New member: rate advice needed please.
Thread poster: Richard Green

Richard Green  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Swedish to English
+ ...
Nov 25, 2011

Hello,
I'm very new to ProZ, and although I'm not new to translation, I've always been employed, so have very little experience of the freelance world and I would like some advice.

My main language pair is Swedish-English and I have set my rate at GBP 0.09-0.13 / word depending on difficulty, turnaround etc. I understand proofreading should be 25-50% of this, but ideally an hourly rate to account for the fact that the translation may be of poor quality.

Today I had a Norwegian company contact me outside of ProZ asking my proofreading rates for 1000 words and I offered GBP 40. I received a reply saying that this was too expensive, and they would offer GBP 45 for 5000 words, which I calculate as less than GBP 0.01 per word. What should I do? Should I even respond? If so, in what way?

I'd really appreciate some advice, and if anyone has the time to look over my profile and give me some constructive tips for improvement then I would really appreciate it.

All the best / Mvh!

[Edited at 2011-11-25 18:07 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What exactly is proofreading? Nov 25, 2011

Richard Green wrote:
I'm very new to ProZ, and although I'm not new to translation, I've always been employed, so have very little experience of the freelance world and I would like some advice.


Hello, Richard and welcome to ProZ.com. You've landed in the right place!

I know nothing about your pair but I do have quite some experience of proofreading, so I'll try to help with that.

I understand proofreading should be 25-50% of this, but ideally an hourly rate to account for the fact that the translation may be of poor quality.


The hourly rate is, as you say, because quality varies. 1000 words adding the odd missing comma and changing "form" to "from" will not take long, whereas if you have to restructure every second sentence it'll take a long time. But it is also because the very definition of the word is open to question. Should you simply be correcting errors or should you be improving style, making it more appealing etc?

they would offer GBP 45 for 5000 words, which I calculate as less than GBP 0.01 per word.


That does indeed seem very low. However, I do do a few jobs for about that rate. It's monolingual final quality checking of already proofread (well, in theoryicon_smile.gif) text. And I have the right to simply reject a text that is not up to standard. So, the most important questions come down to:

1) have you seen the text - ALL the text?
2) do you know what EXACTLY the client wants you to do?

If you can say "yes" to both those, then you should be able to estimate if you can do the job for their price. Personally, I'm not in favour of the client naming the price, but I accept that the translation industry is full of that.

if anyone has the time to look over my profile and give me some constructive tips for improvement then I would really appreciate it.


My word, you're pushing your luck, aren't you?icon_smile.gif

Sheila


 

Richard Green  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Nov 25, 2011

Thank you for taking the time to reply, Sheila. I have now asked the client for a copy of the text in question and said we can discuss a rate from there. I am all the more cautious as I cannot find the company in question registered on BlueBoard, although from their website, it seems as though they mainly cater for the proofreading of Norwegian university students' essays written in English. You don't know until you try I suppose!
Thanks once again.


 

Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
Welcome Richard! Nov 25, 2011

If you are unsure about rates in your language pair(s) and field(s) of expertise, I invite you to check the ProZ.com rates calculator at http://www.proz.com/translator-rates-calculator/

Also, ProZ.com has a section called "Community rates" available to all ProZ.com members at http://www.proz.com/?sp=rates_view . This section allows you to see the rates reported by other ProZ.com members for each language pair.

Perhaps you may want to give a try at ProZ.com membership --there is currently a membership campaign going on that you may want to take advantage of, http://www.proz.com/membership/campaign -- and not only have access to this feature, but also enjoy the rest of the benefits other members enjoy.

Finally, for feedback on how to improve your profile, I suggest you check the ProZ.com site guidance center:

http://www.proz.com/guidance-center

This place allows you to search the directory as if you were a client and get tips on how to improve your site visibility. There is also a section containing available resources that I believe you will find very helpful.

Enough homework for the weekend!

Just let me know if you need anything else.

Kind regards,

Lucia


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Comments on your profile Nov 25, 2011

Richard Green wrote:
I'd really appreciate some advice, and if anyone has the time to look over my profile and give me some constructive tips for improvement then I would really appreciate it.


OK Richard, I've relented and I'll let you have the benefit of my wisdom with regard to your profile.icon_wink.gif There are some things you should see to:
- the penultimate sentence in your presentation uses "within" twice
- your first sample translation is far too long. Better to have several small ones
- you mention some ability as a Danish to English translator, yet this is not one of your pairs and Danish is barely mentioned in your CV
- you specialise in aviation - why? Would it be possible to justify this? It would be a good idea, I'm sure

I can't find a single other thing that is not done extremely well in your profile.icon_smile.gif

Now for your CV! I personally don't like to see CVs combined with letters. I think the CV should be totally objective and quantifiable, whereas the letter is for blowing your own trumpet regarding your more subjective qualities. But freelancers need to market themselves, and your CV almost succeeds in being an exception to the rule as it is very, very well done. However, I have the following comments:
- why the title? Does your reader not recognise a CV?
- you've worked as a dispensing optician for 7 years? How's that? You were born in 1987 and you have never left education. I find this CV a little overblown. By all means make the most of your holiday and other part-time jobs, but beware of claiming too much as you risk the reader disbelieving the totality.
- the two most important items a client will look for first are missing entirely from your CV. They are:
1) working language pair(s)
2) specialisations and wider working areas

As I say, what is there is extremely well structured - but it's far too long. You would do much better, IMHO, to have a single-page CV full of single-line bullet points, to send with a short letter. However good it is, you will rarely find people willing to spend more than a minute or so on your CV.

