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Charging per line instead of per word
Thread poster: spectrumtransla

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:45
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
Wow. Apr 9, 2011

IPtranslate wrote:

philgoddard wrote:

The last couple of times potential new customers have asked me to quote by the line, I've just very politely said that I charge by the word. Both times, they've accepted.

The vast majority of translators and translation companies around the world use a per-word system, and using lines is a relic of the pre-wordprocessor era when we used to do manual wordcounts.


If you translate into a language where as much as possible words are written together, and if you cannot count the source, this counting words is not interesting at all. Also, imagine a text with a lot of chemical formulas that sometimes take up a whole line for just one word!

I personally like the German "Normzeile"principle a lot: count the characters (1 character is, after all, more or less one key stroke) and divide by 55. Result is 1 standard line. Prices for a standard line in my field of expertise start at 0,7 euro. Fair and simple.



If you end up with 70 Euro cent per line, you are doing something wrong, don't you think?



 

IPtranslate (X)
Brazil
English to Dutch
+ ...
why? Apr 9, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

If you end up with 70 Euro cent per line, you are doing something wrong, don't you think?



Am I missing something here?

If I translate a patent into Dutch, it is not unusual for one line to have 3 or 4 words. Calculating at .1 euro per word, that would give me 0.4 euro per line if I would use word count as a basis.
Using a standard line count, I get 0.7.

And as a side remark: the 0.1 euro per word is something I can ask from European customers. American clients (who I no longer have, precisely for the following reason) start making funny noises when I used to propose a word price of 0.09 US$ (now more or less 0.065 euro).

Am I really missing something here?


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:45
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
Because: Apr 9, 2011

IPtranslate wrote:
Am I missing something here?


Yes.

If I translate a patent into Dutch, it is not unusual for one line to have 3 or 4 words. Calculating at .1 euro per word, that would give me 0.4 euro per line if I would use word count as a basis.
Using a standard line count, I get 0.7.


Are you really calculating your long target words per line? If I would do that with those German tapeworms as my target language, I would have starved to death years ago.
I calculate 9 English source words per line, this has been proven to be the perfect average. One line = my rate/source word x 9

American clients (who I no longer have, precisely for the following reason) start making funny noises when I used to propose a word price of 0.09 US$ (now more or less 0.065 euro).


I slowly start to understand why some Europeans complain about American rates. The funny noises that you hear might rather be suppressed little giggles because of your funny rates in this language pair and because another European failed to get their math right. $ 0.09/word is what I am paid in the US for editing (!) alone. Why would any American translate at this rate, shudder.

[Edited at 2011-04-09 17:34 GMT]


 

IPtranslate (X)
Brazil
English to Dutch
+ ...
You don't seem to get it Apr 9, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Are you really calculating your long target words per line? If I would do that with those German tapeworms as my target language, I would have starved to death years ago.
I calculate 9 English source words per line, this has been proven to be the perfect average. One line = my rate/source word x


In 99% of the cases I cannot count my source. If you had read what I wrote in my post, you would have noticed that it is to avoid these tapeworm words (a problem which by the way is exactly the same in Dutch) that I prefer to count characters and transform these into standard lines.

The German system of counting characters is fair because, doesn't matter how you turn it, what is important the number of keystrokes we have to put in (put aside that I sometimes use voice recognition to dictate). Words are just a derived, secundary parameter that does not reflect the amount of work in a consistent, uniform way, as already mentioned by some other posters.

As to your remarks concerning my ability to calculate and the sniggering of American clients; I will politely decline to answer. Suffice it to say that I think that, holding an MSc in Maths, I don't need a lesson in mathematics. As to my business practice: I cannot complain....I have/take/allow myself 2 months of holiday per year and own a few houses, spread over a few continents. None of that inherited by the way, so I must be doing something right, or am I missing something again?

As to the going rates: I advise you to take a look at the job offers that circulate: 0,02 US$ for translations is not uncommon coming from your side of the Atlantic.



[Edited at 2011-04-09 17:51 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:45
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
Those are not the going rates. Apr 9, 2011

IPtranslate wrote:
As to the going rates: I advise you to take a look at the job offers that circulate: 0,02 US$ for translations is not uncommon coming from your side of the Atlantic.


If any of the go-to- and domestic translators would accept such "rates", those jobs would already be taken and wouldn't have to be advertised to the rest of the planet in the first place, right?

However, you should double your rates to be taken seriously.



Edited. Made a typo...



[Edited at 2011-04-09 18:03 GMT]


 

IPtranslate (X)
Brazil
English to Dutch
+ ...
@Nicole Apr 9, 2011

I tried to help by giving another way of viewing things, based on arguments, but that doesn't seem to correspond to your agenda. So be it.
People who are really interested can contact me personally. I have carried out a number of statistical studies on the different ways of charging (based on language pairs, form the source was provided in, technical field of the text, etc...)

Receiving snipe remarks is something I really don't need and I will, therefore, no longer take part i
... See more
I tried to help by giving another way of viewing things, based on arguments, but that doesn't seem to correspond to your agenda. So be it.
People who are really interested can contact me personally. I have carried out a number of statistical studies on the different ways of charging (based on language pairs, form the source was provided in, technical field of the text, etc...)

Receiving snipe remarks is something I really don't need and I will, therefore, no longer take part in this debate.

[Edited at 2011-04-09 18:11 GMT]
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IPtranslate (X)
Brazil
English to Dutch
+ ...
Taken seriously? Apr 9, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

However, you should double your rates to be taken seriously.


I don't need to double my rates to be taken seriously; I am very good at what I do and people take me seriously for my work, not because I charge a lot.

I advise you to have a look at the statistics concerning the rates per language pair, by the way. Very informative, especially keeping in mind that these statistics are positively biased, as there are a lot of people ou there who don't want to admit that they charge less.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:45
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
IPtranslate. Apr 9, 2011

When a translator familiar with the local market gives hints to a colleague in terms of increasing rates, this person usually receives a Thank You.

It is not the first time that I have done that. I had a colleague in Europe who a few years ago forgot to detach her PO from the US agency that we both were working for when she sent me my edited files. She followed my advice and doubled her rates and has been working at decent rates ever since.

If you happen to have a bad
... See more
When a translator familiar with the local market gives hints to a colleague in terms of increasing rates, this person usually receives a Thank You.

It is not the first time that I have done that. I had a colleague in Europe who a few years ago forgot to detach her PO from the US agency that we both were working for when she sent me my edited files. She followed my advice and doubled her rates and has been working at decent rates ever since.

If you happen to have a bad day today and you consider any collegial favor or niceness a personal attack - please keep it to yourself.


A Freudian has sneaked in.

[Edited at 2011-04-09 18:40 GMT]
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