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Proofreading Rates: How much should I charge to proofread a translation?

Proofreading can be an important stage of your translation project because it detects mistakes the translator may have been blind to.

Performing a thorough proofreading of your content is instrumental in fixing any errors that might lead to misunderstandings, or cloud the intended meaning. Many translators are also proofreaders and can perform this task with ease. Standard translation rates are based on source words, and generating a translation quote is generally not an issue.

But many neophyte proofreaders find themselves wondering: "How much should I charge to proofread a translation?"

Before you proofread

Understanding the translation you are proofreading is paramount, and having a perfect command of both languages is almost a guarantee the proofreading will be successful. A proofreader brings a fresh and objective perspective to your writing, which enables them to spot ambiguities and vague ideas that you might fail to see because you have a predetermined idea of what the translation should be communicating. The proofreader's point of view would therefore be a better reflection of how the intended audience would react to your content and, paired with their linguistic skills, they can drastically improve the quality of the translation. Although many computers offer grammar and spell-checkers, they cannot detect tricky mistakes and commonly misused words. You need a human mind to address every possible error and to minimize the potential for misunderstanding or not understanding at all.

How much should I charge to proofread a translation?

Some translation agencies charge 50% of the price they charge for translation for proofreading. Other professionals are more inclined to charge to proofread a translation by the hour. Others have set proofreading rates ranging from 35% to 40% of the translation rate. Additionally, proofreading is widely billed by page, line, words and even hour.

Factors to consider when setting your proofreading rates

Proofreading times fluctuate depending on the quality of the translation. It would obviously take longer to proofread a mediocre translation than to proofread an excellent one. For this reason, many proofreaders lean towards charging for their work by hour. The time spent performing a proofreading seems to be a better reflection of the effort put in by the translator. A smart strategy would also be to set a minimum rate. You can use your minimum rate as a leverage tool, taking into account factors such as your experience, potential clients, language pairs, and the deadline to finally reach a decision regarding the rate to charge to proofread a translation. These factors will help determine where your fee will fit within the $15.00 to $40.00 average proofreading rate.