How much do I charge per word for a book on sociology, English-Spanish ?
Thread poster: Jania Kudaibergen

Jania Kudaibergen
Mexico
Spanish to German
+ ...
Feb 20

Hello community,

I have a request from a Mexican institution for a translation of a book of approx 115.000 words from English to Spanish, and it's an academic translation on a sociological topic (which is my field). I am asked the price per word and approx time. I was told it will probably "only" take a month or 1,5 months to translate, but I am not sure. My own PhD thesis in that field was the same amount of words and was 300 pages long, and took me sooo long to write. So I'm not s
... See more
Hello community,

I have a request from a Mexican institution for a translation of a book of approx 115.000 words from English to Spanish, and it's an academic translation on a sociological topic (which is my field). I am asked the price per word and approx time. I was told it will probably "only" take a month or 1,5 months to translate, but I am not sure. My own PhD thesis in that field was the same amount of words and was 300 pages long, and took me sooo long to write. So I'm not sure - I would be so thankful for any tips or advice, has anyone translated a book before, or know what would be a reasonable price for that language combination (considering it is for a Mexican editorial)?

Thank you so much in advance! Saludos.
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Kate Deimling
United States
Local time: 07:45
French to English
+ ...
Be cautious and consider what the job is worth to you Feb 20

Hi Jania,

I would be wary of this institution which asks you how long the translation will take and then proposes its own (very short) estimate of "only" 1 or 1.5 months. I have translated 5 books from French to English, and the fastest I have ever worked was completing a book of 50-60K words in 6 weeks to 2 months. I did this twice -- one book was on art and the other was on wine -- both fields that I know well, and I was working on these books pretty much full-time, including week
... See more
Hi Jania,

I would be wary of this institution which asks you how long the translation will take and then proposes its own (very short) estimate of "only" 1 or 1.5 months. I have translated 5 books from French to English, and the fastest I have ever worked was completing a book of 50-60K words in 6 weeks to 2 months. I did this twice -- one book was on art and the other was on wine -- both fields that I know well, and I was working on these books pretty much full-time, including weekends. So I would imagine that the minimum time frame you'd want to consider would be 3 to 4 months. And a reputable institution should not expect you to translate such a long work for publication as a rush job.

Regarding payment, I think the rate will depend on what the market is in Mexico. If you have worked with Mexican clients before, I would definitely price it at the high end of what you usually charge per word since it is a specialized subject and since you have a Ph.D. in the field. You will not have time for much other translation work when completing such a large project, so you don't want to sell yourself short. I would also make sure to ask to see the book or at least a sample chapter to make sure the translation will not pose any particular difficulties (such as a style with lots of jargon or a huge amount of footnotes, etc.).

Good luck!

-Kate



Jania Kudaibergen wrote:

Hello community,

I have a request from a Mexican institution for a translation of a book of approx 115.000 words from English to Spanish, and it's an academic translation on a sociological topic (which is my field). I am asked the price per word and approx time. I was told it will probably "only" take a month or 1,5 months to translate, but I am not sure. My own PhD thesis in that field was the same amount of words and was 300 pages long, and took me sooo long to write. So I'm not sure - I would be so thankful for any tips or advice, has anyone translated a book before, or know what would be a reasonable price for that language combination (considering it is for a Mexican editorial)?

Thank you so much in advance! Saludos.
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IrinaN
United States
Local time: 06:45
English to Russian
+ ...
Some red flags Feb 21

Hi Jania,

How did they approach you? Via Proz with essentially no info in your profile, not even a language pair? Is it just one person representing this editorial and communicating by email?

Is it "just a book" at this stage or do you know the title?

It may very well be a real deal and a match between two top-notch professional sides - PhD in the field is more than convincing but...

For 1, for a Mexican institution to search for EN-SP trans
... See more
Hi Jania,

How did they approach you? Via Proz with essentially no info in your profile, not even a language pair? Is it just one person representing this editorial and communicating by email?

Is it "just a book" at this stage or do you know the title?

It may very well be a real deal and a match between two top-notch professional sides - PhD in the field is more than convincing but...

For 1, for a Mexican institution to search for EN-SP translator in Germany would be highly unusual, if not strange altogether. Just here in the US and in Mexico there are thousands of them, and at least some must be good in the required fields. Sadly, many are cheaper than the specialized German translators yet still good.

For 2, "it will only take so long" - this is not the first time the scammers sing this tune.

For 3, "academic translation in sociology" is a very popular subject among scammers. Have you seen a sample?

For 4, many scam complaints come from people who had just registered on Proz and immediately got all kinds of "fat" job offers.

I hope I am being paranoid and you just didn't share the entire deal with all the details, and all the boxes have been checked. Of course, you didn't have to:-).

Take a look at Scams forum. You'll see the links to scam alerts.

Good luck and stay safe!
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enrfer
Norway
Local time: 13:45
Member (2017)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Set your price Feb 21

Jania Kudaibergen wrote:
I was told it will probably "only" take a month or 1,5 months to translate,

I think 1,5 to 2 months sounds fair, given you work on it full time and you have the proper tools (CAT).
The price should be corresponding - two months work. Set your price!

[Edited at 2019-02-21 07:09 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:45
Member (2018)
French to English
average daily output? Feb 21

To determine how long the project will take, simply divide the number of words with your average daily output. I divided 115,000 by 2,500 and got 46, which would be 2 months if you allow yourself weekends.

Best not to allocate all your daily output to it though. I usually count 2,000 rather than 2,500 for this kind of project. That then leaves me with enough time to fit in my direct clients' projects.

Don't compare writing your thesis to translating someone else's. You
... See more
To determine how long the project will take, simply divide the number of words with your average daily output. I divided 115,000 by 2,500 and got 46, which would be 2 months if you allow yourself weekends.

Best not to allocate all your daily output to it though. I usually count 2,000 rather than 2,500 for this kind of project. That then leaves me with enough time to fit in my direct clients' projects.

Don't compare writing your thesis to translating someone else's. You don't need to agonise over whether or not to include certain data, or how best explain inconvenient data, or whether you can cite something as an example, or keep to a certain wordcount, or worry about how much you can lift without being accused of plagiarism, or whether you need to fill in on background or simply assume those reading already know all that.

[Edited at 2019-02-21 11:10 GMT]
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Jania Kudaibergen
Mexico
Spanish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Feb 21

Thank you for all your comments, they have helped me a lot! I will calculate and take into consideration what you have said, fingers crossed. Cheers!

 

Wilsonn Perez Reyes  Identity Verified
El Salvador
Local time: 05:45
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Native Language Feb 22

Your native language is German.

 


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