My very first gig...setting price
Thread poster: Diana_S
Diana_S
Local time: 20:59
English to Spanish
Oct 27, 2011

Hi fellow prozers,
I'm a recent college grad (linguistics) and I solicited employment from a small publisher of Islamic books. Well, I offered to translate their books into Spanish (from English). Most of them are children's books to young adult. They requested a sample, loved it and is asking me to be their translator (translate all of their books). The publisher is asking how I want to be compensated and mentioned that most Muslim writer's organizations such as theirs don't have a lot of funds. I was thinking of asking for 11 cents a word but I am "wet behind the ears" as they say and don't know anything about the business, what the contract would entail, anything about being a freelancer, zip. Any opinions from the seasoned translators would help a lot!


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
European vs US rates Oct 28, 2011

Diana_S wrote:

Hi fellow prozers,
I'm a recent college grad (linguistics) and I solicited employment from a small publisher of Islamic books. Well, I offered to translate their books into Spanish (from English). Most of them are children's books to young adult. They requested a sample, loved it and is asking me to be their translator (translate all of their books). The publisher is asking how I want to be compensated and mentioned that most Muslim writer's organizations such as theirs don't have a lot of funds. I was thinking of asking for 11 cents a word but I am "wet behind the ears" as they say and don't know anything about the business, what the contract would entail, anything about being a freelancer, zip. Any opinions from the seasoned translators would help a lot!


I'm not sure how the difference pans out nowadays but I think that 11 cents a word is quite a high starting rate for a tyro in European terms, where the basic average rate is around 8-10 cents (euro) according to the proz info.

Basically I'd say it depends on how badly you want to do the job (as a beginner, I was glad to get any work, especially if my efforts were appreciated and praised as yours were by this potential client).

You could try showing them the average standard market rates for your area and ask THEM what they are prepared/able to offer you. Then you will have a basis on which to found your negiotiations/decisions rather than wondering where to start off from. The golden rule thereafter for me is don't undersell yourself or settle for less than you think is fair.

[Edited at 2011-10-28 09:30 GMT]


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:59
Hebrew to English
WIWD (What I would do) Oct 28, 2011

I agree with Neilmac, I think showing them the industry standards and asking what they would like to pay as a basis for negotiations is probably the best way to go. They may have quite unrealistic expectations, so this would help to ground them in reality. If you decide to offer lower rates, either because your perceived lack of experience or as a mere gesture of goodwill, then that's ok too (don't let anyone tell you otherwise). As this kind of project would be a great addition to any translation portfolio, so it's worth compromising for - if you really want it. Saying that, don't feel the need to be a slave and work for almost nothing either. Find a middle way.

Good luck. (Quite jealous, I'd love to translate children's literature)

[Edited at 2011-10-28 11:12 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-10-31 22:05 GMT]


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:59
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Crikey! Oct 28, 2011

Do ProZ rules allow such comments!

ANYWAY, yes, back to rates: it strikes me as an okay-ish rate for a newbie, suck it and see, after a few jobs you will find where your rate should be, don't go ludicrously low (which I'd say is below the 11 cents you're currently quoting) or you undermine the profession and ultimately yourself.


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule
Diana_S
Local time: 20:59
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Helpful but... Oct 28, 2011

Thanks very helpful! BUT so what price range should i give him? 11 to 20 cents per word? remember, its the U.S., children's books, from english to spanish.
Oh, and what should i look out for in the contract? and do ppl normally get paid part of the money up front?
Thanks again!


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Diana_S
Local time: 20:59
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
btw Oct 28, 2011

neilmac wrote:


I'm not sure how the difference pans out nowadays but I think that 11 cents a word is quite a high starting rate for a tyro in European terms, where the basic average rate is around 8-10 cents (euro) according to the proz info.

Basically I'd say it depends on how badly you want to do the job (as a beginner, I was glad to get any work, especially if my efforts were appreciated and praised as yours were by this potential client).

You could try showing them the average standard market rates for your area and ask THEM what they are prepared/able to offer you. Then you will have a basis on which to found your negiotiations/decisions rather than wondering where to start off from. The golden rule thereafter for me is don't undersell yourself or settle for less than you think is fair.

[Edited at 2011-10-28 09:30 GMT]


Well Neilmac,
11 cents (USD) is equal to 8 cents (EUR) so 8 to 10 cents (EUR) is roughly equal to 11 to 14 cents in American dollars...so is that what I should quote him? I've heard of 11 to 20 cents (USD)...anybody?


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:59
Hebrew to English
Some advice.... Oct 28, 2011

Diana_S wrote:

Thanks very helpful! BUT so what price range should i give him? 11 to 20 cents per word? remember, its the U.S., children's books, from english to spanish.
Oh, and what should i look out for in the contract? and do ppl normally get paid part of the money up front?
Thanks again!


Ok, according to proz.com, when you filter the rates for your language pair and the area in question (Poetry and Literature) it gives rates of 0.11USD per word as the average and 0.08USD per word minimum. (And this is with quite a sizeable sample size). I suggest informing them/showing them this. I'd quote the standard 0.11USD and see if they are happy with that and use the standard as a basis for negotiations but make them aware of the minimum too. (By the way, your geographical location is somewhat irrelevant usually in these types of discussions as most of us work online across continents and it's usually not considered pertinent to the rate).

...As with any contract, read the smallprint. If you think it is prudent, get a lawyer to glance at it. (It's unlikely you'll want to go that far - but at least read it yourself so you can raise any issues before starting any translation to avoid any surprises later on).

...Money up front... I'm not sure how to advise you here. Usually money up front is a pipe dream. However, this looks like to be quite a sizeable project, and it wouldn't be wise to invest vast amounts of time and energy on faith alone. Some translators work out some kind of part-payment in installments. For example, XX amount on completion of 25% of the project. I would tread carefully here, mostly because they have already claimed poverty on you ("don't have a lot of funds") which is fair enough, but it means you should protect yourself against payment issues also.
...This will take some detailed negotiation with the client but I would suggest not accepting complete post-payment for such a sizeable project with a new client (with limited funds). Definitely try to get some kind of installment plan, that way, if they fail to pay the first installment you can re-assess the arrangement and worse case scenario you can escape before you get really burned.

Take a look in the forums (money matters) for other similar threads about payment for larger projects/new clients etc.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:59
Hebrew to English
Some more advice... Oct 28, 2011

With the contract, check for payment terms (if included) as these are important in this situation.

Some areas of interest:

•Are there any royalty issues? Are you getting any percentage of the translated books profits?
•Recognition: are you being recognized/credited in any way as the translator of the book (name on the front cover, inside page etc)
•Do you have control over the creative process? Or does a proof-reader have the right to unilaterally change your translation? Do you have final approval?
•Copyright issues.
•Are you willing to sign away rights over the content, fees, royalties?
There will be other concerns too, try looking for threads on the forums which deal specifically with literary contracts.


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:59
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Model contract for literary translations Oct 31, 2011

You may want to check out some model contracts for literary translators.
Here is one:
http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/322

And some more info here:
http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/6088


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