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Charge to Review Someone Else's Translation
Thread poster: bborthayre
Aug 5, 2010

I just found this board and am delighted, seems like so many nice people with helpful suggestions! This came just in time. I am located in North Carolina and a client has approached with me 70,000 words that were translated from English into Spanish by a translator located in Mexico. I'm not sure if they paid a really cheap rate because she was in Mexico or not...but anyway, they have asked me to review the translation. I charge fifteen to twenty five cents a word for translation and my understanding is that reviews are charged by the hour...is that accurate? If so, how do you calculate how much time it will take to review? Do you then charge for changes or do you just point out the errors?

I greatly appreciate your help with this since the client is waiting on my response with regards to an estimate.

Gracias,
Blaire


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:15
German to English
Charge by the hour Aug 5, 2010

Take a look at the translation (or at least several thousand words) before agreeing to review the translation. You might wind up having to retranslate the entire document, or at least large portions of it.

Your mileage may vary, but many reviewers are able to check 750-1200 words/hour of a competent translation. A 70,000 word translation could easily take 70+ hours. If the client disputes that estimate or offers you a flat fee well below what you might charge for 70 hours, you might consider not taking the job.


 

bborthayre
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Kevin Aug 5, 2010

Very valuable advice, appreciate it!

 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 20:15
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Cultural elements to review Aug 6, 2010

Kevin Fulton wrote:
Take a look at the translation (or at least several thousand words) before agreeing to review the translation. You might wind up having to retranslate the entire document, or at least large portions of it.

I agree with Kevin. The agency may save cost by hiring a cheap translator and a higher cost reviewer. It is theoretically clever but an unimaginable trouble to many reviewers. I understand that to review/retranslate a document you consumes longer time. You can be exhaustive due to poor quality translation or even good translation with the style you are not familiar with. I met with technical translation where target text segments were rearranged and sentence by sentence comparison became impossible. Cultural content translation is also tedious when the value attitude of the translator and reviewer do not agree; I often took longer time to select exact local cultural values when the source text never presumed what to be clearly presented to readers (e.g. indirect comments on personality in certain etiquette).

Best regards,
Soonthon L.


 

InfoMarex
Ireland
Local time: 14:15
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Proofing Aug 6, 2010

Blaire,

1. Look at the "translation" first. See if it is anyway half-decent and just needing a bit of polish. If it needs re-translation, avoid the temptation to proof and edit it. Tell the client upfront as to the quality or not of the text.

2. Charging by the hour for proofing is a little unfair on a good client. It is very easy to pad the hours. However, if that is what is agreed, charge per hour.

3. Have two rates for proofing.

One for non-translator and non-agency clients, and one for translator and agency clients. The first rate would normally be around one quarter of your translation rate. The second rate would normally be around one fifth of your translation rate.

This procedure is fairer all round as you can say upfront, as opposed to a by-hour rate afterwards, "70,000 words is going to cost US$ / € / £ X.00".

I say this as a long-time proofreader and editor and current treasurer of AFEPI - the Irish Association of Freelance Editor, Proofreaders and Indexers.

Best of luck.
Kind regards,

Michael J McCann
InfoMarex


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Send a record of the time you take Aug 6, 2010

When I proofread, I always send the client documentation of what I have done.

Typically, this is a Word file with Track Changes. This also records WHEN the changes were made. Of course it does not record when you started reading or when you took coffee breaks, but you can see when each change was made.

If you are using an uncleaned Trados file, you have to accept the changes and turn off the Tracking function before you can clean up, but I always send a RED and a Clean file...

This has the added ´advantage´ that clients can disagree with you if you have misunderstood, or you can add comments explaining why you make certain changes and what is wrong with the original version.

I rarely have trouble with regular clients, but transparency and letting them see what you are doing builds up confidence.

This also backs up your estimate when you charge by the hour.


[Edited at 2010-08-06 12:50 GMT]


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 15:15
German to Serbian
+ ...
Multiple requirements. Aug 6, 2010

What they usually ask you is to spot the errors, categorize them, elaborate them, qualify the severity of error, paraphrase them and then write a final report. And all this commonly for the price of $ 0.02 p/sw.

This is why I don't take revision projects any more. Unless someone is willing to pay a decent rate for all the multiple elements this job entails ( which is not likely to happen, because that rate would greatly exceed my translation rate).

I do have proofreading service listed on my profile, but that's only to additionally proofread and polish my own work ( if someone wants that additional flair to be added to the text).

As for your question, you can't possibly estimate upfront the number of hours it will take you to proofread someone's work, because you never know the quality of the text you will be dealing with. This is where the agencies are trying to steal our skill and time ( by asking you to give an average hourly rate upfront, which is impossible for this type of job).

[Edited at 2010-08-06 12:26 GMT]


 
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bborthayre
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your Replies Aug 6, 2010

To everyone else I just wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I found so much of what you said to be helpful.

Christine: that was a great suggestion about tracking changes, it is such an effective way to show the work involved. I will certainly start implementing that.

Michael: Many thanks, you have saved me a great deal of time with your suggestion about reviewing the quality of the translation up front rather than quoting the price initially. Your points are well taken.

Soonthon: You nailed it regarding the cultural aspects and time involved, thanks for bringing that to my attention, it definitely has to be factored in.

Again I am very appreciative to each of you for helping me with this situation. If each of you has a moment, I would love to hear from you via email with the name of your company and speciality so that I can keep it as a resource. My company is focused on Hispanic marketing and we cater to corporate clients who may have a need for other translation services besides Spanish.

Muchas gracias,
Blaire


 

bborthayre
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Paula Aug 6, 2010

Assessing whether or not the translation is minimal or intensive really does seem to be key here. I'm embarrassed to say that it hadn't occurred to me that it could be a very poorly done job that would require completely re-translating! That certainly would change things so hourly is obviously the best way to go. Thanks for your input.

Blaire


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

bborthayre
TOPIC STARTER
Muchas Gracias to Everyone Else Aug 6, 2010

To everyone else I just wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I found so much of what you said to be helpful.

Christine: that was a great suggestion about tracking changes, it is such an effective way to show the work involved. I will certainly start implementing that.

Michael: Many thanks, you have saved me a great deal of time with your suggestion about reviewing the quality of the translation up front rather than quoting the price initially. Your points are well taken.

Soonthon: You nailed it regarding the cultural aspects and time involved, thanks for bringing that to my attention, it definitely has to be factored in.

Blaire


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:15
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Back door Aug 6, 2010

Hello Blaire,

Now that you have fully identified yourself, I think everyone understands better. Or a little better, anyway. I have a feeling that Nicole - who, as some of those involved here either don't know or are forgetting, is a much respected translator with a long trajectory on this site and firm views on the dignity of the profession who does not suffer fools gladly and jumps to it whenever she senses something is very wrong - simply felt that a hastily organised, practically bare and low-cred "New User" profile was horning in on the game and, judging by the "hey-wow" reaction to Christine's why-not-use-tracks idea, we certainly do have someone here who is new to the game.

Nicole may not have employed the best way of expressing herself and might not have completely checked everything and even in fact got the wrong end of the stick, but everyone - except New Users, maybe - must know that her intentions were good. It is a sad day when Nicole Schnell is hounded off site. And, in my book, "offensive language" is something else.

... I followed this from the beginning, but I'm beggared (pardon the typo) if I can understand the thread sequence now with all the grey bits and pardon-me s inbetween.

Mervyn


 
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