How much should I charge for DTP services?
Thread poster: Zahraa Omar

Zahraa Omar  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:33
Member (2012)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Mar 9, 2013

As the title says, I would like to know the average rate of DTP services (specially in Europe and USA). I have checked similar topics in this forum, but all the answers only gave advice on "how to" price your DTP service; Nobody mentioned anything about his/her rate... so Please give me a "number" of how much do youthink DTP services cost (per hour).

Thank you very much in advance.

[Edited at 2013-03-09 07:58 GMT]


564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:33
Danish to English
+ ...
Your hourly rate Mar 9, 2013

It's not really that complicated. Charge what you would charge for an hour's work.

I think you will find that translators across the world have very different hourly rates, so it is unrealistic to ask people on to give you a specific figure as this will vary from region to region, country to country.

Personally, my hourly rate for non-translation, but translation-related work is DKK 350, which works out at EUR 47.00 or USD 60.00.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:33
Member (2007)
+ ...
Your hourly rate Mar 9, 2013

Zahraa Omar wrote:
I would like to know the average rate of DTP services (specially in Europe and USA).

There isn't one. Conditions within the EU and in the USA are very different, and people charge very different rates. You'd need to study DTP sites for the best information on current rates, not a translators' site.
I have checked similar topics in this forum, but all the answers only gave advice on "how to" price your DTP service; Nobody mentioned anything about his/her rate...

No, well, for a start a lot of people don't like to discuss their rates with potential competitors; then, as I've said above, it really wouldn't be much use to you to know what they charged. Maybe they offer incredibly good, much sought-after DTP services, whereas you're just providing the "ordinary" ones that a lot of computer users would be capable of.

Anyway, I don't see your problem: you've quoted an hourly rate on your profile. An hour of your time is an hour of your time. There are arguments that say you could/should charge more, or less, for different services, but I'd say this:
- if you can charge a lot more for DTP, maybe you should be changing your services
- if you can only charge a much lower rate for DTP, maybe you should refuse to do it.


Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:33
German to Swedish
+ ...
Well... Mar 9, 2013

"DTP service" is a meaningless term, ranging from "put this text into these prepared layouts" to "create a great looking, printer-ready product from my ugly Word and PowerPoint files".

Pricing, accordingly, varies wildly.

Rate in Europe? Lower end €25, higher end €100. It's really very hard to say. Also I think a translation client would expect lower rates than a media client.

The typical advice here is "Charge the hourly rate that you typically make as a translator".
And try adding 10-20%, I'd say.

A professional designer will typically get much more done in an hour than someone who does such work only occasionally. A professional designer will also be able to quote a project rate (sum for the whole project). Clients like this.


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:33
English to German
+ ...
Here is a tip Mar 9, 2013

Check out the most popular copy shops in your city and ask them what they charge per hour for DTP and/or typesetting. In my city, the rate is around US $70.00 / hour, plus an additional set-up fee of $ 25.00 to open and to save a provided customer file on their computer system. Those are the rates that YOU would have to pay in case you get sick, would have to outsource the job and can't perform the job by yourself.

Please be aware that regarding Desktop Publishing, it means talking about an entirely different profession that requires extended training and certification. There are many different and weird perceptions of what DTP actually means, from neat formatting as any secretary would be capable of to reverse engineering of existing logos to - can you you do that? - Pre-press. Getting a file ready for the printing press, that is. The slightest mistake will cost thousands of dollars. Aside from color management, full-fledged knowledge about ALL existing printing processes, DTP also requires full training in typography. Unfortunately, owning some neat software and a manual is not sufficient.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Too many variables Mar 9, 2013

The reason you can't get a number is that there are too many variables at play. Let's see a few of them.

Software - Can it be done properly with a thoroughly depreciated PageMaker 6.52 or 7? Or does it require the latest InDesign, QuarkXpress or FrameMaker?

Color separations - Will it require some complex and accurate color separation on photographs, or does it only contain flat colors, if any?

Letter tracking - Does it involve plenty of manual track adjustments to kern letter pairs individually, or is it just normal streaming text?

Fonts - Are fancy and expensive fonts required, or can it be done with the "standard" or free fonts.

Photo editing - Is any photo editing work required?

Other artwork - Are you expected to draw any other artwork, from pictures, sketches, whatever? Apply SFX?

There are many others, however this is enough to give you a picture that demands vary sharply.

It's sort of like asking "How much should I charge for making clothes?". It will depend if you are required to staple together some burlap for your client to cover his modesty, or if you'll be designing an making a dress for some famous actress who will be giving or receiving an Academy Award.

On Proz, it should be about translation involving DTP. Supposedly a translator will not be creating a new publication from scratch, just editing it to apply text in another language, which may be longer, shorter, or seldom just the same size.

Nowadays there are methods to do it without getting into true DTP, and without using truly DTP apps. It involves working directly on a final PDF generated by the DTP app (NOT scanned!!!), so it's a universal format. No need to have and learn to use all those DTP apps.

One program I know that does it is called NitroPDF. I have a faint recollection of having tried it once.

The program I use to do this is named InFix Pro. It exports the (tagged) text to be translated, and automatically imports it back afterwards, in place, and with the right fonts, sizes, colors, etc.

For this process, if I was the one hired to translate, on top of the translation, I charge in the range of USD 10-20 per physical A4 page to adjust the layout after the translation has been imported. Of course, this doesn't include expensive fonts, nor graphic editing, when images contain text to be translated separately, and applied after rebuilding the background - these are charged separately.


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