Going rates for proofreading work in Germany

How much to charge per hour or per word

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And whether you'll be editing for style or "just" for grammar and usage. The former can get really hairy.
Sounds like I'll be earning my money! Two positives, at least: 1) I'm familiar with the academic topic, and 2) it's an edited collection, so while things have to go according to a style guide, there's no need to make everything sound identical.

I do hope it works out, though - it would probably pay for an extra trip home in September.
happy jogger
Topics merged by admin
Hello everyone

I've been asked to check a long scientific text written in English by a German.

As I've never charged for proof-reading/editing before, can anyone give me any guidelines as to how much to charge? (I live in Bremen, if this makes a difference!)

Thanks very much!


I've been asked to read a 250 page academic report in 2-3 weeks. Multiple contributors. Would asking for 50 euro per hour be over the top?

I will of course ask for a sample of the work and take into account the varying English abilities of the contributors.

I'm freelance and wonder if this is a reasonable hourly rate or a bit on the high side?

Different contributors is a problem because the quality will vary. You really need a sample from each of them to be able to calculate a price accurately.
As STB says, the quality will vary according to contributor, so the amount of work necessary to bring it all together so that it makes sense will vary too.
I am not sure about the price either, but would be interested to know how much you finally settle on!
Small Town Boy
€40 is pretty much top end, and to charge that you need to offer more than simply having English as your native language.

Moreover, your client may not accept an hourly rate as they have no idea how many hours you will need. You should certainly have an hourly wage in mind when you do your calculations, but a fixed price for the entire text (or per norm page if this isn't possible) would be fairer and more readily accepted.
Thanks for the advice. I will keep that in mind when calculating the end price.
As an English teacher I'm sometimes asked to proofread documents/presentations etc. from students. Usually I do it as a favour, or sometimes in a lesson as a learning experience. However, one company asks me to proofread stuff on a regular basis which is taking up more and more time. I suggested to them that they should probably pay a professional to do it and they said that they'd like me to do it (because they know me and I'm reliable) and how much would I charge.

I've got a couple of questions. Looking through this thread, I'm thinking that about €25 an hour would be about right, as I'm not qualified. However, the material is technical IT/project management stuff which is my former profession so I do use my professional knowledge - does this mean I should charge a bit more? For information - this is proofreading, not translation. It's usually documents or presentations aimed at an English speaking audience. The quality of the material is variable, sometimes I have the German version as well, more usually not.

Second, I actually enjoy doing the work (as it allows me to use my professional knowledge) but I feel a bit awkward taking money for something I'm not qualified (as in bit of paper) to do. So my question is, are there any courses you would recommend? It would probably need to be distance learning. I've done some Googling and I've found a number of courses out there, but I'd really like to hear if there's anything people have found particularly useful.
@ Lyra:

Firstly, see my post No. 197 dated 6.2.12 in this thread.

In your case much would depend on whether you want to get into proofreading on a larger scale than at present.

As far as courses/qualifications are concerned, I would argue that, if you are teacher of English as a foreign language, then you ARE qualified to proofread English texts and probably would not need to obtain translation qualifications as well. However, this raises the question of whether you have any TEFL qualifications and, if so, what they are.

On price, you could try going up to €50 plus VAT/MWSt. You might - repeat, might - have to come down a bit so (a) decide what you can live with (I suspect that €25 might be a little meagre, so aim for about €40) and (b.) settle on a kind of "floor price" below which you will not go under any circumstances (say €30). This latter point is more important than it seems at first, by the way.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to PM me.
Thanks very much! I am a qualified English teacher, PGCE (FE) - for what it's worth (which isn't a lot here) and CELTA. I've also got a number of project management qualifications and British Computer Society IT project manager quals. I'm not looking to work as a translator, my German isn't bad but it's not up to that standard yet! I would like to do more proofreading as I enjoy it, but it's difficult to say how much yet. I'll ask for €40, with a bottom line of €30 and see what happens.
Good luck.

PS: Start out by asking for €45 and see what happens! ;-))
right now I'm proofreading a 180pg book for EUR 300 :/
I guess you are kicking yourself about now! Considering that isn't even 2 euros a page.
john g.
right now I'm proofreading a 180pg book for EUR 300 :/
Why? Nobody can live like that. Did you name the price or did they?
Out of curiosity, is this a lucrative side job in Germany? I am looking for part-time work (a few hours here and there) and I've done some low-end editing and proofreading in the past for native English speakers (i.e., essays, research papers, etc), and I regularly do it for colleagues in the field. I have also been paid to write or re-write grant proposals, the majority of which have been funded. I don't have qualifications outside of a humanities master's degree/PhD candidate. However, I also have an IT and business degree, plenty of experience helping out with technical writing, and did programming/web development for a while, so I guess that's worth something.

I've also painfully edited (and corrected for content) heaps of poorly written undergraduate papers at slave wages. *shudder*
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