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Pricing has been a vexatious question for me since day one.  Right at the beginning I thought I was the only translator on the planet, and calculated my rates from first principles. I worked out how many hours it took me to do how many words, decided how much I wanted to earn an hour, and did the maths. Then people started telling me I was too expensive. I listened to my customers and spent a huge amount of time investigating what other people charged. I found out I was indeed slightly expensive. So I lowered the rates to bring myself in line with the rest of the market.  But I’m still not entirely happy with the system.

Discounts for quality

Ideally, I’d like to give a discount to authors who, in my opinion, write interesting, useful papers. And I’d like to charge extra for editing/translating badly written rubbish. I can’t yet see a way to make it happen, but I’m keeping the idea at the back of my mind.

Extra for LaTeX

The LaTeX logo, typeset with LaTeX

I’m also thinking about charging more for editing LaTeX documents. LaTeX is great for what it’s made for: typesetting. However, as an editing environment, it’s a pain in the neck. Plain text interspersed with mark-up is hard to read. There is no way to track changes and the spell/grammar checking tools are mediocre. I have to regularly generate a pdf just to read what I’ve written, which of course takes time. It also takes time to setup the software. I have yet to see a LaTeX document that didn’t require extra libraries to be installed. It doesn’t (usually) take long, but it all counts. And finally, not many people know how to use LaTeX. In fact, unless you have a background in computing science or maths, you probably don’t even know what it is. Add all this adds up, and it must be worth charging a little extra.