Pricing large jobs for non-profit client - how do you do it?
Thread poster: Lucy Phillips

Lucy Phillips  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 3, 2005

Hi everyone

I've been asked to translate someone's phd thesis - probably approximately 90,000 words.

I'm very keen to take this job on but I'm unsure of how to price it. I usually work on a per word basis, with my rates varying somewhat according to whether the client is commercial or academic (which most of mine are) as well as according to various other factors such as length, complexity, material to be read but not translated etc.

Though I've worked on long translations before (say around 30,000 words) and the material falls within my speciality, I'm unsure of how best to set a price for this job. What I want to do, of course, is find a balance between something that is potentially acceptable to a phd student (I'm assuming she doesn't have a large budget, and is probably paying for this herself rather than from university funds) as well as worthwhile to me. I just feel that even the very lowest per 1000 word rate I currently translate for will seem hugely expensive when multiplied by 90! At the same time, even bearing in mind the fact that themes and vocabulary will undoubtedly be repeated within the thesis, this is still a large job by anyone's standards, and one which will restrict the amount of other work that I can take on.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has faced a similar situation - please let me know how you worked things out!


Jo-Hanna Goettsche  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:11
English to Spanish
Instead of a discount, how about paying in installments? Aug 3, 2005

Depending on her economic situation (and your own, of course), you might consider, instead of a discount, giving her the option of paying in installments. Between the two of you, you should be able to negotiate the number and actual amount of payments.


Local time: 15:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Charity doesn't always equate to nonprofit Aug 3, 2005

In this situation, my best guess would be offer your normal bare-minium rate. For advice in general, here is one perspective:

There are charities and volunteer organizations, and then there are "not-for-profit" organizations. The latter, though it seems to imply charity work, usually has paid managers, directors and organizers who are most definitely paid - some quite handsomely. An organization should be straightforward: do they require charity/volunteer work or not? They know that any professioal service comes at a cost. No doubt they pay the accountants and technicians, especially the bosses.


Momoka (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:11
Japanese to Spanish
+ ...
A total price Aug 4, 2005

Why don't you just set a price for the whole work? A price that would sound reasonable to you and to her. It seems pricing by word won't help for you, since you are considering factors beyond money. I think this way will be easier for you to decide, and for her to understand...IMO. Good luck!

[Edited at 2005-08-04 03:18]


Subhamay Ray (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:41
English to Bengali
+ ...
Look beyond the immediate... Aug 4, 2005

Earning may not be the sole motive in every assignment and your profile suggests you look beyond the immediate in translation. Since you have expressed your desire to take the assignment, it seems to me that you are expecting to find in it something beyond the immediate reward of translation.

If I were in your place I would try to assess the text and the time it would take me to translate 90,000 words. I would also consider the deadline and whether I can carry on my regular assignments while doing this. If you get more time, perhaps you can offer a lower rate. I would suggest 30-40% of your normal rate with a flexible deadline and if you think you'll get recognition as the translator of the thesis.

It is better to go ahead if you are really keen on translating something even if some sacrifice is involved.


Lucy Phillips  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks for all your input Aug 8, 2005

Well, I've just sent a quote to the client - installments sounds like a good idea, as does setting an overall price. I've gone for a fairly low per 1000 word rate but the total sum still seems like a reasonable price to me for the amount of work. Now I've just got to wait and see what she thinks!


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Pricing large jobs for non-profit client - how do you do it?

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