Proofreading/editing time rate
Thread poster: Alexander Onishko

Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
Feb 20, 2007

Dear Friends,

1. Can someone advise me how much time shall be reserved for proofreading in a translation project, for example, as the percentage of the time alloted for translation ?

2. Second question - if no translation is involved - how much time shall be reserved for proofreading of, say, technical manual, again as a percentage of time alloted for the author for writing/compliling the manual ?

Are any guidelines on this topic in the Internet ?

[Edited at 2007-02-20 12:48]


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:58
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
General guidelines Feb 20, 2007

Hi Alexander,

As it is generally assumed that it is possible to translate 500 words per hour or proofread 1000 words per hour, that would mean that proofreading occupies one-third of the total time that you spend on a translation.

As for your second question, I do not know about percentages, but, again, 1000 words per hour, I suppose.
I personally find 4 pages per hour a good guide. It goes quicker, of course, if the subject matter is easy, even slower if it is difficult.



Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:58
German to English
+ ...
It also depends on quality Feb 20, 2007

I also use a rule of thumb of 4 pages per hour for uncomplicated subject matter - IF I know the translation is decent. If you are getting proofreading work "blind" (without knowing who translated it), beware! It could be abysmal, in which case translating the document yourself could be less time consuming.

Just my two cents.


Carolin Haase  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:58
English to German
+ ...
Difference between editing and proofing Feb 21, 2007

I think it's important to keep in mind the difference between editing and proofing. For me, proofing "simply" means correcting spelling, grammar, commas, etc. and also words that absolutely don't match the context.

Editing means for me that I look up words and sentences that seem doubtfoul, i. e. sometimes do some reasearch and retranslate if the translation is horrible.

Naturally, editing takes more time than proofing which should be taken into account when making an offer.

However, most clients don't see the difference between the two; mostly, they want the texts only to be proofed, which is often not enough.

If possible, it's better to have a look at the text to be edited/proofed before taking on the assignment and after that make your offer. And of course, use the source text for reference.

And, like the others already said, usually you're paid by the hour.

All the best and have fun proofing,



Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:58
German to English
+ ...
Most clients call it "proofing" Feb 21, 2007

Maybe they're being overly optimistic, but most of my clients call it "proofing," although the actual job could range from a quick proofread to a thorough edit. If the job is by a translator unknown to me, I think hard before accepting the job, because I have been burned by these jobs in the past.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
English to French
+ ...
The difference Feb 22, 2007

If you would like to read up a bit on the subject, more specifically the difference between proofing and editing as well as how to charge for them, I wrote the following article, hoping that some of the innumerable people who can't tell the difference will learn from it, and that the translators who get burned by proofing jobs that are more work than simple proofing can eventually get paid accordingly:

To me, proofing requires almost as little time as simply reading at a normal speed. I agree however that it depends largely on the quality of the translation, but I understand the question was pointing toward self-proofing, which would mean probably good quality work (usually, work that is tricky to proof is work that was translated by someone who doesn't proofread themselves). Editing is more or less the same, but it also involves more copy and paste when you do it for your own translation.

By the way, I usually charge about double my proofing rate for editing. There is a BIG difference between the two, and editing the work of someone you don't know can take as long as translating the whole thing from scratch. Editing is best charged by the houricon_wink.gif


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