I really don't see you doing much wrong and I wish you well. For more advice on how to make the most of your presence on ProZ.com, follow Lucia's advice.

Hope all that helps.

Sheila


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:38
Chinese to English
Seeing as you asked... Nov 26, 2011

This comment doesn't emerge so much from your profile as from frustration that's built up looking at many. But it seems relevant to you, too...

A sample translation, placed on a public profile, surely should be the most perfect possible thing, something to make clients think, "I want that". But so often they're just sloppy.

Yours aren't bad, but in the very first line, there appears to be a typo:

"Behind the acronym stands GRI Global Reporting Initiative" looks to me as if it should be "Behind the acronym GRI stands Global Reporting Initiative". Right?

I don't like the translation at all - I can see that it reflects the Swedish, but it's a bit weird in English. Google turns up no sentences of the same structure on the entire web - not conclusive but a bit of a warning. But my doubts about the sentence aside, there certainly shouldn't be a typo in the first line of your public sample.

I guess it's not a big issue in the scheme of things, but this kind of marketing error makes me shudder.


 

Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:38
German to English
+ ...
BlueBoard Nov 26, 2011

Richard Green wrote:

Today I had a Norwegian company contact me outside of ProZ asking my proofreading rates...

...

I am all the more cautious as I cannot find the company in question registered on BlueBoard, although...



Hi Richard,

They contact you and you expect them to be on this site's BB?

ProZ is a meeting place frequented by SOME serious and professional translators, companies etc.

Sometimes it reminds me a bit of the Yellow Pages. You're featured if you pay/join. And the more you pay, the more advertising space you get.
You can earn colourful ribbons too. And they offer what they consider credentials, or even "certification". But they're not worth much in the real world.

There is a bigger world of translation elsewhere.

Not being listed on the BB by no means per se casts an unfavourable light on an outsourcer. It can mean the outsourcer just doesn't want to be in this particular Yellow Pages (or maybe doesn't even know it exists).
c


 

Richard Green  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Nov 26, 2011

Thank you for your comments, suggestions and opinions. I have taken them all on board and will start rectifying the issues you have brought up. As I mentioned, the freelance world is still a new one to me, and I'm on quite a steep learning curve at the moment! So any advice helps.
I shall start to amend my profile according to your tips, and similarly try to become more familiar with ProZ, its features, benefits and limitations.
Many thanks.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Hebrew to English
Agree with Cilian...... Nov 26, 2011

Even if an agency contacts you directly through ProZ, there's no guarantee they will have a BB entry.

So.....

If they contact you outside of ProZ then there's definitely no reason to assume you'll find them.

Just be cautious of naysayers who warn great danger of agencies not appearing on the BB. As Cilian has quite rightly pointed out, it's a big world out there with countless reputable agencies not on the BB, and conversely, plenty of iffy agencies listed on there (some with a string of 5's to their name).

I'm not saying the system is pointless, but it isn't flawless either.

[Edited at 2011-11-26 08:22 GMT]


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Hebrew to English
Picking up on this.... Nov 26, 2011

Phil Hand wrote:

This comment doesn't emerge so much from your profile as from frustration that's built up looking at many. But it seems relevant to you, too...

A sample translation, placed on a public profile, surely should be the most perfect possible thing, something to make clients think, "I want that". But so often they're just sloppy.

Yours aren't bad, but in the very first line, there appears to be a typo:

"Behind the acronym stands GRI Global Reporting Initiative" looks to me as if it should be "Behind the acronym GRI stands Global Reporting Initiative". Right?

I don't like the translation at all - I can see that it reflects the Swedish, but it's a bit weird in English. Google turns up no sentences of the same structure on the entire web - not conclusive but a bit of a warning. But my doubts about the sentence aside, there certainly shouldn't be a typo in the first line of your public sample.

I guess it's not a big issue in the scheme of things, but this kind of marketing error makes me shudder.



I agree with Phil, taking just the sentence:

Behind the acronym GRI, stands Global Reporting Initiative, a foundation based in Amsterdam.


which does sound a bit "off" in English. I think you have a few choices with sentences like these:

a) be more free in your translation, move away from the source text (not vastly)

Global Reporting Initiative, the company behind the acronym GRI is a foundation based in Amsterdam

This sounds more natural and is only a slight rejigging of syntax, with more natural English phrasing ("the company behind the acronym" has some support on Google)

b) try to stick closer to the source text without trading in "naturalness" in English

The Acronym GRI, which stands for Global Reporting Initiative, is a foundation based in Amsterdam

This option has less noticeable changes from the Swedish. The only sacrifice was "behind the" which is kind of implicit in English anyway. The use of "stand for" is the usual English term for "something standing for something else". Although it probably lacks the imagery of the Swedish (a company physically standing behind an acronym - maybe). It's a compromise.

c) could keep the essence of the Swedish, perhaps at the expense of total "naturalness"

Global Reporting Initiative stands behind the acronym GRI, which is a foundation based in Amsterdam.

This keeps the imagery of the original Swedish, using a slightly more natural English (certainly less marked) syntax. Although it may not be quite as natural to the ears??? It's in the ear of the beholder I suppose.

My personal preference is for A or B. However, these things tend to depend on the purpose of the translation, the intended audience etc....

In addition, it wouldn't hurt to look at their English website (http://www.globalreporting.org/Home)
to research the kind of terminology and style of language they have previously used in translation (presuming their website is a translation of their Swedish one), even if this is not the case, it would give you an idea of their preferred linguistic style.


 


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