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What are the standard rates for transcreation services?
Thread poster: Rasmus Drews

Rasmus Drews  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:21
Member (2011)
English to Danish
+ ...
Mar 14, 2013

I know this has previously been touched upon in the forums, but I haven't been able to find a clear answer. I have been asked a few times now if I offer transcreation services, and I feel qualified to say yes. But what are the rates for transcreation?

I am going to be charging by the hour, but if my hourly rate for something like proofreading is EUR XX, what should the rate for transcreation be? Twice that amount? Three times that amount?

Any advice would be appreciated.


 

Ilham Ahmadov  Identity Verified
Azerbaijan
Local time: 04:21
Member
English to Azerbaijani
+ ...
transcreation Mar 14, 2013

I did a transcreation job a couple of days ago. Like yourself, I did not have any idea of what the transcreation rate should look like.

It was one phrase and they wanted to come up with three possible options in my native language and asked me to provide back translation. Also, I needed to share my views or comments on whether this tagline sounds good or bad in my native language.

For this entire thing they offered me 50 USD which I thought was not bad, but may be I am wrong. It would be good to see what my fellow colleagues have to say on the subject.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:21
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
One hourly rate Mar 14, 2013

Rasmus Drews wrote:

I know this has previously been touched upon in the forums, but I haven't been able to find a clear answer. I have been asked a few times now if I offer transcreation services, and I feel qualified to say yes. But what are the rates for transcreation?

I am going to be charging by the hour, but if my hourly rate for something like proofreading is EUR XX, what should the rate for transcreation be? Twice that amount? Three times that amount?

Any advice would be appreciated.


Your hourly rate should be the same no matter what kind of job your're doing.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:21
English to German
+ ...
I always charge flat fees, to agencies as well as direct clients Mar 14, 2013

I have to admit though that copy writing has been my profession long before I moved to another country and became a translator.

All customers love flat fees. My flat fees are based on a mix between rates per source word and the estimated time involved for research and brainstorming.


 

Andrei Yefimov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:21
English to Russian
+ ...
flat fee or hourly rate Mar 14, 2013

I charge either a flat fee or my hourly rate.

I don't agree your hourly rate should be the same no matter what you're doing. Obviously, typesetting requires much less effort than copywriting, so you should charge accordingly.

Similarly, your transcreation rate should reflect the time you'll spend on the task, plus a surcharge for intensity, i. e. brainstorming, providing market insight, writing a rationale etc., things not everyone can do. Also, make sure you include the time you will spend discussing your versions with the customer, implementing suggestions etc., as the task usually involves several rounds of changes.

HTH


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:21
English to German
+ ...
Why one hourly rate? Mar 14, 2013

efreitag wrote:
Your hourly rate should be the same no matter what kind of job your're doing.


I "grew up" in large and international advertising agencies. When we filled out our daily time sheets, we had to specify how we spent each billable hour, because the hourly rates for one individual client varied within a range from 250 to 450 per hour, depending on what kind of work the particular employee did for the client.

To this day I maintain different hourly rates (e.g. proofreading - after one hour I go "Yawwn!" due to boredom, compared to one hour of writing a passionate PR article, after which I go "Yawwn!" due to total mental exhaustion).


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:21
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
How much is your time worth? Mar 14, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

To this day I maintain different hourly rates (e.g. proofreading - after one hour I go "Yawwn!" due to boredom, compared to one hour of writing a passionate PR article, after which I go "Yawwn!" due to total mental exhaustion).


I look at it this way: My time is worth a certain amount of money due to my knowledge, education, abilities, etc. It doesn't really matter what I'm doing in this time.

Andrei Yefimov wrote:

I don't agree your hourly rate should be the same no matter what you're doing. Obviously, typesetting requires much less effort than copywriting, so you should charge accordingly.



Does it? I'd say that, if you take your job seriously, proofreading requires just as much effort as copywriting, only a different kind of effort (more concentration and perseverance for proofreading, more creativity and whatnot for copywriting). Actually, both jobs require as much effort as you are able to make.

This is usually compensated by the volume of work you can handle: Under normal circumstances, you will be able to proofread a lot more text within an hour than you will be able to produce as a copywriter. Therefore, it makes sense to charge less per word for proofreading than for copywriting.

