RE: Advice sought on translation price quote

Subject: RE: Advice sought on translation price quote
From: "Baotong Gu" <engbgu -at- langate -dot- gsu -dot- edu>
To: "technical writing plus" <doc-x -at- earthlink -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 23:28:23 -0400

Thanks, Jim. That's tremendously helpful. I'll certainly look up those websites you mentioned.

One quick question: you said 15000 to 16000 words translate into roughly 75 to 80 pages. That would mean about 200 words per page. That's more like a double spaced page. Is that a pretty standard way to calculate the pages instead of 500 words for a single spaced page?

Again, many thanks!

B. Gu

>>> "technical writing plus" <doc-x -at- earthlink -dot- net> 3/19/2008 11:51:30 PM >>>

An informal number that I have developed is 1.6. Absurdly simple but it
helps me remember this stuff.

Let me explain - I calculate that there are about 1.6 Chinese characters per
word, on average. You say that your original document had 20,000 characters.

So 20 k characters divided by 1.6 characters per word means that your
original document had about 12,500 words (Chinese words).

Also, I calculate that Chinese text is somewhat denser than English text.
I.e., one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of Chinese will result in about 1.25 (again, this
is a rough estimate) pages of ds English (1 inch margins).

So your 12,500 words of Chinese text might be around 15,000 or 16,000
translated English words. Which works out to 75 to 80 pages.

Now for the money. Look at sites such as Translators Caf?and,
where translators list their rates (I am zxlat on, and I
have some free downloadable pdfs on my resume page).

Different translators do it differently -- most charge by the word, I would
guess, but I am not sure. Some charge by the hour and many charge by the

Let's go back to the job that you were talking about. Let's say that it will
be around 78 pages of good quality translation, at the end. If you were to
charge something like 50 USD per page (which might be considered as being
kind of low) then you are looking at an amount of around 3800 USD. If you
were to charge 100 USD per page (more reasonable especially given the
technical, special content and the time constraint) then the amount that you
might quote is 7800 USD.

But I think that three days is just too tight a timeframe for that amount of

Hope this helps you get a ballpark idea.

Jim Jones

-----Original Message-----
I have a question about translation jobs, and I'd appreciate any advice you
could give.

I was contacted for a translation job (from Chinese into English) and asked
to give the client a quote. The documents are rather technical documents
(pharmaceutical-related legal contracts and related documents). The client
needed it rather fast, as in about three days. The whole thing totals about
20,000 Chinese characters.

My question is: what do you think would be a fair quote? Each character?
Each page? A flat rate?

Any advice you can offer would be highly appreciated...


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Advice sought on translation price quote: From: Baotong Gu
RE: Advice sought on translation price quote: From: technical writing plus

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