what to consider when establishing Proofreading/Editing rates?
Thread poster: Maria Diaz

Maria Diaz
United States
Local time: 19:11
English to Spanish
Dec 13, 2004

I've been reading postings about this topic, but I can't find what I'm looking for:
1) Are these different services with different rates?
2) Should the rate be combined if both services are required?
3) I've read that it should be charged by the hour, and that it should be 1/2 of your translation rate, but if my translation rate is per word, how do I make the "conversion"?
4) What's the average output per hour (when comparing 2 documents)?
5) What is the definition of a "standard" page (spacing, font size, margins,etc)? How many words are in a standar page?

I know, lots of questions! But any help will be appreciated.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:11
German to English
+ ...
what to consider when establishing Proofreading/Editing rates? Dec 13, 2004

Maria Diaz wrote:

1) Are these different services with different rates?


They are different services, but there is widespread ignorance of what the terms actually mean (shockingly widespread for a communications profession), so inevitably the terms are often used incorrectly.

Whether the rates are different depends upon who's charging.


2) Should the rate be combined if both services are required?


If you're offering the service, that's your decision.


3) I've read that it should be charged by the hour


Charging by the hour is probably the most common method, but there are no rules or laws saying you have to do it that way. I don't, for instance.


and that it should be 1/2 of your translation rate


Try to get away from this "should be". If you're running your own business, it's your decision.


but if my translation rate is per word, how do I make the "conversion"?


Count the original text (i.e. without your corrections), then multiply it by your fraction. That's what I do and they still haven't locked me up.


4) What's the average output per hour (when comparing 2 documents)?


That depends on a) how familiar you are with the language and subject, b) how thoroughly you check, c) how good or bad the translation is, d) how fast you can work.

Of course, no one will tell you that they don't check thoroughly, but if you are going to check really thoroughly and you're not familiar with the subject, you might even find yourself spending more time on research than the original translator did. I doubt much checking is done this thoroughly, though. "Checking" is often a euphemism for "looking for mistakes". Finding mistakes and verifying the correctness of a text are two quite different things.


5) What is the definition of a "standard" page (spacing, font size, margins,etc)? How many words are in a standard page?


It varies from country to country and to some extent from one industry to another. I have often heard 1,800 keystrokes (or characters, not the same thing), but I've never once charged by the page myself. Any unit you agree with your customer is OK.

Marc

[Edited at 2004-12-14 14:56]


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Deborah Shannon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:11
Member (2002)
German to English
Do you enjoy proofreading/editing? Dec 13, 2004

Hi Maria,

What Marc says about charging is right:

MarcPrior wrote:

Charging by the hour is probably the most common method, but there are no rules or laws saying you have to do it that way. I don't, for instance.

[ ... ]

Any unit you agree with your customer is OK.

Marc


One of my biggest surprises at the Oxford conference came during the discussion on rates.

I had always assumed that everyone calculated their rates by referring to a notional hourly or daily rate of pay, divided by the volume of work they could realistically hope to complete per hour or per day.

But I found out that other translators use some quite imaginative ways of setting a rate, from plucking a figure more or less out of the air, to asking the client what their economic return on the text will be... Some were very comfortable with hourly rates, others said they absolutely detested the idea. Which I found rather startling, but it just goes to prove there are no rules and you can use whatever system works for you.

I like hourly rates for editing-type work, myself, because I can agree with the client how long they want me to spend, and aim to get finished within that time. Otherwise there's a temptation to go on tweaking and improving a text indefinitely.

But you will find just as many people who would refuse to work that way, and only accept editing-type jobs on condition that they have the final decision on how much time to take. And as I now realise, there are bound to be some creative methods of charging, too.

By the way, do you enjoy editing? If you set your editing rate relatively low, you might end up getting quite a lot of editing work and not so much translation.

All the best,

Deborah


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Maria Diaz
United States
Local time: 19:11
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
a little more... Dec 13, 2004

Thanks, both of you. I still don't know if editing is supposed to cost less than translating. I know what I want to make per hour, perhaps it should be less when editing or all the opposite?

