Rate for translation of Non-Profit book
Thread poster: Ginna Ma

Ginna Ma  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:23
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 8, 2009

Hello everyone,
I have been translating for a couple years on a part time basis and have always focused on business projects, but I still think of my self as pretty green in this field. I recently accepted a project to translate a non-technical book (my first one) written by a new author with the purpose of educating the reader on some Christian misconceptions. The author is not profiting from the book and is using a fairly small publisher.

I initially quoted the book $0.12 USD for translation and proofreading for approx. 38,000 words.
The author thought it was too high and was told by the publisher that book rates were usually about $0.02 USD p/wrd.

Because I believe in the book I decided to make it a "labor of love" and shrunk the number significantly to the $0.02 USD p/wrd in order to make it happen. I also negotiated for my name to be in the book and receive credit for the translation.

I was wondering what you guys thought. How common is this? Was my price way too low? How should I have handled it?
I certainly hope to make a good impression and at least be able to say that I translated a published book...could this open the door for bigger and better things?

Your feedback is greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alistair Gainey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:23
Member (2009)
Russian to English
My thoughts on this issue Dec 8, 2009

It's your choice what rate you set. However, "labor of love" does not have to equate to "slavery of love". What direction is the translation in? English to Spanish or vice versa? Either way, you'd be roughly doubling the number of potential readers, so I think you'd deserve considerably more than $760. And frankly, no, I don't think it would open the door for bigger and better things. I think it would open the door for more poorly paid book translating.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Pitfalls of labours of love Dec 8, 2009

Ginna Ma wrote:
The author is not profiting from the book and is using a fairly small publisher. ... The author ... was told by the publisher that book rates were usually about $0.02 USD p/word. ... Because I believe in the book I decided to make it a "labor of love" and shrunk the number significantly to the $0.02 USD p/word in order to make it happen.


Just remember that the client will be expecting the same level of service and quality of you regardless of your low rate, and if you fail to behave or deliver according to their expectations, they will diss you regardless of the fact that they got a 83% discount. So be prepared to do your best, even though you're paid very little.

I can't comment on whether USD 0.02 is a common book rate. I have heard of such rates for books, but there is no way a professional, full-time translator can survive on such a rate. Perhaps this is the rate they pay for part-time, amateur or hobbyist translators.

When you agree on such a low rate, make sure the client understands that you have to give preference to higher paying jobs when they come in, and that he can't expect you to accept a very short deadline. Other than that, you did the right thing, because you feel happy about it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
In my experience Dec 8, 2009

0,02 per sw would be like volunteering, as you are actually loosing money when you are working at that rate (time is money). But if you can afford it and want to be published, why not? That's your choice. I do Pro-Bono work from time to time, but I prefer to do it completely for free than for a low rate, so that there would not be any confusion with my actual rates.

In my experience however, translation of books in the religious field can pay very well : most churches are not poor and happily sponsor this kind of projects. I was once offered 0.20 EUR per word for this kind of work, which I declined because I was not comfortable with the subject. Publishers in France usually offer the equivalent per page 0,06 to 0,10 EUR per sw for literary translation.


[Modifié le 2009-12-09 06:37 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxGrayson Morr  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:23
Dutch to English
Safeguard your work Dec 8, 2009

That is a very low rate, but if you enjoy the work and are glad to do it for that rate, then it's the right rate. I have worked pro bono assignments in the past because I believed in the good work the organization was doing.

The other half of the story, however, is your name on the book. That is standard; you don't need to trade price against it. Please do be sure to stipulate in writing that any and all changes, however "insignifcant," to the translated text must be reviewed and approved by you. I learned this the hard way. You really don't want hardcopies in libraries around the country bearing your name if some editor botches your text.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ginna Ma  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:23
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your feedback!! Dec 12, 2009

Wow, thank you for your feedback everyone!
I do realize I'm loosing money here as I'm practically working for free. When I heard that the publisher could get it for $0.02 p/wr I thought it was impossible to be able to profit at that rate. But as I mentioned, I believe in the project and know that I'm not helping "the man" get richer...it is for a non-profit cause. At the same time, I would love to add "translation of published book" to my resume.

Your comments did give me some insight on how to handle future proposals and I've realized what a great resource these forums are.

Grayson, excellent suggestion about safeguarding my work. I had not thought about it from that point of view and you are right. I do not want any revisions to be done without my authorization which could taint my name if the revisions are not properly done.

Definately some food for thought for future assignments.
Thanks again to all


Direct link Reply with quote
 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:23
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Non-profit is just a tax status classification Dec 12, 2009

Many of these organizations are well-funded and have no problem spending money when they see fit. I would not make any particular exceptions for them. I believe in a Higher Cause: paying my bills.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxValerie35
Local time: 14:23
German to English
It's up to you Dec 13, 2009

The rate you quoted is absolutely ridiculous for an arms-length transaction.

If you want to reduce the rate because you are behind some project or another (but see the posts above with regard to misconceptions), then it's your business. You are contributing your time and efforts.

If that is the case, I don't understand why you are asking for an opinion here. Everyone has different tastes as far as what they would contribute to - either with money or in kind.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Rate for translation of Non-Profit book

Advanced search







CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search