Off topic: question about rates/big translation
Thread poster: Sandy Logan

Sandy Logan
Local time: 07:28
French to English
+ ...
Apr 27, 2005

I've been offered a translation of a book, on a subject which I am very familiar with and by a friend/author. However, it is the first time that I have to provide an offer for such a large volume (90000 words and I'm not very sure how to go about it. Customer would be the publishing company.
The deadline is comfortable, so I'm not worried about that.
Should I charge an advance fee of 30% and then payment once the rest is translated?
Is there a sample contract?
And how about the rate? Are there standard 'rates per word' for such a volume?

TNX in advance for any feedback you might have.


Lucinda Hollenberg  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:28
Dutch to English
+ ...
Translation Book Apr 27, 2005

Dear Sandy,

What a great project. If you can work things out, go for it. I know that the book I translated was very beneficial to my translation work. Work poured in afterwards and is still coming steadily. Especially in the field the book dealt with. The author was also great to mention my name whereever he promoted his book.

Well, this is what I did: I made a regular translation contract, like I do for other projects, just putting the book in with nr of words, a timeline for the project, deadlines, etc, whatever the two of you agree on. This is also a document, albeit a large one.

My author and I agreed to charge by the page (you agree with whatever you feel comfortable with, per word, line, etc.) with the understanding that I would be mentioned in the book and he would give me references if the need arose. Did he give those enthusiastically; it was great and we are now talking about collaborating on another book this fall.

Payment: I set it up 30%-40%-30%. He made the initial down payment before I started. We agreed after which chapter he would make another payment and I continued based on these payments. It worked very well. All this was stated in our translation contract. You have to get money to keep going because when you work on this, you can (most likely) not accept other jobs.

The last bit (30%) was paid before I delivered the last chapter. In my price I included also reasonable corrections on his part (mine were of course mine to correct, thankfully not a lot) and working with the publisher towards the final project/publication.

All in all; it was a very rewarding experience. I hope that you have the same happy experience.

Good luck!


Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:28
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
NL model contract (literature) Apr 27, 2005

If you live in Belgium you may be able to read this:).
"Het GAU-VvL-vertaaltarief voor literaire vertalingen voor 2004 bedraagt 5,7 cent per te vertalen woord."

But even this rate is not always feasible in book translations (I hear). Good luck!


And why would this be off-topic? It's very on-topic!


Sandy Logan
Local time: 07:28
French to English
+ ...
TNX for information! Apr 28, 2005

TNX Anjo and Lucinda,

Just a few questions:

@Anjo: the rate you quoted was probably for litery translation to NL. However, I will be working in EN and it's a book of a more philosophical nature. I've found rates for the US/UK that equal 0.09/word. Does that seem feasible or is that way off the mark?

@Lucinda: in the model contract that Anjo sent I found some information about royalties, copyright etc. Did you provide for that too in your contract? TNX for the tip about payment. Much appreciated.


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