Books: how to count words for transation quote
Thread poster: Sarah Brenchley

Sarah Brenchley  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 25, 2006

What techniques are used for providing a quote of the price of translating a book.
For all my other work, I charge by the word but is this feasible/practical in providing a book translation quote?
Is it possible that someone (i.e. previous publisher) has the original file in a format where a word count can be asily done?
I would like to know how others cope with the task of providing a quote for an entire book.
I was told that there are Spanish translators who count the paragraphs manually and then works it out from there but that seems to me to be a complete waste of time.
What do the more experienced among you do and how do you get over this?
Thanks for any feedback.
Sarah.


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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
Page Jul 25, 2006

In my experience books are always counted by page and not words or paragraphs......
If you have a look at acett (http://www.acett.org) which is the Spanish Asociation for Literary Translators (or something similar) you'll find more info.
Good luck.
Jesús

[Edited at 2006-07-25 08:36]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:24
Italian to English
Yes, but... Jul 25, 2006

Jesús Marín Mateos wrote:

In my experience books are always counted by page and not words or paragraphs......

Jesús

[Edited at 2006-07-25 08:36]


That's true here in Italy too, Jesús, although the "cartella", or standard page, varies in length. Most publishers reckon 1,800 or 2,000 keystrokes but it's important to agree in advance exactly how the rate will be calculated.

English-speaking publishers generally prefer a per-word rate.

That said, publishers are like any other customers: they feel happier if they know in advance how much they are going to spend. In some cases, they may just offer a flat rate for the job, which is OK provided the maximum number of words/keystrokes included in the fee is agreed in advance.

Actually, it's been a long time since I received a paper-based book to translate. Usually, the text arrives as a file, often with a galley proof, paper version or PDF to help with any captions.

If someone did want a paper-only book translated, I would probably (ask them to) scan it and quote on the precise word/keystroke calculation.

FWIW

Giles


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:24
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
It depends Jul 25, 2006

The first couple of books I translated were given to me in hard copy, so I had to charge them (half of the payment in advance) per page. Look at the book and have a feel of how many words (approx.) are in a page. You have to count several pages, in different places of the book, to get a general idea. The rest of them have been in an electronic format, so the charging method was pretty easy.

Good luck,
Monika

Jesús Marín Mateos wrote:

In my experience books are always counted by page and not words or paragraphs......
If you have a look at acett (http://www.acett.org) which is the Spanish Asociation for Literary Translators (or something similar) you'll find more info.
Good luck.
Jesús

[Edited at 2006-07-25 08:36]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
By word average and pages Jul 25, 2006

As Monika says, and if the format is uniform, it should not be hard to get to a good figure by using an average number of words by page then multiply, of course taking into account partial pages. It should not take too long.

On the other hand, if the format is irregular then it is not too easy.

I often quote on documents like that and I get good figures.


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