Should I accept dictionary compiling project with normal translation rate?
Thread poster: Techamba

Techamba  Identity Verified
Ethiopia
Local time: 10:18
Member (2013)
English to Amharic
+ ...
Aug 29, 2012

Hi all,
First of all, Thank you very much for your help in advance.

A client asked me to quote dictionary compiling project(EnglishAmharic Dictionary). My normal translation rate is $0.05/word. He sent me the sample and it appears to be list of English dictionary words, most of the words are new to me. This means I have to study all the new words before translating to Amharic.

should I accept with my normal rate or is there any industry experience related to this project?

Thank you again.

Yibeltal B.

[Edited at 2012-08-29 21:24 GMT]


 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:18
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Is this really translation? Aug 29, 2012

To my mind, compiling a dictionary is not just translation. Is this a dictionary or a glossary? A dictionary should offer pronunciation guidance, etymology, examples of usage etc. To pay for that at your (rather abstemious) standard rate per word would seem like gross exploitation.

If it is just a glossary, then it really depends upon the level of specialisation. You write that most of the words are new to you; is that because this is a highly specialised field or because the words in question are archaic or otherwise rarely used? It is likely that charging at an hourly rate would be the best solution from your point of view.


 

Techamba  Identity Verified
Ethiopia
Local time: 10:18
Member (2013)
English to Amharic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It is actually like a glossary Aug 29, 2012

The requirement is just to give one word Amharic meaning for every English word. Therefore, it is more like Glossary. The odd thing to this project is it has every word you see in the dictionary. I believe even natives are not familiar with most of the dictionary words. I have to study them before translating.

Thanks


 

Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
I worked on something similar Aug 29, 2012

The fact is that some English entries had to be translated into different words in Spanish, depending on the context of the word, I guess the same thing happens in every language.
For this job I was being paid 0.50 EUR per entry in English, regardless of how many entries it had in Spanish, therefore, for some I had to spend only a couple of minutes, but for others, it took longer.

I would not use my per-word rate in this kind of assignment, rather an hourly one or something similar to what I did before.

Good luck


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:18
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Don't do it Aug 29, 2012

yibebiz wrote:
A client asked me to quote dictionary compiling project (EnglishAmharic Dictionary). My normal translation rate is $0.05/word. He sent me the sample and it appears to be list of English dictionary words, most of the words are new to me. This means I have to study all the new words before translating to Amharic.


I did such a project some years ago. Translating a dictionary is not a simple thing, because what applies to one language does not apply to another.

Translating single words takes a lot longer than translating sentences. Even if you know all the words, translating single words still takes longer than translating sentences. To be fair, you should charge at least as much as an average sentence for every word that you translate in a word list. This means charging ten times your per-word rate. No client will accept that, though.

The client will try to coax you into accepting no more than two or three times your normal per-word (if at all), saying that it is easy and simple and doesn't take long and that their other translators found it easy to get into a pattern after the first hour or so, etc, etc. But you'll still take 5-10 times longer to translate the individual words than if the words were part of sentences.

Don't forget that you'll encounter words that are not even in a general dictionary (or in a special dictionary), so you'll have to create words, and you won't have a lot of time to do it in.

Samuel


[Edited at 2012-08-29 18:26 GMT]


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:18
German to English
Hourly rate Aug 29, 2012

As others have pointed out, there is not always a 1:1 correspondence of definitions between two languages. Some simple terms may be easy, others may require some research. At a per-word rate, you'll be making much less than minimum wage.

I did terminology research for a major technical project a few years back. Some of the terminology was easy to locate, some took hours of research. On very good days I came up with 20 terms; other days much less. Even at a rate of a dollar per term, I would not have covered my daily living expenses.


 

Techamba  Identity Verified
Ethiopia
Local time: 10:18
Member (2013)
English to Amharic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, I am convinced that I should ask good payment for this glossary compilation job! Aug 29, 2012

Yes, I agree that such work could lead to over exploitation and I will ask different ($1/word) rate and I will accept only if he is willing to pay me that much. Actually I don't expect he will agree with that much rate, but I should avoid accepting the job for less than $1/word rate.

I really appreciate your valuable advises. You helped me to make an informed decision.

Thank you everybody.


 

Sergey Saveliev  Identity Verified
Member (2012)
English to Russian
+ ...
It depends Aug 29, 2012

I have some experience working as a lexicographer. In such a job having experience of a translator is very helpful but not always. The ideology off the job is different. When you are translating, you are basically picking the most applicable equivalent from the dictionary (I am oversimplifying for the sake the example). When you are doing a bilingual dictionary or glossary your work flow is 'reverse', which means, as I said, a different ideology. I suggest charging by entry.

 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:18
English to French
+ ...
Do a preliminary (paid) trial with a sample before quoting for the whole job Aug 30, 2012

It is always difficult to quote for such a job.

For a glossary job I usually ask for a sample (like 100 or 200 items) for which I quote 2 hours of work - (please note than these numbers are just an example).

When I translate the trial list, I use Timesatmp (or any other software) to record exactly how long it takes, how often I need to do research, for how long etc.

I use the result of the trial to quote for the whole glossary, adding a couple of hours for extra work /global check/ management.

If the client doe not accept the global quote, he pays only for the trial.
If he accepts the quote, there is no extra charge for the trial as it becomes part of the global job.


 


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