Nicole Schnell wrote:

To this day I maintain different hourly rates (e.g. proofreading - after one hour I go "Yawwn!" due to boredom, compared to one hour of writing a passionate PR article, after which I go "Yawwn!" due to total mental exhaustion).


I look at it this way: My time is worth a certain amount of money due to my knowledge, education, abilities, etc. It doesn't really matter what I'm doing in this time. In your case: After one hour, you go "Yawn!" either way - so why charge less for proofreading?

Generally speaking, different hourly rates are largely defined by the amount of effort you need to reach and sustain the necessary education and experience. That's why a restroom attendant will earn less per hour than a brain surgeon.

Of course, other factors like the market situation or the fact that you're taking special risks or responsibilities also play a role, but generally speaking, I can see no reason why I should charge different hourly rates - I do charge different rates per word in order to achieve the same income per hour.




[Bearbeitet am 2013-03-14 12:58 GMT]


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:21
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Different case Mar 14, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

I "grew up" in large and international advertising agencies. When we filled out our daily time sheets, we had to specify how we spent each billable hour, because the hourly rates for one individual client varied within a range from 250 to 450 per hour, depending on what kind of work the particular employee did for the client.



This is a different case, because you can at least imagine that the agency has all these different kinds of jobs done by different people with varying types and degress of education and experience.

In other words: Supposing that you were the agency's salaried employee, I hope your hourly income varied depending on what you specified on your time sheets. Otherwise, somebody has been ripped off here (either the agency's client or you).



[Bearbeitet am 2013-03-14 12:52 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:21
English to German
+ ...
@efreitag: No, you misunderstood. Mar 14, 2013

efreitag wrote:
This is a different case, because you can at least imagine that the agency has all these different kinds of jobs done by different people with varying types and degress of education and experience.

In other words: Supposing that you were the agency's salaried employee, I hope your hourly income varied depending on what you specified on your time sheets. Otherwise, somebody has been ripped off here (either the agency's client or you).


As a Senior Art Director Text I had about five different levels of work. Depending on if could do those kinds of work with my legs on my desk (Phone time with my client = Customer Service), if I wrote up work schedules for the team (legs partially on my desk = Project Management), if I did brainstorming (usually with colleagues, aside from blocking conference rooms for many hours plus catering, often involving a beer garden or a local bar = Creative Ideas are super expensive - highest rate possible), Visualization / Writing (Also expensive, because I actually had to spend time on my desk) and accounting (tallying up all my efforts and tell the accounting department how much they are supposed to charge).

Why on earth should a translator charge a one-fits-all fee for creative work, when he is asked to perform the very same processes as any advertising agency? We are talking about Transcreation.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Which do you charge more for? Mar 14, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:
I maintain different hourly rates (e.g. proofreading - after one hour I go "Yawwn!" due to boredom, compared to one hour of writing a passionate PR article, after which I go "Yawwn!" due to total mental exhaustion).

I guess you charge more for the total mental exhaustion. After all, the copy-writing client is probably prepared to pay more for your time, so it would make sense. But, personally, I'd actually be inclined to charge less per hour for the copy-writing if I were you, as you clearly have a great preference for that type of work, even if it is tiring.

I tend to charge similar per-hour rates for all jobs, except that if if it's something I really don't fancy spending the hour doing, I'll impose a surcharge (with or without informing the client of the reason). I prefer the mental exhaustion type of tiredness, so that's what I want to spend my day doing, though I have to say that proofreading doesn't bore me. What I really hate is going too far outside my comfort zone, to areas where I can't be so sure of providing my usual quality.

What costs a lot for my clients is any type of DTP at all - even the type most translators would do without thought. On the rare occasion I accept anything in that line, I know the stress levels are likely to go through the roof as I battle with a string of unforeseen problems. I'll take 3 times longer than most people to do the job, and it'll cost me a lot of grief, so it'll cost the client a lot of money. Needless to say, they normally go elsewhere for DTP.icon_wink.gif


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:21
English to German
+ ...
@Sheila Mar 14, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:
I maintain different hourly rates (e.g. proofreading - after one hour I go "Yawwn!" due to boredom, compared to one hour of writing a passionate PR article, after which I go "Yawwn!" due to total mental exhaustion).

I guess you charge more for the total mental exhaustion. After all, the copy-writing client is probably prepared to pay more for your time, so it would make sense. But, personally, I'd actually be inclined to charge less per hour for the copy-writing if I were you, as you clearly have a great preference for that type of work, even if it is tiring.

