Do you think that p/w proofreading/editing rates should be the same as p/w translation rates ?
Thread poster: Barbara Cochran, MFA

Barbara Cochran, MFA  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 23

Based on my own experience as a proofreader/editor of other translators' work, I would say "yes", but how would one ever get agencies to agree to it?

Alexander Chisholm
Teresa Borges
 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 02:17
English to Russian
+ ...
Per word? Jun 23

P/w is per word, right? Well, I've seen plenty of translations that required as much effort to edit as I would normally spend to translate the same text from scratch, but every time I see that, I write to the project manager with an exhortation not to employ that translator ever again in this language pair and/or subject field.

[Edited at 2019-06-23 23:54 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Eliza Hall
Thayenga
Maria da Glória Teixeira
 

Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Italian to English
+ ...
I agree Jun 24

Translation quality varies enormously.
Some of the agencies I routinely work with appear to have a policy of getting technical translations done by a non-native (presumably cheaper) and then asking native speakers to perform proofing/editing, and expecting to pay about 1/4 of your translation rate. I usually try to insist on AT LEAST 1/2, but not all agencies go for it.
So, if I have other work on, I don't accept the tasks.
Some agencies apply an hourly rate, which is probably
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Translation quality varies enormously.
Some of the agencies I routinely work with appear to have a policy of getting technical translations done by a non-native (presumably cheaper) and then asking native speakers to perform proofing/editing, and expecting to pay about 1/4 of your translation rate. I usually try to insist on AT LEAST 1/2, but not all agencies go for it.
So, if I have other work on, I don't accept the tasks.
Some agencies apply an hourly rate, which is probably the fairest solution.
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Teresa Borges
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:17
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
How much work is involved, and who carries the responsibility? Jun 24

I do not do so much proofreading and editing these days, but I have proofread on many occasions when it was in fact the best solution to get a non-native expert to do the translation, and then use a native proofreader (me).

The technical translators were Danes whose English was excellent, and they were subject experts who reliably used the correct terminology. It would often be difficult to find English natives who could do that.
It was then fairly easy for me as the English n
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I do not do so much proofreading and editing these days, but I have proofread on many occasions when it was in fact the best solution to get a non-native expert to do the translation, and then use a native proofreader (me).

The technical translators were Danes whose English was excellent, and they were subject experts who reliably used the correct terminology. It would often be difficult to find English natives who could do that.
It was then fairly easy for me as the English native to tidy up the odd non-native expression.

Even then, it was necessary to take care with legal language. The correct terminology and phrasing, as I learned along the way, may sound odd to an English native. The expressions used to translate Danish law into English were not always the same as those an English lawyer would use, but they reflected the fact that Danish law is not the same as English law. This could occur, for instance, with reference to dividing property between spouses after a divorce, or in employment law.

Similar situations are going to arise with translations into English from many languages, simply because there are not enough native speakers of English.

I prefer to charge by the hour for proofreading/editing.
There are occasions when a quarter of the rate for translation is OK, but if the proofreader/editor has to check terminology, and cannot simply rely on the translator, it will only be enough if the editor is also a subject specialist and completely familiar with the terminology in both languages.

As soon as it is necessary to consult dictionaries and client preferences etc. time consumption goes up dramatically, and editing can take almost as long as translating.

Where machine translation is involved, editing can really take longer than translating from scratch, even if you try to ignore things like 'preferential' issues and correct, but non-idiomatic passages!

In those cases it is quite justifiable to ask for the same rates for editing as for translating.
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Teresa Borges
Jessica Noyes
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:17
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
yes, in certain projects Jun 24

In certain projects where you have to check numerous reference materials, it is indeed not much difference in time spent by a translator or a reviewer. Also, if a translation requires a lot of research so that time spent on research basically determines your time spent on translation, then the same applies to a reviewer.

Of course, hourly rate is more appropriate in such cases. Per word rate could still be used if one can average between projects to facilitate client relationships
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In certain projects where you have to check numerous reference materials, it is indeed not much difference in time spent by a translator or a reviewer. Also, if a translation requires a lot of research so that time spent on research basically determines your time spent on translation, then the same applies to a reviewer.

Of course, hourly rate is more appropriate in such cases. Per word rate could still be used if one can average between projects to facilitate client relationships who expect precise cost estimate before work is even started.
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Sotiria Orfanidou
 

Eliza Hall
United States
Local time: 20:17
Member (2018)
French to English
+ ...
Yes! But... Jun 24

I've done proofreading of translations so bad that I essentially had to re-do it. Sometimes it's okay in the main but as soon as the text gets at all complicated the translator falls apart. The problem is especially common when the text is a contract or other legal document, because (please forgive the bluntness) a lot of translators either don't realize how little they understand about the law, or they just don't care and want the work even though they can't do it properly.

A fair
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I've done proofreading of translations so bad that I essentially had to re-do it. Sometimes it's okay in the main but as soon as the text gets at all complicated the translator falls apart. The problem is especially common when the text is a contract or other legal document, because (please forgive the bluntness) a lot of translators either don't realize how little they understand about the law, or they just don't care and want the work even though they can't do it properly.

A fair approach that gets around the per-word problem might be to ask to see the original and the translation, then quote an hourly rate with estimate of hours, or a flat fee. This would also give you the opportunity to alert the client that the translator in question isn't competent.

Barring that, I've pretty much stopped doing proofreading because it's nearly as much work as translating, at far less pay. I might do it as a first project for a new client, to get in the door, but not as regular work.
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Nadja Balogh  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:17
Member (2007)
Japanese to German
+ ...
Yes, if translation quality can be assured Jun 24

I would say yes, but only if I know beforehand that I won't get rubbish thrown at me.
I regularly do revisions for some clients who always use the same translators, so I know I can expect a certain quality from them. In this situation it can even be more profitable to apply a word rate compared to an hourly rate.


 


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Do you think that p/w proofreading/editing rates should be the same as p/w translation rates ?

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