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Poll: What percentage of your translation rate do you usually charge for editing?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Oct 9, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What percentage of your translation rate do you usually charge for editing?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mikhail Kropotov. View the poll results »



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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:28
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I charge per hour Oct 9, 2016

I make an exception for a very regular client: 50% of my translation rate.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hourly rate Oct 9, 2016

Usually. I also have a per-word option, which is 25% of my basic rate for translation.

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Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:28
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
per word Oct 9, 2016

I charge per word, 25% of my translation rate as I have worked out that translating takes me about 4 times as long, if not more. I also like editing/revising/proofreading.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:28
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Per hour Oct 9, 2016

It's the best way. There is also the option to charge for 30 minutes for smaller jobs.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:28
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Hurrah! Oct 9, 2016

Three cheers for whoever is responsible for using the term "editing" instead of "proofreading"

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
2% Oct 9, 2016

I used 2% of my brain to respond. This is not a universal scenario, but translators are supposed to self-proof and self-edit their own work, unless the client agrees to pay a second translator to edit the job.

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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:28
English to Russian
+ ...
No specific rate Oct 9, 2016

Theoretically, I am trying to get the same amount per hour for editing as I do for translating. However, most clients want to know the price in advance, and even if an hourly rate is agreed, an extremely poor translation will throw a spanner in the works - I may not have enough time left for other jobs in the queue, or my brain may simply need extra rest after it. For this reason, I no longer accept any editing jobs without seeing the actual translation first, or at least another translation by the same translator in the same subject field. Once I have seen the translation, I can quote my price to edit it.

On a related topic, I do have approximate quality criteria for translations to be edited: a good translation can be edited in about 1/4 of the time it would take to redo it from scratch, an excellent one - in 1/10 or less. Anything more than 1/2 is a sufficient reason for the translator to be blacklisted.

translators are supposed to self-proof and self-edit their own work

That's a given, but having a second pair of eyes is a requirement under most written or unwritten quality standards for translation, and it isn't for nothing - even the best translators sometimes make dumb mistakes and overlook them when checking their own work. A client may choose to forgo that, but it would be an agreed deviation from the standard rather than normal practice.

[Edited at 2016-10-09 11:40 GMT]


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:28
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I avoid editing jobs Oct 9, 2016

But when I have to do it, for whatever reason, I charge 50% of my translation rate. I could charge less, if I know the translator is an excellent professional and we've worked together before, but this is very rare. I usually have a real hard time (long time) making lots of corrections, and it does take 50% of the time I would take to translate, so 50% is fair enough.
But I don't like editing/revising. I don't want other people to feel about me what I feel for those who revise my work.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
What standard? Oct 9, 2016

Anton Konashenok wrote:

translators are supposed to self-proof and self-edit their own work

That's a given, but having a second pair of eyes is a requirement under most written or unwritten quality standards for translation, and it isn't for nothing - even the best translators sometimes make dumb mistakes and overlook them when checking their own work. A client may choose to forgo that, but it would be an agreed deviation from the standard rather than normal practice.

[Edited at 2016-10-09 11:40 GMT]


It may be ideal practice for any client to pay for a second pair of eyes (aka the editor) but in the real world, at least with my USA clients, it is more the exception than the rule. There is no such thing as a quality standard in practice; that only exists in 3 places:

1) Translation books dealing with so-called translation quality (a theoretical concept)
2) Marketing collaterals and websites set up by many translation companies big and small
3) Translation teams properly organized


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xxxIlan Rubin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:28
Russian to English
Can't generalize across different language pairs Oct 9, 2016

I don't think that experience from one language pair can be easily transferred to another pair. There are different markets that arise for various economic or other reasons.

