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How much do you charge for DTP?
Thread poster: Marina Steinbach

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:49
Member
English to German
+ ...
May 12, 2012

Hi!

I have been told that you do not charge for DTP on a word or an hourly basis, but per page.

Is this true? If yes, then how much?


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:49
English to German
+ ...
US $ 75.00 May 12, 2012

Nothing creative involved. Any stupid copy shop in the US will charge this rate. Plus $25.00 set-up fee to even start a new file.

Forgot: Per hour

[Edited at 2012-05-12 22:15 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:49
English to German
+ ...
"per page" May 13, 2012

Marina Steinbach wrote:
but per page.


that's how typesetting for books is charged. Books only.


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Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:49
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Nicole. May 13, 2012

Thank you, Nicole.

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Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:49
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I have learnt my lesson: Never start jobs before you have received a PO. May 17, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Nothing creative involved. Any stupid copy shop in the US will charge this rate. Plus $25.00 set-up fee to even start a new file.


I have learnt my lesson: Never start jobs before you have received a PO (Purchase Order).

I had translated a text and was praised for my translation and DTP. I thought that this is normal, i.e. to deliver the translated text in the exact format (including DTP) as the original text.

After seeing the work of my two colleagues on this project however, I was very much astonished, because they didn’t pay attention to the format at all.

My client was overwhelmed of my translation and DTP skills and therefore asked me to do the DTP work for the translations from the other translators. Of course I said yes, but now I know how stupid I was.

First of all, the company did not pay the DTP that I performed for my initial work.

Because you are always told that everything is so very much urgent, you just go on and do the work. I know that my fellow co-translators are just as eager as I am, but nevertheless, if you deliver your work in time, you just hope that you will receive your pay in due time.

Well, never just rely on a verbal agreement.
Always insist on a written PO/contract.

Our well-known colleague, Nicole Schnell, told me that 75.00 USD per hour for DTP would be a standard rate.

The PO my client has sent to me today (2 weeks after I have delivered my work and submitted my invoice) shows a rate of 4.00 USD per page.

I have learnt my lesson:

Never start a job before you have received a PO (Purchase Order).


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xxxchristela
Strange May 17, 2012

You got a lot of work and you *hoped that you would get paid for it*?

A DTP person is a specialist, his software is expensive, he always makes quotes. With a minimum of one hour. € 60, where I live. All changes and modifications will have to be paid. As soon as he touches your file, there is a stopwatch running. For big jobs, they charge by the working day (not per page, not per hour, per day).

Of course, a translator is cheaper.


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Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:49
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hope. May 17, 2012

christela wrote:

You got a lot of work and you *hoped that you would get paid for it*?


Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.

[Matrix Reloaded]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:49
English to German
+ ...
Oh, well. May 18, 2012

Marina Steinbach wrote:

shows a rate of 4.00 USD per page.


That's the rate per page for book typesetting. Single column, no pics. For a recent book I paid the typesetter US $1,500 for about 300 pages, some already existing illustrations were built in. You do the math.

Forget about any POs that are sent after delivery. You have to set your own rates. I also fully agree with Christela.


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Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:49
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I did my math. May 19, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

For a recent book I paid the typesetter US $1,500 for about 300 pages, some already existing illustrations were built in. You do the math.


I did my math, and it seems that my rate wasn’t so bad after all.

Nicole Schnell wrote:

I also fully agree with Christela.


You agree with Christela on what? That I am complaining about getting a lot of work and hoping to be paid?


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:49
English to Polish
+ ...
Necro but Apr 26, 2013

I'm necroing this thread because the subject is important to me, and I believe it is important overall. I don't charge for DTP because I don't do DTP. I affirm the right of translators not to be expected to do DTP. Those who do have the right to do so, especially if they're proficient in it and charge separately, while I do wish for the common practice of expecting all translators to do DIY (kinda like DUI, n'est pas?) DTP to cease. I just wish people would stop hoping to replace relatively entry level manual services provided by copy points with people who are at the same time required to hold degrees, have broad and deep knowledge and master a bunch of languages plus writing skills. Or replacing those real professional DTP services that take some costly hardware, software and trying with DYI by somebody who's never trained for it but is nonetheless being expected to do the same by a smuggled-in client instruction issued post-order.

