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Rates for post editing machine translation texts
Thread poster: Blanca Amoroso

Blanca Amoroso  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:07
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 5, 2012

Hello,

Could someone let me know the usual rates for post editing machine translation texts?
Any idea? I have been asked but I have no idea.

Thanks a lot!

Kind regards,
Blanca


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Teymur Suleymanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:07
Russian to English
+ ...
Charge by the hour Jan 5, 2012

Blanca Amoroso wrote:

Hello,

Could someone let me know the usual rates for post editing machine translation texts?
Any idea? I have been asked but I have no idea.

Thanks a lot!

Kind regards,
Blanca


I have see n this question pop every now and then. The unanimously agreed answer to it has always been to charge by the hour.
The editing rate is usually half that of your regular translating rate.
Calculate the number of words you can translate per day, multiply them by your applicable rate, split by the regular 8-hours and you get your average hourly rate. Half of that will be what you probably should charge for your editing.

HTH,
Teymur


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 08:07
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
It is tricky. Jan 5, 2012

Post-editing of machine translation can (imo probably will) require reworking of entire sentences and sections. Personally, I would not accept such work for the rate lower than usual translation rate. And I would never accept such a job without firstly reviewing the text.

Teymur Suleymanov wrote:

Calculate the number of words you can translate per day, multiply them by your applicable rate, split by the regular 8-hours and you get your average hourly rate. Half of that will be what you probably should charge for your editing.

HTH,
Teymur


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:07
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Highly dangerous to generalise Jan 5, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:
I would never accept such a job without firstly reviewing the text.


That's the absolutely essential step, IMO. First feel the quality then quote. I have had the same experience as others here: occasionally you see a sentence (even two) that is amazingly good. However, most will need some work and some will be completely unintelligible. But I've only had experience of the main free MT programs - others could be better. Or worse.

Sheila

NB: edited to correct a grammar mistake!

[Edited at 2012-01-05 08:05 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:07
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Charge by the hour or Jan 5, 2012

... charge 50 - 75% of your translation rate.

These MTs usually show a couple of good sentences, a few more which only require minimum editing. However, I've noticed that in many cases it's much easier and less time consuming to simple rewrite or retranslate the sentences.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
Why half? Jan 5, 2012

Teymur Suleymanov wrote:
I have see n this question pop every now and then. The unanimously agreed answer to it has always been to charge by the hour.
The editing rate is usually half that of your regular translating rate.
Calculate the number of words you can translate per day, multiply them by your applicable rate, split by the regular 8-hours and you get your average hourly rate. Half of that will be what you probably should charge for your editing.


Why half of the regular hourly rate? You work a full hour, you get paid a full hour.
I always charge my full hourly rate for anything other then plain translation.


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 08:07
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
This is the very reason Jan 5, 2012

why I propose to start with full rate for translation (with presumption that the machine translation will be a kind of scrap as it often happens) and provide discounts after thorough reviewing the text. Another important question is time required for the post-editing. A client can expect that the job will be done faster (or even much faster) than common translation, but in the case of unacceptable MT, the contrary may be true.

Generally, post-editing of MT could happen to be a trap.

Thayenga wrote:

... charge 50 - 75% of your translation rate.

However, I've noticed that in many cases it's much easier and less time consuming to simple rewrite or retranslate the sentences.


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:07
English to Russian
+ ...
Usual rate to apply Jan 5, 2012


Any idea?


Someone makes his living doing some work in front of his her computer.
The person must make/cobrar, say, N dollars/euro etc. monthly.

N divided by 30 days makes N/30 dollars/euro etc. per day.

N/30 divided by 8 hours makes N/(30*8) dollars/euro etc. per hour.

Just as simple as that.

The main point is to determine how much money the person wants or has to receive monthly.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Member
English to French
Post-editing machine translation vs. editing human translation Jan 5, 2012

I have only done post-editing tasks with trusted and long-standing agency customers, on specific texts (quasi-controlled language) and with a real MT environnement (fed with termbases, human TMs and not some kind of one-size-fits-all system or Google Translate).
The expectations are clearly defined, ie do not expect human style after MT post-editing, but rather how a robot would explain to you how to do this or undo that.
Forget about flow and style and simply make sure the text can be understood, that it is free from grammar and spelling errors and that the meaning is strictly conveyed.

The task is therefore very different from editing human texts, and the approach to corrections is very different too. Not anybody can do post-editing in a productive way.

So you have to state that you commit to only a few thousand words, to check whether the rate you offer is sustainable. In other words, don't commit to 60 thou to deliver in 3 weeks and realise after 3 days that you earn 15 euros/hour.

This is a precaution, because I think it is very difficult to anticipate how much more time you will spend on MTed texts compared to translation from scratch. You may well see dumb, wrong or unintelligible sentences, but in fact you only need a fraction of a sec to make it "right" (see expectations of PEed MT above) compared to retranslating it all. In my opinion, seeing the text in advance won't help you much to decide what rate to offer.

