Rates for translating documentation and software
Thread poster: Borja Rosales Ingelmo

Borja Rosales Ingelmo
Local time: 22:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 1, 2008

Dear everybody,

a Madrid-based agency just contacted me asking about two different kind of rates: one for documentation and another one for software. Should my rates be the samefor both kinds of translation?

Thanks very much!

Borja Rosales

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-07-01 14:53]


Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:41
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
It depends Jul 1, 2008

For example, I have a client producing coffee machines. The device has a display with a limited number of characters which is not able to display special characters in my language. This makes the translation of those software texts extremely difficult (lots of abbreviations, no Czech special characters, but still the target text must be more or less comprehensible even without the documentation; the source text is also accompanied by lots of explanations and I have to ask follow-up questions to get it right). For such cases, I use a surcharge of about 20%.

I charge standard computer-software translations at the same rate as documentation.


Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:41
English to Czech
+ ...
Software rate should be higher Jul 1, 2008

Translating software usually takes longer than documentation and your rates should reflect that.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:41
English to French
+ ...
What exatly do they mean by 'software translation'? Jul 1, 2008

I think that, for starters, you need to make sure you know what they are asking for when they are asking for software translation. Is it an interface they want translated? What file formats would you be working with? What software is required to get the job done?

In general, when translating user interfaces, you work much slower than when you translate documentation. This is because you are not really translating text - you are translating strings, often without context. If they provide you with screen captures and explanations of interface elements, you will have an easier time translating the UI, but it will take time to search through their explanations, the screen captures, and to send them lists of questions to make sure you understand what such and such button or checkbox does so you can translate them properly.

All of the above tasks are time-consuming. I would charge double my translation rate for those. If not, I would charge my hourly translation rate, which in my opinion is the fairest way to charge for this type of work. The question is whether this really is the task they would like you to perform. Check with them - better safe than sorry.


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Rates for translating documentation and software

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