Quote for a whole book
Thread poster: Dennise Serrano

Dennise Serrano  Identity Verified
United States
Member (Jun 2017)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 18

I was offered my very first book to translate. It is a history book about a colonial house and the family who had lived in it for generations. My main concern is what aspects, beside the work count and the difficulty of the text I should take into account in order to provide a fair and reasonable quote to my client.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:59
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well... Aug 19

Though I have been a translator for over 30 years I have only translated one book, a medical handbook in collaboration with a physician, and I must say that I will not rush to repeat the experience! I learned a lot about obstetrics and gynecology, but it took up almost all my time for one year and it made quite difficult to accept other jobs as well. We dealt directly with the publisher and we were paid in monthly installments, chapter by chapter. Regarding the rate, it’s entirely up to you! I would charge my normal rate. I know that a lot of people give volume discounts for big jobs and that literary translators are paid less, but I really don't see why. I would start by translating two or three random pages just to see how long it will take and how much research I would need to do and then I’ll do the maths…

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:59
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Consistency Aug 19

I've only translated one book, about making use of cumulus clouds when paragliding. But I've proofread/copy-edited several, at least one post-translation.

There can definitely be problems with consistency - all of my authors have had them. Technical terms can be handled by glossaries etc. The problem is more on the level of everyday language. In English, for example, you need to look out for spellings (-ise and -ize endings in British English), compound words (website, web-site, web site), single/double quotes, treatment of bullet lists, title capitalisation...

Expect proofreading to take a seemingly ridiculous amount of time. You'll effectively need enough time to read two books carefully plus make changes to the target text. It may be wise to factor in the cost of a separate proofreading of the target text because you're bound to miss some errors (we all trust what we KNOW we typed in). I give clients the choice of paying me or getting it done themselves.

And do make sure you get payments in regularly. It isn't that you don't trust the client (mind you... ) but you have to eat. IMO, there are few reasons for us to give volume discounts, but they can be valid if:
- your CAT tool will deal with loads of matches in a trice
- the timescale is VERY relaxed, meaning you can use it to fill otherwise non-productive time
- you're finding it difficult to find enough clients to earn a living.
But remember that if it's going to be your main/only source of income, you can't go too low. And if it's taking up most/all of your time, you may have to turn down better-paid work that comes along, and you may even lose current clients. Those are good reasons to charge a volume supplement!


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:59
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
@Sheilah and anyone Aug 19

This is aside from the issue but for inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, spacing, etc. there is a simple solution: go to http://www.intelligentediting.com/ and download 'PerfectIt'. You can open it up in Word as an add-in. I don't deliver any translation without using it first.


[Edited at 2017-08-19 21:10 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:59
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Yes! Aug 19

Tina Vonhof wrote:
This is aside from the issue but for inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, spacing, etc. there is a simple solution: go to http://www.intelligentediting.com/ and download 'PerfectIt'. You can open it up in Word as an add-in. I don't deliver any translation without using it first.

I have the Pro version and swear by.it, Tina . I run it as the first step, and occasionally the last step too, of proofreading. It's so helpful! But there's still a lot for the proofreader to do.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:59
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Thanks, Tina! Aug 20

Tina Vonhof wrote:

This is aside from the issue but for inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, spacing, etc. there is a simple solution: go to http://www.intelligentediting.com/ and download 'PerfectIt'. You can open it up in Word as an add-in. I don't deliver any translation without using it first.


[Edited at 2017-08-19 21:10 GMT]


It's a real pity that it doesn't work in other languages...


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:59
French to English
Proofreading Aug 20

As a translator we have to of course proofread our own work before sending it on to the client. If sending one chapter per month, for example, you need to factor in time, and therefore money, to proofread that. Any publisher worth its salt would not go straight to press, but submit your version for a proofread in two stages: upon receipt of each monthly instalment and then of the whole work in one go.

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