Literary translation from Polish to English- rates
Thread poster: Maniaq

English to Polish
Feb 25, 2015

Hello, first of all I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the proz community for all the support I've had from fellow translators for years. I have over 10 years of experience in legal translation and although I did 'Literary Translation' subject at university, I have never had an opportunity or an offer to do any translation of literary texts, so no experience here.

I've just had an offer of translating a novel from Polish into English (just over 87 000 words). As I normally work as an interpreter and translator in a legal field, I don't know the suggested rates for this type of work. I've tried to research the topic on proz but I haven't found current rate suggestions in GB pounds.
I see this translation project as an opportunity for myself and would love to be selected to do this job but at the same time I would like to get the pricing right without scaring off the client.

I work from the UK but the client is based in Poland, as I understand. I've contacted my colleague in Poland who deals with literary translation but in different languages (Swedish/English) and the suggestion was 30 zl (about £6 per page), which seems to me very little. I would really appreciate your help on this matter so that I could make an informed decision on how much to charge per word of translation.


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:52
Russian to English
+ ...
Literary translation is completely different from legal, but if you want to do it, why not. Feb 25, 2015

The rates are usually the same as the rates for other types of translation, perhaps slightly less than legal or medical trials, but more or less standard. I do not understand why you would want to charge $10/page. Literary translation is much harder than any other type of translation because it requires really good writing skills—creative writing. I think the rates for Polish to English are $0.10-0.15/word, $0.12/word being an average. About $25-30/page. (250 words)

[Edited at 2015-02-25 08:27 GMT]


English to Polish
Thank you for your help :) Mar 15, 2015

Dear Lilian,
I'm sorry for a late reply and thank you so much for your help. Your reply gave me a realistic picture of how much I can expect in terms of rates for literary translation. I have been involved in extensive discussions with the self-publishing author of the novel and we have finally agreed the rates, which are slightly below my expectations but I hope that this will be an opportunity for me to try something a little bit different. Therefore, I accepted the offer of £16 per page.

Even more than the financial aspect of this project, it's very important for me to have my name on the title page (I don't think it's a common practice to have it on the cover of the book, is it?) However, the author claims that this will have to be raised with potential publishers. Ideally, I would like to have it as one of the terms of an agreement with the author. I'm wondering if you or anyone else here had any experience with that? Another option for the author will be to publish an e-book. Is the place/ size of the translator's credit something I should negotiate with the author initially or leave it for publishers/ Amazon.

Thank you once more and all the best!


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Literary translation from Polish to English- rates

Advanced search

SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search