In the OP's case, at least there was some kind of PO and additional payment, at least reflecting the idea of a separate, named service, rather than a "keep the format" requirement with the implicit threat of having your translations return to you for margin fixing and manual correction of lists stupidly mishandled by OCR software or some such. So great. But this is still an opportunity to cast a reminder of the problem we all know. (As much as some of us may perceive it as an opportunity rather than problem, but I'd respectfully ask if that's what one studies linguistics for.)


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A different approach Apr 27, 2013

I avoid charging directly for my time as much as I can, when I think it's not reasonable.

I consider it reasonable to charge for my time in an interpreting job. I'll have to be there for a specific, measurable number of hours, to interpret whatever the client wants to or say or should hear. Anything I am capable and ethically willing to do is included. For instance, as a sworn interpreter in weddings, among other things I've already tied the groom's necktie, bought aspirin for the mother-in-law-to-be, taken pictures, given the newlyweds a ride home in my car, etc.

However I don't like the idea of doing DTP on hourly rates, since either way it's unfair. If they accept me using PageMaker, I'll do anything in a snap. The miserable payment I'll get won't compensate my 20+ years' investment in mastering it so well. Conversely, if they demand that I use, say, Quark to do the very same job, I'll spend/waste many hours, perhaps days, reading manuals and help screens, or in trial-and-error attempts, to find out how it's done there, which will cost a fortune.

I've been doing 'DTP' throughout my entire professional translation career. My first job, back in 1973, involved translating small-run technical manuals for heavy industrial machinery, and rebuilding their local version. After translation (using a fountain pen and a notepad), two expert typists would get the text neatly on strips of paper. I did lots of technical drawing (I was a mechanical engineering sophomore then), and we assembled all that onto pages using glue sticks.

As my employer was paying me a salary for a specified number of hours I worked there, I can say that I have been charging for DTP work since day one. PageMaker only came up in the 1980s.

Regarding rates, I charge something in the USD 20-25 range to rebuild a page using PageMaker, for instance, when the original I translated from was in hard copy or scanned PDF. Now, if the original is a distilled/sw-generated/"editable" PDF, using InFix Pro to export, translate, and import back, I charge USD 5-10 per physical page to adjust the layout after translation.

The variation in the ranges depends on document complexity. The upper levels derive from complex tables and/or charts. Illustrations with embedded text (Photoshop-style editing work) may be charged separately or included in the higher rates, depending on their complexity.

I really feel sorry for the colleagues who burn the midnight oil hopelessly attempting to use MS Word to re-create complex layouts originally built with, e.g. InDesign... and not charging a single penny for that. Of course, if the source material is a MS Word file, WordFast Classic shouldn't usually ruin the layout, so I'll do my best to preserve it without additional charges.


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
DTP Apr 27, 2013

I worked as a freelance graphic designer for a few years before becoming a translator. For images and artwork, I charged ~$100 per hour. The kind of work that I do now with my translation projects is much simpler and less time consuming, but still requires an extra amount of work and I need to my software to pay itself off eventually. I don't really like charging by the hour because, 1. I usually have half a dozen things going when I work on these projects, so the time I spend at the computer, and the time I spend actually working on the project are very different, and 2. I may actually finish the work faster than I meant to, and since I try to be an honest person, I can't charge them for time that I didn't actually work. My solution is, since we should already take a look at the document prior to translating it, I give a total for the entire project. That way I don't have to worry about keeping track of my time or anything else.

For immigration paperwork (my bread and butter), for example, I usually ask ~$30 a page, and if it's for the US, I include my little statement for the DHS or USCIS certifying the translation for another $5. Since this makes up the majority of my work, and since I am inherently lazy (though others may call it efficiency, I only do these things so that I don't have to do them again) I make blank versions of each document. I can use these templates for similar translations/certificates. I have maybe 30 of them right now. As you can imagine, this greatly reduces that amount of time that I actually spend on each project, and is why I needed to move away from charging by the hour.


