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What are the standard proofreading rates?
Thread poster: Diana Singureanu

Diana Singureanu  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:16
English to Romanian
+ ...
Mar 28, 2012

I was wondering what are the standard proofreading rates? My language combinations is Romanian/English and some agencies offer as little as 5 pounds per thousand words for Government jobs? How can they expect quality at these rates? Or the profit margin is the only thing that counts? How do you feel about Government jobs which are negotiated at such low rates?

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Standard varies Mar 28, 2012

Diana Singureanu wrote:

I was wondering what are the standard proofreading rates? My language combinations is Romanian/English and some agencies offer as little as 5 pounds per thousand words for Government jobs? How can they expect quality at these rates? Or the profit margin is the only thing that counts? How do you feel about Government jobs which are negotiated at such low rates?


I think standard rates would be roughly about 2 (euro) cents a word.
However, I can't really express my feelings about Government contracts which are negotiated at low rates by intermediaries because they are largely unprintable.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:16
English to German
+ ...
Standard ratio, rather than standard rates Mar 28, 2012

A minimum of 30% of your regular translation rate per word for monolingual proofreading (grammar, spelling only), 31-50% for bilingual editing (including verification of tech terms), 75%+ for reviewing (checking the translation against existing texts, involves quite a bit of research).

We are not getting into the same-old, same-old "rates are so low!"-discussion, right?

Best,

Nicoleicon_smile.gif


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Rates vary enormously... Mar 28, 2012

... I invoice by the hour if I can, but many agencies prefer a word rate.

It depends what they expect you to do, too.

If you are expected to check against the source and check terminology, then you should not go below a quarter, and preferably a third, of your rate per word for translating. It can be hard to get through a thousand words in an hour if you are really checking terminology as well.

If you are asked to fill out a checklist, then allow time for that too, because it can take as long as the proofreading!

When quoting for an hourly rate, I always set it high, and then I can give a reduction on the invoice. Sometimes it is only symbolic, but then the client cannot complain!

If you know the text has been translated by a reliable translator, you can possibly quote a little lower.

There are some clients I simply do not proofread for - they will not pay realistic rates, and I would simply refuse to work for 5 pounds per thousand words.

Proofreading is real work like everything else, and there is no reason to do it at sweatshop rates.


Valérie Ourset
 

Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:16
English to Polish
+ ...
Usual quotes... Mar 28, 2012

... for proofreading jobs that interpreters are trying to achieve in the UK are around £25 per hour or £25 per 1000 words.

Agencies try to pay as little as half this amount.


 

Gemma Bouchereau (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
This is all very useful stuff! Aug 1, 2012

...bearing in mind that I'm being considered for my very first full-time proofreading job. The client has advised me that proofreaders will be required to proofread 2,000 words per hour and they (the client) can only pay up to £10 per hour.

As this is my very first job of any kind in this industry I almost feel obliged to take it because I'm not sure when my next chance will come around, bearing in mind that I have no experience beyond my university degree.

I've been asked to provide my rates following which I will be sent a short test translation to proofread. However, I obviously don't want to discredit the profession and put higher paid, more experienced proofreaders out of work so I don't want to undercharge.

It always seems to come back to the age old dispute over money vs experience


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 15:16
Chinese to English
You can and will do much better Aug 1, 2012

The client has advised me that proofreaders will be required to proofread 2,000 words per hour and they (the client) can only pay up to £10 per hour.


The rate is ridiculous, and the speed is a joke as well. Experienced monolingual proofreaders can work at that speed on *some* kinds of texts, if the quality is good. For the kind of review work that most translation "proofreading" requires, this is not possible by any stretch of the imagination.

For that reason, I imagine everyone on here will advise you not to touch this job with a barge pole. I would just say - I did a lot of crappy jobs when I was starting out. Experience counts, and experience of the worst the industry has to offer will help you to recognise good practice when you do start getting decent jobs. But the decent jobs will come, whether you take this offer or not. It just takes time and a lot of CV submissions.


Valérie Ourset
 

F Scott Ophof (X)  Identity Verified
Belize
Local time: 01:16
Dutch to English
+ ...
Rip-off Aug 1, 2012

Gemma Bouchereau wrote:
proofread 2,000 words per hour and they (the client) can only pay up to £10 per hour.


Gemma, I would like to provide an looong extension to that long pole that Phil mentions.
Methinks one would get paid better than that even in Brazil or the Orient.
It would be a good idea to mention the name of this client on one of the closed discussion groups on LinkedIn that discuss unacceptable rates. Not here on ProZ, of course.
I would not mind knowing who to avoid...


