# Charging by word instead of by line

Charging by word instead of by line

silvertrans (X)
Local time: 04:35
German to English
 Apr 18, 2012

I have always worked in Switzerland and charged by line (standard 55 key strokes per line including empty spaces). I am now freelancing and everyone is asking for a price per word (showing my age). If I charge, e.g. 4.00 Swiss francs a line, what does this mean for per word charge? Must admit I am at a loss.

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ATIL KAYHAN
Turkey
Local time: 05:35
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
 Rate Conversion Apr 18, 2012

It all depends upon how many words there are per each line. You have to divide your rate in lines by this number (i.e. by how many words there are per line). Suppose your current rate is \$0.15 per line as an example. Suppose you have found out that there are 15 words in each line on the average. If you divide \$0.15 by 15, you get \$0.15 / 15 = \$0.01 per word. Let us know if this is not clear.

If we take your example, and assume that there are 15 words per each line (this is only an assumption), then

4.00 Swiss francs per line / 15 words per line = 0.27 Swiss francs per word

Now you have to count how many words there are in each line, and use this number instead of 15.

[Edited at 2012-04-18 09:09 GMT]

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cranium
French to English
+ ...
 Another approach Apr 18, 2012

Start with your target daily income, and divide that by the average number of words you translate in a day.

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Slovakia
Local time: 04:35
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
 In my country, a slightly different system has been used, Apr 18, 2012

but conversion can be still applied after some adjustments. So, we use the so-called standard pages consisting of 30 lines with 60 characters (including spaces) per line. One standard page is about 250 words. It means that one line (consisting of 60 characters) consists of about 8.33 words. As your lines are shorter, which should multiply the number of words by 55/60. Then, we get about 7,64 words per line.
So, if you charge € 4 per line, you should charge € 0,52-€ 0,53 per word.

silvertrans wrote:

I have always worked in Switzerland and charged by line (standard 55 key strokes per line including empty spaces). I am now freelancing and everyone is asking for a price per word (showing my age). If I charge, e.g. 4.00 Swiss francs a line, what does this mean for per word charge? Must admit I am at a loss.

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David Wright
Austria
Local time: 04:35
German to English
+ ...
 Cheat Apr 18, 2012

If I'm asked for a per-word quote, I ask for the text, work out how much I would charge per line and then divide the total amount by the number of words to get a per-word rate. After a while you will probably become aware of what your per-word rate should be. (I'm not, cos I only get per-word request very rarely and they're usually from the bottom of the market clients that contact me through ProZ).

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Michael Wetzel
Germany
Local time: 04:35
German to English
 Where David's answer isn't possible ... Apr 18, 2012

Hello,

If possible, do it like David. If not:

The other issue is that lines are based on the target text and words on the source text, so the direction that you are translating is important.

At least for my work with de>en, the results are very accurate.

You could then check the resullts by choosing a sample of past translations and dividing the number of words in the source texts (assuming you have saved these somewhere) by the number of lines on your invoices to get the number of words per line and the appropriate price per word.

And, on a side note: Ignore the rest of the world and concentrate on expanding your Swiss customer base! Switzerland and Scandinavia seem to be havens of good prices for translators.

Sincerely,
Michael Wetzel

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Alex Lago
Spain
Local time: 04:35
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
 Use your past jobs Apr 18, 2012

The best thing would be to quote on a per job basis but if you want to set a standard rate I would suggest (as it sounds as though you have been translating for some time) getting a few of your past jobs, say for the last month or two and then simply build a spreadsheet showing source word count, target word count and rate invoiced, then have the spreadsheet calculate the rate per word for each language, use that do get an average and compare the highest and lowest values to your average just to make sure there are no distortions, that should give you a pretty good idea of what your rate should be.

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Oliver Walter
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:35
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
 About 7 words per line Apr 18, 2012

I usually charge by the word because it gives me a good estimate of how much work is in the translation. In my experience, for German source text, a Normzeile of 55 characters averages to 7 words. The number of words in my English translations from German is about 15% greater than in the source text, but the total length (characters) is about the same, or even less! (i.e. German texts contain many long words.)

Oliver

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