I also know how many pages I can proofread/edit per hour, but how many words are in a page? I found that "standard" number posted somewhere a while ago, but I don't know where I put it!
I need it in order to provide quotes when a client provides word count, not # of pages


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PTSGI  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 10:11
Member (2002)
Chinese to Spanish
+ ...
Missing the main question Dec 14, 2004

Opinions of Marc and Deborrah were both acceptable. But I guess the main point needs to address is the question,,,what to consider when establishing Proofreading/Editing rates?

For me, I will consider my rates on the language pair involve.

For ex., if the source language is English and the target is Japanese, then I will charge my client based on the target language because it has more word count than the English words. This is also true, vice-versa.

You might say, how about those language with Roman letters? The answer is the same. Analyse which language has more word count then you can provide your best rates.

In short, in considering the rates whether by an hour, per page, or per words for the proofreading/editing job, you should determine first if your rates will be based on the source or target language. And if you will ask me what would be your rates, then the suggestion of Marc will apply. Meaning, it's only you who can decide how much it will be.

My suggestion is not on having "more profit" but instead based on more "fair and reasonable pricing method".

Hope this is helpful.

Engel


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
editing + proofing Dec 14, 2004

Editing is the correction of translated elements (decoding, encoding), and proofreading is the publication perspective (absolute correction in spelling, word and line breaks, punctuation, consistency in formatting etc).

Based on my own experience, this is how I analyse and price editing/proofing:

A. What level of correction is required?
1. linguistic editing
1a. independently of source text
1b. spot checks against source text
1c. word-for-word against source text
2. lingusitic & terminological editing
2a. independently of source text
2b. spot checks against source text /the WWW for terms
2c. word-for-word against source text /the WWW for terms
3. proofreading

B. What kind of text is it and who was it written by?
1. standard complexity, non-native writing
2. complex, written by expert non-native
3. standard complexity, native but amateur translator
4. standard complexity, native but professional translator
5. complex, native but amateur translator
6. complex, native but professional translator

I charge by the hour, and I use a rule-of-thumb that I can do between 500 (complex)-1000 (standard) words an hour BUT I very frequently end up doing jobs that take longer; e.g. a recent one was a case of B3, a very literal translation by someone who ultimately produced gibberish; the text was about 3000 words and it took me about 4 hours to rewrite it.

I also have had very successful collaborative experiences with one particular non-native who writes on a really complex subject, and between us we thrash out the final version of his articles. His English is really quite good, his terminological input we take for granted as correct, and I correct or query his English as appropriate. A text of his of approx. 8000 words took about 13-14 hours of my time recently.

Q 1) I think that might help answer your Q 1)

Q 2) Should the rate be combined if both services are required? Yes, if you go by the hour

Q 3) I've read that it should be charged by the hour, and that it should be 1/2 of your translation rate, but if my translation rate is per word, how do I make the "conversion"?

No 'shoulds' as Marc pointed out. What's more, in theory a 'good' translation could be charged by a percent of your word rate, but 'good' is so variable and subjective, and there are so many 'bad' translations, that you will find that you'll be working for nothing (see comment re B3 above)

4) What's the average output per hour (when comparing 2 documents)?

Depends on quality of the translation, 4 hours (B3) for a standard translation of 3000 words is far too many hours, if it had been well done, it would have taken no more that 1, 1.5 hours, the time required to read both texts and make minor adjustments to the TT.

5) What is the definition of a "standard" page (spacing, font size, margins,etc)? How many words are in a standar page?

Not many people in my language pair/experience seem to use a 'standard' page, and this standard anyway might vary acc. to company, country, language, text type etc.

Finally, I charge a higher rate per hour for proofreading, as it requires a great deal of concentration to detect punctuation errors, inconsistencies, etc.

[Edited at 2004-12-14 11:56]


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Fatima Argun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:11
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
What is standard (per word) rate for Turkish translations? What is typical hourly rate? Dec 21, 2004

What is standard (per word) rate for Turkish/English (and vice versa) translations? What is typical hourly rate? I'm starting out and need guidance on this--fast! Thanks!

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