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xxxMindwork
India
Local time: 08:19
Actually how much we need to charge for DTP work/page. and how we will get DTP work? Jun 2, 2016

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I avoid charging directly for my time as much as I can, when I think it's not reasonable.

I consider it reasonable to charge for my time in an interpreting job. I'll have to be there for a specific, measurable number of hours, to interpret whatever the client wants to or say or should hear. Anything I am capable and ethically willing to do is included. For instance, as a sworn interpreter in weddings, among other things I've already tied the groom's necktie, bought aspirin for the mother-in-law-to-be, taken pictures, given the newlyweds a ride home in my car, etc.

However I don't like the idea of doing DTP on hourly rates, since either way it's unfair. If they accept me using PageMaker, I'll do anything in a snap. The miserable payment I'll get won't compensate my 20+ years' investment in mastering it so well. Conversely, if they demand that I use, say, Quark to do the very same job, I'll spend/waste many hours, perhaps days, reading manuals and help screens, or in trial-and-error attempts, to find out how it's done there, which will cost a fortune.

I've been doing 'DTP' throughout my entire professional translation career. My first job, back in 1973, involved translating small-run technical manuals for heavy industrial machinery, and rebuilding their local version. After translation (using a fountain pen and a notepad), two expert typists would get the text neatly on strips of paper. I did lots of technical drawing (I was a mechanical engineering sophomore then), and we assembled all that onto pages using glue sticks.

As my employer was paying me a salary for a specified number of hours I worked there, I can say that I have been charging for DTP work since day one. PageMaker only came up in the 1980s.

Regarding rates, I charge something in the USD 20-25 range to rebuild a page using PageMaker, for instance, when the original I translated from was in hard copy or scanned PDF. Now, if the original is a distilled/sw-generated/"editable" PDF, using InFix Pro to export, translate, and import back, I charge USD 5-10 per physical page to adjust the layout after translation.

The variation in the ranges depends on document complexity. The upper levels derive from complex tables and/or charts. Illustrations with embedded text (Photoshop-style editing work) may be charged separately or included in the higher rates, depending on their complexity.

I really feel sorry for the colleagues who burn the midnight oil hopelessly attempting to use MS Word to re-create complex layouts originally built with, e.g. InDesign... and not charging a single penny for that. Of course, if the source material is a MS Word file, WordFast Classic shouldn't usually ruin the layout, so I'll do my best to preserve it without additional charges.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
There are too many variables at play Jun 2, 2016

Mindwork wrote:
Actually how much we need to charge for DTP work/page. and how we will get DTP work?


As Proz is a translation portal, I assume you are referring to DTP in some way bundled with translation.

  • Does it involve art? ... e.g. creating a fancy design from a visually dull publication?
  • Does it involve technology? e.g. transforming engineering drawings to match another country's standards?
  • Does it involve removing text embedded into pictures, rebuilding the background, and replacing it with translated text?
  • Are there font issues to handle? ... e.g. proprietary fonts that don't have the necessary diacritics/char sets?
  • Will you have to buy specific fonts?
  • Are there charts, graphs, tables, etc. that will have to be redrawn for any reason?
  • In what type of files is the original provided?
  • Is any specific software required, or would it be your choice?
  • Is hard copy (scanning) at all involved?
  • ... and possibly many others.

    A translator gets DTP work when s/he knows how to do it, and their translation work involves complex-layout publications; especially when bilingual (or sesquilingual) DTP operators in that specific language pair are hard to find.

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  • John Fossey  Identity Verified
    Canada
    Local time: 22:49
    Member (2008)
    French to English
    I don't Jun 3, 2016

    I'm pretty good with Word and with ABBYY PDF Transformer, and if a job can be laid out quickly with those tools I don't charge (meaning 2-5 minutes per page at most). But if it's at all more complex, I tell the client I will extract the text and provide them with a reference table in MS Word, and it's the job of their DTP expert to lay it out.

    DTP work is done with an entirely different set of tools and skills (such as InDesign, QuarkXpress, PagesPlus, Scribus) than translating. It's a different business.


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