Rates for translating a novel-in-verse from Russian to English?
Thread poster: larisa0001

larisa0001
Russian to English
+ ...
Oct 18, 2011

I have been asked to quote a translation for a 250-page novel in verse from Russian to English. While I have done exactly this kind of work before (twice), I really underpriced it (it was for a friend of the family) - so I have no idea how much a real translator would charge for something like that. When I worked for a translation agency, I only translated legal documents, not poetry; what is the going rate for poetry, especially 250 pages worth of poetry?

Any help is appreciated. I'm excited about this project - this is the third novel in verse I'd be working on - but I do want to get paid fairly for this work.

LM


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:33
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Negotiate Oct 18, 2011

It's not Onegin again?

Translation of literature is paid poorly, I'm afraid. I think it has something to do with the fact that translators "get exited" about it. A fair price would be perhaps half what you would expect for a technical translation. Literary translators earn about a third compared to technical translators. It's your choice.

But all depends how you negotiate with the customer. You could ask for royalties if you think the translation will sell well.

[Bearbeitet am 2011-10-18 08:07 GMT]


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 08:33
German to Swedish
+ ...
Fair price Oct 18, 2011

Naw, a fair price would be *at least* double what you get for technical translation.
No CAT, no TM, no reference, no boilerplate solutions... instead you get meter constraints and rhyme problems (if it's indeed Onegin).

The market may not stand for it - but poetry is much slower going than technical translation (unless you translate into free verse).


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes, double would be fair Oct 18, 2011

Joakim Braun wrote:

Naw, a fair price would be *at least* double what you get for technical translation.
No CAT, no TM, no reference, no boilerplate solutions... instead you get meter constraints and rhyme problems (if it's indeed Onegin).

The market may not stand for it - but poetry is much slower going than technical translation (unless you translate into free verse).


Because it takes much longer for a poetry translation, especially "rhymers" to be completed than any technical translation.

While there are CATs, TMs and backup information available to assist with technical translations, the translation of poetry requires much more, even aside from meter restrictions, because the emotion, the "feel" of the poem needs to be conveyed to the target language readers. And this is, at times, hard work.

Unfortunately, there are several companies on the market which consider literature and poetry translations not to be "real" translation work, thus the price dumping.


 


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Rates for translating a novel-in-verse from Russian to English?

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