How do I quote on a theater script?
Thread poster: Djuna

Local time: 02:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 10, 2007

Totally lost. Is it done per source word, page any other unit?
Do regular translation fees apply?
All comments welcome!!!
Thanks in advance!

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Tae Kim  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:40
Member (2007)
English to Korean
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Use the same per word unit? Jul 11, 2007

I haven't done any work on theater scripts, but my guess is that there's no difference between scripts and other materials. I even think that scripts are easier to translate, since they would almost include no specialized terminologies whatsoever. They would most likely be consisted of general everyday conversations, which are really dreamy projects any translator can hope for. It is just my guess though.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Special considerations Jul 11, 2007

Djuna wrote:
How do I quote on a theater script?

I've never translated as theatre script, but would suppose any normal method (per word, per character, etc) would apply.

I wonder what special considerations there would be, though. Does the client want you to translate *everything* or just the dialog? It is even possible that a client might want everything except the dialog translated (especially for classical pieces).

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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:40
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
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CAT software analysis Jul 11, 2007

Assuming they want the whole thing translated (dialog, set descriptions, stage directions, etc.), I'd analyze it using Trados or similar software, and not charge for any of the fully repeated segments (which will mostly be the character names at the beginnings of speeches, assuming they're set off in a way that Trados recognizes as a separate segment).

Something to watch out for in doing the translation, if you get the job: In some countries, "left" and "right" in stage directions mean the actors' left and right, while in other countries it means the audience's left and right. ("Stage left" versus "house left.") Be sure to find out which convention was used in the original script and which is the norm in the target country. If it's an older script, it may take a little research since I think that the trend has changed over time in some places.

[Edited at 2007-07-11 07:17]

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Local time: 02:40
English to Spanish
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Thank you Jul 12, 2007

Just saying thank you for your virtual advice!
I really don't know exactly what they want yet but for some reason I thought it was the norm to charge more for texts like these, so I was afraid I was going to make a fool of myself; nothing more discrediting than a ridiculously low quote.
I still have the feeling though that there are situations where the relation between the economic gain the text will eventually provide and the compensation for the translator is really off balance.

Oh and thank you for the whole left and right clarification, I would have stumbled upon this violently


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patyjs  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:40
Spanish to English
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I quoted recently Jul 15, 2007

for a script which was sent to me....I was asked to look at it and see what I thought. I liked was really interesting and well written.
I was in two minds whether i wanted the job or not, to be perfectly honest...It was just the bare script - no stage directions or set descriptions, just character names and lines.

I suspected, though, that it would take a lot of research to get the localization just right, so I decided to quote as if for a regular text and I used the average rate of members. I know this media is not known for the amounts of cash available for dishing out in all directions (I have a background in theater) but I figured if the price was too high, we would probably negotiate.

Serious misjudgement on my part...I never heard from him again.

Oh well...


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