What to charge for editing & proofreading an article in Denglisch
Thread poster: Holly O'Reilly
Holly O'Reilly  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Aug 17, 2015

I have a draft magazine article in reasonably good Denglisch to review and I was wondering what I should charge.

I am required to initially make editorial suggestions, then eliminate mistakes in the English.

The text is about 4,000 words long and the topic is general interest.

I'm not sure whether I should take an hourly rate or a word price here. Also, I am doing work for this person for the first time and there may be more work from them in the future, so I would lean more towards undercharging!

Any advice would be much appreciated.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Hourly rate Aug 17, 2015

Any proofreading and editing work should be charged by the hour, especially since you are being asked to provide editorial changes. Consequently, you are not being hired as a proofreader but as an editor.

Please keep in mind that, should you indeed consider undercharging your new client for this first job, your client will expect you to keep this rate for all (possible?) future projects.


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:42
German to Swedish
+ ...
Flat fee Aug 17, 2015

Since you've seen the text, you should be able to make a reasonable time estimate and convert that into a flat fee (which most customers prefer).

If it's a good text and no research is required, you should be able to do the editing in half a day or so.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Charge for your time Aug 17, 2015

That's the only way to go.

Now, you could give a quote for the job or calculate that amount as a per-word rate, now that you've seen the text. I agree that having a fixed number to start with is appealing to a new client.

But are you storing up problems for the future? The next text could be a good deal longer. Any error in estimation of a per-word rate is going to become a problem, and the client won't take kindly to any increase. Even if you go with the fixed rate for the job, it means you'll have to go through the full estimation process every time, with the same inherent risks (for the client too!). And you'd be spending quite some time quoting each time.

What I do is this:
1) Examine the text thoroughly. NOT just page one but near the end etc. Non-native writers get tired quickly; it takes too much time checking grammar after a conscientious start; they start using GT more; etc.
2) When I was just starting out, I'd actually edit an excerpt.
3) I state my hourly fee and commit to a maximum chargeable period. In other words, if I think it will take me 1.5 hours then I give a maximum of 2 hours at least. I explain that I'll only charge for the actual time taken (rounded to the next quarter hour). I put the maximum high enough to hopefully invoice for at least a little less as that makes some clients actually feel that they're getting the work "cheap".
4) I only continue giving a maximum for as long as the client requests it. Most don't bother after a couple of jobs. If one text takes substantially longer in terms of words per hour then I'm careful to explain the reasons (which normally take the form of finding ways to diplomatically express the view that they had a hangover, had been out late, were under the weather...).

This means there's no chance of you getting it badly wrong; the client will come to trust you; no time is wasted on non-billable tasks; and you can tell the client that the more s/he learns from your corrections, the cheaper the work will become.

BTW: Why would you want to quote low if it's expected to be a regular thing? Doesn't that mean you're voluntarily reducing your potential earnings? Personally, I'd only ever reduce my rate for a one-off job that I particularly wanted to do for some personal reason. Regular clients pay my regular rate.

[Edited at 2015-08-17 10:23 GMT]


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Holly O'Reilly  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hourly rate Aug 17, 2015

Thanks very much for your replies.

What's the going rate (euros per hour) for this kind of work?

I have an MA in Translation Studies + 4 years' experience as an in-house German-English translator.

The other work I may be getting from this client in the future is proofreading his book, i.e. a significant demand on my time!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Your normal hourly rate Aug 17, 2015

oreillyholly wrote:
What's the going rate (euros per hour) for this kind of work?

If you don't already have an hourly rate in mind, monitor your work on an average day and find out how many words you deliver in one hour. Multiply that by your rate per word and you have your ideal hourly rate (always supposing that your per-word rates are ideal, of course).

I only know my own rate, which is displayed on my profile and is pretty much in line with what you find in the ProZ.com Community Rates tool: http://search.proz.com/?sp=pfe/rates


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What to charge for editing & proofreading an article in Denglisch

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