In my main pair, Rus>Eng, most translation, unless it is of literary works, is carried out by native Russian speakers, and then a native English speaker may be engaged to edit the work, depending on budget, purpose, target audience, etc. Hiring native English speakers for the translation on masse would be undesirable - very few native English speakers are actually capable of translating accurately from Russian (about 5% of so-called translators in my experience, though they think or pretend that they can) and it works out cheaper and more efficient to hire Russians for the initial translation. There are many translators in the Russian provinces, Belarus, Ukraine, etc. etc. who will do a fairly decent translation for a fraction of the cost of a native English speaker. Further, there are many business texts written in English from the very beginning by Russians which need to be edited, especially at investment banks, auditors, consultants, etc. So in this particular pair, if you are a talented native English speaking translator like me, you are still likely to spend most of your time editing. Which I do. So it is a very relevant Q in my main language pair, although it may not be relevant in the pairs of some of the above commenting translators.

With my current rates my editing costs 50% of my translation. I'm happy to keep it there, it works. Partly because on average I think I produce about twice as much text editing per hour as I produce translating, and partly because that's where I see the market for each of these services. Of course I could start to differentiate between different types of editing that take different amounts of time, especially between very good English, fairly good English and lousy English texts that I get (the latter I encounter very rarely given my specific clients and I might send them back or renegotiate), and between when I need to compare the English text with a Russian original (if I'm editing a translation, rather than a text written in English by a native Russian speaker) and when I don't need to. Currently I don't differentiate though because overall, as I say, it works, and if it ain't broken don't fix it, as they say.

[Edited at 2016-10-09 17:10 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-10-09 17:11 GMT]


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:28
Member (2006)
German to English
Standards Oct 9, 2016

Mario Chavez wrote:

I used 2% of my brain to respond. This is not a universal scenario, but translators are supposed to self-proof and self-edit their own work, unless the client agrees to pay a second translator to edit the job.


Hi Mario, some standards that Agencies use require this, and I find it useful.

Sorry, just saw that Anton said it all and apart from that, it was not the question☺

[Edited at 2016-10-09 22:32 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:28
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A second pair of eyes Oct 9, 2016

Anton Konashenok wrote:

(...) having a second pair of eyes is a requirement under most written or unwritten quality standards for translation, and it isn't for nothing - even the best translators sometimes make dumb mistakes and overlook them when checking their own work.

[Edited at 2016-10-09 11:40 GMT]


That's why some 20 years ago I worked out an arrangement with a trusted colleague (we worked in-house together for 20 years) where we proofread each other's work. Quality-wise, it's the BEST decision I've ever made!


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:28
English to Russian
+ ...
Mario, quality standards do exist Oct 9, 2016

Mario Chavez wrote:

There is no such thing as a quality standard in practice; that only exists in 3 places:

1) Translation books dealing with so-called translation quality (a theoretical concept)
2) Marketing collaterals and websites set up by many translation companies big and small
3) Translation teams properly organized


There is ISO 17100 (and ISO 15038 which it supersedes). And there are clients in such industries as pharmaceutics, aerospace, nuclear energy, etc., which may not only explicitly require two pairs of eyes, but may sometimes order a backtranslation of a freshly translated text for additional verification. I happen to know it firsthand because most of my work is in these fields.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Did you read 3)? Oct 9, 2016

Anton Konashenok wrote:

Mario Chavez wrote:

There is no such thing as a quality standard in practice; that only exists in 3 places:

1) Translation books dealing with so-called translation quality (a theoretical concept)
2) Marketing collaterals and websites set up by many translation companies big and small
3) Translation teams properly organized


There is ISO 17100 (and ISO 15038 which it supersedes). And there are clients in such industries as pharmaceutics, aerospace, nuclear energy, etc., which may not only explicitly require two pairs of eyes, but may sometimes order a backtranslation of a freshly translated text for additional verification. I happen to know it firsthand because most of my work is in these fields.


I'm aware of those ISO standards. I even read them. Did you read number 3, about translation teams properly organized? That's when your pharma client hires an editor or another translator to do a back translation (a disputable quality control method).

Even so, these so-called standards are about the process, the steps in the translation workflow,not the translation itself (that's ISO 15038).


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