How to charge for old handwritten letter
Thread poster: Elisabeth Maurland

Elisabeth Maurland
United States
Local time: 13:54
Member (2013)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Jun 8, 2015

I just received a job offer to translate several handwritten letters from 1864 from Norwegian to English. The handwriting is hard to read, the ink has faded in many places, and I only get a photocopy. The Norwegian is also interspersed with the occasional English word and a bit of Norwenglish (Norwegian immigrant to America), so since it's hard to read, the deciphering will be a challenge.
I am thinking charging by the hour for transcribing it first (I think that will be the easiest for me), and then my regular translation rate per word.
Does that sound reasonable?


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Jenae Spry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:54
French to English
Hourly rate Jun 8, 2015

Why not just charge by the hour for the entire job? Having done a lot of handwriting, I know that it takes me roughly 20% longer to do handwritten files, so I charge my base rate per word plus 20% but before I knew this, I just charged all handwritten files by the hour.

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Roy OConnor
Local time: 20:54
Member (2009)
German to English
Yes. Jun 8, 2015

I should inform the customer though of your intention. If parts are very difficult to read, it might be better to submit your transcription, before you actually start the translation.

Hand-written source texts are a real horror trip. Good luck!

Roy


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 22:54
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Factor Jun 9, 2015

Another viable option is to multiply your "regular translation rate per word" by a factor which is greater than one, e.g. one point five. The factor you use will depend on how difficult it was to complete the whole task. Like most things in life, it will of course be subjective, which is fine.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:54
Russian to English
+ ...
Well, old texts are usually translated by Jun 9, 2015

the people who specialize in historical linguistics, usually college professors. However, if you want to tackle the task, it is usually charged at a rate 2-4 times the rate of regular, contemporary translation. Per hour—there is often a problem with charging by the hour because many customers may think that translation takes five minuets. Load, lock and push the button—just like the washing machine, sort of. No detergent required, though.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sounds good to me! Jun 9, 2015

Elisabeth Maurland wrote:
I am thinking charging by the hour for transcribing it first (I think that will be the easiest for me), and then my regular translation rate per word.
Does that sound reasonable?

Sounds reasonable to me. It might do not harm to issue a quotation based on your expectations of the time this will take, so that the customer is well aware of the cost from the beginning.


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Elisabeth Maurland
United States
Local time: 13:54
Member (2013)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everybody Jun 9, 2015

Lots of good ideas and things to think about! I'm not sure what I'll do. I actually do know of a college professor here in town who is Norwegian and has tackled handwriting from that era and this location before. I could ask him if it gets too difficult. Besides that, understanding the linguistics won't be a problem, I am familiar with the language from that time, and the translation part looks like it will be a breeze. The other thing is that I enjoy deciphering handwriting

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Roy OConnor
Local time: 20:54
Member (2009)
German to English
But... Jun 11, 2015

Elisabeth Maurland wrote:

Lots of good ideas and things to think about! I'm not sure what I'll do. I actually do know of a college professor here in town who is Norwegian and has tackled handwriting from that era and this location before. I could ask him if it gets too difficult. Besides that, understanding the linguistics won't be a problem, I am familiar with the language from that time, and the translation part looks like it will be a breeze. The other thing is that I enjoy deciphering handwriting


...you haven't seen mine yet! I have trouble reading it myself sometimes. Too much typing means I'm losing the skill.

Have fun with the job!

Roy


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