Αggelos Ζikos • Dear Yesmina, this is a question that has no definite answer, as it depends on numerous aspects, like Tatjana said above. For example, when a translator in Greece and another one in Albania, who are bound to translate an Albanian public document to Greek, cannot ask for the same money. Therefore, in this case we have to do with a geographic external factor beyond the grasp of individual translators. On the other hand, the length of a page may vary greatly, according to the line spacing, letters’ font and size, and so on. Consequently, I would suggest that you (and anybody else) charge by word and not by page. On the contrary, when you are dealing with a large body of text, such as a literary essay, you may charge by page but still the price to ask for depends on various individual factors. For example, you may feel like offering a better price in case that your customer belongs to a special group, e.g. student. To offer my personal experience from working as a translator and editor in Greece, I would point out that:
* Translation agencies usually charge 15€/page in case of official/ public documents that need validation with public seal.
* I personally make a 20% discount to students, whereas the average pay rate/ page I receive should be around 7-9€/page, given that I mostly work with students as I used to be a student as well, until recently… 😦
* In most cases I will opt for the €/word charge, with an average of 0,04€/word, again depending on the source and target language which, after all, is one of the defining factors we discussed about in the beginning.
I would carry on talking and talking, but the food is in the oven and I have to be careful – so as not to overcook (burn) it again!
6 days ago
What you read above is a recent post of mine that I copied from LinkedIn; as you understand, the post is an answer to an ever-interesting/ -challenging/ -vague and equivocal question; a question that most definitely troubles many translators around the world, especially and essentially beginners. As a freelancer, one needs to be versatile and decisive, considering that the freelancer has to manage his own self; translator, project manager, advertiser, accountant or quite often editor and proofreader as well. The issue is complicated and subjective, as it depends on numerous factors, which we will discuss shortly. For a more thorough monitoring of the topic and a better understanding of existing, real-life conditions in Greece, you may want to keep an eye on the discussion initiated by the Association of Translators, Proofreaders & Copy-Editors
(ελληνιστί ΣΜΕΔ). After an extensive survey, minimum transation fees are define, according to the living standards in Greece and so as to secure a decent living for translators.
Back to the procedure, then, when a new document-job-text (call it whatever you like) comes to me, I have to calculate the cost of the project, based on various considerations:
1) My first reaction is to WORD-COUNT the text, either by approximation or using the relevant tool of MS Word.
2) Then I think to myself, apart from “what a wonderful world” that this is we are comforting ourselves in, WHAT KIND OF TEXT is it? Am I dealing with a demanding scientific text, a complex legal document, a plain informative text or what? Because this will ultimately determine the exact amount of time it will take to complete the translation. Most people think that a translator somehow magically copy-pastes the text spiritually and then is able to translate many-many words a day, perhaps 10.000 or so…
Of course, this assumption could not be any further from the truth, than it actually is. A technical or field-specific text will include many words that belong to a certain word-family, particular to each field. Doctors use language in a distinct way, and so do politicians and builders and translators and any professional. As a result, the translator has to be aware of this distinct use of the language and to respond accordingly. In many cases, extensive research will be needed, in order for a particular word to be translated properly; thus, the work-speed will be influenced accordingly.
3) Work-speed, then, brings us to the third level of our consideration: WHAT IS THE DEADLINE? The sooner it needs to be done, the more working hours per day will be needed, The more ‘difficult’ the text, in the sense of terminology that we saw earlier, the more time-consuming its translation will be. The combination of these two aspects is so potent, that it influences the whole everyday life of the translator, hence mine. Imagine that you have to deliver a 10.000 words document within 48 hours. Subtract 14 hours of sleep and another 8 hours for the remaining obligations (physical, spiritual and social), then you have 26 hours left to translate 20.000 words. In turn, this means that the translator will have to translate about 800 words per hour. Playing devil’s advocate now, isn’t it quite possible that, among 800 words, at least some of them will require some further research, for the reasons we referred to earlier? I guess so. And I could carry on with tiny details like these, but I think that I’ve made my point clear as to the way one ought to think about tasks that require intellectual toil.