In duly prepared post-editing projects, I charged 50% of my full word rate, which translated into more than my hourly rate (ie I earned more per hour doing post-editing than charging whatever by the hour).

But it is very boring, ungratifying and repetitive. I have post-edited a few hundred thousands of words, but after a while I have to do something else and discard such assignments.

At any rate I would never do any post-editing for an unknown client at a rate other than my full rate. If only to renegociate later after seeing what they are up to.

Good luck,
Philippe


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
By the hour! Jan 5, 2012

Whatever the philosofy around MT, do not get your fingers caught with this. Clearly charge by the hour.

If the translation is a good one (which is probably what the customer has told you; they always say that), it will be less hours and the customer will pay less; if they use a bad MT system or a badly tuned system, the job will take more hours and they will pay more. This way you are paid in a fair way for the actual work involved.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Beg your pardon? Jan 5, 2012

Teymur Suleymanov wrote:
The editing rate is usually half that of your regular translating rate.
Calculate the number of words you can translate per day, multiply them by your applicable rate, split by the regular 8-hours and you get your average hourly rate. Half of that will be what you probably should charge for your editing.

Sorry, but this is not correct. You work full hours, and should get paid the full hourly rate.


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polyglot45
English to French
+ ...
No reductions Jan 5, 2012

Let's be perfectly clear about what's going on here.
The average client thinks that using MT will save him or her money.
The machine breaks the back of the work and the translator just has to tweak things a bit.
What a load of rubbish. If you have ever had to revise MT then you must know that what actually happens is that you receive pages of incomprehensible garbage and have to spend hours knocking it into some sort of shape.

Don't get me wrong. I am not entirely anti-MT. I think that, properly used, it can be useful. It's all about "fitness for purpose". In other words, if someone receives a text in a language he or she does not understand, then rather than send the document off for translation without knowing whether there is any real point, then to run the text through MT can save money. If the text turns out to be of no use, then you waste no more time on it.
Where things start to go wrong is when the client realises that the content could be useful and asks a translator to sort out the MT. In reality, it would be better all round for the said client to give the original to a proper translator to do from scratch. The end result would be better (no compromises of the sort inevitable when trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear) and the translator would be fairly paid (one would hope) for the job done.

To me that is the message we need to get across - fitness for purpose. And one of the ways of convincing the client is to make sure that the cost of sorting out the MT mess is such that he will recognise the wisdom of doing things "the proper way".

So if we could all have the sense to stand together on this one and refuse to take on dirty jobs at cheap rates, we could perhaps stamp out this nasty trend before it really takes off.

The only time a client gave me some MT to sort out it was not enitrely his fault: he thought his colleague had written the text in the foreign language himself. In fact, the colleague had lacked confidence and used MT to hide his inadequacies. After a very firm exchange with said client, it is henceforth agreed that colleagues who haven't the skills to produce their own texts directly will send them for translation. It's one battle won but not yet the war....


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 08:07
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
It means that a translator needs longer rest time Jan 5, 2012

to recover after such work. Boring, ungratifying and repetitive works make me much more exhausted than common translations, even the difficult ones (no personal experience with MT post-editing). I wonder if such a job is profitable on long run (considering its exhausting nature).

Philippe Etienne wrote:

But it is very boring, ungratifying and repetitive. I have post-edited a few hundred thousands of words, but after a while I have to do something else and discard such assignments.

Philippe


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Tricky indeed Jan 5, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:
Post-editing of machine translation can (imo probably will) require reworking of entire sentences and sections. Personally, I would not accept such work for the rate lower than usual translation rate. And I would never accept such a job without firstly reviewing the text.


Quite often I get asked about my post-editing rate. I learned to be very careful, so I bid 1/3 of my standard translation rate for competent human translation, otherwise rates may be higher, yet limited to my full translation rate. Once I was asked about what I meant by "competent", to which I replied as the translator being "about as competent as myself". In all other cases I never heard from them again, which proves their intent was to secure complete human rework on free machine translation at editing rates.

I had a few cases of PMs who went overboard on the cheap side, had the translation rejected by their end-clients, and hired me to redo the entire job (at my full translation rate, of course). Due to time constraints and intricate formatting, I post-edited one of them, so I know quite thoroughly what a fledgling translation looks like. Quite frankly, it is actually worse than machine translation, though the overall quality is about the same. At least MT is consistent throughout in its flaws. An amateur wannabe translator will often learn many new things on the way. If the text is long, chances are they will 'unlearn´some before they are through, and either resume their old mistakes, or invent new ones. Considering the low pay they are getting, it's unlikely that they'll go back to fix all previous mistranslations, so fixing that is a nightmare.


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:07
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
My experience Jan 5, 2012

I recently used google.com/translate on the website for a 2000 word project, and I was so happy at first, because I finished the translation within 2 hours. However, I found the translation was so poorly worded when I came back to review the draft after several hours. It was very hard to enhance the translation because the structure of many sentences was quite different to my intuitives, although no major error was found. I had to re-write most of the sentences and eventually my productivity is lower than my usual practice, i.e., translating without the help of google.com/translate

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