Calculating PhD Thesis proofreading and translation fees
Thread poster: TariqSh

TariqSh
United Arab Emirates
Arabic to English
+ ...
Jul 25

Dear all,


Two years ago, a friend of mine asked me to help him with his PhD thesis. He asked me to translate some of the parts from Arabic to English and proofread the other parts to make sure that the language is grammatically and stylistically correct. I also provided him with consultancy regarding the ideas in his thesis as well as guidance on how to formulate sentences in English.

Moreover, when his supervisor made changes to the paragraphs and sentences he would refer to me to apply those changes where needed. In addition to that, I spent a lot of time helping him find sources for his material since his English was not very good.

My question is how do you go about calculating the service fees for such work given the fact that it involved translation, editing, proofreading, searching, consultancy and rewriting. Is there a way to estimate the fees I need to charge for this work?


Your feedback is highly appreciated.



Thank you


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:39
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Mainly per hour Jul 25

TariqSh wrote:
My question is how do you go about calculating the service fees for such work given the fact that it involved translation, editing, proofreading, searching, consultancy and rewriting. Is there a way to estimate the fees I need to charge for this work?

If the translation is a discrete chunk of work then it can be charged as you normally would, probably by word. But everything else needs to be charged per hour, as nothing else makes any sense. If the translation is going to be interleaved with other work then I'd advise charging by the hour for the lot or you'll be spending too much time (and losing concentration) noting what you're spending.

The client will of course want some sort of upfront idea of the final cost. That's where it gets tricky icon_smile.gif .


Teresa Borges
sam@fr-uk
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Walter Landesman
Mohammad Renaldi Diponegoro
Kelly Neudorfer
 

Tom Clark
Australia
Depending on the work load and time spent Jul 25

Hello, good question in indeed. There are people who end up with getting less money in the transcription service. It is better to charge the fees depending upon the working hours.

 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 18:39
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Difficult after the fact Jul 25

It is difficult to make such an estimate after the fact if you didn't keep track of it at the time. You could look back at the parts you translated or proofread and calculate what you would have charged for those. Then estimate how many hours you may have spent on consultations and research. Once you have come to an estimate for all of that and decided whether you think that is fair, you could round it up or down to make it a 'flat fee'.

You may also want to consider how this is going to affect the friendship. Since you didn't make an agreement about payment at the time, you may still want to do that now and come to a mutually acceptable decision.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Just differentiate duties--separately Jul 25

Hello TariqSh,

So far, it's about (1) portions of works (2) for your friend, which included (3) translation, (4) proofreading, (5) researching, and (6) mentoring.

While it's pretty easy to multiple related volume per word rate for translation and per hour for the rest, it's rather complicated regarding (2) friendship and withhold (0) preliminary agreement, let alone the value of any service goes down quickly as soon as it is performed...

It's still possible to re-negotiate, but don't bow and scrape before others--even 'friends'.
Cheers


 

TariqSh
United Arab Emirates
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Charge per hour Jul 26

Sheila Wilson wrote:

TariqSh wrote:
My question is how do you go about calculating the service fees for such work given the fact that it involved translation, editing, proofreading, searching, consultancy and rewriting. Is there a way to estimate the fees I need to charge for this work?

If the translation is a discrete chunk of work then it can be charged as you normally would, probably by word. But everything else needs to be charged per hour, as nothing else makes any sense. If the translation is going to be interleaved with other work then I'd advise charging by the hour for the lot or you'll be spending too much time (and losing concentration) noting what you're spending.

The client will of course want some sort of upfront idea of the final cost. That's where it gets tricky icon_smile.gif .





I see.
So, how much do you suggest I charge per hour for this work? given the fact that I worked on his Thesis for one whole year.


 

Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
Jordan
Arabic to English
+ ...
What are your friend's expectations? Jul 26

I did the same type of work for someone and charged by the hour. We had an agreement in place, however, so she was aware of how much time I was spending on each task and how much the charge would be. I was sending her an invoice on a monthly basis. She was actually not my friend at the time but became one by the end of the project.

I think the confusing thing about your situation is that you are asking what to charge now (a year after you finished the work).

Has this individual said that he is interested in paying you for this work? Or is this going to be a surprise to him?

Did he have any expectations that the work was going to be for free?

Finally, are you able to make a fair and accurate assessment of the time you spent on this project?

If you did not have an agreement in place, I don't know how you can fairly ask for compensation now. This seems like a very delicate situation, unless he has recently told you to provide a figure with the intention of paying you.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:39
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A year? Jul 26

TariqSh wrote:
So, how much do you suggest I charge per hour for this work? given the fact that I worked on his Thesis for one whole year.

Goodness! It doesn't take a year to write a thesis normally, and certainly not to edit/proofread it. Personally, I charge my normal hourly rate unless it's a job with a relaxed lead time that I can use to fill in odd moments that would otherwise bring in no income, in which case I might give a discount of anything up to 25%.

I really thought you were just asking for advice for next time. It sounds as though you did this one as a favour for your friend, seeing that you never established any sort of terms for payment. Did you not mention anything about charging for the work? If you didn't, I agree with Amal that it's really pushing it to turn round now and ask for what seems likely to be a massive amount of money. All you can do if you want to be fair, IMHO, is ask your friend for some payment, and let him decide the amount. I'm afraid if it turns nasty you won't just lose a friend - you don't have a hope of winning a court case either. (Unless there are things we don't know - I'm just going by what you've shared.)


ahartje
 

TariqSh
United Arab Emirates
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not a favor Jul 26

Sheila Wilson wrote:

TariqSh wrote:
So, how much do you suggest I charge per hour for this work? given the fact that I worked on his Thesis for one whole year.

