Literary translation rates in Turkey
Thread poster: Antoine Cassar
Antoine Cassar
Local time: 10:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 2, 2008

Good morning colleagues,

A friend of mine in Istanbul is beginning to venture into the sector of literary translation. She has been asked to provide a price for a script of roughly 20,000 words. Does anyone know what are the average rates for such translation in Turkey?

Many thanks in advance

Antoine Cassar.
http://muzajk.info


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 04:24
German to English
+ ...
literary translation rates Aug 2, 2008

my understanding is that regardless of where you are, the translation rate is a certain percentage of the author's royalties (something like 3 to 5%). but i'm not sure how much the author or agency will advance ...

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Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
(off - translators and royalties) Aug 2, 2008

Peter Manda wrote:

my understanding is that regardless of where you are, the translation rate is a certain percentage of the author's royalties (something like 3 to 5%). but i'm not sure how much the author or agency will advance ...


I have seen situations where the translator is paid *more* than the author, but unlike the author is not eligible for any royalties. In most cases, 3-5% of the author's royalties will not even buy you a good lunch in a given year, but of course if you're dealing with a potential bestseller things might be different.


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:24
Member
English to Turkish
Is this for publication? Aug 2, 2008

Hi Antoine,

If this translation is to be published and sold in a book format, then the formula is [number of publication copies] x [unit price] x [%] - [withholding tax]. The percentage may vary according to the publisher and the translator's experience and expertise, and is generally about 8-10. But I doubt this is exactly the case for your friend. Otherwise they wouldn't ask for a quote per word (if I get this right). Note that prices per word are lower in Turkey as compared to western Europe, but it seems we can assume that this client would pay more than translation agencies. If publication is not the case here, I suggest you ask for ideas in the Turkish forum. (The reason I cannot help with that is I don't know such prices very well and don't want to mislead you.)

Good luck!

Özden


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:24
Turkish to English
+ ...
Depends on various factors Aug 3, 2008

I think a lot depends on which language pairs are involved, the kind of book and where the translator lives.

In my experience, the rates for book translations from Turkish into English are, generally speaking, extremely low. A translator would probably undertake an assignment of this nature as a kind of paid hobby, or as a favour to the author. It is basic economics. Few books are translated from Turkish into English, and those that are usually have very low print runs. Nobody else is making much money from it, so the translator can't expect to do so, either.

On the other hand, quite a lot books are translated from English into Turkish, and some of these have larger print runs. I think there is a good stream of work for literary translation in this direction. On the other hand, there are also plenty of translators living in Turkey doing this kind of work. I am sure that this provides a living wage by Turkish standards. However, I don't think that anybody living in a country with a much higher cost of living would be able to compete in this market.

I don't think that anybody in Turkey operates on a royalty basis. You are just expected to quote a price for translating the book.


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Antoine Cassar
Local time: 10:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Teşekkürler Aug 4, 2008

Thanks to each of you for your kind advice. I shall pass the comments on to my colleague.

Kind regards,

Antoine Cassar.
http://muzajk.info


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Literary translation rates in Turkey

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