Book translators: your pricing policy?
Thread poster: BeCrystalClear

BeCrystalClear  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:30
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: 20:30
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: 21:30
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: 20:30
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: 19:30
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: 20:30
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: 20:30
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]


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Book translators: your pricing policy?

Advanced search

Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search