Goodness! It doesn't take a year to write a thesis normally, and certainly not to edit/proofread it. Personally, I charge my normal hourly rate unless it's a job with a relaxed lead time that I can use to fill in odd moments that would otherwise bring in no income, in which case I might give a discount of anything up to 25%.

I really thought you were just asking for advice for next time. It sounds as though you did this one as a favour for your friend, seeing that you never established any sort of terms for payment. Did you not mention anything about charging for the work? If you didn't, I agree with Amal that it's really pushing it to turn round now and ask for what seems likely to be a massive amount of money. All you can do if you want to be fair, IMHO, is ask your friend for some payment, and let him decide the amount. I'm afraid if it turns nasty you won't just lose a friend - you don't have a hope of winning a court case either. (Unless there are things we don't know - I'm just going by what you've shared.)



The thing is that at first my friend approached me to translate small parts of his Thesis and we agreed on the translation fee. But then over the course of his study he used to send me small parts of his Thesis to review and proofread. We did not have an agreement regarding the payment for proofreading but he always used to tell me that he will pay when we finish the whole work and once I do the calculations. I am confident that he will pay but my problem is calculating the payment fairly.


 

TariqSh
United Arab Emirates
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
He asked for a figure Jul 26

Amel Abdullah wrote:

I did the same type of work for someone and charged by the hour. We had an agreement in place, however, so she was aware of how much time I was spending on each task and how much the charge would be. I was sending her an invoice on a monthly basis. She was actually not my friend at the time but became one by the end of the project.

I think the confusing thing about your situation is that you are asking what to charge now (a year after you finished the work).

Has this individual said that he is interested in paying you for this work? Or is this going to be a surprise to him?

Did he have any expectations that the work was going to be for free?

Finally, are you able to make a fair and accurate assessment of the time you spent on this project?

If you did not have an agreement in place, I don't know how you can fairly ask for compensation now. This seems like a very delicate situation, unless he has recently told you to provide a figure with the intention of paying you.




He is actually interested in paying me and he is constantly asking me to provide him with the calculation. I am trying to estimate the time I spent working on his Thesis which turned out to be very tricky. This is the first time I do such work since my profession is translation only.


 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:39
Member (2008)
English to French
If you're just looking for a method Jul 26

I assume you have an email trail - re-download or cut & paste everything he sent you to review/edit into a single Word document.

Once you have the total word count of the reviewed work, multiply that by 1/3 of your translation rate (or you can go as low as 1/5 of your translation rate if it was a light review).

Now you have an amount and a quantifiable, justifiable way of calculating the worth of your work.


Teresa Borges
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
payment by results or barter Jul 26

So, instead of standard, by piece, or advance payment, during a year you've been doing a turn-key job with audit-related services, patiently waiting for a total calculation? You bravely put your time, efforts, and trust in your friend, and soon you'll see how much he appreciates it, anyway.

On the other hand, I also don't take money from my people, so we could do favors and help each other in our fields, who knows)


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:39
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
calculating time spent Jul 27

I presume you didn't keep track of the time you spent working?

I get that the project lasted for a year, but you can't have worked only on that?

For the parts you proofread, I would suggest taking the number of words and dividing by the number of words you usually manage to proofread in an hour. For me that's 1,000 words an hour when it's not very good, 2,000 when I know the translator is good and I can trust them for the terminology.

I don't necessarily bill for absolutely everything when it's a friend, so I would probably end up applying a generous amount for the proofreading (so 1,000 words an hour) but foregoing payment for the non-proofreading tasks.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:39
French to English
On the reading, researching and advisory aspects Jul 27

Any research project involves a lot of hard work that is invisible. The time spent researching ideas, tracking down sources and deciding how to exploit what you find is never-ending. It can also be soul-destroying as much of the time spent will produce information that you may not use anyway. Improving efficiency in those skills is part of the research process. It requires listening to comments and suggestions for improvement. Indeed, how the student deals with these situations will also contribute to the opinion of the supervisor on how the project is being handled by the student generally. It is usually up to the student to do this himself and for any problems to be relayed to the supervisor. I know from experience that a supervisor's availability can vary; some are quite available, others are never available. There's no harm in asking a friend to lend a hand. It seems unusual for that to extend to what you describe as consultancy services.

In any event, if you have not kept track of what you did and when, if you did not establish basic rules upon which payment for the services would be calculated, it is going to be extremely difficult to do so now. Why not sit down with your friend, explain the problem and come to some agreement now? Then leave some time to think about it - for both of you - and meet again to discuss any modifications of adjustments.

If you ever provide this sort of service again, apart from the obvious need to make things clear from the start, keep track and keep you friend-client informed. Don't wait until you have worked for a year to present an invoice. Every month of every two months would seem reasonable. Periodic invoicing would have made sense here.



[Edited at 2018-07-27 19:21 GMT]


 

Min Kyu Kim
United States
Local time: 20:39
Settle up for a fixed amount Aug 2

Hi, in case you have provided help to your friend, I would suggest you to settle up for a fixed amount by mutual understanding as per the time you invested & benefits evolved from the project by your proofreading. In general, in any other case, you should have made a written agreement before starting up the work, and charged on the hourly basis as per the complexity of the subject matter.

 


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