How much would you charge? (Romance novel, Portuguese to English)
Thread poster: Andrêssa dos Santos Pereira (X)

Andrêssa dos Santos Pereira (X)
Brazil
Apr 5

Hi guys!

I'm an English teacher and have worked with translation informally (for a friend of a friend... u know?) Now this friend of friend wants me to translate a book from my native language to English. It's a romance book so I don't think it would require a lot of searching. Since I'm a newbie when it comes to charge people for these kind of services, could you tell me how much you would charge for it? There are 32
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Hi guys!

I'm an English teacher and have worked with translation informally (for a friend of a friend... u know?) Now this friend of friend wants me to translate a book from my native language to English. It's a romance book so I don't think it would require a lot of searching. Since I'm a newbie when it comes to charge people for these kind of services, could you tell me how much you would charge for it? There are 325 pages, 86,789 words and 404.092 characters without space and 489,839 with spaces. Sorry for the amount of information, that's to show you how lost I am! ^^'

Thank you in advance,
Andy.
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Tony M
France
Local time: 10:06
Member
French to English
+ ...
Don't do it! Apr 6

With the greatest respect, it is professionally highly inadvisable to translate into any language other than your native tongue. However good your level in the target language (EN), it is extremely rare for anyone to be able to write, especially fiction material, convincingly in their second language. Many people claim to be able to do so, but it is invariably detectable to any informed native speaker within a few sentences.
While for an experienced translator, translating into your
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With the greatest respect, it is professionally highly inadvisable to translate into any language other than your native tongue. However good your level in the target language (EN), it is extremely rare for anyone to be able to write, especially fiction material, convincingly in their second language. Many people claim to be able to do so, but it is invariably detectable to any informed native speaker within a few sentences.
While for an experienced translator, translating into your second language may be acceptable "for information only" purposes, or for some simple, factual texts, something like a novel, which is presumably intended for publication, cannot afford to have the sort of errors a non-native speaker will make — unless of course your customer than pays to have it edited by a true native speaker.
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Sheila Wilson
Teresa Borges
Elizabeth Tamblin
Kay Denney
Tom in London
Natalia Pedrosa
Robert Rietvelt
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Don't do it Apr 6

Tony M wrote:

.....it is professionally highly inadvisable to translate into any language other than your native tongue....


I agree with Tony. You will find the work very difficult and time-consuming, and the results will not be good. Even in your post there are lots of infelicities. Your English is quite good for casual use, but not for translating a "romance book" (whatever that is: a book written in one of the Romance languages?)

[Edited at 2019-04-06 08:40 GMT]


Manuela Junghans
Nadia Mondi
Teresa Borges
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
biz + translation + literature Apr 6

Hello Andy.

First of all, if you (as most translators) do NOT know about the biz aspects or your prospect cannot afford at least some $0.05/word (for a newbie), then you'd rather stop now.

Second, if your major/minor is NOT relevant to the English language and Literature or you've been out of practice for awhile, then you'd rather decline such an offer--not only because of (un)usually low rates for rather hard work, but also possible copyright issues and t
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Hello Andy.

First of all, if you (as most translators) do NOT know about the biz aspects or your prospect cannot afford at least some $0.05/word (for a newbie), then you'd rather stop now.

Second, if your major/minor is NOT relevant to the English language and Literature or you've been out of practice for awhile, then you'd rather decline such an offer--not only because of (un)usually low rates for rather hard work, but also possible copyright issues and too much time and fuss involved.

Third, while "native speakers" (competitors) don't recommend to translate from L1 to L2, considering modern post-edit MT/CAT trends, if you're pretty good in essays and languages and willing to, then your L2 should do nicely. IMO, your human translation (with the audience in mind and the culture awareness) will be better than 75% of "native" PEMTs or CATs operators.

Certainly, a proofreading by a competent native speaker reader or two is still a must--even for "truly native" peers.

Who dares wins)
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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:06
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
My two cents Apr 6

Colleen Roach, PhD wrote:

Romance novels, especially those authored by the well known writers, are HUGE money-makers. Nora Roberts is the queen of the genre: in terms of the sheer quantity of books she sells, she makes authors like Stephen King look like the "D" list. She's got over 225 "romance novels" in print. She's still going strong. And she isn't even all that old.




I'm really not sure what that has to do with this. Romance novels may be "HUGE money-makers" when authored by well known writers, and I think "well known" is key here. I would add, they need to be well known in their target language market in order for the translation of their work to be viable commercially. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the author of this book currently being proposed for translation is probably not that commercially successful in the English-speaking world, otherwise his or her own publishers would be sorting out the translation and they'd likely be approaching professionals for the job, not a friend of a friend of a friend who happens to teach English.



