When it comes to editing, I essentially distinguish among four different types: (1) editing a text composed in its original language, (2) editing a text that is purely linguistic in nature, (3) editing the translation of a technical text, and (4) editing the translation of a novel. Before the selection of an editor, it makes absolute sense to consider the kind of editing required and to communicate this information over the course of making inquiries. And because the time expenditure involved will vary, it is also entirely appropriate to expect differing prices for the various kinds of editing work.
Editing a text composed in the original language
Sooner or later, every author, at the very least, ought to be aware that any book, be it a novel or nonfiction work, will require thorough editing prior to publication. Test readers whose task is simply to peruse the text are also useful, but a professional can extract significantly more from the draft. Good editors do not, by any means, impose their own style on the author. Instead, the editor polishes the author’s work and notes illogical or unclear passages, because that is precisely what could befall subsequent readers. After editing has been completed, the author revises the text, then sends it back (one hopes) for proofreading. While I myself do not offer this kind of editing, I will nevertheless gladly recommend a suitable colleague as needed.
Purely linguistic editing of a technical text is applicable in the case of academic work, for example. In this case, no content editing at all is permitted, for the content of academic work must originate from the student alone. But proofreading is allowed, as well as linguistic editing, e.g. if the student has composed the work in a language that isn’t their native tongue. In this way, the editor simply smooths out the style but refrains from marking any illogical passages or evaluating the work’s content. Depending on the quality of the text, for linguistic editing of this sort, I charge 4–7 Euro net per page (1,500 characters).
Editing the translation of a technical text
When editing a translation the editor, who is a translator in the commensurate language direction and specialization, compares the translation with the original text, sentence by sentence. The purpose is to verify that absolutely nothing has been overlooked or forgotten, that no information is missing, and that no errors have been carried over. After all, in technical texts, the information is the most important element! Translation editing of this kind is relatively laborious and normally compensated by the half-word or line price of the translation.
Editing the translation of a novel
Editing a translated novel is an altogether different matter. Here, attention must be paid to illogical plot lines, just as when editing a text composed in the original language. And in contrast to a technical text, a novel does not require sentence-by-sentence comparison with the original during the process of translation editing. Rather, editing the translation of a novel can be compared with purely linguistic editing—with the distinction that in the case of translations, the editor can expect greater text quality from a linguistic standpoint. The editor first reads the book in the original language in order to become familiar with the style, then reads the translated book in the same manner that future readers will. In so doing, the editor polishes the style, eliminating any translation errors and Anglicisms. Then the translation is compared with the original only if the editor stumbles at some point and has to know what the author wanted to say in the first place. The expense for editing a translated novel depends essentially upon the quality of the translation. For this type of editing, I charge at least 4.50 Euro net/per page (1,500 characters).
For every type of editing, the customary practice includes a follow-up with a final round of proofreading. The reason is that after editing, the author will revise the text in accordance with the proposed changes, and experience has shown that during this process, new errors invariably creep in. My charge for this type of proofreading, depending on the type of text involved, is 2ؘ–4 Euro net per page (1,500 characters).