Is 0.10 EUR + 21% VAT a good rate for long term medical translation?
Thread poster: Roger Marshall

Roger Marshall  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Catalan to English
+ ...
Oct 10, 2012

Hello everyone,

I have just been offered long-term work with a medical journal for which they have offered me 0.10 EUR per translated word. It seems reasonable to me, but I thought I should just make sure that it was ok before taking the plunge. It will involve translating original articles from Spanish into English, the average length of each article being 5000 words.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
More or less acceptable Oct 10, 2012

It's not a bad rate, but not a good one either for this kind of specialised work. If they offer .10, why not negotiate, ask for, say, .14 and see if you can meet them at .12?

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Raffaella Panigada  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 14:53
Member (2007)
English to Italian
+ ...
VAT Oct 10, 2012

Hi Roger, I won't comment on rates because I don't work in the medical field, but I was wondering about that +21% VAT. That's something the end client must definitely take into account, not you: the extra 21% won't stay in your pokets, you'll have to pay it back to tax authorities.
I'm sure you are perfectly aware of this, but I thought the title might be misleading for colleagues who are just starting out or are less familiar with the European taxation system.


Best of luck with your new customer!
Raffaella


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Agency vs direct client Oct 10, 2012

Hi Roger,

You mention a medical journal, which sounds like a direct client to me. Thus EUR 0.10 per word appears rather low, and is more of an agency rate.

[Remaining question: Which language pair is involved here?] Please disregard this question - I've overlooked your mentioning Spanish to English.

Best regards,

Steffen

[Edited at 2012-10-10 17:40 GMT]


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 14:53
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Considering overcrowding in Oct 10, 2012

ES-EN language pair (albeit it doesn't necessarily mean overcrowding in medical translations), the rate seems to be reasonable. Mybe you could first request some sample to evaluate level of difficulty.

Roger Marshall wrote:

Hello everyone,

I have just been offered long-term work with a medical journal for which they have offered me 0.10 EUR per translated word. It seems reasonable to me, but I thought I should just make sure that it was ok before taking the plunge. It will involve translating original articles from Spanish into English, the average length of each article being 5000 words.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Lowish for a direct client, I'd say Oct 10, 2012

Steffen Walter wrote:
You mention a medical journal, which sounds like a direct client to me. Thus EUR 0.10 per word appears rather low, and is more of an agency rate.

It isn't my pair (though I do live in Spain nowadays, I'm struggling with the language), but it sounds OK for an agency, and maybe a bit low for a direct client. You're presumably going to be responsible for the finished, published article. Normally we expect agencies to proofread our translations and so take responsibility for any little slip-ups that are published. How about that all-important "2nd pair of eyes"? Perhaps you should think of adding, say, 0.03 € per word for a proofreader. Personally, I normally add that sort of amount, sometimes in my translation quote but sometimes as an additional fee in case the client wants to take responsibility for that part of the job.

The other question is whether the articles are all totally different or will tend to be a bit samey, so that you'll get into the swing of them and be able to churn them out faster after a while, particularly if you can make good use of a CAT tool. In that case, 0.10 € might be borderline to start with but become quite lucrative. This is particularly true if all the articles are written by the same author(s) - getting to know someone's style makes for quicker translation.


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:53
German to Swedish
+ ...
No Oct 10, 2012

No.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Reasonable Oct 10, 2012

I think 10 cents/word is reasonable under my conditions (workable formats, minimal DTP "donkeywork" and authors - or journal editors - MUST confirm acronyms and abbreviations used, etc).

However, some medical translators are bit snooty and think it calls for a dedicated specialist with a proven medical background, which I'm not, although I have translated and revised published texts with no complaints. These translators will likely charge more.

[Edited at 2012-10-10 15:11 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Gizzajob Oct 10, 2012

[quote]Sheila Wilson wrote:

Steffen Walter wrote:
... maybe a bit low for a direct client. You're presumably going to be responsible for the finished, published article. Normally we expect agencies to proofread our translations and so take responsibility for any little slip-ups that are published. How about that all-important "2nd pair of eyes"?


The journals I work for/with all have editors, reviewers and similar who do the final proofs and checks. I reckon for the basic translating - not counting time wasted researching undefined acronyms, etc - 10 cents is OK.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Throw me a bone Oct 10, 2012

Roger Marshall wrote:

Hello everyone,

I have just been offered long-term work with a medical journal for which they have offered me 0.10 EUR per translated word. It seems reasonable to me, but I thought I should just make sure that it was ok before taking the plunge. It will involve translating original articles from Spanish into English, the average length of each article being 5000 words.


I'll take it off your hands if you don't want to do it...


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Guaranteed future volume or promises promises? Oct 10, 2012

What a sceptical old hag I have become...

For a one off it's a bit on the low side I'd say: perhaps in order to ensure that further work will indeed come your way, perhaps you should charge 14c, say, per word, for the first 10,000 words, and then retroactivate the 10c rate.

And yes, this should most definitely be for the translation, and not including proofing; the second pair of eyes should not be yours.

The VAT is neither here nor there. That's a legal requirement.


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
The rate is well above average what is paid in this language pair Oct 10, 2012

As an outsourcer specializing in medical/pharma translations, I can tell you that the rate is above average for EN-ES/ES-EN for medical translations - if you work for an agency. The market is full of highly qualified translators in this language pair and specialization. If you don't accept it, other translators will be queuing up to get it. It might be a bit on the low side, if it is a direct client, but even in this case I would advice to take it:
a) if you are sure that you can provide an excellent translation and
b) if the client will accept that you won't have you own proofreader/editor to check it.

If they want to have it checked by a 2nd person and if it is your task to organize/handle this task add some EUR 0.03-0.04 and find yourself a proofreader.


Just to clarify things - it is not me/or other agencies that set the rates - it is the translators offering these rates AND EN-ES/ES-EN is really crowded.



[Edited at 2012-10-10 16:53 GMT]


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Member
English to French
Target word Oct 10, 2012

I tend to think English uses less words than Spanish to say the same thing, so 0.10 for each target word means an even lower rate for each source word.

-End user
-Medical field
-Target word
-EUR0.10
=amazing.

Philippe


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