Health and Safety Manual rates
Thread poster: Christiana Tziortziou

Christiana Tziortziou  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:20
English to Greek
+ ...
Jan 31, 2010

Dear colleagues,

I was offered a translation of a big project, a Health and Safety manual of 132 pages, from English into Greek. The word count is 36,415 words.
They asked me about the price and I said that I would think about it and let them know; I've taken big projects before for translation, but it is the first time I take such a big project, and I don't know what rates I should suggest. I don't know what usually happens for big projects, rate per word, or pet page?
This project is not through an agency and they're new clients so, obviously I want to make them a good rate offer so that the project can be approved.

Has anyone else had a similar project? I would appreciate any answer and help.

Thank you in advance,

Christiana


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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:20
Member (2003)
French to English
Standard rate Jan 31, 2010

I would quote my standard word rate - I wouldn't say it's that big a project and bear in mind that if you normally have a steady workflow you would be turning down other work (presumably at your standard rate) while you do it. Unless the text is very repetitive then 36K words is going to take you more or less as long as six 6K-word projects - so I can't see a justification for going in under your normal rate.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:20
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Health and Safety Manual rates Jan 31, 2010

Have you seen the document ? How difficult is it ? My rates depend on a number of factors, the total volume being one of them...

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Christiana Tziortziou  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:20
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Health and Safety Manual rates Jan 31, 2010

The project is called "Health and Safety in Forestry Work", it's quite straight forward, no particular level of difficulty. I went to their offices last week and they sent the manual to my email so that I would have a look and give them the final price.
The problem is, actually, the matter is that they told me that the project would have to be approved by the accountant of the Department first, and, as I understand, it is the first time they seek for a translator.
Obviously, with my standard rate, the total amount is logical, however, most people I've worked with during the past year have been reluctant with my rates (0,05 cent per source word).
As for the document itself, it has many repetitions and like mentioned before, it isn't difficult to understand and translate.


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Standard rate Jan 31, 2010

Your should move between your standard rate range. That means what your usual rates are based on topics, expertise, research needed and so on. And if you usually charge per page or per source word, well, the same applies here.

I don`t see why you should make any exception or special discount in this case.


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:20
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Health and Safety Manual Jan 31, 2010

Dear Christina,

I consider the amount of words you mentioned a normal amount of words for a project. Only when the amount is 75K or more I and it deals with the SAME topic, like for example a book or large manual, I give a lower rate. For your project at hand I would charge my normal rate.

I hope that this helps!

Lucinda


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Deborah Workman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Make sure your time is properly compensated Jan 31, 2010

Hi, Christiana

If I were you, in determining my price I would consider:

1. The subject matter. Is this a subject I know well or will I work slower than usual because I need to do a little research?
2. The document format. Is editable, or will I have to spend time converting it something editable and cleaning up the converted document of conversion problems before I can begin translating?
3. Am I required to return the document in the same format and layout as the original? Documents with graphics or special features can take a long time to reconstruct. A agree to this only if you can do it quickly as you translate/proof or you can factor in a charge for it. Otherwise, tell them you will do the translation but will not be responsible for DTP tasks.
4. Quality control in big documents is much harder. Make sure you allow time for proofing and tidying and annotating and whatever else you need to do for your client after you have finished your translation. On a 36,000 word document, this could add about 3 days to your project.

Figure out what your time is worth on an hourly basis. Then figure out how many words you feel you can process per hour and also how many hours additional you will need for final editing and quality control. Multiply that by your hourly rate. Quote that. If you are uncertain about the price you are quoting, offer your price as a "departure point for discussion" and invite the client's questions or comments.

My experience is that you can charge a tad more when you are working directly with the end customer, but not knowing your market, I'm reluctant to offer any advice on rates.

Finally, do you work with a CAT tool, such as Wordfast. This can give you a big productivity boost on a large project in terms of completion time and quality control.

However you approach the task, just make sure that have a good grasp of how much time it will take you to complete the job and make sure your quote covers the value of your time! A per-word rate is, after all, only an hourly rate divided by the number of words you can process in an hour. If you've never checked, yranslate a page or two of the document you've been given for evaluation and see how quickly you move through it. (They should let you see the document or a portion of the document before you quote on it. If not, I say, don't quote! You'll have no idea if your price is fair if you can't see the document first.)