Anyway, to answer the original post, I see lots of red flags here, one of the main ones being "It's a romance book so I don't think it would require a lot of searching." This is code for "I actually have no idea what I'm about to get myself into". When the project is 300+ pages, that is a recipe for disaster and misery, my friend.

The other red flag is that even in your original post, there were grammatical errors, and this is just a casual information forum. Fiction novel translation? Forget about it. I think the target market would really struggle to overlook your grammar and the potentially stilted phrasing. It's hard to "get lost" in a good book if you're constantly being bombarded with niggly errors and your brain is having to deal with lots of little obstacles in the flow of the writing.

This is not to say that your English is bad. From the little I've seen, it's really not! But I sincerely doubt it's good enough for the project you're proposing here. So I agree with my colleagues here when I say: don't do it.


Michele Fauble
Dan Lucas
Tom in London
Sheila Wilson
Nadia Mondi
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Barbara Carrara
 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:06
Dutch to English
+ ...
nem pensar! Apr 6

If you did take on this work Andrêssa, you certainly wouldn't be the last non-native to give it a shot, especially in the PT - ENG pair (and where the drivel spouted by non-natives giving answers to other non-natives about translations into English in Kudoz makes me despair), but don't expect to be able to produce good results. Searching is the least of the problems.

Your English is undoubtedly good enough to teach in Brazil, but not for this book. There are at least 5 errors in yo
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If you did take on this work Andrêssa, you certainly wouldn't be the last non-native to give it a shot, especially in the PT - ENG pair (and where the drivel spouted by non-natives giving answers to other non-natives about translations into English in Kudoz makes me despair), but don't expect to be able to produce good results. Searching is the least of the problems.

Your English is undoubtedly good enough to teach in Brazil, but not for this book. There are at least 5 errors in your post that give you away as a non-native I'm afraid. That's just the way it is.


[Edited at 2019-04-06 23:14 GMT]
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Tom in London
Yoana Ivanova
Teresa Borges
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:06
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Andrêssa Apr 7

Andrêssa dos Santos Pereira wrote:
1. I'm an English teacher.
2. A friend of a friend wants me to translate a book [of popular fiction] from my native language into English.
3. Could you tell me how much [I should] charge for it? There are ... 86,789 words...


An experienced translator will translate about 500-800 words per hour, and you're an inexperienced translator, which means that you'll only be able to translate about 80-125 words per hour. Let's assume you're able to spend 2 hours per day translating this book (10 hours per week). So it'll take you 1.5 years to translate the book. Or, more realistically, 2-3 years.

Let's assume you earn R$20 per hour as a teacher. Do you want to earn the same amount of money with the book as with your day job? At R$20 per hour, the author will have to pay you about R$15000 for the translation. At R$10 per hour it's about R$7000. How likely do you think it is that the author will be willing to pay R$7000 for the translation? And you must convince him to pay you at least once a week or once every two weeks, otherwise you run the risk of him deciding to drop the project altogether. You also have to convince him that he must have your translation proofread by another person, which will cost him an extra R$3000.

When the author hears this amount, he might say "okay, I'll pay you with a share of the profits", but that is no good. Run away from such an offer. There is no guarantee that the author will be able to sell enough copies of his book to make up for the amount that you feel you are owed.

Other comments:
- A professional translator may charge him a lot more, even though the professional translator will take less time to do the translation.
- Translators will tell you stories about how people ask them to translate a book, without thinking clearly about the cost, and then expecting the translator to charge the equivalent of the price of 10, 20 or even 50 copies of the book.
- Books in Brazil are expensive, but in the US or UK they are cheap, so it may be that the author expects to earn more money selling his book in the US or UK than is realistic.
- For business translation, it is still okay to translate into your second language (despite what some people say), but for literary translation, it is quite important that a native speaker of the book's language does not get the impression that he's reading something from another language. But: you are a teacher, so perhaps your English would be good enough.


[Edited at 2019-04-07 08:20 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
divide by 2 Apr 7

Samuel Murray wrote:

An experienced translator will translate about 500-800 words per hour, and you're an inexperienced translator, which means that you'll only be able to translate about 80-125 words per hour. Let's assume you're able to spend 2 hours per day translating this book (10 hours per week). So it'll take you 1.5 years to translate the book. Or, more realistically, 2-3 years.


