Book translators: your pricing policy?
Thread poster: BeCrystalClear

BeCrystalClear  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
Mar 31, 2010

My apologies if there is already a similar topic, but I could not find it...

I have been given the opportunity to translate a non-fiction book on training for cyclists, which happens to be one of my main areas of interest, and I was wondering about your pricing policy for book translations.
The Trados count is as follows:
4678 reps
38754 no matches
43432 total

Given the large volume I was thinking along the lines of € 0.05 as a standard rate (roughly 0.0675 USD or 0.0445 GBP says the converter) for the no matches. Is this low, high or acceptable in your opinion...?

The last thing I want to do is scare the client away (I would really love to do this job), but on the other hand I do not want to sell myself short. What pricing policy do you normally use when translating books?


Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
Why would you use other policies for books or large jobs? Mar 31, 2010

I don't really understand why you would charge less (or more) when you translate a book and/or a large job. You do the same work...

(BTW, I think there are actually reasons to charge more for very large jobs or to avoid them altogether, but that's been discussed many times before in these forums)

Also, I think 5 cents is way too low. I never accept anything under 9 eurocents per word, and consider it the rock bottom decent price.


Sanna van Leeuwen  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:01
Dutch to Finnish
+ ...
Jan Willem: Because publishers won't pay more, that's why. Mar 31, 2010

If we could charge the same for book translations as for other jobs, we book translators would be richicon_wink.gif

The truth is, I recently earned the same with an official document translation job of 7 days and with a book translation job of 2 months.

According to Vlaams Fonds voor de Letteren, a normal rate for prose translations is around 6 eurocent / word. For non-fiction it's probably lower.


Krzysztof Kajetanowicz (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to Polish
+ ...
another thing Mar 31, 2010

I suspect that a lot of books are translated by people who are dying to translate them — because they loved the book. Plus, let's be serious, you do want your name on the inside of the cover of a book. Hence people may be willing to accept lower prices.


Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
German to English
Books need high standards Mar 31, 2010

Personally I quote a higher rate for books than for other documents, because of the particularly high standard needed not only for the translation but also for punctuation, spelling etc. - even if someone else is going to proof-read it, I would still check a book translation even more meticulously than some other types of text that are more ephemeral. And books can throw up all sorts of time-consuming issues, such as points that need checking with the author or the minutiae of footnotes, references and indices, as well as consistency. To my mind, €0.05 is far, far too low and it's unreasonable for a publisher to expect to get high quality for that sort of price.

Incidentally, have you clarified with the client exactly what he/she can expect for his money - particularly with regard to who does checking and proof-reading, and how many times the client can come back to you with requests for amendments after the initial translation?


BeCrystalClear  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
Thanks for your replies Mar 31, 2010

You've all been a great help. Taking your remarks into account I think I'll propose a slightly higher rate than I originally intended.

@Armorel: no, I have not yet discussed with the client what is included in the price - but thanks for raising the issue. It's certainly worth some serious thought.


BeCrystalClear  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
A little follow-up Apr 2, 2010

The client just told me that it's a go, even with the slightly higher rates I proposed after reading your comments... Hurrah!

[Edited at 2010-04-02 08:36 GMT]


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Book translators: your pricing policy?

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