Rate for 1st trans: cookbook
Thread poster: kmadonia
kmadonia
Italy
Local time: 22:14
Italian to English
Sep 19, 2010

Hello,

I am not a certified translator, but a Canadian living in Italy, fluent in both languages. I have a degree in Literary Studies from the University of Toronto, as well as a Bachelor of Education (to teach Secondary School) and am also a decent, precise writer.


Recently I got an offer to translate a cookbook written by a woman who owns a bed & breakfast/ restaurant in Italy (in another region--I live in Sicily). My brother has gotten to know this woman by working at her establishment this summer--this is how I got the referral.

The book is quite a nice one, with high production value. Therefore, I am assuming that she will want to distribute the book in English speaking countries, and not just at her B & B.

Not having any experience as a translator, I am unsure of how much I should ask for. I'm not sure if I should charge per word, or in some other way. Obviously, I will want to charge her less than a professional translator would, due to my lack of certification/ schooling in the field.

Any advice would be much appreciated. If the suggestions are in CDN $, I will have to translate that into EUR.

I look forward to jumping into my first project. Thank you!


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
You should not charge less than a professional translator Sep 19, 2010

Hello kmadonia,

I'm not so sure you should charge less than a professional translator. If you feel capable of making a good translation of this book to a standard of quality high enough to be published, then you should charge a professional rate. If not, then you should perhaps think again about taking on the task. If you are inexperienced then it will take you longer than it would an experienced professional, and that will be reflected in the amount you find you are earning per hour, which will be lower than that of someone with a great deal of experience. But whatever happens, you must ensure that your work is good enough.

Poor translations done at a cheap rate are the bane of our profession. They give us a bad name and undermine our own rates. Good translations should be properly rewarded. I hope you feel that you can do a good job, and produce a translation to be proud of and, if so, you should not sell yourself short.

As to rates, these do differ from one country to another. In the UK I base my charges for books on the Translators Association rate, but in Italy this may well be different. Perhaps someone else can advise.

Gilla


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Miranda Drew  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:14
Italian to English
not just translation to consider Sep 19, 2010

One thing that I have found difficult in translating recipes from Italian to English is the fact that the format of Italian recipes is completely different. I assume that in Canada you use the metric system (excuse me, I'm an ignorant American ) so you wouldn't have to convert weights to volume measures, but you definitely have to consider, in addition to translation, the time and effort involved in "converting" the recipes. For example:
- Italian recipes list the ingredients in the order of importance, while English recipes (both in the US and UK) list the ingredients in order of use, so you would have to change the order of ingredients.
- secondly, Italian recipes generally assume that their readers are expert cooks and basically leave out a lot of steps. Seriously, you can have a recipe for pasta with a special sauce, and the recipe will say "step 1 - make the pasta." without specifying HOW to make the pasta. So, in my opinion, for English speaking readers, you would also have to add steps.
You could try charging per word (look around on the site and get an idea of what professional translators charge and reduce that rate if you wish) + an extra 20% or something like that for all the extra work if you intend to "localise" the recipes so English speaking readers could actually use them.
Depends how the client reacts to this suggestion. I translated for a cooking magazine, adn they were happy to pay the extra charge to have the recipes "localised". But then i've had other clients who refused to pay extra and just wanted the recipes translated as they were.
hope this information is helpful.


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
I agree with Miranda Sep 19, 2010

Being familiar with the way recipe books are written in your target country is vital, as you will have to make quite a lot of changes.

I have translated recipe books from Portuguese into English for a UK market and not only did measurements and format need adaptation, but also checks had to be made regarding availability of ingredients and substitutes found where necessary. All this is time consuming!


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:14
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
On the concept of "beginner rates" Sep 19, 2010

I have nothing to add to the discussion about the issues mentioned specific to cookbook recipe localization, however, I wanted to comment on the rate issue.

Time to time I see beginner translators writing about charging less than the professional/experienced/degreed/etc. translators.

I agree with Gilla that you should consider what quality you would produce, and whether that is up to the level that the professional/experienced/degreed/etc. translators produce.
If the answer is yes, then you should charge the same rates as those professional/experienced/degreed/etc. translators charge.
If the answer is no, then you should still charge the same rates, but find a professional/experienced/degreed/etc. translator, and ask him/her to edit your translation. You should pay for this service appropriately, out of the rate that you are receiving. Obviously, you will get less money at the end, so the concept of lower quality = lower compensation prevails, while the client is getting a professional product for the professional price it deserves. I think this helps keeping the market healthy and fair for all participants.
If you use this method, you will learn from your editor (assuming you found a good editor), and eventually you can get closer to a professional rate for yourself. (At the beginning, the editor may have to work a lot on your translation, so you will have to pay more, but if your translations improve over time, the editor will have less work to do, therefore it will be less costly for you.)

The goal is to provide the client with a professional level translation, while making sure the client pays the appropriate price for such translation.

The only thing to remember is that if you subcontract the editing to another person, you will have to pay this person regardless of whether you get paid. Also make sure that such subcontracting (or "teamwork") is not against any agreement you have with the end client.

Katalin


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xxxvwkl
Canada
Local time: 16:14
Chinese to English
+ ...
Agree that quality comes first Sep 19, 2010

Congrats on your first job!

I wholeheartedly agree with all the feedback so far, especially Gilla's, in that you should think about quality first, and that you should never sell yourself short (if you know you can do a good job).

Nothing much more to add, but I suggest you can possibly even ask for help on this site for someone on the editing (we are such a helpful bunch!)

Also, let's put it this way. As a beginner, you are definitely going to spend more time doing the translation, than if you had more experience and were more efficient. Say, if you are charging at professional rates but are only 75% as efficient as a typical translator doing the same job, even without factoring in any outsourcing costs for someone to do the proofreading, you would already be earning only 75% of what the average makes, based on hourly rates.


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:14
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I don't know what your language pair Sep 19, 2010

For the ChineseEnglish pair, even a professional translator with many years of experience might not be able to do a good job in translating a cookbook.

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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:14
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
A popular Chinese dish has been translated into Sep 19, 2010

"Chicken without sex", which is a literal translation (very loyal to the source), but it just doesn't work as a name of a dish in English. This could have been the product of a professional translator. A newbie could have translated it into an even worse name.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:14
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I would not do it Sep 20, 2010

This is like asking lawyers about how much you should charge for writing an affidavit. It's not that simple, even if you know a lot about the source and target languages and you are a good writer.

Personally I would not do this translation in your position. And if I did it, I would not charge for it and would take it as a favour.


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