguistic errors that could be corrected by a native-speaking editor, so maybe that's your solution. Farming out the job, unless to someone as expert as you (which is why they asked you in the first place), would probably be more trouble than it's worth (even with glossaries)..

[Edited at 2004-12-14 19:06]


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Sybille  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rate for translation between Englisch and Russian (German is my native language) Dec 14, 2004

Thank you all for your answers.

Yes Ailish, you found out the point, they want me to do it because I know all the professional jargon of the topic in both languages. The only thing is to make clear to them that it is quite another job to translate from a foreign language into your own, or even vice versa - than to translate from one
non-native into the other non-native - and that this is an
extra effort they should recognize and pay for.

However I still do not know which percentage (more) I could charge?


Greeting to all of you.


Sybille


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:54
German to English
+ ...
Rate for translation between English and Russian (German is my native language) Dec 14, 2004

Sybille wrote:

The only thing is to make clear to them that it is quite another job to translate from a foreign language into your own, or even vice versa - than to translate from one non-native into the other non-native - and that this is an extra effort they should recognize and pay for.


Sybille,

I think you may find it difficult to convince customers of this in the long term. The prevailing consensus is that it is considerably more difficult to translate into the foreign language than out of it. Translating from one foreign language into another is more difficult still, but the real problem lies with translating into a foreign language in the first place.

It was traditional at one time in both West and East Germany (for different reasons) to translate into the foreign language as well as out of it, and in West Germany at least, freelance translators charged approximately the same at one time. For what you describe, translation between two foreign languages ("aus der Fremdsprache in die Fremdsprache"), a surcharge was applied. I remember the practice in the early '90s. I don't know how common it was then, but I do remember cases of it being applied even when the translation was done into the native language of a non-German speaker. In other words, the justification for the surcharge seemed to be as much fact that neither of the two languages was German, i.e. it was an unusual service, as the difficulty for the translator.

I haven't heard of this being done for a long time now. The German public is much more enlightened regarding non-native active language skill than it used to be, and translation from the native language in all forms is rapidly declining, at least in the small segment of the market that I follow. You don't need to take my word for it: ask colleagues in the German forum when they last applied a surcharge for "aus der Fremdsprache in die Fremdsprache".

You may well be able to write to educated native-speaker level in Russian, and even if you can't, that may not be crucial if the text is not for publication, or (as you suggest) you are going to have the translation edited by a native-speaker, and in either case, your particular knowledge of the subject may make you the best translator for the job. But if your Russian is educated native-speaker level, it is hard to make a case for the need to translate via German. Conversely, if it isn't, your lack of what is normally considered a key qualification for the translation process is the reason for the extra work in the first place, and so hardly a convincing argument for charging more.

If I were you, I would base your case for charging more not on it it being difficult for you, but on the fact that you are having the work checked by a colleague and are therefore able to guarantee a higher standard (though "applying stricter quality procedures" may be a better way of putting it). An extra checking stage is *always* a good idea. You may be able to convince your customer to pay more for the unusual procedure of translating via German for this job, and in any case, you're free to follow your own procedures and set your own pricing structure, but sooner or later, he is likely to discover that your procedures are out of step with good practice. That's much worse than him finding out that your surcharges are unusual.

Incidentally, the rates in your profile strike me as very low as it is.

Marc


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Sybille  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rate for translation between English and Russian (German is my native language) Dec 15, 2004

Hello, Marc
you are right, I will not have to translate all the text into German first, because I have the special knowledge of the customer's field in both languages. I only thought, there could be cases where I have to translate the English text into German (for me only at first) because of a, maybe, difficullt structure of a sentence or phrase, which I am not able to translate directly from
English into Russian.Because I did not see the text yet when they asked me about the possibility of doing the translation I assumed that there may be many such sentences, which are difficult in their structure requiring a somewhat other structure in Russian. This is why I thought I should ask the customer about a somewhat higher rate. Such a translation from one foreign language into the other *will* take me longer, in any case, than using my native German, even as a source text for Russian and even knowing the subject.



Sybille


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Natalia Elo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Take more, give ME the job, I'll pay you provision Dec 21, 2004

Dear Sybille,

Do you remember me?


Sybille wrote:
The main thought they have is: You are a translator for English and for Russian, and it is the easiest thing ever to translate from one foreign language into the other.

Probably they are just more than satisfied with your quality and therefore want you to dothe job.


I'd like to tell them that it would cost some more than my usual rate (but how much more), because such complicated sentences might occur, which I have to translate into my native language at first.


We are having here the following situation:
You are hesitating a bit about the job.
I am looking for such clients in Germany, as it will takeages till I'll be able to translate from German.
You will help me with the terms, I do the proofreading.


Please, contact me

Natalia


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