# I am proposed a rate of profit if my work is broadcasted

I am proposed a rate of profit if my work is broadcasted

Arnaud HERVE
France
Local time: 18:06
English to French
+ ...
 Mar 6, 2009

Hi, I have a peculiar proposal, I don't know what to do.

It's about a not mainstream documentary, and the not mainstream channel is not even sure it will be broadcasted. I am propose a rate of profit if it is broadcasted.

Now, you may think that if it is not broadcasted, I have worked for nothing, and I have been fooled. However, I have the guarantee that it will not exploited by anyone else either.

And yes, it is about an ethical subject, that I wouldn't mind doing for free anyway (human rights).

The question is, what rate can I ask?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-03-06 04:57 GMT]

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Harry Bornemann
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
 simple gambling math Mar 6, 2009

I would estimate the probability that it will be published, for example 20%. Then divide your rate by this probability. If you estimated 20%, this would mean that your rate must be (1/0.2=) 5 times higher than for a safe (= probability 100%) income.
That's called a "fair game".

[Edited at 2009-03-06 05:18 GMT]

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Attila Piróth
France
Local time: 18:06
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
 Give it a go Mar 6, 2009

If the subject matter is such that you would not mind translating it for free, and you have some time for this project, give it a go. The satisfaction derived from working for a noble cause can be truly great. It can also serve as a good reference, etc.
I have always found royalty payment a good incentive for translators: you have the feeling that by doing a good job, you will have more readers/viewers. And it is quite nice to get some pocket money months or years after the project has been finished. If everything is properly specified in the contract/order you don't have to worry whether they will pay your dues even if the film turns out to be a blockbuster.
As for the rate: something along the lines suggested by Harry. However, estimating the probability would be next to impossible for me -- the best you can do is guess and check afterwards. In book translations 3-5% for the translator is a ballpark figure. It would be lower for a movie translation, as preparing the visual material for a film entails much higher costs than the production costs for a book. This cost is an unknown factor -- and there are many more. Try to get as much info as possible. You are in a very good position for that: by accepting a translation without any fixed payment, you are more considered as a secondary author. You can require a higher level of transparency on their side: they should engage themselves to make reasonable efforts to broadcast it X times in N places, etc. You will probably learn quite a few things that you would never get to know with a bread-and-butter translation job from an agency. In addition to the satisfaction mentioned in the first paragraph, this is another great plus.
Make it clear that this situation is new for you and that you might not be aware of a lot of factors. Negotiate; from what you said, the company seems to be not primarily profit-oriented. Perhaps this kind of deal is new for them too -- work it out together. You share some of the risks, so bring in your ideas, act as a partner.
Try to estimate where this whole thing can lead to. If it is attractive, go for it!
Attila

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Arnaud HERVE
France
Local time: 18:06
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
 Thank you Mar 8, 2009

Inspired by what you said, I have accepted the job.

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Jing Nie
China
Local time: 00:06
Member (2011)
English to Chinese
+ ...
 I agree. Mar 8, 2009

And I do not think work for nothing is right.
Business is business. If the client told you frankly at first you will get no payment for the work, will you accept it?
It 's client's responsibility to accept the loss of not broadcasting it, not the translator.The translator need not take the risk.

Harry Bornemann wrote:

I would estimate the probability that it will be published, for example 20%. Then divide your rate by this probability. If you estimated 20%, this would mean that your rate must be (1/0.2=) 5 times higher than for a safe (= probability 100%) income.
That's called a "fair game".

[Edited at 2009-03-06 05:18 GMT]

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Attila Piróth
France
Local time: 18:06
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
 Keep us posted, Arnaud Mar 10, 2009

I would appreciate if you could share some of your experience in a couple of months' time.
Kind regards,
Attila

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