Giving a quote per line of source text
Thread poster: Julian Wood

Julian Wood  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:48
Czech to English
+ ...
Dec 7, 2006

I'm quite new to translation, and have been asked to quote my 'most attractive' price for Czech>English for a German agency.
I assume I'll give a price in Euros, I think 0.07EUR is my rate per word, how do I convert this to a rate per line?
He says a 'standard line' is 55 keystrokes including spaces;
(pro Normzeile à 55 Anschlägen inkl. Leerzeichen im Ausgangstext?)
Thanks a lot/ Vielen Dank im Voraus!


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:48
English to Dutch
+ ...
Ask to see a sample, or charge per hour Dec 7, 2006

55 keystrokes per line is not a regular text, if you ask me.

The sentence I typed above is rather short, I did a quick count and it seems to have around 60 characters, including spaces.

So, if I were you, I'd ask te see the text, or a sample of it, and translate a small part of it. That way, you can figure out how much time the translation of the whole text will cost you, and you can charge per hour.

If you don't want to charge per hour, ask for the text and run a Trados Analysis.

By the way, don't be too modest in pricing. Your work and time is as valuable as anyone's.

Good luck!



Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:48
German to English
+ ...
Quoting per line Dec 7, 2006

Some time ago, I calculated an average based on some texts I had worked on. It came to 7.5 words per standard line of 55 keystrokes for German, and 9 words per line for English. This is a rough and ready figure, depending on the type of text (i.e. the length of words). I don't know what the figure for Czech would be - you could take a few average texts (whatever "average" may be) and do the sums yourself.

Your rate of 0.07 EUR per word would thus come out as 0.525 EUR per line for German and 0.63 EUR for English. Both of these figures are rather low in my view, perhaps "beginners' rates". I know of a German agency that offers such prices, but I would not even consider working for them.
If you start at such beginners' rates, you will presumably want to move up the scale when you have got a year or two of experience.

As to words vs. lines as a basis for calculation, this has been discussed a couple of times on the forum. Perhaps you may enjoy playing "word rate roulette" - see


Inga Jakobi  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:48
Member (2006)
Chinese to German
+ ...
count the words contented in a regular source line Dec 7, 2006

Hi Julian,
you could ask for the text or just take another text in the same language, convert the lines to lines à 55 characters and then count the words of 10 to 20 lines. This way you can afterwards calculate the average words contented in one standard line, and multiply this word count with your rate per word to get the line price. Maybe that sounds a bit complicated but having done that once, you can use this ratio words-lines everytime you need a quote per line.


Giulia TAPPI  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:48
French to Italian
+ ...
Before counting words automatically Dec 7, 2006

the price was set by standard "page", which was made of 30 lines, and each line was made of 60 characters (or blanks).
60 characters give more or less 10 words, so the standard page was 300 words.
Of course, in German, where words are very long, it may be slightly different, but these are the conventions used.


Julian Wood  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:48
Czech to English
+ ...
Thanks a lot Dec 7, 2006

Thanks for the replies, so quick!
I'll work something out- I find it hard to make the distinction between being friendly with the agency, and standing up for myself


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:48
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Rather low rate Dec 7, 2006

For translations into small languages you usually charge more than 0.07 euro. Some translation related sites publish rates statistics for different combinations. All of course depends on your experience too.
55 chars incl. spaces per line is the normal measure used in German language countries.
For German into Finnish the average charge is about 1,10 Euro per line, according to the German translators association.



Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:48
English to Russian
+ ...
you can use Word statistics Dec 7, 2006

Take some rather big text and MS Word will give you the length of the text both in words and characters. You can find an average length of a word in your text and the price for a standard line respectively.


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:48
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Never mind the conversion... Dec 8, 2006

but you might try charging them EUR 0.85 per line (EUR 0.10 per word, as far as I know - at least with my language pair). In any event, do not go lower than EUR 0.7 per line. An agency would never expect to pay less than that.


[Edited at 2006-12-08 00:11]


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