I've just got offered some freelance Japanese-English translation at the rate of pay of 3 yen/word. I am still a uni student, and have studied Japanese for about 4 years. I have a small amount of experience in translation. The texts are more cultural pieces then technical. I was wondering if this is a reasonable level of pay?
If translation work is something you actually want to do for a living then I might consider it. When interns in most fields literally pay for the opportunity get work experience, you'll at least be seeing a bit of money in return.
How are "words" calculated in Japanese for translation purposes? It will be a while before my Japanese is good enough to start translating, but I'd like to know anyway. For Chinese-English it's generally per character, and I usually make 2.5-3NT per character (8-10 cents US) here in Taiwan, where the average salary is much lower than in Japan.
3 yen/word is certainly on the low side.
0.09-0.13$ quoted below is probably more like what a professional translator would need to be making in order to support themselves as a full-time freelancer. Obviously a good technical translator might be able to charge more, whereas a translator who is just starting out or who only does translation to earn some extra pocket money might accept lower rates.
If you're not a professional translator yet though, it's probably not realistic is expect professional rates straight away.
For the sake of comparison, standard jobs on mygengo are paid at 0.018$ per character (about 3 or 4 yen/word) while the client pays 0.06$/word, which is probably a good indication of an absolute minimum rate for J-E translation. Obviously jobs paid at that rate are probably being taken on by people trying to gain experience rather than professional translators.
In Japanese to English translation, rates per English word seem to be the most common, but sometimes rates will be given per character or even per page.
Just out of curiosity, how many words does the average translator get through in an hour?
That seems about right, at least for me. I know a translator who can do 4000 (Chinese characters) in a day, but he's been translating for 15 years and has better Chinese than any other non-native speaker I've ever met. He teaches conference interpretation at the best program in Taiwan, which means he only has time for ~2000 on an average day though. He generally gets paid 3NT per character, or about 10 yen. He also has a team of translators working under him, and gets a cut from anything he sends them (us), too. Cost of living here is half what it is in Tokyo. He's making a killing.
Edited: 2014-03-12, 11:24 pm