How much to charge for translating a children's book?
Thread poster: Carolina Sanchez

Carolina Sanchez
United States
Local time: 16:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 31, 2014

I have been asked to translate several children's books, however I'm not sure how to charge. Children's books are very short, so one of them is under 300 words. I charge $0.10 per word so that would only be $30, but that seems like I'm working for free. What do others charge for children's books translations? The author is self-publishing.

Also, I have been asked to do an audio book recording of that same book, and if I charge per minute, I'll also be getting very little for the recording since I will be able to record the whole thing in about 5 minutes probably. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Also, since the author is self-publishing, would it be still fair game to ask for an advance/royalties? Thanks!

[Edited at 2014-12-31 21:27 GMT]


United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
It partly depends Dec 31, 2014

on whether you're competing with other translators and what kind of a relationship you have with the client. If other people are pitching for the job, there's bound to be someone else that quotes $30 for 300 words, which is not nearly enough in my opinion. I'd charge a couple of hundred dollars for a 300-word book, and I'd forget the idea of royalties unless the client is J.K. Rowling.

As for the audiobook, you're presumably going to have to travel to a recording studio, so again you shouldn't sell yourself short. Good voices can be worth a lot of money.


Olga Koepping  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:18
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
The only time that I have settled for a bad rate Jan 1, 2015

I translated a children's book for a school friend (so really an acquaintance), and took no money at all. It did take me about half an hour, waiting for dinner to cook, my other friend looked over it... I got a copy, and it didn't sell many copies the last time I looked.

Basically, self-published in children's books means no money. Perhaps now I would just refuse the job, or do exactly as you are and request your (low!!) standard rate. If you knew this person had a big publisher, then it would be a VERY different story. Sophie the Giraffe is a good example, originally published in France, but I know no one in England who doesn't have a copy of the translated version, as well as the soft toy.


Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:18
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
One never knows... Jan 1, 2015

Well I guess for a self-publishing author I would charge about 0,15 € per word or my minimum wage for translation. But who knows maybe the author is good in marketing or has got friends who are or does a lot of networking and gets discovered by a publisher? For books I always fix royalties.

As for the audiobook I agree with philgoddard.

[Modifié le 2015-01-01 09:07 GMT]


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:18
Russian to English
+ ...
Probably $0.15/word, or royalties Jan 1, 2015

Be careful with children's books, though, especially in the US--they have to be written in a certain type of language--different for children up to 8 years old, and then older children--you cannot just translate the book in most of the cases, but also modify the language (vocabulary and grammar)

Happy New Year, everyone.


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