Transcribing then Translating - how would you charge?
Thread poster: uky

uky
Local time: 23:28
English to Japanese
Jul 24, 2007

I have a question about "transcribing then translating" case.
I am working on a documentary of 68 minutes, of which I need to transcribe all the text first then translate. I have decided to charge them by minute and turned out about 700 dollars.


However, after transcribing it, it turns out to have about 18700 words, of which I have been paid about 2500 to 3000 dollars in texts.

My question is that how do people usually charge for this kind of work, where you have no idea how much words are involved to translate in advance?

I am sort of new in this area so any response will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.


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Quattro
United States
Local time: 20:28
Transcribe by the hour, translate by the word Jul 25, 2007

My experience in transcribing material is limited, but I would offer the client a per-hour rate for the transcription task. Transcribe e.g. one minute of the file, see how long that takes and estimate how many hours it would take you to transcribe the whole thing. Then give the client a quote for this.

As for the translation part, I would wait with the quote until I knew how many words the transcription came out to as this would be your source text. I would then charge the client by the word.

That's how I would go about it - but I will keep an eye on this thread to see what other people might have to say!

Have a good one.


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uky
Local time: 23:28
English to Japanese
TOPIC STARTER
That makes sense! Jul 25, 2007

Marie-Louise Halvorsen wrote:

My experience in transcribing material is limited, but I would offer the client a per-hour rate for the transcription task. Transcribe e.g. one minute of the file, see how long that takes and estimate how many hours it would take you to transcribe the whole thing. Then give the client a quote for this.

As for the translation part, I would wait with the quote until I knew how many words the transcription came out to as this would be your source text. I would then charge the client by the word.

That's how I would go about it - but I will keep an eye on this thread to see what other people might have to say!

Have a good one.


Thanks a lot for your prompt response. So I guess it is probably better to have two deal memo in sequence, first for the transcribing part to charge by minute, then after this is done, sign the second deal for the translation part based on the words. That really makes sense. I guess this is something I could ask to the company first ... oh well...


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seconded Jul 25, 2007

I would second what Marie-Louise Halvorsen wrote. In addition, I would suggest the following.

If the client insists on a quote for the entire job before starting, then you would also have to come up with a guesstimate of the number of words per minute and base your translation cost on that, then add it to the transcription estimate.

Another option would be to outsource the transcription or have the client do it. Transcription is a different task requiring different skills, capabilities and equipment. It is also a lower-paid task than translation.

For instance, in my own case I do not transcribe because among other things I have a slight hearing problem that makes it hard for me.

Good transcribers should not be hard to find provided the source language is also the language of the country where you are. If not, then it might be difficult.


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Anik Aminuddin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:28
Member (2007)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
quote separately Jul 26, 2007

Before accepting the job (transcription and translation), I would tell the client that the job will be charged separately, i.e. transcription (per hour or minute) and translation (per word), since they are different services. They usually tell me to go ahead and do the job.

IMHO, the per-word quote for translation should be sufficient since it is next to impossible to know the exact amount before completing the transcription.


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uky
Local time: 23:28
English to Japanese
TOPIC STARTER
Is asking for extra tips appropriate? Jul 26, 2007

Thank you to all of you who gave me the comments.

I would like to go ahead and explain the client that we should have
filed two deal memos - because I've already signed the deal memo I guess
I'll have to finish up my work under the current condition (that is all in one contract without the estimation of the number of Words).

I don't know if the client is willing to offer a re-do of the quote, or give me extra fees. Does anyone think it is worth asking?

well, I will
at least explain them that there should have been two separate contract and extra tips will be greatly appreciated, or something.

Thanks again!


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Anik Aminuddin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:28
Member (2007)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
I would forgo this one Jul 26, 2007

I don't know...
if I were you, I would just forgo and finish this one project. IMO, it's not professional to change the contract after you signed it. Next time you get the similar project from the same client (or other client for that matter), just quote them accordingly.
But it's just me, others may have different opinion.


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uky
Local time: 23:28
English to Japanese
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Anik. Jul 27, 2007

Anik Aminuddin wrote:

I don't know...
if I were you, I would just forgo and finish this one project. IMO, it's not professional to change the contract after you signed it. Next time you get the similar project from the same client (or other client for that matter), just quote them accordingly.
But it's just me, others may have different opinion.


It is very helpful to hear your opinion, Anik.
Thank you so much.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:28
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What's the intent of the job(s)? Jul 27, 2007

Some less-informed clients ask me how much it would cost to transcribe and translate video.

