How much do I charge to translate a German book?

by Salima

I am native German. I have been living in the United States for over 20 yrs. I received a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education at Bank Street College in NYC. I am fluent in English and German. I am considering becoming a translator in either German to English or English to German.
Recently a friend from Germany asked me to translate a small book from German to English to put on her website. The book has 42 episodes with approximately 33.600 words. This project seems to be a great way "to get my feet wet" so to speak.
How can I assess what my fee would be?
I'd appreciate if you could help me with this question or redirect for more information.


Comments for How much do I charge to translate a German book?

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German book translation
by: Joanna

Hello Salima

It sounds as though you definitely have the necessary linguistic background for becoming a German translator! I suspect you?d find it easier to translate into your native German, although your English must be good if you have an MA. Have a look here for lists of language associations ? the ATA is a great source of information about translation in general, and the American Literary Translator?s Association may be able to help with your book translation query.
If you are serious about translation as a career then I certainly recommend you consider a translation qualification ? this will also help you clarify your abilities in each language direction (ENG-DEU and DEU-ENG).

Regarding your translation project, this is tricky. 33,600 words is almost 4,000 lines (it?s common to charge by line in Europe) and I suspect your friend (as most people, believe me!) would be astounded at the work and time required in translating such a lengthy document. A professional translator would probably offer a set price, calculated as their own standard line rate, and maybe with a discount for volume.
However, as you are not yet qualified/an experienced translator this doesn?t apply.
My suggestion: Work out what hourly rate you would actually be prepared to work for and then offer to translate the first chapter as a test. Your friend can see if they like your work / you will get an idea of how long the whole project will take. Maybe it would be easier for your friend to reimburse you in other ways ? a percentage of the book sales? (Remember, if your friend doesn?t pay you, they?ll have to pay someone else!)
I hope this has been a useful starting point ? keep us updated!


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German to English Translation

Joanna Scudamore-Trezek

I'm a German to English translator living and working in Vienna, Austria. I turn German texts into clear and accessible English, allowing clients to present their stories, ideas and information to a completely new audience. My business and marketing clients rely on me to get their message across clearly and effectively.  How can I help you today?

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