Best to you!

Deborah

[Edited at 2010-01-31 23:36 GMT]


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:20
French to English
+ ...
Agree with Karen Jan 31, 2010

Karen Stokes wrote:

I would quote my standard word rate - I wouldn't say it's that big a project and bear in mind that if you normally have a steady workflow you would be turning down other work (presumably at your standard rate) while you do it. Unless the text is very repetitive then 36K words is going to take you more or less as long as six 6K-word projects - so I can't see a justification for going in under your normal rate.


I agree entirely with Katen. I do a lot of health & safety work and in my case it often arrives in pdf format which, although it can be converted, often requires a lot of fiddling to restore a similar format to the original. Whilst that may not apply in your case, it's a valid point that you will be tied up for several weeks and may lose other customers who might otherwise have expected you to be available. Also, if you go in on a lower rate because it's a large file, you'll find it very hard to justify increasing your rates at a later date and be stuck with the lower rate for this client. As for repetitions, it depends how you want to proceed: if you do use a CAT tool and there are obviously a lot of repetitions, you may feel it's worthwhile telling your client and offering them a discount on the usual basis to make sure you secure the job. Again, that will set the pattern for any future work, so you need to be sure that the reduced rate is viable for you.

Good luck!

Claire


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Erich Ekoputra  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 00:20
Member (2007)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Determine your hourly rate, and run a short test Feb 1, 2010

It is better if you have your hourly rate handy.

1. First, determine how much you want for an hour of translation. Say, USD 50 (sorry for exaggeration or underestimate).
2. Then, translate 2 pages, measure how long it takes. Say 120 minutes (2hr).
3. Add "tiredness factor" and "learning curve", say -5% and 10% each.
4. Then, 2 pages will take 108 minutes.

The rest will be simple division of 132 pages by 2, followed by multiplication by 108 minutes, division by 60, and multiplication by USD 50. Tada!

Lastly, compare with your price with per-word rate; and then decide which is more appropriate to go by.

Kind regards, Erich//


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:20
German to English
Direct client rate Feb 2, 2010

Christiana Tziortziou wrote:

Obviously, with my standard rate, the total amount is logical, however, most people I've worked with during the past year have been reluctant with my rates (0,05 cent per source word).


Obviously an agency would charge this client much more that 5 cents per source word. You need to set a price above what an agency would pay you, yet below what an agency would charge the client. You need to calculate a rate that:

1. Is less than what an agency would charge
2. Is more than what an agency would pay you
3. Provides you with fair compensation for the effort involved

One mistake that freelancers make when starting out is that they set their prices too low for direct clients, charging them what they would expect to earn from an agency. A low rate may be OK for simple documents, but the client will expect to pay the same rate for projects with complex formatting, graphics, etc. that would be very labor-intensive. Clients come to expect a single rate for most services, so if you're charging 5 cents/word for simple projects, they'll expect the same rate for more complex jobs. Many clients, especially those with little experience as translation buyers, have no idea of what is involved in translating. I can't count the number of times I've been asked to "convert the text" into English, or "type the text" into English.

One caveat: if you charge near-agency rates, be prepared to pay someone to check your document for accuracy, typos, etc.

Here's a theoretical ( based on no knowledge of rates in Greece, but I do have fair knowledge of general agency pricing practices!):
Let's say an agency in Greece charges 15 cents/word for a document (but probably more). The agency would provide rudimentary checking, QA. You could easily charge 12 cents/word and pay a reader 3 cents/word, while you still made 9 cents per word. You would be providing the same service as the agency while making 80% more than your agency rate.

In nutshell: don't sell yourself too cheaply!


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Christiana Tziortziou  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:20
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
health and safety manual rates Feb 11, 2010

Thanks everyone for your advice on the rates; I've given more thought to the volume of the document and the amount of time it would take me and gave my final rates to the client. Now, I'm waiting for the final reply (my offer has initially been accepted but waiting for the final answer to start with the translation).

Thanks again!


Christiana


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