Notes on negotiating rates for

These are some things to remember when negotiating rates for translation. And please send us your accounts of successful negotiations:

  • Translations are creative works and translators have a copyright in them simply by virtue of dsoing them.
  • The rates suggested are for limited licences to use the translation. Each extra use licensed should attract an extra fee.
  • The rates are suggested as minima from which freelances will negotiate upward according to their experience and specialist knowledge and the value of the work.
  • Word counts are usually based on the source text. Note that German authors charge by the character (and that 1000 words of English is around 6300 characters, including spaces).
  • Translators of trade books can negotiate to licence their work for royalty payments. Those opting for a buy-out of royalties should bear in mind the categories of territorial licence under which the book will be sold.
  • The rates for shifts do not include paid time off.
  • Freelances who are registered for VAT will add it to every invoice.

Not all clients appreciate the amount of knowledge, experience and work involved in producing a faithful and fluent translation. It would be a good idea to find someone else who speaks more than one language to negotiate with, since monoglots are more likely to hold the false belief that the work is mechanical.

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Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.