quoting a rate per word for editing/proofreading assignments
Thread poster: Susana Galilea
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 8, 2003

Dear all,

I would like to know whether there are any handy tricks to figure out per word rates that would correspond to existing per hour rates for editing/proofreading assignments. I generally charge by the hour for reviewing projects, but every now and then a client will insist on being quoted by the word instead, and at the very least I would like to have an idea of what a comparable rate would be. Also, would such rates be per source or target word? (In case this is relevant, my translation rates are based on the target wordcount.)

Thanks a million for any tips or advice.

Cheers,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator, EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


[Edited at 2003-12-08 07:37]


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 05:12
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
From my own experience Dec 8, 2003

Some client when asssigning proofreading give also the expected time for completing it - some three pages per hour (1,000 words)seems to be the average expectancy (amendable depending on the translation quality). Hence, if you basically charge $XX per hour, divide your hourly rate by 1,000 and you'll come up with the per word rate.

Cheers,
Oleg


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Andrea Ali  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 23:12
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Maybe Dec 8, 2003

you could charge one third of your translation rate (per word). But ask for a sample first! Just in case you have to retranslate the whole thing. You never know

Good luck, Susy!

Andrea


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Doru Voin  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 05:12
English to Romanian
+ ...
Re-translate vs review Dec 8, 2003

Andrea Ali wrote:
But ask for a sample first! Just in case you have to retranslate the whole thing. You never know


Andrea,
I have one small note on your retranslating "fear". The 1.000 words/hour mentioned above does apply indeed, but only for good translations. In case the review process is for a translation of doubtful quality, my advice is to contact immediately the agency, explain the situation (with some relevant examples) and reduce accordingly the number of words per hour to be reviewed, i.e. to 500 words/hour. From my experience, assuming a good translation agency will accept your explanations, it will reduce accordingly the translator's fee.

Regards from Bucharest,
Doru Voin


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
clarification Dec 8, 2003

Doru Voin wrote:
The 1.000 words/hour mentioned above does apply indeed, but only for good translations.


Yes, I agree. On the other hand, "cold" proofreading would go much faster than that.

I forgot to mention it is my policy to apply different hourly rates whether the assignment entails proofreading only, basic editing or extensive editing/rewriting. I would like to come up with 3 comparable per word rates. Any opinions regarding the "source vs. target" issue?

Thanks again!

S.G.


[Edited at 2003-12-08 18:09]


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Andrea Ali  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 23:12
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Absolutely Dec 8, 2003

Doru Voin wrote:




Andrea,
I have one small note on your retranslating "fear". The 1.000 words/hour mentioned above does apply indeed, but only for good translations. In case the review process is for a translation of doubtful quality, my advice is to contact immediately the agency, explain the situation (with some relevant examples) and reduce accordingly the number of words per hour to be reviewed, i.e. to 500 words/hour. From my experience, assuming a good translation agency will accept your explanations, it will reduce accordingly the translator's fee.

Regards from Bucharest,
Doru Voin[/quote]

Regards from Buenos Aires!
Andrea


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Ari Nuncio  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Foolproof method Dec 9, 2003

This is a foolproof method (i.e., one that reflects the amount of work actually done), but it may require an investment in software. It definitely calls for good negotiating skills, because explaining it to the client can be complicated.

Let's start with the quote. I offer my clients two choices. The first is to accept a flat per-word rate (about 10% HIGHER than the one I charge for translation).

The other rate, as I said, is based on the amount of changes actually made to the text.

Determining the amount of changes is the tricky part. MS Word does an exceptionally poor job of this. I use propietary software, but if you don't happen to be a programmer, there are solutions on the market that generate accurate comparisons.

Parenthetically, if you don't have comparison software, you ought to look into it. I use the software at least once a month in a variety of situations.

Assuming you have reliable comparison software, the first step is to run a word/character count on the source text. Let's say it's 100 words and consists of 1,000 characters.

Now run the comparison to determine differences between the original and edited versions. The comparison will show the text that was added, removed or otherwise modified.

Run a word/character count on the comparison document. The word count may be higher, lower or the same as in the original, but the character count will always be higher. Let's say that it's 1,200 characters or 20% more than the original. That's the magic number.

I multiply the word count (100) by the percent of change (20%) to determine the amount of words that I will charge (20 in this case). If you set your per-word rate for editing slightly higher than your translation rate, this method will provide a rate that is fair to you and your client.


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Ari Nuncio  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Foolproof method, Pt. 2 Dec 11, 2003

There are two reasons for doing a character count on the comparison document instead of a word count: 1) editing can mean adding or subtracting words and 2) the character count covers changes to punctuation, extra blank spaces, etc.

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