Translating a book-rates
Thread poster: Elisabet G.Oya

Elisabet G.Oya  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 9, 2011

Hello everybody,
I've been asked to give an estimate of a medical book (English-Spanish) of 730 pages, 4 lines per page
and 10 words per line (details given by the client).
This is the first time I give rates for a book and such an extension...should I use rates per word, page, the whole book?
Moreover, when it takes you several months to complete a translation, is it normal to ask for a montly rate?
Thank you very much for your answers!


Egils Turks  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:36
English to Latvian
+ ...
A couple of weeks, not months Sep 9, 2011

So, there will be only 40 words per page, and number of standard pages - about 117.
This means you might do the job in about 2 weeks (I assume your normal productivity and that text is not very complicated). Therefore no reason to talk about montly pay.

I have translated 2 books from English into Latvian. In both cases I had an agreement with publishing house stating my pay for the so-called author's sheet (40,000 target characters including spaces); in essence, it was pay per character.


Elisabet G.Oya  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mistake Sep 9, 2011

I'm sorry, I meant 34 lines (not 4...)


Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member (2009)
French to English
Monthly deadlines Sep 10, 2011

I do not have any experience with book translation, but I can tell you that with longer projects it is common to have interim milestones and payments. This helps everyone as you do not have to wait half a year for a paycheck and the editor can review your work as you go.


isabel murillo  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
target characters with spaces/no monthly rate Sep 10, 2011

Hi Elisabet,

I translate books here in Spain, from English to Spanish. However, I work mainly in literature and assay, no technical books, but as far as I know, in terms of books, things work more or less the same in both fields.

My work conditions are different for each book and are reflected on a contract signed between the publishing house and myself: delivery date, rates, payment conditions, royalties, and so on.

As for the rates, I am always payed based on target characters with spaces, and the rates in Spain can go from 8,5 euros/2100 target characters with spaces to 13 euros/1800 target characters with spaces.

In the case of a long term project, as the one you have been offered, I would negotiate two payments: one more or less at half project, the other at the end.

Don't hesitate to get in touch directly with me if you need more details.


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