I immediately ask them what they intend to do with it, and open several avenues:

a) Subtitling - If they just want PT or EN subtitles, there is no need to transcribe. I can translate into subtitles directly. Depending an the source language and the destination languages, considering the availability of translators for each pair, it might be worthwhile to transcribe, edit and format for subtitles in the source language, spot (= mark in/out times for every subtitle), and then have all translators work from that text to re-use the same spotting. This same strategy works for fully voice-overed (= narrated only) documentaries.

b) dubbing - This should be done directly from the oiriginal video, otherwise it won't be possible to adjust metrics. If the script is available, sometimes it helps, sometimes it hinders. Btw, I don't change my translation rates for video based on whether the script is provided or not. I received some films where the "script" provided was on stationery from a film transcription company with main offices in Hollywood, CA. The amazing thing is that those guys understood less English than me!

c) re-enactment - This requires a translator specialized in drama, to re-create the dialogues in order to cause the same effect. If several target languages are involved, okay, an initial transcript (which doesn't require a translator) might be a feasible choice. Then these specialized translators would work on it.

d) documentation - The need for a full transcript of the film cannot be ruled out. A training program may need it for support materials, it may be evidence in a lawsuit involving false promises etc. But this doesn't require a translator, as a transcriptionist is cheaper.

Finally, the answer to your question: I charge exactly the same to transcribe in either, or to translate directly between, my working languages, either from video or audio. If the client wants the transcription and the translation from the recording (viz. for dubbing or subtitling), it will be my rate x 2 x the number of minutes of total playing time. If they want the transcription and a translation from that, the latter will be charged at my per-word rate. But this translation will be useless for dubbing or subtitling.

Taking the chance, I have a fixed per minute rate for AV work. I always consider the total playing time. If they say there is a lot of music or silence, let them send me an edited version. I won't watch the whole thing to see if the people there talk like Tom Peters or Peter Drucker, or if there is a mix of both, so I work on an average. The only exception is when the job involves educational films for up to junior high school level. These get a generous discount as they are clearly spoken and slow-paced, and it's also my very modest contribution to the education of children.


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uky
Local time: 23:28
English to Japanese
TOPIC STARTER
very helpful to see your comments in categories. Jul 27, 2007

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Some less-informed clients ask me how much it would cost to transcribe and translate video.

I immediately ask them what they intend to do with it, and open several avenues:

a) Subtitling - If they just want PT or EN subtitles, there is no need to transcribe. I can translate into subtitles directly. Depending an the source language and the destination languages, considering the availability of translators for each pair, it might be worthwhile to transcribe, edit and format for subtitles in the source language, spot (= mark in/out times for every subtitle), and then have all translators work from that text to re-use the same spotting. This same strategy works for fully voice-overed (= narrated only) documentaries.

b) dubbing - This should be done directly from the oiriginal video, otherwise it won't be possible to adjust metrics. If the script is available, sometimes it helps, sometimes it hinders. Btw, I don't change my translation rates for video based on whether the script is provided or not. I received some films where the "script" provided was on stationery from a film transcription company with main offices in Hollywood, CA. The amazing thing is that those guys understood less English than me!

c) re-enactment - This requires a translator specialized in drama, to re-create the dialogues in order to cause the same effect. If several target languages are involved, okay, an initial transcript (which doesn't require a translator) might be a feasible choice. Then these specialized translators would work on it.

d) documentation - The need for a full transcript of the film cannot be ruled out. A training program may need it for support materials, it may be evidence in a lawsuit involving false promises etc. But this doesn't require a translator, as a transcriptionist is cheaper.

Finally, the answer to your question: I charge exactly the same to transcribe in either, or to translate directly between, my working languages, either from video or audio. If the client wants the transcription and the translation from the recording (viz. for dubbing or subtitling), it will be my rate x 2 x the number of minutes of total playing time. If they want the transcription and a translation from that, the latter will be charged at my per-word rate. But this translation will be useless for dubbing or subtitling.

Taking the chance, I have a fixed per minute rate for AV work. I always consider the total playing time. If they say there is a lot of music or silence, let them send me an edited version. I won't watch the whole thing to see if the people there talk like Tom Peters or Peter Drucker, or if there is a mix of both, so I work on an average. The only exception is when the job involves educational films for up to junior high school level. These get a generous discount as they are clearly spoken and slow-paced, and it's also my very modest contribution to the education of children.



I would like to thank you very much for taking your time and giving me generous supportive comments, José. For being relatively new with media translation and for getting this job through a good friend, I ended up leaving this too casually without going into the details of the work intension etc...

Also this work was deeply involved with technical information of professionals in the science with lots of professors and researchers talking very fast about it, using many charts, models and results. Being in academic world for so long I took this very naturally thus surprised very much after finding out sooo many words in total turned out in the texts, which I would have charged much more in the academic research translations, etc.

This is definately a great learning experience for me to hear all of your valuable opinions and comments out of your precious translation experiences. Getting until this level of question took several steps for me.

Thank you so much - I would like to remember all of you all's comments for the future reference and I appreciate it very much.


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