How to charge to translate a glossary
Thread poster: Manon Gaimard

Manon Gaimard  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:40
Member (2017)
Italian to French
+ ...
Feb 7, 2014

Hi everyone,

I've been asked for the first time to draw up a quote to translate a glossary and since I'm used to translating whole texts, I don't really know how much to charge for it!

It is a glossary made up of 750 entries / 1900 words, dealing with ingredients and food, to translate from Italian to French.

Would you charge per source word / per cartella ?

Thanks all, have a good day!


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:40
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Per-Word Rate Feb 7, 2014

I understand that you would be translating the glossary from Italian to French. What I would do is to find the total wordcount of the glossary after you have translated it, and charge your usual per-word rate on the final document. In other words, find the total wordcount including the Italian and French sides of the glossary (i.e. the finished product), and use your per-word rate. I cannot think of any other way to do it. Good luck.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:40
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I wouldn't charge a per-word rate Feb 7, 2014

I don't think the client (used to seeing translation quotes) would very much like the look of my per-word rate for that type of job. I have to say I haven't done this job either, but I'd certainly quote my per-hour rate. Of course, the client would no doubt appreciate an estimate of the final costicon_wink.gif, so I'd try a few (making sure they aren't all easy ones) to come up with that estimate, giving a maximum that's at least a third higher.

Maybe I'm too detail-oriented for that sort of job anyway. I don't speak Italian but I do know a fair bit about translating food-related texts from French to English. And already I'm thinking "Yes, but...". None of the terminology seems to have a 100% match. Cuts of meat are notoriously difficult; names of fish vary from one region to another... So many terms have completely different translations depending on context, and many tend to go in and out of fashion in a blink of an eye, although that's probably more applicable to menus than ingredients. Really, I can see me whizzing through a few quite quickly and then doing maybe hours of research on just one word.

Good luck! I'm sure it'll be fun. And maybe it'll be a lot easier than I'm imagining.icon_smile.gif


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 04:40
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Estimate time/effort Feb 7, 2014

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:

I understand that you would be translating the glossary from Italian to French. What I would do is to find the total wordcount of the glossary after you have translated it, and charge your usual per-word rate on the final document. In other words, find the total wordcount including the Italian and French sides of the glossary (i.e. the finished product), and use your per-word rate. I cannot think of any other way to do it. Good luck.

That is a roundabout way of charging twice your normal rate for the job, which is impractical for two reasons: the exact rate is only determined after the translation is done, and the rate will be certainly far too low for the translator to be worth it.
Just estimate how much work the job will be, and charge accordingly. Ask the client for the full list to be translated, and skim through it to see what sort of terms it is made up of. Translate a small sample and clock yourself if you're unsure. You can also charge an hourly rate, but I personally don't like hourly rates. I don't work in neat time slots (I often get distracted by my email or browse the web for a while during a job) so calculating time is messy, there's a potential for disagreements with the client and then of course, why should I be paid less for the same job I do it more efficiently?


 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:40
Member (2008)
English to French
I would charge per hour Feb 7, 2014

I've built dozens of glossaries over the years, and I find that a good rule of thumb is 20-40 entries per hour. So for your project I would quote between 20 and 40 hours of work, depending on how easy/difficult it is to find the information.

Of course if your glossary is a list of words like 'cup', 'cilantro', 'orange', with no research necessary than I would quote 20% over translation rate, since translating individual words is always more lengthy (per word) than translating full sentences.


 

Manon Gaimard  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:40
Member (2017)
Italian to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's all about estimating... Feb 7, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Of course, the client would no doubt appreciate an estimate of the final costicon_wink.gif, so I'd try a few (making sure they aren't all easy ones) to come up with that estimate, giving a maximum that's at least a third higher.


Hi Sheila, and thanks for the answer. I'm going to try what you've said for one page, also because not all the words are easy ones, and depending on the time it took me to translate a single page, I'll try to estimate how much time I will need to do the whole glossary...

Thanks again!


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:40
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
more than usual! Feb 7, 2014

I would charge more than usual, because it's just terms, there's no "padding" around them. Some might not exist in the target language and will require explanation instead (names of pasta!). The padding is easy to translate and also gives context. Here you will have very little context and while you may hit on a couple of websites that will help you out no end you could well end up feeling like you're not being at all productive.

Sheila's suggestion is very sensible. I would probably go for a flat rate rather than a per-hour rate, so the client knows what he's getting up front, but I would translate for maybe half an hour to see how much I would get done in that time to make sure I would not end up working under my usual rate.


 

Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:40
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Agree with everyone else - your charge needs to reflect your time and effort Feb 7, 2014

It needs to be much more than usual. Glossaries go much slower than connected sentences because they're missing all the function words and connectors.

I haven't done a job like this, but I would recommend considering 2-3x your normal per-word rate. Unfortunately, it may be very hard to get your client to accept this, since some people think that the per-word rate is sacrosanct and can never be changed.


 


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