Overview of Translation Editing and Proofreading Rates

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Proofreading rates vs. editing rates

Editing is checking a draft translation in order to correct mistakes and improve style, if need be.

Proofreading is checking a typeset copy of a final edited translation for any objective errors that may have been introduced in the process of typesetting.

Editing and proofreading are different steps of a translation process. However, translators often use the term “proofreading” in the sense of editing. The same with the term “proofreading rates.” When translation professionals refer to proofreading rates they often mean rates for editing.

Despite some confusion with this terminology in the translation industry, it should be noted that editing and proofreading tasks are paid at a lower rate than translation. Some translation agencies and translators charge for editing and proofreading 50% of the price they charge for translation. Others have set proofreading rates at the level of 35% - 40% of translation rates and editing rates at the level of 60% - 65% of translation rates.

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Factors influencing proofreading and editing rates

  • Country: the richer the country the higher the rates
  • Language combination: the rarer the language combination the higher the rates
  • Text complexity and subject matter: the more complex and specialized the text the higher the rates
  • Volume: the larger the volume the lower the rates
  • Deadlines: the tighter the deadlines the higher the rates

Billing units

Editing and proofreading can be billed by the line, page, word, or hour. As far as I can tell from my experience, it is a common practice to bill by the word or hour. When these tasks are billed by the word, like a translation, the rates are much lower ($0.01 - $0.03/word) than the translation rate.

As regards hourly rates for editing and proofreading, they are shown in the table below. The table provides statistical information based on minimal hourly rates published by translators on different translation portals. If you cannot find your country, that means I was not able to gather enough data for this country.

Note. ALL FIGURES ARE ROUGH ESTIMATES. They are presented to give a general idea of trends. The actual situation with rates for editing and proofreading in countries may differ from the data shown in the table.

Rates for editing and proofreading of translations from an official language(s) of a country into English, Spanish, French, and German or vise versa,
in USD

proofreading rates

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_____________________________________________________________________ Website owner: Irina Lychak, self-employed freelance linguist, Russian translator, Ukrainian translator, Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine

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