getting started--> different prices?
Thread poster: GabrielaRose

GabrielaRose  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:09
German to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 7, 2008

Hi everyone,

I've already taken a look at many postings from new freelancers like me and got some ideas to improve my profile.

I also get sometimes desperate because haven't already gotten a job. I got at the beginning confused as I had to add my rates, because I've heard (in Germany) the prices are set in line (Normzeilen) and here you have to set it per word.

My question is, how can I set the price at the different tasks? I applied for a job and they send me an excel table containing:
Translation + Editing + Proofing
Translation + Editing only
Editing only
Proofing only
Linguistic Testing
Software engineering
Localization Testing
Desktop Publishing
Graphics Engineering
Trados/Transit Weight
TEP - 100% matches
TEP - Repetitions
TEP - 95%-99% matches
TEP - 75%-94% matches
TEP - 0%-75% matches (New Words)
...oh God!!! how should I set the prices? I don't have any idea! I have at my computer both transit and trados and I want to translate technical texts (got a little experience on engenieering). I would also thank you for your suggestions about my profile.

thank a lot



Damian Harrison
Local time: 14:09
German to English
A few thoughts Apr 7, 2008

German is my source language and I charge on a per word basis. Some folks say that it makes more sense to charge per line as the abundance of compound words in the German language tends to lower your price.
But the question is: Do YOU want to charge on a per word or per line basis? You decide that - not the agencies. I have never had any problems with German agencies on this issue. More importantly, I feel that I am getting a fair price for my work.

Regarding the excel table you were sent:
I suppose the first step would be to put a cross next to all the services you don´t want to provide.

The list should look less intimidating now. icon_smile.gif

Another question would be : Do you want to give a discount for repetitions? As I don´t have Trados and don´t touch technical translations I never give a discount for repetitions. I think the subject was recently discussed in a thread...See here, for example:

That will hopefully provide some inspiration.

A forum search using keywords such as 'proofreading' 'editing' 'price' etc should turn up a few more helpful results.


GabrielaRose  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:09
German to Spanish
+ ...
thanks for the link Apr 7, 2008

Hi Damian,

danke für die schnelle Antwort. Well first of all thanks for that link. At the excel table I had to set the price, so I don't know if it would be fair to earn the same for proofreading and translation and editing.

Another question: have you ever translated something without proofing it at the end?? that sounds for me nonsense, or am I not right? because of the different prices for Translation + Editing + Proofing and just Translation + Editing only??

kind regards



Damian Harrison
Local time: 14:09
German to English
A few more thoughts Apr 7, 2008

One way to approach the subject is to ask yourself two questions:
How much do I want to earn per week?
How many do I want to work each week?

Then deduct your administration time from the number of hours you want to work per week. Now you can calculate how much money you have to earn per hour - and it doesn´t matter whether its translating, editing, whatever... That´s your base price and you shouldn´t go below that "just" because the job is proofreading and not translating.
So you might say something like 11 cents per word for translation and €30 per hour for editing. (maybe less, maybe more. It depends on your ambition and productivity).

Fair, in this case, is what puts enough food on your table.

Of course I proof everything I send out. But agencies generally proof texts again themselves - that´s one reason why you, the translator, generally get a lower price when working for agencies.
You charge end clients that little bit extra for an even more careful edit and for all that extra work you do tweaking the text to make it "work" in the target language. You may even choose to have a colleague double-check your translations and that will either cost you a favour in return or cash-in-hand.


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:09
English to Dutch
+ ...
Ask what they mean Apr 7, 2008

Trans + Edit + Proof:
I don't know if this is common practice, but I have worked for an agency that send me the final files in PDF (like manuals etc.) as they will appear in print for the end user.
They then ask me to check the PDF for typo's and errors the printer may have introduced (like when words are too long to fit the line and the print shop does not know where to put the break '-'). This particular agency calls this 'proofreading'.

If you are unclear, ask them to clarify this.
With regard to your (long!) list: there are a number of things you may want to charge per hour. I personally only charge translation per word, and sometimes proofreading. For the rest, I charge per hour.

I do give discounts, but I think 75% matches do not qualify. This category (75-94%) is too broad for my liking... Anything below 85% probably needs a lot of work anyway, so I charge these as new words.

If you're desperate and you feel you need to give them a discount to get work from them, I would suggest: 100% matches and repetitions 25% (of full price per word); 95-99% matches 50% of full-word price; 75-94% matches 90%. Make sure your price per word is not too low... (Note: this is a controversial subject, and in essence it is a business choice. You need to think about this very carefully - once you've agreed to give discounts, an agency will not accept any other agreement if you should change your mind later on).

Re Normzeilen: it seems there are (on average) 7.5-9 words per line (in English source text anyway). I set my line-rate as 8-8.5 times my word-rate. So you should calculate the other way around.icon_smile.gif

Don't panic, take your time and try to think long-term. And don't give up quoting on jobs yet. If nothing else, it is a way to introduce yourself to potential customers, who may have work for you in the future.

Good luck!

P.S. Damian's advice is good too, it seems he and I were typing at the same time.icon_wink.gif


Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:09
German to English
+ ...
Do you want to provide all of those services? Apr 9, 2008

Honestly, that's a pretty long list! I would select the few services I am really competent at providing (I have no knowledge of DTP or graphics programs, for example) and just provide prices for those.

By the way, my source language is also German, and I charge my German clients in Normzeilen/euros for the most part, although I'm in the US. It's convenient for them and I was used to that system from working in Germany. Whatever works for you and your clients is fine, I think.


GabrielaRose  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:09
German to Spanish
+ ...
thank you all for your answers! Oct 3, 2015

wow it's been a long time since my post thank you all for your answers. Now I'm beginning again as a freelancericon_smile.gif



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