How would you invoice a glossary?
Thread poster: Claudia Iglesias

Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Apr 23, 2003


I\'ve been asked to translate into French a technical glossary (natural gas) that already exists in Spanish and English.

It has 800 words, but what I see is that a translation of 800 words doesn\'t mean that I have to look for these 800 words in the dictionary. I mean the task isn\'t the same at all.

What would you do?


Béatrice Huret-Morton  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
English to French
+ ...
You can't translate a glossary Apr 23, 2003

You can\'t translate a glossary, since you won\'t have context for the words.

You must ask your client to provide you with documentation in both languages so you can see how the words are used in context.



Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
1 entry = my rate per line Apr 23, 2003

Hi Claudia,

I charge my rate per line per each entry. IMHO it\'s very unlikely you can be paid per hour, as sometimes (according to the difficulty level and specific field) you might need a couple of hours per each term or even more.

The fact that this glossary already exists for another language pair might be of help, but not necessarily, as technical terms might differ a lot from language to language (for ex. an existing DE>FR glossary from the same client was only of very limited help for my actual work on a DE>IT glossary).

As terms have no context, you should make sure that you have enough reference material from your client, otherwise this terminology might turn into a nightmere.

Have a nice day,



[ This Message was edited by: docgy on 2003-04-23 06:50]


sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:55
English to French
Go by feeling... Apr 23, 2003

After all is said, a word/line/hourly rate is but a rationalizing of what you are willing to do the job for.

Just figure out the amount of work it will mean to you, how much you would like to be paid for it. Then, from that amount, track it backward to a formula that looks kind of logical. icon_wink.gif

Hours would be good, but very few customers are willing to go by the hour, because they don\'t feel safe with it, or they do \"by the hour\" but impose you a specific number of hours (which means that if you go beyond that, it\'s at your own expenseicon_frown.gif )

800 words is not that huge, and as you already have the equivalents given in Spanish, you are not as stranded as if you merely had a list of words.

The way I would do it would be \"hum, about 6 hours worth of work. About $200 - 250. it\'s a good customer, let us make it $200. 800 words, that\'s $0.25. Damm! The client won\'t feel right with $0.25 per word, so let\'s call that an entry/line. Yep. Entry sounds good. Entry it is.

Dear Sir, I have carefully evaluated your request, and my best rate would be $0.25 per glossary entry. ....yak, yak yak.\"

That way, the customer feels all right with a rate \"per entry\" and you are not cheated into working your you-know-what off for nothing.

Another way would be to charge per Word at your usual rate and add a research fee, or whatever you care to call it, so that you still come back at the price you are willing to do the job for.

Hope this helps. If I sound too machiavelic for some, never mind. Mai pen rye. The sun will rise tomorrow (hopefully)


Richard Lawson
Local time: 04:55
Norwegian to English
Glossary work should be hourly paid Apr 23, 2003

I have produced a number of specialized glossaries and always insist on being paid hourly. I would simply not accept such an assignment on any other basis. It is not worth it. Clients are often not aware of the amount of work involved and need to be \"educated\" to understand that terminology work is not the same as translation. Involve the clients as informants in the glossary-making process. Ask for contact persons in the various fields.

As pointed out by others here, technical terminology should always be translated on the basis of contextual material. However, this is true of all technical translation, not only glossary production. Existing dictionaries should never be trusted except when they provide standards that a client expects you to follow.

Richard Lawson


Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
10 times your word rate Apr 23, 2003

Translating a glossary usually takes 8-10 times longer than translating text. If you can do it faster, calculate your own relation. icon_smile.gif

(It may depend on the specific project, of cause.)


Maria Eugenia Farre  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Possible and helpful, charge hourly Apr 23, 2003


On 2003-04-23 03:34, dbvtrad wrote:

You can\'t translate a glossary, since you won\'t have context for the words.

You must ask your client to provide you with documentation in both languages so you can see how the words are used in context.

Hi Dbvtrad,

It\'s not only possible, but also very helpful. I\'ve translated numerous glossaries as the preliminary step to software localization projects.

Sometimes we receive an Excel file with the most repeated words in a project, with a cell for your translation and a cell with the explanation of the context in which the string will appear. If you don\'t get the explanation of the context, be sure to ask your project manager when not sure how to translate a term. The translated glossary file may then be submitted to the final client for approval of the core terminology. In my experience this procedure saves a lot of time in editing and proofreading the other steps of a localization process.

This type of work is usually charged hourly, at your highest rate.



Patricia Posadas  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:55
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My 2 cents Apr 23, 2003

The only glossary I have ever translated professionally was on a field I master, so it was not that hard icon_smile.gif

The hourly rate is the best solution, but sometimes customers need to know the final cost, and this doesn\'t suit them. And if they don\'t know you well they may be suspicious too icon_smile.gif

You can translate 10 words, see how long it takes you and base your calculations on the time spent doing these 10 words.

Good luck!



Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Thanks to all of you Apr 24, 2003

I read your comments carefully.

I owe you some extra context. My client is an engineer to whom I teach French. He now knows enough to communicate and would like to know the vocabulary he\'ll need on site. So whenever I have a doubt about which term he\'d prefer among several, I\'d be able to ask him.

BUT he expected me to do this as part of the classes (you see what I mean...)

So I read tour advice, I translated letters A and B and noticed that I had an excellent material in this pair that I wouldn\'t have in another pair of languages: The Grand Dictionnaire Technologique.

I wrote a word, send, and I had the field \"oil and natural gas\" and the translation!!!!

So it\'s not as difficult as it could seem or as it could have been (thanks to the GDT). It does take time. But less than I\'d have thought.

And if I wanted to do this job I had to ask for a reasonnable price (as he didn\'t expect to pay, see icon_wink.gif).

I asked for 2,5 times the price that would cost a per word translation. He\'ll ask the Big Boss.

Thanks again.


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