How much should I charge for freelance translation work?

Okay, I just had a telephone interview with a French company that is looking for someone to translate fact sheets for them out of French and into English, as well as to write some teaser lines for ads. The man who interviewed me sent me some copy to translate, and some other copy to write teasers for. I think I’ll have no trouble doing this, and I think I’ll enjoy the work.

However, he also asked me how much I would charge for it, and I have no idea what to ask for! I never thought I’d want to do this for free, but I was hoping I’d get some kind of guidance as to what they’ll usually pay someone to do this. I honestly have no idea what to ask for. I don’t want to ask for too much and scare him off, and I don’t want to ask for too little and rip myself off. I was upfront about having no experience at this, but I don’t want to come off as a total rube. Does anyone out there have any advice? Does anyone else do this kind of thing? Please help! Thanks!

Find out what others are charging (use the phone book) and charge somewhere in the middle.

our translator charges us $0.25/word (canadian) for english -> french.

Paging matt_mcl to this thread. Paging matt_mcl.

The Doper in question lives in Montreal and does French-English tranlsation for a living. He discusses it in this thread, where he says:

I’m assuming that those rates are in Canadian money.

Maybe you can try sending him an email asking for some advice.

Our legal translator charges $0.24/word (US) in Chicago.

$50. per hour.

Per word works only if you charge for the FRENCH version, which is usually about 20% longer, in word count, than English.

Thanks for the tips. I found a site of a company that does professional translation and their prices seem to be comparable. I’ve got an idea as to what I can charge for the translation. I can do French into English, but English into French is out of my grasp, I’m afraid. I mean, I could do it, but I couldn’t do it and not sound like the non-native speaker that I am. All that remains is to figure out what to charge for coming up with the punchy teaser lines. I’d probably work something else out on a per-word basis… but if someone has any ideas, I’d appreciate what input you can give on that. I’ll be freelancing for a video game company, if that helps clear up what I’m doing.

I might drop matt mcl a line and see what he has to say about the profession, once my phone line at home is fixed and I’m able to send and receive email again. Again, thanks for all your help.