Calculating translations rates
Thread poster: Mikhail Shchur
Mikhail Shchur
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:14
Russian to English
+ ...
Apr 4, 2004

I've always had my rates as $ per 1800 characters. Is there a standard way to convert this into $ per X words rate?

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
Division Apr 5, 2004

Divide by about 300-350, Mike.

But why 1,800 characters, is that a standard somewhere? Some people use price per 1,000 words, easily translatable into per-word ($100 per 1,000, $0.10 per word).

Those are two widely used standards.

[Edited at 2004-04-05 03:22]


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 15:14
English to French
+ ...
standard Apr 5, 2004

1800 characters are standard in Germany, it is the standard for one page. As they usually pay per page, it is easy too, doesn't matter which language.

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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:14
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Also in Poland Apr 5, 2004

1800 characters is a standard widely used in Poland, too. It comes from the old days of typed manuscripts, where a single page would hold 30 lines per 60 characters (spacing 1.5 line).

I also find it very convenient and still have problems getting used to the word standard. Especially that the results may differ significantly depending on the system.


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Victor Potapov
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:14
English to Russian
+ ...
Re: Calculating translations rates Apr 5, 2004

You should be careful - my data shows you should divide by 250, or 240!

For instance: you have a scientific (or management consulting, or economics-related) text with a lot of LONG words in it.

Do a simple test: open your large translation and its original file, count number of words/number of characters etc. and compare. Do this for different texts. You'll be surprised....

In my experience using a 250-word page (=1800 chars) works, but sometimes if you set your rates per word your regular (per page) rate still turns out lower than it should be.

Problem with rate per word: small change has huge impact!
Example: you decrease the rate from 0.08 to 0.07 cents per word. Multiply this by 250 and you'll see that you've just lost 2.5 dollars per page - from $20.00 down to $17.50. Tremendous leverage!

So it's probably better to quote your rate for 1,000 words (you can go from $80 to $75, or $77) thus giving you more "bargaining points".

Also, you can set 1,000 words as your minimum payment - now it makes much more sense to do all those 2-page letters!


Best regards,

Victor.


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 16:14
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
Also in Lithuania Apr 5, 2004

Here they also evaluate project volume in characters (usually without spaces) of the target text.

But a page standard differs from agency to agency:

- 1800
- 1700
- 1650
- 1500

I am forced to have a special table of my rates for each of the standards.

I think it's extremely inconvenient and even quite stupid that there're so many different methods of texts volume evaluation.

In my opinion it's a shame that translation industry is incapable to elaborate and adopt a uniform standard for each language pare. What are those innumerable translators organisations for then?

Regards,
Nikita Kobrin
======

ICQ: 233779923

[Edited at 2004-04-05 16:58]


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 16:14
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
The same here in Latvia, Apr 5, 2004

though most agencies count page as 1800 characters with spaces, and only a few (mostly those affiliated with some Scandinavian companies) count page as 1500 characters or whatever. These different counting systems are causing us serious trouble in recalculation- imagine- we get an order from German client who is counting lines (consisting of either 50, 55 or 60 characters) into Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian. With translators and clients in Latvia we still count pages of 1800 target characters, with all translators elsewhere, we count source words.
Imagine a standard situation- a local client needs a translation from, say, English into Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian and Finnish. With a local client and translator, we count target characters, with all translators situated abroad- source words. The result indeed is confusing to say the least- we do not work with such a profit margin as to cover possible count differences (actually due to these count differences there has been cases when we have agreed to work at a loss- especially if agreement was made by myself early in the morning )- I work nights and in early mornings it is difficult to me to perform confusing calculations).
Therefore first we started to play a fool with clients quoting lines- they talk lines, we talk words, pretending we never have even heard the word "line":). I have to say it works, at least, as far as I know, we have not lost any client because of our insistence on source word count.

As to the local market- already for a month we are issuing invoices for our local clients, quoting the price both in 1800 character pages and in words (to get them used to it and each invoice contains a warning on this change in further counting system), but charging them yet for pages. We intend to carry on like this for yet another month, but, after the accession of EU to switch only to s/w count and all our invoices clearly state that.
We'll see the results, but up to the moment more than a 100 our local clients have received our new invoices and there have been not a single protest. A few have called, and after hearing our explanation, expressed their agreement.

Uldis


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:14
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Software to do all those calculations and more Apr 9, 2004

Someone at another forum has drawn my attention to an interesting software: http://www.practiline.com/

While it is not cheap, especially for Eastern European standards, it can do all those calculations you write about plus make an invoice, log the data into a report etc.


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 16:14
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
PractiCount: US$59.95 for quite simple calculations? Apr 9, 2004

No, thanks. I've got other priorities.

NK
======

ICQ: 233779923


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blissu
English to Chinese
How do we do in China? Apr 11, 2004

Generally, we calculate the rate by "per 1000 Chinese characters", either the original or target one, as indicated in MS Word - tool - word count.

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Victor Hugo Silva
Brazil
Local time: 11:14
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The agency I work for... Aug 5, 2004

...rates per 1200 characters, with spaces. How should I convert to a rate per word?

Another "standard" here in Brazil is 1250 characters, w/o space.


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