Divide that figure of 80-125 words per hour (for translating into a non-native language) by at least 2.
= 40-67.5 words per hour.
@ 10 hours/week = 675 words/week
= 128 weeks = 2.47 years

And then the whole thing will need to be proof-read and corrected by a native English speaker.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Metamorphosis Apr 7

 @Tom, it often could be *MUCH* cheaper than CAT/PEMT, unless Andy is a decent businesswoman and/or the (mutual) acquaintance is a gentleman, paying lavishly for flexible hours and offering favorable terms.

 @Samuel, you're mostly right, yet I really doubt an experienced literature translator could do "500-800 words per hour" in L2. Besides, there should be no such huge (x8) difference, because a literature translator should internalize the meaning, considering the audience
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 @Tom, it often could be *MUCH* cheaper than CAT/PEMT, unless Andy is a decent businesswoman and/or the (mutual) acquaintance is a gentleman, paying lavishly for flexible hours and offering favorable terms.

 @Samuel, you're mostly right, yet I really doubt an experienced literature translator could do "500-800 words per hour" in L2. Besides, there should be no such huge (x8) difference, because a literature translator should internalize the meaning, considering the audience, styles, accents, colors, flavors, and times--rewording/paraphrasing, changing, moving, or even deleting some original parts. No platitude, no patterns, no haste, nor prompts, but sheer imagination.

 For example, it took me a cup of coffee--some 30 minutes--to handwrite a draft translation, "retelling" from my POV the Contest passage of 276 words/1468 characters. After a couple of days I flip it through with a fresh eye, preparing a clean copy. No, I'm not Winner, but Finalist, yet I'm glad there're specialists somehow better than me. However, the diversity of even native translations does trigger upsetting thoughts--just check your language pairs.

 Why, in our classes we compared different classical/adopted translations of some books and they are VERY different. They are not worse or better, just different. And that's ok, not to mention some originals are rather "awkward" nowadays.

 @Richard, while you have [corrected] some of your errs too, it's but irrelevant either: Good singers with a wide vocal range may have several different "voices": usual, for their people, for a scene, for a public, and so on. The same goes about writers (and translators) who may use very different styles and lex, depending on the goals.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 @Andy, just get more specifics and give it a try, recreating the romantic adventure in a culture-neutral (adapted) translation. Who knows, it may be a good start for something even better.
Audience == Clientèle


[Edited at 2019-04-07 11:40 GMT]
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
? Apr 7

DZiW wrote:

things


I wonder if I'm the only one who finds your posts incomprehensible yet somehow charming?


Sheila Wilson
DZiW
Carolina Finley
Mirko Mainardi
Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Thomas Pfann
Teresa Borges
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:06
Member
English to Italian
Expressionism Apr 7

Tom in London wrote:

I wonder if I'm the only one who finds your posts incomprehensible yet somehow charming?


Like an expressionist painting (save for "biz").


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Literary translation Apr 8

Tom, now it's my turn to wonder whether it was a compliment, a joke, a sarcasm (e.g. "How nice of you!" meaning "What a jerk!"), or you really can't understand some points, deliberately rejecting the ideas. Perhaps, I should have asked you just to make sure, yet I don't see how it may help to decide the issue, alas.

I mean that Andy asked
How much would you charge? (Romance novel, Portuguese to English)
, so it's a relatively settled question and makes sense. Now the problem is "How much is it, how worthy?" Considering the time, skills and efforts as investments, the absolute minimum for a newbie is $0.05/word + royalties and negotiable mutual concessions, IMO.

Of course, I'm aware of the risks and wouldn't consider translating even a dime novel (pocket edition) to my native language: simply not my cup of cocoa. While a non-native translation makes it easier to read and understand--it's more accessible to a general/wider audience, one is always at the expense of others, losing (and sacrificing!) some original flavor and ideas. That's ok for even native* speakers far not always can clearly understand each other--both in speaking-listening and writing-reading.

So, the good answer is not merely 'Yes' or 'No', but "It depends"--on benefits both for readers and translators/clients.


Thanks god and others I'm not a novelist--and not even trying)


 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:06
Dutch to English
+ ...
charmingly incomprehensible Apr 8

DZiW wrote:

Tom, now it's my turn to wonder whether it was a compliment, a joke, a sarcasm (e.g. "How nice of you!" meaning "What a jerk!"), or you really can't understand some points, deliberately rejecting the ideas. Perhaps, I should have asked you just to make sure, yet I don't see how it may help to decide the issue, alas.


ha ha, complicated thing this, engaging with the English. You can take Tom's comment any way you want, and the way you take it will in itself ultimately determine what it means.


 


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