Book translation: where do copy-editing and proofreading fit in?
Thread poster: macondo mama

macondo mama
Local time: 07:18
Spanish to English
Jan 14, 2010

Hello all,

I am relatively new to the freelance world, and I am currently negotiating two possible contracts to translate full-length books. One is academic and very technical, the other is somewhat specialized but intended for the layperson. Both jobs are for non-profit organizations based in Argentina.

I am struggling with how to charge for these jobs, beyond my per-word rate for the translation. These are my main questions:

1) Do translated book-length texts require copy-editing and proofreading, or is this included in my tasks as translator?

2) Is it customary to charge an additional rate if I am also to be the sole person responsible for copy-editing, revisions of gallery proofs, and any other editorial stages that I might be unaware of? If so, how much? It is likely that no other native speaker will see the translation before it is published.

3) Is it ill-advised to take on all of these tasks? Would it be more professional to try to find someone else to copy-edit and proofread? I have taken a course and have some experience as a copy-editor, but perhaps I will be too close to the text to do a good job?

Many thanks for any suggestions you can provide!

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:18
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Jan 15, 2010

Hello Macondo mama,

The general reply to your three questions would be, it depends on the contract you've signed. If it includes editing and proofreading, then your price includes the whole package.

However, I would suggest that either you yourself or your client would outsource the final proofreading and editing just to ensure that the entire manuscript is correct and ready to be published.

Hope this helps.



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macondo mama
Local time: 07:18
Spanish to English
Thank you. How much to add to translating rate? Jan 15, 2010

Thanks for your reply, Tharenga. My issue is precisely in that I am not sure yet what to put in the contract: I haven't signed anything yet as I am still trying to figure out exactly what rate to offer, based on what services I will be offering.

I understand from your answer though that the translated manuscript should definitely pass through an editing and proofreading stage, ideally done by someone else, and that my clients should pay extra for this in addition to my rate for translation.

My clients are new to all of this as well, so hadn't thought of needing anyone other than a translator.

How much would be a reasonable charge for this (per word? per hour?)? Our challenge will be finding someone with the language and skills who can work for Argentinian rates...

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Book translation: where do copy-editing and proofreading fit in?

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