What is the normal rate for proofreading per word and hour?
Thread poster: Jande

Jande  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:49
Danish to English
+ ...
Dec 20, 2005

What is the normal rate for proofreading per word, per hour and what is the normal number of words translated per hour. I just did a proofreading job. I was told the number of hours were 3 times the normal amount.

The English was somewhat difficult to read and the punctuation wasn't changed from Danish to English in sentances, numbers and dates, which I corrected. The list of suggested Danish-English words weren't used, so I corrected that as well. All in all it wasn't a Native English speaker who did the original translation, but I expected that to be normal in a proofreading job, otherwise why would they pay for someone to proofread the text. I doubt I could even read all the text if the time was 1/3. Some of the figures and text boxes weren't translated either, which I of course corrected. I didn't do any formatting although the documents formatting was inconsistent, because I was asked not to do much formatting. In fact I don't even believe I did justice to the document because the deadline was so tight.

I want to know the normal amount. For future reference, because I'd like to get some serious jobs and I don't want to insult my clients with an exceedingly high price. I'd also like to know it's me who needs to improve my proofreading times.


Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:49
English to Swedish
+ ...
Have a look at my proofreading fees! Dec 20, 2005

Have a look at my proofreading fees at http://www.proz.com/pro/7599


Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:49
Dutch to English
+ ...
Couple of points ..... Dec 20, 2005

I generally don't charge proofreading or editing (for that matter) by the hour unless I've had a chance to review the standard of the entire text and the number of hours is agreed in advance.

I normally quote and charge per word based on the standard of the text (and how long I estimate it is going to take me), purely because many clients do not understand the difference between proofreading and editing/revision and irrespective of which I'm doing, I have a minimum amount I'm prepared to work for per hour - the result of many years of billing as a lawyer. That way there are no surprises at the end when it comes to invoicing. Some clients will haggle till the cows come home so rather get that stage over before the job, then your mind is at rest and you can get on with it.

The job you've described goes beyond the definition of proofreading, especially since there was a glossary the translator neglected to follow.

It's impossible to say what the averages are. People will bandy around figures but the subject-matter and standard of the translation you're given differs in each case. All I can suggest is that you work out a way so that everyone knows from the outset what the final costs are going to be. With time, you'll figure out how to judge that but don't undersell yourself.

Finally the buck stops with YOU as the proofreader/editor, so be very wary of taking on jobs where the deadline is too tight. You are the one accepting the responsibility for a delivery-ready or print-ready job, so there is no excuse for not being able to "doing it justice" because of the deadline - that's why it's so important to see the quality of the entire text upfront.

My two cents ......

Hope it helps

[Edited at 2005-12-20 13:58]


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:49
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Normal words processed in an hour Dec 20, 2005

Well, I can translate 660 words per hour and proofread 1000 words per hour (subject to there being nothing beyond the normal to correct).

I believe that the standard these days is to charge half the amount per word for proofreading as for translating. However, I cannot even proofread twice as many words per hour as I can translate.



Marc P (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:49
German to English
+ ...
What is the normal rate for proofreading per word and hour? Dec 20, 2005

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I believe that the standard these days is to charge half the amount per word for proofreading as for translating. However, I cannot even proofread twice as many words per hour as I can translate.

There is no standard, Astrid; apart from anything else, there is no longer a standard definition of the word "proofreading". I generally charge half my translation rate for checking a translation against the original text, and a quarter when I read through a translation without reference to the source text. Neither case, by my definition, is "proofreading".



GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other relevant threads Dec 20, 2005

You may want to read these other conversations, too:
http://www.proz.com/topic/40165 (Although this deals with transcription rates, the advice can apply to proofreading, too.)
http://www.proz.com/topic/34695 (Although rates are not the prime concern of this conversation, some important issues are raised that can impact on your method of setting rates.)


Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:49
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
By the hour Dec 20, 2005

Hi Jande,
I charge by the hour because you never know what you’re going to get.

If the “so-called translation” is total crap, I’ll inform the client before starting of how things stand and that a new translation will probably cost them less than a long revision.

If it’s a short text, done well, that’s being disputed by someone who doesn’t know what they’re on about, and a regular client wants a second opinion I probably won’t change anything. If it’s just a quick read over an obviously good translation I’ll do that for free, sending my honest opinion of the quality of the work to the client.

Btw, off –topic: luv Sven’s profile, very seasonal. Nice rates, n’ cheetahs too.
(Where’s da smiley with its thumb stickin’ up when ya need it?)


Jande  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:49
Danish to English
+ ...
Thanks Dec 21, 2005

Thanks everyone for your help.

Thankyou Sven I like your website.

Thankyou Deborah that was useful information

Thankyou Astrid for your honesty.

Thanks Marc we all know "proofreading" is difficult to agree upon. Even though one is "proofreading" I believe that sometimes they are actually re-translating

Thanks for the links GoodWord

Thanks Jo I couldn't agree more, however the client in this case was not happy to pay for my so called re-translating.

FYI The Agency suggested 1/4 of the translating rate for proofreading. I also thought the rate was half. The client was a bit shocked when I gave them the hourly price. I guess I spent a little more time on the job than I should be.


Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:49
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Hourly Rate Dec 28, 2005

In my langauge pair, English-Indonesian, my proofreading rate is UK£35 or US$53 per hour. However, I have ever been offered US$35 per hour. My proofreading standard is about 500 source words per hour.
May this experience is useful to you, Jande.

[Edited at 2005-12-28 02:28]


Ana Irena Hudi
Local time: 17:49
English to Croatian
+ ...
proofreading per hour-rate Jun 6, 2009

Thank you very much for the pieces of advice about the rates - namely, some outsourcers want to know the proofreading per-hour rate, pricing per line/word is just not enough.


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