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Poll: I prefer to quote on jobs per:
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 12:07
May 21, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "I prefer to quote on jobs per:".

This poll was originally submitted by Lilma Schimmel

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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:07
French to Spanish
+ ...
By minute. May 21, 2008

As a translator for subtitling and subtitler, I charge by minute.
Zillions dollars per minute, I mean.

Sometimes, when not for subtitling, by page, 200 words by page.
Another zillions dollars per page, of course.


Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:07
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Depends on the language pair May 22, 2008

When I translate from Japanese, I quote by source character. When I translate from English or Hungarian, I quote by source word.


Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:07
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
simply different May 22, 2008


Full day, half day or (very rarely) rate/hour.

If at the airport or countryside, plus taxi or travel expenses.

If abroad, always and ONLY full days, plus any other expenses (fare, accomodation, etc.) on the customer.

Any extras (incl. cocktail or evening dress, national costume, etc.) +1 additional hour

Voiceover: rate/hour

In case of Chinese, Japanese or Hebrew - always and ONLY by source characters;

In case if the client from Germany, Austria or UK - always and ONLY by source words;

In case if the client from US - rounded total amount in US dollars;

In case of Hungarian clients - always and ONLY target characters incl. spaces according to regulations of MFE (Association of Hungarian Translation Companies);

In case of OFFI (Hungarian National Office for Translations and Attestations) - there is no way to quote, I can just accept or decline the assignment for whatever price they offer, and...close my mouth;

In case if the client is handicapped or has serious illness: minimum charge or no charge at all.

Like the Skiny underwear: simply differenticon_wink.gif


David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
SOURCE word May 22, 2008

The only fair way to charge, at least in the EN>SP language combination.


Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 12:07
English to Russian
+ ...
What I prefer is one thing... May 22, 2008

...but what a client is willing to pay is another one.

I'm with Juan Jacob here: zillions dollars per minute, please!

All right, we live in a real world... so, let's settle on $100 per minute! See? I'm very easy to deal with!

Now, getting serious: as I mostly do interpreting and not translating, I charge as Erzsébet does: either half day or full day. If I have to drive 25 miles one way or more, I charge mileage as well. In certain cases, I negotiate travel time (in addition to mileage) - say, when I have to drive about 100 miles to a job. If I have to do some serious travel, then, of course, full days only plus travel expenses.

For translating, I always insist on seeing the document before I quote, than I estimate how much time it would take me to do the job and quote accordingly.


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:07
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Per word into Spanish May 22, 2008

David Russi wrote:

The only fair way to charge, at least in the EN>SP language combination.

I entirely agree. In German to Spanish we also use words, whereas traditionally these translations were calculated in lines. With today's formatting and DTP possibilities, a line does not mean much really and the word is the only sensible way to go.


Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:07
English to Russian
+ ...
page May 22, 2008

I mean the so-called "standard page" which is equal to 1800 characters with blank spaces included. In my opinion, this provides the best accurate and fair cost calculation. Charging per word is also good, but due to articles and prepositions, English wordcount inevitably gives a bit too large estimate.


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:07
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Lines, please May 22, 2008

It has to be lines with German, since such a large proportion of German words consists of word combinations - otherwise we German into English translators would really be out of pocket. A line is usually defined as being 55 characters, but can also be 50 or 52. The number of characters in a line is always stated when quoting, so charging for translating German boils down to charging by the character. This is especially true, since the calculation is not always in whole lines, but can, for example, be "43.56 lines".

Target words is the only other possibility.


[Edited at 2008-05-22 07:35]


Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:07
Italian to English
+ ...
cartella (standard page) May 22, 2008

In Italy the standard unit is the cartella, normally 1500 characters including spaces. Some agencies prefer source counts, others target. I don't care, I just charge a higher rate if it's on target count.

I take issue with David Russi's assertion that source words are

The only fair way to charge

- I'd agree that charging by source makes it a lot fairer, as the time needed to read a 2-letter word and a 15-letter word is pretty much the same, but a system based on characters (whether standard line, standard page or characters themselves is by far the fairest system, in my opinion.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Source per word May 22, 2008

... for Spanish -> English in MS Word compatible format, using the MS Word counter. No rebates for reps. A reasonably cheap basic rate (0.08 €/word) with possible discretionary discounts depending on volume, client loyalty, deadline flexibility, manageable format... etc.
Minor revisions and modifications free of charge.


Simon Sobrero  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:07
Italian to English
+ ...
Why 'cartellas' ... and pounds and gallons ... are a bugbear May 22, 2008

Hi Marie-Hélène,
If reading a long word or a short word is the same, then why look at the number of characters? I wouldn't mind, but an Italian 'cartella' is a very inflexible standard. A recipe for disaster if the page you receive then ends up having MORE than you expected.
Luckily, I have a chart on my wall that helps me convert this into a civilised word count. It sits there next to my chart for converting pounds, yard, and gallons into sensible units!
I would soon see the back of this old-fashioned Italian anomaly.
As I would their 60 and 90 day payment terms ...and 'italiese', and bureaucracy, and hard copies of everything ... and ... but I love the place otherwise.

Help us get rid of the cartella cartel!


Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:07
Flemish to English
+ ...
My matrix. May 22, 2008

Source words? Doesn't it rather depend on the language family:
Germanic>Romance: target words, because Romance languages tend to be descriptive and give a description of what can be said in one word in a Germanic language.
Romance >Germanic: source words.
Slavonic>Germanic: whichever produces the most number of words.
Germanic>Slavonic : target, because more words.
Romanic>Slavonic: source.
Don't know about Near-Eastern (Arabic, Hebrew) and Eastern languages such as Japanese/Chinese>Western languages.

No reductions for reps.either.

The difference may not be big on one assignment, but on a yearly basis choosing that direction which generates the biggest number of words, makes a difference in income.

[Edited at 2008-05-22 09:16]


Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:07
English to Arabic
+ ...
Ah, now I get it! May 22, 2008

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

It has to be lines with German, since such a large proportion of German words consists of word combinations - otherwise we German into English translators would really be out of pocket.

I'm always so annoyed by my German clients who insist that I quote per line. And I end up calculating my per line rate on the basis of the number of words in the document. But now I realise I am doing myself a disservice, if the document contains a lot of words of the type "Klimaschutzpolitik" or whatever.icon_eek.gif


M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:07
English to Polish
Germanic>Slavonic May 22, 2008

Williamson wrote:

Germanic>Slavonic : target, because more words.

I don't agree with that. Example? English > Polish. English can have 10%-30% more words, than Polish target. Polish text is usually longer due to lenght of words, but number of words is smaller. I imagine the same would go with German > Polish, especially since in German words tend to "stick" together, creating one loooong word.
It may be true with other Germanic languages though.


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