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Poll: How do you calculate your proofreading rate?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:19
SITE STAFF
Mar 1, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How do you calculate your proofreading rate?".

This poll was originally submitted by Caroline Riera-Darsalia. View the poll results »



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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:19
Member
German to English
+ ...
Per hour Mar 1, 2012

I think per hour is the only fair way to charge for proof-reading, as the quality of translations can vary so hugely. While a good translation should not take long, a poor translation can take ages and thus leave you out of pocket if you've agreed a per-word rate.

Having said that, I've yet to find a customer prepared to pay a per-hour rate for proof-reading which means I can earn similar to what I do translating.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 12:19
English to French
+ ...
Per hour Mar 1, 2012

I enquired about hourly rates for mechanics at several local garages… Surely, my services are worth as much as a mechanic’s. Yet when I see the rates advertised by colleagues, they often are half of mine or even less... And, despite what some agencies claim, I am not the most expensive proofreader on the market!

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:19
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Quality Mar 1, 2012

Mary Worby wrote:

I think per hour is the only fair way to charge for proof-reading, as the quality of translations can vary so hugely.


My way around this is to completely avoid anything that is not of good quality, i.e. translations by non-professionals, non-natives or machines. In these cases I simply tell the client I would be happy to translate the text from scratch for my usual translation rate but that any attempt at "proofreading" (which is actually editing) would be futile and probably take longer than translating it. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

If the text is of good quality I charge around 50 % of my translation rate. This makes it less frequent but quite lucrative, which suits me because I don't particularly enjoy it.


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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:19
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Per hour Mar 1, 2012

But, like Mary said, some agencies offer a per word rate - which I accept as long as it is approximately equal to my hourly rate.

I don't accept that many proofreading jobs - it seems to me an ever increasing number of them are editing touted as proofreading.



[Edited at 2012-03-01 09:57 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Mar 1, 2012

Per hour, but since I can rarely get agencies to accept my usual hourly rate, I am now trying to refuse all proofing offers unless from direct long-term clients. Especially nowadays, I find it tends to mean revising and correcting duff initial translations, whereas if they'd simply commissioned me to do the translation in the first place it wouldn't have needed much tweaking, if any.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Me too Mar 1, 2012

Interlangue wrote:

I enquired about hourly rates for mechanics at several local garages… Surely, my services are worth as much as a mechanic’s. Yet when I see the rates advertised by colleagues, they often are half of mine or even less... And, despite what some agencies claim, I am not the most expensive proofreader on the market!



My hourly rates are about the same as my local tradesmen like mechanics, plumbers etc too, as I don't see my skills as superior or worth more than theirs (I can't service my scooters or fix my boiler!).


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 12:19
English to French
+ ...
Re Mar 1, 2012

neilmac wrote:

My hourly rates are about the same as my local tradesmen like mechanics, plumbers etc too, as I don't see my skills as superior or worth more than theirs (I can't service my scooters or fix my boiler!).


Hourly rates for car maintenance/repair around here vary from ±50-75 EUR. Therefore, the 25-30 EUR (or USD) I often see advertised in profiles seem very cheap.


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SEA-words  Identity Verified
English to Italian
+ ...
I have both Mar 1, 2012

I have both a per target word rate and a hourly rate, but they are the same (I am counting I can proofread approx. 2000 words/hr).
Of course the question is always: how good is the translation? If it is poor, then quoting by word is at a loss. But also when quoting by the hour you need a client that trusts your count.

Usually is the agency that tells me "we are estimating XX hours for this job". In case it takes longer, I have to provide a detailed explanation of the mistakes that make that translation poor and I state the required time. But in the end is up to the agency to decide whether to pay me the extra hours or not.

I work mostly with one agency, therefore I cannot question too much. Some PMs give me exactly what I ask, others give me an arbitrary extra (like a 20% or 30%), and some others simply reply "we appreciated your extra effort".
Also, working with this same agency usually ensure a certain standard, but on occasion I may get the translation from a newbie.

I usually count also the time spent for providing the detailed explanations (it take longer to "provide some examples" that the actual proofreading!)


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
I toss a coin Mar 1, 2012

If a customer approaches me with a proofreading job, I ask for full details, such as length of job, whether proofreading is just editing at a lower rate, whether the sample of the translation to be proofread is really a poorly made translation that could use a rewrite, etc.

Then I toss a coin.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 12:19
English to French
+ ...
Re Mar 1, 2012

Paola Slajmer wrote:

Usually is the agency that tells me "we are estimating XX hours for this job". In case it takes longer, I have to provide a detailed explanation of the mistakes that make that translation poor and I state the required time. But in the end is up to the agency to decide whether to pay me the extra hours or not.

(...)

I usually count also the time spent for providing the detailed explanations (it take longer to "provide some examples" that the actual proofreading!)



When an agency makes an estimation, I work the estimated time and let them know "this is how far I got" - they sometimes underestimate the time required or overestimate the quality of the translation.
I always send back one text with track changes + a cleaned out version, ready for use (at least the part they gave me time for).
For agencies, I always send a detailed explanation of changes + a more general comment. The former, I write (or fill in their form) as I go, so it is taken into account. The latter is given for free.

For direct clients, I only write a general comment (free) and sometimes pass on documentation I used for the colleague who made the translation.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:19
Portuguese to English
+ ...
It varies Mar 1, 2012

I don't like charging per hour, so I charge according to how good/bad the translation is. This has worked out fine for me. I generally end up charging around 50% of my translation rate.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:19
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends on the translation Mar 1, 2012

For smaller proofreading jobs I charge either a flat rate or 50% of my translation rate.

Larger jobs are charged by the hour - the price is usually quoted by the agency (which is much lower than a mechanic's - based on which criteria?) Of course, the quality of the translation plays an important role, also whether it is a proofreading only or a full-fleetched edditing assignment.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
No proofing or editing Mar 1, 2012

I do no proofing or editing, so that's how I solve that problem. You never know how good or bad the work can be, and it can be so bad that it's "borrón y cuenta nueva"; that is, do it over again from scratch. That I can handle; the other translation just goes into the trash.

If someone else's work is going to be involved in the job, then don't call me, I don't want to see it.


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njweatherdon
Canada
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
by word, but not in a fixed manner Mar 1, 2012

It can take more effort to edit some documents than to translate others. Some people will ask you to "proofread" something that actually needs major revisions to nearly every sentence in the document, while others with ask you to "edit" a document that only needs a few minor changes ... yet other documents are supposed to be "translated", but need to be edited and proofread through the process of translating the document.

And that's just the beginning. Some highly technical and context specific documents may only require "proofreading", but may require hours or days of background research in order to be confident that everything is communicated effectively. The client may have this knowledge, but not the language/writing skills in English to pair together with it.

I just give a price tag at the end of a project that seems reasonable and include a word rate that corresponds with the final invoiced amount, along with a few words to explain why it cost more/less than they might have expected. Folks I work for know that I won't spring them with some crazy charges and they seem to be OK with this.

[Edited at 2012-03-01 17:30 GMT]


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