I tend to charge similar per-hour rates for all jobs, except that if if it's something I really don't fancy spending the hour doing, I'll impose a surcharge (with or without informing the client of the reason). I prefer the mental exhaustion type of tiredness, so that's what I want to spend my day doing, though I have to say that proofreading doesn't bore me. What I really hate is going too far outside my comfort zone, to areas where I can't be so sure of providing my usual quality.

What costs a lot for my clients is any type of DTP at all - even the type most translators would do without thought. On the rare occasion I accept anything in that line, I know the stress levels are likely to go through the roof as I battle with a string of unforeseen problems. I'll take 3 times longer than most people to do the job, and it'll cost me a lot of grief, so it'll cost the client a lot of money. Needless to say, they normally go elsewhere for DTP.icon_wink.gif



I charge more for mental exhaustion - simply because my brain is so emptied out that I cannot do anything else for the rest of the day.
I also know that any original PR writer or copywriter has at least a week or two or four to prepare and write those 500 words. We translators are given 24 hours to produce the same high-end product including the same verve, passion and precision and know-how about a product that has never existed before in history. And we don't even work at the manufacturer's company.

I once developed and wrote a 200something-pages design manual with approximately 100 words per page for a world market leader. Only 120 pieces of my book were distributed across the planet. My employer charged about 850,000.00 for my six months of work. On top of my 6-digit annual salary my boss gave me fat bonus and together with the rest of the board we emptied a bottle of liquor. Or three. I can't remember...
I am wondering - how much was the translator paid? Back then, I didn't care and I didn't ask.
Why do translators have to do the nearly the same thing for CENTS per word?


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:21
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Different rates Mar 14, 2013

I have an hourly rate for proofreading, and it's not cheap, compared to what I would earn translating during that time.

If a client wants me to do some mind-numbingly boring proofreading at that rate, or have me type out a couple of pages of scrawled hand-writing, I can do it and it's their money, they do what they want with it.

I will always give preference to translating fascinating texts.

My transcreation rate will depend on the work involved and of course the type of client and how much profit they might expect to rake in further to using my work.

Slogans: I charge a flat rate based on how long I think it might take me. They have to pay through their teeth, otherwise they don't place any value on my work. For their money they get at least three alternatives complete with back translation and several links to pages where the terminology is used, so they can judge whether I have struck appropriate chords. Any puns or cultural references are fully spelt out. I take their brief and tease every last nuance of meaning out of it, and I hold each proposition up against the brief to check for suitability. If the client is French (most of mine are), then I provide all this information in the form of a beautifully written essay.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It's unjust, there's no doubt about that Mar 14, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:
I charge more for mental exhaustion - simply because my brain is so emptied out that I cannot do anything else for the rest of the day.

Certainly, if that happens then you have to charge that client for the rest of the day. I don't offer copy-writing services per se, although I do translate marketing copy. That can certainly take a lot of searching for inspiration, as well as research, but I find that stimulating and I can usually carry on with something useful after I finish one job.

I also know that any original PR writer or copywriter has at least a week or two or four to prepare and write those 500 words.

I suppose the bottom line is that the OP should charge as much as he thinks the client will pay. There might be a nice surprise in store.icon_biggrin.gif But it's true that our clients don't normally expect high rates from us translators, and maybe you just have to accept that you're the exception that proves the rule, Nicole. At least it's easier for you to accept that than it is for the rest of us.icon_frown.gif


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:21
French to English
How long is a piece of string? Mar 14, 2013

How much should you charge for...? is a question that cannot be answered. If you have special expertise, rare skills, then you sell them at a higher price.

You should know what your minimum hourly rate is, the one you are prepared to work for, one which enables you to cover you costs and make a profit. The profit is what you "earn". Translating is a special skill and you should make sure that your profit, even at your basic rate, account for that.

Above and beyond, then your rate should increase as you add more skills and specialities into the equation.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:21
English to German
+ ...
@ Sheila: Yessssss!!! Mar 14, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:
There might be a nice surprise in store.icon_biggrin.gif


And YES again. And hopefully the OP and others will finally figure out that four (4) US dollars per delivered word is the going rate for any translation/transcreation for magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan and consorts.


 
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What are the standard rates for transcreation services?

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