| Differentiated rates? - Yes, by all means. || Feb 20, 2004 |
I agree with the others that it's better not to mention prices on your website. IMO you can afford to do that only if you are targeted at a relatively small market segment where the type of jobs you get is pretty much the same, and there is a known "going price" (or at least a fairly established price range).
I'd say, a translator's website is not an e-shop where you could buy things right off the shelf. Translation is not a ready-made, but a custom-tailored product. Therefore, your website should first of all present - in a convincing way - your professional qualifications, as well as give some proof of your reliability. In short, the purpose of a website is to make a potential client call you and ask for a price estimate. From that point on it depends on your negotiating skills
Else, your specific prices may (actually, ought to) depend on three main factors:
1) Type/complexity of job.
2) Technical factors: urgency, need to use various software, need to comply with specific layout or file format requirements, ability to use CAT tools, etc.
3) The market (or market segment) where your client comes from.
The last factor is very often underestimated, or wrongly interpreted, and this leads to tension and confusion on the translation market. It is also a disputable issue, so please take all written below as my humble opinion only.
Actually, it refers not only to translation, but to any intellectual product, and has become a particularly sensitive issue with the advent of the Internet leading to a globalization of the intellectual labour market.
I base on the assumption that the price of a product is not just a number, it is a MEASURE OF VALUE.
And yet another assumption: each (local, national, regional) market (or even market segment) is a balanced economic system where prices for each product have reached equilibrium level basing on: 1) the product's value; and 2) the self-regulating action of free market mechanisms, the demand-supply one in particular.
Let's assume that the price of translating 100 pages is approximately equal to an average monthly salary (AMS). Thus, a client in market A (where AMS = 2000 EUR) would be prepared to pay 2000 EUR for this. (I say 'prepared' because that would be the reasonable expense they have calculated into their business plan.) OTOH, a client from market B (AMS = 200 EUR) would be only prepared to pay 10 times less than client A.
If you announce a price range tailored to A-type markets, you'd cut off all clients from market B. OTOH if you go on market A with B-type prices, that would represent severe underpricing - that is, a disturbance in the normal functioning of market A. Of course, most clients would gladly take any opportunity for reducing their expenses, so client A would most probably cherish a B-type offer. But in this case PRICE WOULD NO LONGER SERVE AS A MEASURE OF THE PRODUCT'S VALUE, which would have a destructive impact on the market environment as a whole.
Regretfully, this is often the case lately. Intellectual workers from lower-income regions WRONGLY base their pricing on their own necessities. Of course, on that acount they (that is, WE, as far as I am geographically your neighbour) can afford to be more than competitive on the global market. However, by using that opportunity at max, we contribute to creating the abovementioned disturbance in the market - which could, in the long run, lead to reducing THE VALUE of translation as a market product.
Mind you, I'm not talking about prices, I'm talking about VALUE. Such changes would unavoidably strike back on us, too - sooner or later - because they are structural changes, and resonate in all markets, regardless of specific price levels. If a market has been too long under a constant pressure to lower a product's price, structural changes are just a matter of time. For translations such a trend definitely exists, but I believe there is still time for it to be reversed.
Therefore I suggest that you research the going prices on all markets you intend to aim at - and develop a separate price range for each of them. I am not saying your prices should not be competitive; what I'm saying is that normal price competition means "X percent lower", not "X times lower".
BTW the ideal (IMHO) price competition formula is: more value for the same price
NOTE: I am not discussing quality here - I'm taking good quality as granted. There is quality stratification on each market, which is reflected by the corresponding price range specific for that market - but this is a different topic.
I realize my post is not exactly an answer to your question, for which I apologize; however, as you're at the point of deciding on your prices, I believe it would be helpful to have these considerations in mind.
Good luck, Cornelia!
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