What is a fair entry level rate for Spanish into English proofreading?
Thread poster: Zera123

Zera123  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:28
Spanish to English
Feb 9, 2017

Hello All,

I am interested in proofreading and possibly editing. No professional experience yet but have taken some professional development in the area. I'm wondering what rate I should state on agency applications. I would be most grateful for your suggestions.

Gracias!


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:28
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Fair vs. reality Feb 9, 2017

Proofreading/editing should be paid by the hour, so your hourly rate should apply here.

However, most agencies "tell" you what they are willing to pay, usually a fraction of their translation rate. So we're looking at a per word rate of a few cents.

You could offer to provide revision services to your exiting clients, and try to explain that an hourly rate is a fair rate to be paid for this type of work. Surely, they will let you know what prices they have in mind for this type of service.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:28
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Make sure you get paid for the paperwork too! Feb 9, 2017

Increasingly, agencies send out instructions for you to read and schemes that you are asked to check off.
I accepted one this week, and spent more time filling in the form than checking the text!

A few firm guidelines are definitely useful, but it can be very difficult and take a long time to categorise every change you make between eight or ten categories and then grade each on a scale of one to five and 'pass' or 'fail'. If clients want you to do that to any large extent, make sure you get paid!

Apart from that, as a freelancer, you should not think on the lines of 'beginner's rates' and charging more later. There may be jobs that beginners can do, and jobs that really call for experience, but that is another matter. Either you deliver a fully professional job, and charge the full rate, or you admit you are out of your depth and turn it down. (The value is the same to the client, regardless of who did the job.)
Even after many years, you will have to turn down jobs in subject fields you do not know enough about, and good agencies will respect you for knowing what you can or can't take on.

Try to work with agencies that want reviewers to be that second pair of eyes, the person who can read the target text first without looking at the source - that is the one thing the translator cannot do, but that is an important test of the translation. THEN you can check it against the source for accuracy etc.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:28
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You aren't a beginner, are you? Feb 9, 2017

You're an experienced translator, so you know what's needed. Even if you were inexperienced, I'm sure you wouldn't expect to deliver a sub-standard text; so why settle for a sub-standard rate?

I do occasionally enter new territory, e.g. my first full-length book editing a couple of years back. There's definitely a learning curve to anything new, and I felt that slowed me down. I quoted a fair, professional rate. But I actually spent longer on that first book than I revealed to the client and so earned a lower-than-normal hourly rate for it. I don't expect my clients to pay for my training period. The client paid what he'd pay today, now that I have a few books under my belt.

Do not EVER agree to a per-word editing rate of an unseen text. The difference in time required between polishing a good translation, and retranslating after GT has been used is simply enormous. I ask to see every word of the text(s) and I check pages at random. Sometimes 2+ people have worked on it, or a good translator started running out of time and stopped proofreading. Even then, I try to get clients to accept a per-hour rate as it's fairer to both parties.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:28
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
These additional duties Feb 9, 2017

Christine Andersen wrote:

Increasingly, agencies send out instructions for you to read and schemes that you are asked to check off.
I accepted one this week, and spent more time filling in the form than checking the text!

A few firm guidelines are definitely useful, but it can be very difficult and take a long time to categorise every change you make between eight or ten categories and then grade each on a scale of one to five and 'pass' or 'fail'. If clients want you to do that to any large extent, make sure you get paid!



I agree with Christine that the customer should know how much work is involved in proofreading a file. If s/he request that you do additional work such as following the client's specific requirements, then make sure that you will get paid for these extra services.

Oftentimes, clients don't realize how much work is involved in these summarized lists in evaluation of the translation's quality, and that this service is not part of a "normal" proofreading job..


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:28
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
One problem I encounter frequently Feb 9, 2017

Thayenga wrote:
I agree with Christine that the customer should know how much work is involved in proofreading a file.

I often have clients who say that the job won't take long because it's a similar text to one I've already checked. But they do want me to quickly check it all, just in case. Well, I'm sorry, but that is actually likely to take longer than the first job, because I'll need to try to keep consistency. I'm talking here of monolingual work, not using a CAT tool, but agencies get the idea that similar is always going to be cheaper.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:28
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Same here Feb 9, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Thayenga wrote:
I agree with Christine that the customer should know how much work is involved in proofreading a file.

I often have clients who say that the job won't take long because it's a similar text to one I've already checked. But they do want me to quickly check it all, just in case. Well, I'm sorry, but that is actually likely to take longer than the first job, because I'll need to try to keep consistency. I'm talking here of monolingual work, not using a CAT tool, but agencies get the idea that similar is always going to be cheaper.


First, what I meant by "should know" is that we need to let the customer know about the actual work scope. And informing them about this is indeed our job.

Yes, Sheila, I've seen that before as well. The customer says something like this: "Well, it's similar to the text you've translated/proofread before", so it shouldn't take long to do the job." The problem is, "similar" in proofreading is similar to fuzzy matches. Sometimes it simply means more work.


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Zera123  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:28
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank You! :) Feb 9, 2017

Thank you all for your replies -- most helpful and appreciated!
Here's to happy transproofiting!
~z


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
My 2 cents Feb 11, 2017

I've been charging a 2-cent per word rate for ages. Having said that, I usually bill by the hour in real time, which works out about the same.
However, yesterday I saw a young newbie translator based in Ireland who was charging 2,5 cents/wd, so maybe I should raise my rate, although I'm based in Spain and the cost of living is lower here AFAIK.

[Edited at 2017-02-11 10:08 GMT]


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