How much to charge for advert script? (Engl>Germ)
Thread poster: Wiebke Acton

Wiebke Acton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:25
English to German
May 18, 2013

Hi all,
as an actress who is new to professional translation I'm not familiar with the rates.
Recently I was asked to do an advert in German for an English company and was asked to translate the script for them. They were mighty impressed and want me to do more translations. I want the work but I don't want to undercut other translators. How much should I charge for a script of about 350 words that includes both lines to speak for the actor and technical directions for camera and edit?
Do I charge per word or a fixed rate?

Wiebke


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Welcome! May 18, 2013

Hello Wiebke, and welcome to ProZ.com.

It's a question I don't have an answer to, except to point you to the rather oddly-named tool here on ProZ.com: http://search.proz.com/employers/rates . Figures here come from the rates we enter on our profiles so they can be rather inaccurate, but for your pair there's probably enough data collected for it to be meaningful.

If nothing else, this post will serve to bump the thread for others to see.icon_smile.gif


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 07:25
Chinese to English
Normal translators' rates probably not appropriate for you May 18, 2013

Translators are often paid by the word. As a representative number, think of 0.10 EUR as an average rate (often it's lower). So you'd get 35 EUR for your script translation. I'm guessing this is not the kind of money you'd like to earn!

The thing is that what you're doing is not really translation, it's either "localisation" or "transcreation". Don't worry about the exact definitions of these terms: they both mean translation plus a lot of cultural and industry knowledge. And your cultural and industry knowledge are a lot more valuable than your language knowledge alone.

So you don't really want to think of your work in terms of translators' rates. It's really up to you what you charge, but one common way is just to think about it in terms of your time. If it takes you a day to do your translation, charge for a day's work.


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:25
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Per word rate May 18, 2013

Phil Hand wrote:

Translators are often paid by the word. As a representative number, think of 0.10 EUR as an average rate (often it's lower).
....
If it takes you a day to do your translation, charge for a day's work.


Phil, 0.10 EUR is not an average rate for a direct client in my part of Europe (there are pretty big differences even between EU countries, though). That's more in the (lower) agency rate territory in my experience. You are spot on that what Wiebke describes is transcreation, not translation.

Wiebke, transcreation is essentially copywriting, which is - or should be - more highly paid than straightforward translation. I have no idea what the going rate is in UK, but it might be worth investing some time to do the research, then settle on a rate you feel comfortable with, but low enough to keep your client.icon_wink.gif You might also ask ProZ member Nicole Schnell, who is a whiz on the topic of German/English advertising, even though she may not know about UK specifically, as she lives in the US. She posts here frequently, so you might catch her online or send her a message through her profile http://www.proz.com/profile/100325. Even her posts, though, would tell you quite a bit about what she thinks is a fair rate. It's a common topic here.

Viel Glück!


 

Wiebke Acton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:25
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
transcreation? interesting! May 19, 2013

Thank you all for your advice.

I didn't realise that I was actually doing transcreation instead of translation. I didn't even know transcreation existed. I've done a little bit of research on it now and of course you're absolutely right! Transcreation is described as the adaptation of creative work into another language or culture and that's exactly what I'm doing. Thank you for letting me know, I've learnt something new!

@Phil: I agree with what you say about my industry and cultural knowledge being more valuable than my language knowledge alone. Due to my professional acting background I'm familiar with acting (or camera) specific terms that will appear on TV scripts in both languages that other translators might struggle with.

@Woodstock: Thank you for pointing my to Nicole Schnell. I have sent her an email.


 

dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
Flat fee May 19, 2013

Hi Wiebke,

When it comes to adapting advertising texts (TV commercials, press ads etc.), it's common to charge a flat fee. Charging per word simply won't work in transcreation.


Claudia


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:25
English to German
+ ...
Hi Wiebke May 20, 2013

Wiebke Acton wrote:

Hi all,
as an actress who is new to professional translation I'm not familiar with the rates.
Recently I was asked to do an advert in German for an English company and was asked to translate the script for them. They were mighty impressed and want me to do more translations. I want the work but I don't want to undercut other translators. How much should I charge for a script of about 350 words that includes both lines to speak for the actor and technical directions for camera and edit?
Do I charge per word or a fixed rate?

