How much to edit a master's thesis?

Is there a going rate? I’ve never done anything like this, other than a translation years ago. It’s 45 pages long and is a bit of a rush job. The student doesn’t appear to be loaded, but is not a close dear friend of mine either. She promised me no serious re-writing, just a bit of grammar correction…yeah, rrrrrright!

How long is it in words? Nobody in the editing business cares about how many “pages” as that depends on font size and line spacing. They could be A2 pages for all we know … :smiley:

If I were in your situation, and it’s in a hurry. Let’s see 45pgs * 350 wds per page. 16000 words. Light editing, say 4-5000 NT$. If it’s a real rush, ie 24 hour job, double it.

Does that sound reasonable?

Interesting how no one is asking whether s/he personally is competent to edit this particular thesis – what is this girl studying? what type of research is the thesis?

Editing an academic paper appropriately actually does involve more than just putting “the” in where it’s been left out.


Indeed this is a good point. I did editing, but then I’ve been in TESOL for more than 12 years, and done quite a bit of editing over the years, from letters to articles.

I NEVER do articles I can’t understand (MATH, MEDICINE, et al.)

PS how’s your internet access, today?

I’m on dialup. 'Nuff said.

But my GPRS modem seems to be working great for those emergency e-mails outside of school (read: school = free Internet access). :laughing:

Funny, I read the title of this thread differently. I didn’t realize “How much to edit a masters thesis?” meant how much should I charge. I thought it meant how much should I edit.

In my prior employment editing for Taiwan’s largest law firm, at least a half dozen young lawyers handed me essays they’d written in order to get admitted to US law schools and I disliked being handed that task. When I applied for admission to university I wrote my own essays and when I wrote a thesis I did it myself. Here, if their English isn’t good enough they get a native-English speaker to basically write the paper for them. Sure, they may call it editing, but most of the papers I received for editing were so bad that most of the credit for the final product should have gone to me, not the original “author.”

In my mind it’s cheating and dishonest, and it’s unfair to those who may not have access to foreigners to (re)write their papers for them. Not that I’m surprised in this culture where one can blatantly plagiarize and become president of a university: … 0000052292

So, to answer the question that I thought you were asking, when asked to edit an entrance essay I always made a point not to do my job too well. I’d make some improvements here and there, but I wanted the essay to remain essentially the same – that is, if the writing is crappy the final product should be crappy (but with fewer spelling mistakes). I feel the same should apply to editing a thesis.

But what really cracked me up is the letters of recommendation. Here, when these young lawyers ask a partner for such a letter, the partner says, “sure, write it and I’ll sign it.” I remember one time that happened and the kid wanting a letter was an obnoxious, arrogant jerk, and he hands me this letter saying, “X is the mostest amaizing employee we ever hire. He is geenius and the smartest persons i ever meeted. . .” With that letter, in particular, I made a point of leaving a good deal of errors intact. . . and come to think of it maybe that’s why I’m no longer employed there. Whoopee doo, sometimes ones conscience is more important than ones job.

ROTFLMAO. That deserves a few G$. :laughing:

Wow, thanks monkey. And people say you’re grumpy? :?

Anyway, the above about editing is obviously just my opinion and others are free to feel however they want about the subject. I know outside of Taiwan dumbies undoubtedly get smarter people to edit work that’s supposedly their own, without giving credit, also, but I’d feel the same there as well.

I charge USD 0.05 per word for editing, but I’m not in Taiwan. Still, I’ve edited dozens of research papers written in English by Taiwanese wishing to be published internationally.

I’ve done a number of journal papers here.
I would say that an hourly rate is the way to go. Gives you some room if the paper is a jumbled mess. I won’t do it for less than $700 per hour. After you factor in the face-to-face time explaining changes, then the rate is around 10,000-15,000.
I expect that a paper of this size could take 3-6 minimum hours of face time. Depending on the quality of the writing , 8-15 hours of editing.
Take the paper, edit it for one hour, see how much you can do, how hard it is, and price accordingly.
Good luck

I did one for a (seemingly normal) project manager for a multinational pharma company who was applying for MBA programs in the US. His stated reason for wanting to do an MBA was so that he could earn more money. Nothing wrong with a little honesty, of course, but the REASON he needed to earn more was – and I’m not making this up – so that he could finance the building of a mausoleum for himself, along the lines of the CKS memorial hall but a little smaller, which would be filled with documents and photographs testifying to his greatness. He also needed to have enough money to pay his descendants, who would be required to maintain this mausoleum and act as guides for the visitors.

He was entirely serious about this – it wasn’t intended to be a “funny story” to catch the eye of the admissions board. This was a guy in his mid-30s.

And the poster above who estimated 8-15 hours is about right, I think. If you can’t get through about 4 pages of double-spaced A4 in an hour you’re going to have trouble making it worth your while. I usually charge NT$1,200 per hour and very seldom find the need to have face-to-face time with clients.


:laughing: Did he get in?


[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]Sandman:

:laughing: Did he get in?


Bloody did and all – Ivy League, no less!

Well, you don’t have to rewrite that thing… :slight_smile: Just correct the language and make it sound like a native speaker.
I did some editing of papers, including master thesis, written in German by Chinese speaking people. Eventhough most of them were living in the country for several years and their spoken German was very good, their written stuff, was terrible. It just didn’t sound right and so I had to correct almost every sentence. Gosh…it’s a loooot of work.

I would charge way more for a paper written by a non-native speaker than for one written by a native speaker. It’s a biiiiiig difference.

But isn’t it dishonest to submit a paper that is supposedly ones own work, such as an entrance essay or a thesis, that suggests that one has native-english speaking abilities when one doesn’t? It would be different if there was a footnote that said “edited by x.” But absent that, they are trying to pass themselves off as having better skills than they really do, right? Isn’t it the same as me asking for a friend’s help on a math test but not disclosing that assistance?

Difficult to say. Usually you read and understand a foreign language much better than you actually are able to write it. For example me, I don’t have any problems using English literature as sources for my papers, but I definitly would have great problems to actually write a paper in formal English. The use of language is usally a very important thing, so eventhough ones paper is terrific, if it reads itself like it was written by a 10 year old, than it might not be accepted.
So if you let a native speaker correct your paper, it still remains your own work. It just needed a little cosmetics…

But isn’t the whole purpose of entrance essays to show the examiners that ones writing skills are sufficient for admission? You may be fluent in French and German and knowledgeable about math or science, Mesheel, but if your English is lousy (which it isn’t) shouldn’t that be one factor for entrance examiners to take into consideration? Isn’t that the primary purpose of an entrance essay? Same for a thesis. Isn’t it intended to show both ones knowledge of the materials and ones ability to explain them in a coherent, well-written essay?

If I receive a take-home exam from Shida, would it be acceptable for me to have Ironlady edit my answer for me? If I know the general concepts on the Bar Exam but can’t quite express them clearly can I whip out my cell phone and call Tigerman for assistance?

See also this earlier thread: fair rate for editing?