Charging per line
Thread poster: Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith
Local time: 11:31
German to English
+ ...
May 10, 2006

Hello. I have just completed a project for a company I haven't worked for before. When I gave them my info earlier, they asked for a quote "per line" and I figured it up and gave it to them. Now I need to invoice my work and I'm not completely certain how per-line billing works. There are a number of posts on here about per-line billing but I just really want to know the most basic thing... How many lines do I charge them for? Do I count the physical lines (including incomplete lines that come at the end of paragraphs and so forth) and multiply that by my rate? Or take the character count and divide by 55 then multiply that by my rate? Or perhaps some other method I haven't thought of yet...
Thanks for any help as I really should send this invoice off today


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:31
English to German
+ ...
How did you quote? May 10, 2006

Hi Bryan,
On what basis did you quote for the job?

Puzzled,
Ralf


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Bryan Smith
Local time: 11:31
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just per line May 10, 2006

I quoted the job based on my per word rate after doing research into how many german words on average were in 55 characters worth of the document.
I suppose that really answers my question then, doesn't it? I should divide the character count by 55 and apply my rate to the result.
Along with another reply I got by email, I suppose my question is answered.

Thanks


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Cetacea  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 19:31
English to German
+ ...
Take keystroke count May 10, 2006

Charging per line is very common in Switzerland and Germany because word lengths vary so greatly between German and French or English. So the most fair way of working out the size of a job (and billing for it) is to take the keystroke count (i.e. including spaces) and divide it by 55, which results in the number of so-called "standard lines" that you then multiply with your per-line rate. Of course, the length of a standard line needs to be agreed upon beforehand. Some people use 50, others 60. Most colleagues and clients I know use 55.


[Edited at 2006-05-10 14:53]


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:31
German to English
+ ...
When is a character not a character? May 10, 2006

I always bill by the line (I can't remember ever billing by the word in 15 years of freelancing).

I normally tell the client in advance what I mean by a line, and stress that it is based on keystrokes (not characters). My usual formula:
(Characters including spaces) + (Paragraphs) divided by 55.

I tell direct clients in advance that this is not the same as the number of physical lines on the printout. Printed book pages generally have 80-100 keystrokes per line, magazines that are set in 3-4 columns tend to have about 35. So to make it fair, I used defined lines (German: Normzeilen).

I don't have to explain all this to German agencies - they know the system anyway.

As Cetacea points out, 55 is the usual number of keystrokes per defined line, but very occasionally I have experienced agencies that count 50 and 60 keystrokes. And Cetacea's point on the different word length is very important. The word count between two texts of equal length in English and German varies by about 20%, so if you are forced to play Word Rate Roulette (see http://www.proz.com/post/259767#259767 ), then do yourself a favour and agree with the client first which language the word count is to be based on.

[Edited at 2006-05-10 17:15]


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