[Edited at 2012-08-01 13:52 GMT]


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:16
Russian to English
+ ...
Hi, Ania. Aug 1, 2012

Ania Heasley wrote:

... for proofreading jobs that interpreters are trying to achieve in the UK are around £25 per hour or £25 per 1000 words.

Agencies try to pay as little as half this amount.


How do you proofread interpreters' jobs? Do you listen to their interpreting and then correct their mistakes, or let them know about them, as a part of a training program? This would not be proofreading. Proofreading can only be related to written text.




[Edited at 2012-08-01 09:08 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:16
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Requirements? Aug 1, 2012

Hi Diana,

you didn't mention whether the agency requested you to either take a speed-reading test or to provide the certificate of one successfully completed.icon_biggrin.gif

Even the proofreading, that is accurately!, at a rate of 2,000 words an hour is somewhat on the unrealistic side unless the source text is of excellent quality, you are familiar with all words in the text, and it is - of course - monolingual proofreading only.

Even then £10 an hour is at the "lower" end of the rates-scale.

Unless you must earn money now, you could either quote your rate or turn the job down. And...better jobs are coming.icon_smile.gif


 

Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:16
English to Russian
+ ...
Since this is your first job... Aug 1, 2012

... you might consider the low hourly rate of 10 GBP (just this time), but definitely not the speed of 2,000 wph, because a professional proofreader would probably need 1 hour for the amount of reading you will do in 4 or 5 hours. You can accept a job that is not urgent and calculate your speed in the process (note that the speed won't be the same all the time).

[Редактировалось 2012-08-01 12:23 GMT]


 

Gemma Bouchereau (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
thank you for all the advice :) Aug 3, 2012

Everything that has been said is very interesting and useful, thank youicon_smile.gif

I have to admit that I'm somewhat dubious about the 2,000 words per hour. But if I do take this job (which I do feel somewhat obliged to do as before) I think I am going to charge the full rate because to proofread that many words in an hour seems like quite an ask, even to somebody who's never proofread before!

My concern is that if I don't leave my full-time (non translation-related) job now and start applying like crazy for work then I'll never start getting that experience. But from what I can understand, there is usually a fair amount of proofreading jobs around, particularly for English natives (apologies if I'm wrong!), so perhaps it's worth polishing up my C.V. again and getting my name out there...


 
Any idea for standard proofreading rates in 2013? Jun 26, 2013

Hi all.

I came across with this discussion about proofreading rates but then I notices it was from 2012.
I've been asked for another client to proofread a 1500 words-script that someone else translated to Spanish, and I'm not sure how much should I charge. is it better by the hour? by word?

I hope someone is connected to give me an idea. I'm in Canada.

Thanks a lot.


 

Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:16
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Yes there are standards, and there aren't Jun 26, 2013

Juandavinci wrote:

Hi all.

I came across with this discussion about proofreading rates but then I notices it was from 2012.
I've been asked for another client to proofread a 1500 words-script that someone else translated to Spanish, and I'm not sure how much should I charge. is it better by the hour? by word?

I hope someone is connected to give me an idea. I'm in Canada.

Thanks a lot.


Hi Juan,

I am in Canada too, but I don't think that has too much to do with the rates I charge. In general, I ask for 30% of the overall translation- that is, if the translation is of good quality and the source isn't too painful to read (e.g. clean scans, etc). If extensive editing is involved that's a different story. I mostly look out for typos, small grammar fixes, etc.

Try to think of it this way, in particular if you are starting out - you are still getting paid for doing the work, and you are learning (for better or for worse) from the experience. That in itself is a good run for your money. Therefore, if I were you, before I take on the job, I would consider the following:

-Company's reputation for payment, and their payment terms
-What is your "lowest" acceptable price- what for you is worth your while? What's your lowest minimum that you are willing to accept?
-Reading the documents (both source and translation) - how is the quality of the source documents? If legibility isn't an issue, how does the translation look at a glance? Decent or so terribly bad that you know you'll be tearing your hair out if you were to work on it?

etc, etc. Good luck


 

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:16
Russian to English
+ ...
By the hour Jun 26, 2013

Juandavinci wrote:

Hi all.

I came across with this discussion about proofreading rates but then I notices it was from 2012.
I've been asked for another client to proofread a 1500 words-script that someone else translated to Spanish, and I'm not sure how much should I charge. is it better by the hour? by word?

I hope someone is connected to give me an idea. I'm in Canada.

Thanks a lot.


I am in Canada too and I charge by the hour for proofreading. This is because the quality of the text greatly varies and it is impossible to predict exactly how long a certain proofreading job will take. This is why it's better to charge by the hour. I also only proofread texts that were either originally written in English or which were translated from my source language (Russian). I will not proofread texts that were translated to English from languages that I don't specialize in because there is no way to guarantee accuracy with the source text.

Sarah


 
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