Wiebke




According to the word count, you are most likely dealing with a repetitive and obnoxious 1-minute commercial - or worse: an infomercial.

These kind of TV ads do not require any particular writing skills, nor do they call for any particularly witty lines. Wit and puns would be lost in such a verbose sermon. All your client expects is natural speaking.

It is not surprising that your client loved your natural approach based on your professional training and your expertise as an actress. This skill alone, however, does not justify specific high-end rates that are based on university degrees in marketing/advertising and/or journalism, both of which are chiefly based upon extensive studies in psychology and sociology.

I will send you an email, and I look forward talking to you!

Best,

Nicoleicon_smile.gif


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:25
English to German
+ ...
Some information about proper length of ad copy May 20, 2013

The 30 Second Spot Word Count Guideline

30 seconds, 65 words = lots of inflection, sincere read
30 seconds, 78 words = typical, straight read
30 seconds, 90 words = fast read
30 seconds, 100 words = hard sell, maximum speed read


The 60 Second Spot Word Count Guideline

60 seconds, 130 words = lots of inflection
60 seconds, 155 words = typical, straight read
60 seconds, 180 words = fast read
60 seconds, 200 words = hard sell, maximum speed read

Note that numbers (such as a phone number), symbols (@ symbol or www) , etc., count as one word each.


http://blogs.voices.com/videodaily/2007/10/good_length_for_ad_copy.html


 

dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
On word count May 20, 2013

I may have misunderstood Wiebke’s post, but judging from the word count I was assuming she’s been asked to adapt a script for a TV commercial that hasn’t been shot yet – that’s why it also includes "technical directions for the camera and edit".

I’ve adapted scripts consisting of voiceover lines only, as well as scripts featuring long narrative and directions (to be translated quite faithfully) + voiceover lines (to be properly transcreated). The latter scripts may even be more difficult than the former.

Claudia

[Edited at 2013-05-20 06:10 GMT]


 

Wiebke Acton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:25
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
more infos May 20, 2013

The advert is one of those rather annoying 30 second commercials and it hasn't been shot yet.
The actual word count of the ad (i.e. the actor's lines) is 83. My translation, however, includes camera directions and other technical information.
I'm aware that this isn't a very big job but if I get it right the client will quite possibly give me many more. I'm still uncertain what number to tell them, but I get the impression from your posts that it should be a number above word count rate, yet not too high due to the scale of the job.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:25
English to German
+ ...
Technical directions May 20, 2013

Claudia Benetello wrote:

I may have misunderstood Wiebke’s post, but judging from the word count I was assuming she’s been asked to adapt a script for a TV commercial that hasn’t been shot yet – that’s why it also includes "technical directions for the camera and edit".

I’ve adapted scripts consisting of voiceover lines only, as well as scripts featuring long narrative and directions (to be translated quite faithfully) + voiceover lines (to be properly transcreated). The latter scripts may even be more difficult than the former.

Claudia



They are part of any translated script - for the voice artists. They are the actors, even if you don't see their face.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:25
English to German
+ ...
Why don't you simply charge a day's rate? May 20, 2013

Wiebke Acton wrote:

The advert is one of those rather annoying 30 second commercials and it hasn't been shot yet.
The actual word count of the ad (i.e. the actor's lines) is 83. My translation, however, includes camera directions and other technical information.
I'm aware that this isn't a very big job but if I get it right the client will quite possibly give me many more. I'm still uncertain what number to tell them, but I get the impression from your posts that it should be a number above word count rate, yet not too high due to the scale of the job.


Are you going to be in that commercial? Will you be the actress or at least be the voice artist?

I am sorry, this is all too vague. We don't know if your texts will serve a world market leader or a non-profit organization. It goes by available budget.

Translators don't have price lists like copy shops or dry cleaners. Translators sell their personality, just like actors. What's the hourly rate for an actor, and how long is a piece of string?


 

dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
What I meant May 20, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

They are part of any translated script - for the voice artists. They are the actors, even if you don't see their face.



What do you mean exactly?

I only meant that, if the commercial has already been shot, you only have to adapt the voiceover lines. If the commercial hasn't been shot yet (because the company is testing different scripts with a focus group), you'll probably have to adapt voiceover lines as well as narrative etc.
Or at least this is my experience.

Claudia


 


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