How to charge for advising services?
Thread poster: Andres & Leticia Enjuto

Andres & Leticia Enjuto  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 20, 2010

Hello all,

Recently, a local translation agency approached me with a rather unusual question. They received a translation project within my specialization (Oil & Gas), and they asked me if I could offer them advising services, if needed. I replied asking for specifics on what would they need from me, and they answered saying they would consult me on terminology and content (they say the files are rather specific.)

Now, they do not want my translation/edition/proofreading rate (actually, they know my translation rate, since I did a couple of projects for them). So I guess I’m too expensive for their budget, but they still want to have some experience at hand.

Charging by the hour is not what I would do, since even though I can type answers or correct terminology quickly, it took me years of study and field experience to be able to do it.

So my question for you, my dear colleagues, is: do you have experience in this sort of service? How would you charge for it? Also, since the ‘advising’ term is quite broad, how would you specify your scope, in order to avoid misunderstandings?

The only close topic I found (actually, it was my wife Leticia who got to it) in the fora is this one, but there the task was specific, and the suggestions fall within the hourly rate idea, which I think does not apply here.

Thanks in advance for your ideas.
Happy Monday!



Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hourly Charge Sep 20, 2010

Why is it that you wish to exclude an hourly charge from consideration when that seems to be the only logical basis for charging? If it took years of study to learn what you know... well, that is generally the case in our business. Your hourly charge should definitely reflect that.

Your translation/edition/proofreading rate would be by the word, and it does not appear that the amount of work involved in this case could be measured that way. In fact, the nature of what your client is asking for seems a bit vague, so the only way you can reasonably charge for it is by time. What else did you have in mind?


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:30
English to German
+ ...
Of course by the hour - at a specific rate, that is. Sep 20, 2010

Nobody says that you should apply your hourly rate for translating or editing. I even have different and specific hourly rates for project management, translation and editing. My rates for consulting in regard to product name development, product development, strategy, technical expertise or any other kind of consulting that relates to my university degree in marketing are steep, happily paid by our clients and most certainly not listed on my profile page.


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:30
English to German
+ ...
One method that keeps costs down: advising service over the phone Sep 20, 2010

I sometimes call a lawyer here in Portland - whenever I have a translation-related legal question. He charges a flat fee of $30 for every 10 minutes of phone conversation, provided that he can answer my questions off the cuff and doesn't have to look anything up. This way I am forced to (1) bundle my questions in a disciplined manner, (2) be well-prepared and concise and (3) it is a win-win situation.


United States
Local time: 11:30
English to Arabic
+ ...
Agree and reinforce Nicole Schnell's good comments Sep 20, 2010


May I take this moment to agree and reinforce Nicole Schnell's good comments in her two posts inside this thread.

The analogy she cites about paying a lawyer on that mentioned basis/rate for his/her professional qualification and expert advice can apply closely, if not equally, to your background and skill sets.

Hope this helps.


Stephen H. Franke
Interpreter/translator/trainer/consultant [English-Arabic]
San Pedro, California


Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:30
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
charging per hour seems to be the only logical solution Sep 20, 2010

and I agree with Henry's suggestion that the fee should be adequate to your experience. I think that it is very unlikely that you find a better solution here.

Of course by "hour" I mean here units of time - agreeing on units shorter than 1h may be absolutely reasonable - just like in example given by Nichole.

Good luck

[Edited at 2010-09-20 21:55 GMT]


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How to charge for advising services?

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