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Old 13.11.2011, 18:51
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Translating a book - how do I price this?

Ok, so apparently someone told someone else about my occasional translating work I do for my friends at uni and I've been offered the possibility of translating a book. I've never done anything of that scale before and I'm not sure where to set my pricing, as it will involve quite a bit of research but it seems like sooo much money when you apply normal translating rates to the approximately 270 pages that it would entail. It would be a fantastic opportunity for me, not only to clear my debt but also as an experience to put on my CV.

So I was wondering if anyone else has had any experience with this and would be so kind as to share it with me?
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Old 13.11.2011, 19:11
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

In the past I've charged:

CHF 100.00 / hour or CHF 4.00 / line ŕ 55 characters (without spaces)

But this was for advertising and film work. And it was a few years ago.
I politely declined translations for whole books, but have translated complete websites and 40-page documents of financial regulations.

Perhaps work out how much time you think it will take - I worked on 1 A4 page, with regular font size and paragraphing taking 1.25 hours. Then calculate a discount of some sorts (10, 20, 30%) for a flat fee. Make sure you get a decent hourly wage (i.e. more than a cleaner ).

And, last but not least, don't underestimate the time it will actually take you - as you said, in research, author's changes included (?), etc.

Good luck. It's certainly a challenge!
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Old 13.11.2011, 19:21
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

I charge 20.- for 1000 characters, space-included. No idea if I'm in the norm, but nobody ever complained...
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Old 13.11.2011, 19:39
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

my notarized translator I pay 2 euros per line. so id say 50 ish per page
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Old 13.11.2011, 19:40
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

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my notarized translator I pay 2 euros per line. so id say 50 ish per page
Id ask around 10k ish for your book?
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Old 13.11.2011, 19:48
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

Maybe you can ask the person who wants the tx done what they think is fair, saying that you would like to do it and also having worked out and knowing in your mind what it would cost at cleaner wages as a minimum? Remember this work is very mobile and can be done in low labour cost places over the internet

Good luck

F
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Old 13.11.2011, 20:11
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

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Maybe you can ask the person who wants the tx done what they think is fair, saying that you would like to do it and also having worked out and knowing in your mind what it would cost at cleaner wages as a minimum? Remember this work is very mobile and can be done in low labour cost places over the internet

Good luck

F
Ok, just have to respond to this quickly - this is only partly true. I have spent quite a bit of time fixing texts that others did cheaply over the internet and the person ended up paying twice, the original translator and me. While I have nothing but respect for cleaners, I don't think it's fair to price a translator that low. Also, the person who wants this done wants to work closely with me, so just handing it abroad would be difficult. Crumbs' rates seem the most typical to me and closest to what I would be expecting. I translated a few pages of the text already and it took me about two hours for the first page as I had to look up quite a few things, technical terms etc. Of course I'll be faster as I progress but even if I end up taking 1,5 hrs per page, that's still over 400 hours of work...
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Old 13.11.2011, 20:31
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

I understand and of course you will want to be properly compensated. Its great that the work can't be done remotely so the downwards push on price won't exist. You can be relatively sure that the person who has asked has an idea of what it will cost and I am sure they are not expecting it for a couple of grand

Many of us a nervous in presenting a price, especially for a big project but the author can certainly say no if you're too high and they must see big upside in having access to the EN market.
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Old 13.11.2011, 20:50
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

That's exactly it, I do want to do this but I need it to be worth-while as it will mean months of really hard graft next to the final stages of my degree. This is of course not the client's problem but I don't want it to become a problem for me.
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Old 13.11.2011, 22:37
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

Dont underestimate the Job.
I translated a porn movie in my student days, and it turned out to be a lot more work, than I expected. It is 20 years ago, and back then I charged DEM 40-50 per A4 page, and I regret, I did not charge triple the price. Based on my experience plus inflation, I would say CHF 150 per A4 page, but with 270 pages, that would be CHF 40.500. Sounds like a lot of money, but then again, its a 3 months task for you...

Doc.
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Old 13.11.2011, 23:08
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

You could try looking in the forums on translatorscafe.com, where there are quite a few helpful people who have experience of that sort of thing, if you haven't looked there already that is. I'm sure there must be a thread about it - try this one for instance.

And congratulations for landing such a cool project (books must be so much more fun than websites) and good luck with it!
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Old 14.11.2011, 00:15
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

What's the target language?
A normal rate for professional translations is about 3-4CHF/line with 55 characters per line. You could also charge around 120-150 / hour, but that way there is less cost transparency for both of you. I take it you're not a professional translator?
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Old 14.11.2011, 00:25
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

I've done a bit more research, thanks for all the input, it was very helpful. Have arrived at an idea of what I'd like to get and how low I'd be prepared to go, depending on how quickly they need the text.
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Old 02.03.2012, 16:05
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

Instead of "thanking" each individual message relating to this post, I thought I would quickly write a general "thanks" to all of you for all of this information - and to Kittster for starting this post I have found the links provided, together with everyone's general input on the subject, extremely helpful. Thanks again!










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You could try looking in the forums on translatorscafe.com, where there are quite a few helpful people who have experience of that sort of thing, if you haven't looked there already that is. I'm sure there must be a thread about it - try this one for instance.

And congratulations for landing such a cool project (books must be so much more fun than websites) and good luck with it!
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Old 02.03.2012, 16:15
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

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I translated a porn movie in my student days, and it turned out to be a lot more work, than I expected.
In my experience, these sorts of films aren't terribly heavy on the dialogue...
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Old 02.03.2012, 16:21
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

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In my experience, these sorts of films aren't terribly heavy on the dialogue...
Oh please, Debbie Does Dallas is an incitive commentary on post-Vietnam USA, set in the context of the juxtaposition of professional cheerleading and the aspirations of the disenfranchised American youth of the 7Os.
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Old 02.03.2012, 19:07
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

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Oh please, Debbie Does Dallas is an incitive commentary on post-Vietnam USA, set in the context of the juxtaposition of professional cheerleading and the aspirations of the disenfranchised American youth of the 7Os.
Nice one, Steve
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Old 02.03.2012, 19:25
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

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In my experience, these sorts of films aren't terribly heavy on the dialogue...
Perhaps the few words it had, were all ones he didn't know and had to research.
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Old 02.03.2012, 20:02
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

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In my experience, these sorts of films aren't terribly heavy on the dialogue...
It was not a Porn movie, like you download on the Internet. Back in the days, where a 386 was a fast pc and CD-ROM Drives were singlespeed they made it as a slide show, and I translated the description of all what happened, and somebody else had the pleasure of being the Narrator.
The job got so big, because I had to translate stuff as "She dropped her trousers on the floor, and Tim was very excited to see, she was not wearing knickers" etc. If it was the dialogue only, "oooh" and "harder" would be all, and job done.

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Old 15.08.2012, 16:30
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Re: Translating a book - how do I price this?

I would also suggest counting with the price per line (55 characters including spaces). It's usually about from 2.50 - 3.50 CHF per line, and then I'd include a discount.

In fact, I am also trying to get a job in book translating. I was wondering, how I would handle the fact that someone else will have to look over it before it can be printed, and how much that would cost.

Usually, the client wants a translation ready to print and doens't have own proofreaders..

How do you go about it?
best
Daniel
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