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Rate of Pay for Freelance translation

#1
Hi everyone,

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?
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#2
No. The standard is $0.13 USD per word, $0.09 minimum (Search Japanese to English).

If you just want experience/something to put on your resume, then go for it. If you want to be paid fairly, look elsewhere.
Edited: 2014-03-10, 6:27 pm
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#3
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.
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#4
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.
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#5
To quote from the standard text, How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator:

Quote:For character-based languages such as Japanese and Chinese, the word count is most often based on the number of English words regardless of the direction of the translation.
Keep in mind, the author is referring to the online norm, particularly for translators using ProZ and Translatorscafe. The local norms or the demands of individual clients may vary.
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#6
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.
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#7
Just out of curiosity, how many words does the average translator get through in an hour?
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#8
Stansfield123 Wrote:Just out of curiosity, how many words does the average translator get through in an hour?
In the same way as rates I would have thought that there is a massive amount of variation depending on the person and the type of translation. To have any real meaning you also need to take into account checking and research time. I would have thought that 2000-3000 words per day might be quite typical as a long-term average, though it could well be the case that on a typical day most of that 2000-3000 words is done in a couple of hours and the rest of the day is spent on checking and general administration stuff.

So basically, if you can manage 2000-3000 words a day at 3 yen/hour then you'll still only be getting paid at minimum wage level.
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#9
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
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#10
(2014-03-10, 5:52 pm)fishhead Wrote: Hi everyone,

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?

Not sure about the Japanese<>English word / character ratio, but got rich experience with the language pair of Chinese<>English. 

I myself had been working as translator and am naturally keen on checking up the ratio between the Chinese character count and the English word count. An average result will be that 1,000 Chinese characters can be translated into about 600-700 English words, or 1,000 English words can be translated into about 1,500-1,700 Chinese characters, variying depending on the natures of the source contents and target writing styles. 

In regard to the specific topic about the ratio between English word count and Chinese character count, there is a special article (read it) dedicated for it with concrete evidences to support the conclusions.
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