Charge for proof reading after a very long task
Thread poster: Greg Dickie

Greg Dickie
Canada
Local time: 12:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 12, 2008

Hello Everyone!

I realize that this question has already been discussed in the forums, but I just have to ask as I am not quite sure what to charge.

I did my first revision job yesterday. Everything went well, I returned the document, the client is happy and now it has come time to charge. Before accepting the job the client and I had agreed on a rate of (xx) cents per word.

**How are Fees usually charged for proofreading? Do I charge only for the corrections made or by the total number of words in the document?

Honestly, the proofreading was a lot of work... a 12 page document about nuclear energy. The translator did a very good job or for the most part the document was well wrtitten, but not always true to the original. It took me about 6 hours to retranslate, or correct the errors.

After doing some reading in the forums I realize that many of you charge a per hour rate instead of per word.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
Greg

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-11-12 21:10]


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 20:51
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
per hour Nov 12, 2008

In your case it is better to charge per hour.

Per word charge is usually used when you work in a pipeline...


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
price per word Nov 12, 2008

It's either price per word or per hour. If you agreed a certain price (e.g. 0.05 €/word), then you have to charge 0.05 € per the total count of words in the document (not the words you edited).

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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's a matter of preferences Nov 12, 2008

Whether to charge per word or per hour, is a matter of preferences. I'd rather charge per word, so I know beforehand how much it is going to be and I don't feel the pressure of time passing by.

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Greg Dickie
Canada
Local time: 12:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The debate continues! Nov 12, 2008

Thanks Penelope and Sergei for you comments, I found them very helpful. I agree that charging per word or per hour is really a matter of preference. I am presently leaning more towards charging per word and have read arguements supporting both sides.

What I didn't really understand was wether or not the charge was based on the total word count or just for the words edited. I feel that question has been answered. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my quiery and I invite any other commentaries you or others may have.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Per word, as a rule Nov 12, 2008

I charge per word, and have actually never charged an hourly fee, but if a client wanted to pay me by the hour I would give it a try.

As for what I charge, I always ask to see the document first. If it's really terrible and essentially has to be retranslated, I charge my usual translation fee. Otherwise, I'll charge anything from half my fee on up, depending on the quality of the translation.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge per word read, not per word edited Nov 13, 2008

Gregory Dickie wrote:
What I didn't really understand was wether or not the charge was based on the total word count or just for the words edited.


Just to confirm, the rate applies to all words, since all words have to be read, weighed, considered, and judged as either good or bad. The same goes for translation, by the way -- I recently had a client ask me if I pay my outsourcers also for the "translation" of proper names, and my answer was that the translator is not paid for every word he types or changes, but for every word he has to consider, judge, research etc, using his expertise.


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 20:51
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
if only... Nov 13, 2008

Gregory Dickie wrote:
wether or not the charge was based on the total word count or just for the words edited.


$-) Clients would be happy!
Show me the wrong words and I will proofread them only. And charge just for these words.

To find those words you always have to read the WHOLE TEXT. That's the point many clients miss.


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:51
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Charged what was agreed Nov 13, 2008

Gregory Dickie wrote:
Before accepting the job the client and I had agreed on a rate of (xx) cents per word.


What is your question? You agreed on a price per word. Why are you questioning what you agreed?

How would you react if your customer tried to change the agreed terms after the job was finished.

Siegfried


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:51
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Send a 'track changes' file Nov 13, 2008

I normally charge by the hour, and always send two files back to the agency after proofing, - one with the Track Changes showing what I have done, and comments if necessary. The other is 'clean', with the changes made, IMHO ready for the client to use.

They do occasionally want a change reversed or a completely different change made, and if they want to, they can go through the changes and accept them one by one.

This is also a support for my claims when I have spent an unexpectedly long time on the job.

I worked for one agency that paid by the thousand words of source text, and several times I worked out in advance how long I could 'afford' to work on the job, and sent them a sample if the first page was way below par. They then paid for an extra hour. On one occasion they paid for an extra 6 hours at 1½ times the normal rate - it was a 10,000-word text and I had to sit up all night to deliver before the deadline!

You can only do that sort of thing if you know the agency well, but it is well worth sending feedback to the agency, whatever you do. I also send one-liners like 'My compliments to the translator - I really enjoyed that text' where it applies.

I had a colleague who did that, and it used to make my day! It was also very useful to know when I was doing well as opposed to barely adequate.


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Greg Dickie
Canada
Local time: 12:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You missed the point Nov 13, 2008

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

Gregory Dickie wrote:
Before accepting the job the client and I had agreed on a rate of (xx) cents per word.


What is your question? You agreed on a price per word. Why are you questioning what you agreed?

How would you react if your customer tried to change the agreed terms after the job was finished.

Siegfried


Thanks Siegfried for your input.

I apreciate your answer, but you have missed completely the point of my question. I am not trying to change the rate that was agreed upon at all, rather define the term "per word"!


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Greg Dickie
Canada
Local time: 12:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Much Apreciation! Nov 13, 2008

Thanks Christne, Samuel and Amy!

Your comments have been very helpful. I apreciate very much the time you have taken to answer my question. I feel that not only did I receive an aswer, but I learnt something a well.

I hope that you all have a wonderful day...
And that you are blessed with lots of work.


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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:51
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
sometimes by word, sometimes by hour Nov 13, 2008

I can go either way in quoting a price for proofreading/editing. I've got some clients who want a per-word quote (which allows them to know in advance how much the job is going to cost), and some who are OK with an hourly rate (presumably, they are willing to pay extra if the job takes longer than anticipated, rather than have me rush through because I agreed to a flat rate).

I've got more experience as an editor/proofreading than as a translator, so I'm actually more confident in my ability to judge how long an editing job will take (assuming I can preview the document) than in my ability to judge how much time a translation job will take. If I do quote an hourly price, I will offer an estimate of how many hours it will take me.

If I felt like I was taking an overly long time editing not because the translation was poorly done, but because I was new to the task or not that familiar with the subject matter, I'd be doubly inclined to charge by the word as a courtesy to the client. There are a few forum discussions out there on the topic of a reasonable ratio between your per-word translation rate and per-word editing rate, based on the challenges that the text presents. As you get more comfortable with the task, you will be rewarded with a corresponding more handsome return on your efforts.


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Albert Stufkens  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:51
Member (2008)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Hourly rate Nov 15, 2008

I believe that charging an hourly rate is much fairer. After all, a lot of thinking and weighing will have gone into a correction.
But, there are drawbacks.
- If you really want to charge for the time spent on a proofreading you may shrink back because it may tend to be quite considerable. So, you will short-change yourself.
- There is the problem of credibility.
- The time taken for carefully (re)considering changes is not quantifyable
- The time involved may just as well be spent on an entirely new translation.

I was recently asked by an agency to proofread on a structural basis. Knowing what it all entails I politely thanked for the offer.


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