Fee for Editing a Thesis

I have been asked to help a Taiwanese grad student in America edit her M.A. thesis … I’ve never done this kind of thing before, so I’m not sure what kind of rate I should charge. She is my classical Chinese professor’s friend, which is why I was asked, so I feel like I should give her a bit of a discount … so what would be a fair rate to charge for a 50-60 page thesis? Thanks!

I am sure other people will have a completely different opinion but… that’s life…

Firstly are you in Taiwan or in the USA? From your profile it seems you are in Taiwan and someone in the US contacted you here to help them, in which case I could charge her. However, if you are in the US then I would not charge her and here’s why: When I was in college I never charged for editing and proofreading. The thought never crossed my mind. If I were to do it all over again knowing what I know now I still wouldn’t charge them. These students have enough expenses as it is. However, if you are very busy and it will take you a lot of time then they need to know that, you should give them a date you will return there paper corrected. Being this person is your Classical Chinese professors friend you may not want to charge anyway… It’s of course your call.

Now if you live in Taiwan there is a standard rate people use here. What that rate is I am not sure, but if you did a search on segue for translation, fees, proofreading or editing fees you will find lots of information.

I don’t agree.

The students may “have enough expenses as it is”, but I still have expenses, too. I pay those expenses by translating and editing and being paid for so doing. If I don’t charge, I can’t pay MY expenses.

That being said, I usually would charge something like NT$0.75 per word for this kind of editing. Your mileage may vary, however.

Unfortunately, quoting a price is not a science, it’s an art.

Many seem to assume that the perfect price exists, but in reality it doesn’t.

Whenever I consider work (teaching or editing), I usually consider a number of factors…

*level of correction required (mundane to extensive)
*type of editing desired by customer.

  • type of editing required by the purpose for which the customer requires (these MAY be quite different…)
    *my own limited time
    *how much face-to-face interaction is required to get it done
    *how many rewrites are required.
    *market rate (if such exists)
    *relationship to the person

this is only the beginning of the list of variables that I can think of.

I have definitely quoted WAY too cheap in the past, and wouldn’t take on some of the work that I did.

Nowadays I tend to avoid some of the work, by quoting prices that are quite high, especially if the writer has UNREALISTIC expectations (ie. he wants you to change his ‘hideous’ prose into anything readable).

Some papers do need to be virtually re-written.

So I would definitely hedge on the side of caution on this one.


Have you seen the paper? If not, be very, very careful, especially if the author said that it “only needs a quick look.” Never, and I do mean never, believe someone who tells you that something only needs you to check it for a few small errors. Those are the kinds of projects that usually end up being more trouble than they’re worth.

Do you know anything about the subject? If so, the work will go faster.

Are you expected to put all the citations into the correct format? That can be a hassle, especially if you’re not used to it.

Ten hours would be a good minimum estimate for the amount of time you’d need for a 60-page paper, if you’re going to do a good job. (That’s where a “page” is with all its text in 12-point, double-spaced Times New Roman. This is important. Never agree to do a certain number of pages without having a clear definition as to what a page consists of.) Would you work – and this is work we’re talking about, never forget – at least ten hours for free for the friend of a friend? If not, how much would you normally be willing to charge per hour? That’s what it ultimately comes down to: your time.

On the other hand, you’re not a pro, so don’t charge as if you were.

I have been contacted about editing an MBA thesis. I think there is some middle ground where we can agree compensation is reasonable, but I want to make sure I’m not shooting myself in the foot.

What I know about the assignment:

  • 5 chapter thesis totaling about 70 pages
  • a case study of her company (a financial data provider)
  • due in 7 weeks

Her English is fairly decent. She went to ungergrad in California. So I don’t think I’ll have to deal with decoding to any great extent. I majored in finance, so I can spit out handy dandy terminology. It should mainly come down to grammatical and structural coaching. I’ve spoken to some editors, and it seems 400NT per page is about the going rate. I am estimating 45 minutes to an hour per page on average, but there will be times that I’ll have to wait for feedback to make sure an idea is preserved in any suggested form. She mentioned that the amount of work may be more than is initially projected and would be open to renegotiating at a later stage, but she also said she wanted to make sure the person she goes with stays with her the whole way through. On top of that, she also mentioned that she was hoping to find someone that wasn’t trying to make as much money as possible, but wanted to help. Which roughly translates to: I accept charity.

I think I’m somewhere between saying 2 or 3,000 per week, which includes meeting once a week for an hour or so to go over editing notes on about 10 pages.

Thanks for pointing out any variables I didn’t consider and any general advice. I thought this might also help others that have been approached about gigs like this.

See forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.ph … s&&start=0