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About minimum charge rates: a definition?
Thread poster: Annelise Meyer

Annelise Meyer  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:58
English to French
+ ...
Jun 24, 2008

Hi everyone,

As a former project manager at a translation agency, I used to employ freelancers who for most of them applied a minimum charge rate. To me, the minimum charge rate was meant to account for small jobs whose theorical price was inferior to that threshold, so as to account for the time spent by the translator downloading, reading the instructions etc. and also to discourage agencies to send too many of these small, not-highly-interesting/profitable, jobs. Or so I thought.
Anyway today I discovered that some agencies (all right there is only one, but I suppose it is no exception...) used this minimum charge rate at their advantage. Here is the story (short): I accepted a small marketing job for this agency. The total worcount multiplied by my marketing rate equaled more than my minimum charge rate, so I thought that in this context, my marketing rate was applicable, not the minimum charge rate. Now they have just sent me a PO (all right, I did the job without the PO, but who never did... and moreover it was very small and I had already worked for this company). And the agency applied the minimum charge rate in the PO.
I acknowledge this is not much of a difference, but still I feel a bit... like I've been had in this. I already wrote back to the PM to ask that they clarify this, but in the meantime, I would like to know the opinion of fellow translators on this matter of minimum charge rates. I know some don't apply any, but for those who do, how do you define them and above all, how do you apply them?
Thanks in advance!

Annelise


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 08:58
English to German
+ ...
Min _Charge is a necessity these years... Jun 24, 2008

Hi Anneliese, There are thousands of agencies and again a few thousands of clients and lots of thousands of translators, and all try to do some earning while trying to rob the others in a form or the other. There is an unwritten regulation that anything that goes beyond 150-200 words can be charged. These days people are charging for 3 sentences over USD 25,-. For this reason people normally go with the known contact (translator and his teams and references etc., ) and try profiling in the trade. At translator´s level there is some work to be done in testing area and there is some other work to be covered at PM area. Since you were a former PM you would know the difference. Brandis

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:58
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
As far as I know Jun 24, 2008

your definition of a minimum rate is the same as mine.

I used (and still use it) to cover transaction costs as well. No sense in receiving $5 over Paypal when that's about what they charge in commissions, or a $2 check if the bank gets 60 cents.

If, as happened with you, the word count exceeded the minimum rate, I'd also have applied the regular rate.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:58
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Why don't you just issue your invoice? Jun 24, 2008

Hi Annelise,

In my opinion, you should just issue your invoice, according to your calculations, and point out to the agency that the job exceeded the minimum charge and ask them to send a corrected P.O.

Astrid


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Stephanie Sirot  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:58
English to French
+ ...
Get the PO corrected then Jun 25, 2008

If the total price for your job exceeds your minimum charge, you should be paid accordingly.

A minimum charge is to cover your fees and to avoid being sent 5 small jobs 5 times a week from the same client/agency.

You should talk to the agency and clarify things about this.

Stephanie.


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
This is why my standard rate is the same as my minimum rate Jun 25, 2008

Annelise, I really like your definition but unfortunately I have never seen it before

When agencies ask me for my minimum per word rate, I tell them my standard rate. If they ask for minimum charge, I give them my standard hourly rate.

I do tell them that in certain cases I am willing to give a small discount. "Certain cases" would then be if the text is very repetitive and long (over 5000 words), then they might get a small discount.

If I am asked to translate a few words only I do it as a favour and put it on a future invoice (at my standard rate).

I am not interested in working for less than my standard rate.


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tenorikuma
Local time: 16:58
Japanese to English
Minimum *charge* Jun 25, 2008

I'm afraid you've misunderstood, Ivana.

A minimum charge is the minimum amount you will bill someone, applicable when a job is so small that charging per-word doesn't make up for the time spent on administrative overhead.

Naturally, if the amount determined by one's per-word rate exceeds the minimum charge, the minimum charge becomes irrelevant, and not a surcharge applied to all jobs — or so I understand it.


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Annelise Meyer  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:58
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your comments Jun 25, 2008

Hi,

thanks for reassuring me, because I was quite taken aback yesterday and I wasn't sure any more whether I was right or not. Anyway, in the end, I managed to clarify things with the PM and she issued a PO applying my usual word rate, so everything's fine!
It was just that she forgot to apply the right (higher) rate from the beginning and thought my simple (lower) rate was applicable... (why does it always happen in that direction and not the other way around, I will never know
Thank you for your feedback anyway, at least the meaning of this one concept hast not been corrupted like others might have been (but then that's another subject)!

Annelise


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:58
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Establish the limit of minimum charge Jun 28, 2008

tenorikuma wrote:
A minimum charge is the minimum amount you will bill someone, applicable when a job is so small that charging per-word doesn't make up for the time spent on administrative overhead.

Naturally, if the amount determined by one's per-word rate exceeds the minimum charge, the minimum charge becomes irrelevant, and not a surcharge applied to all jobs — or so I understand it.


tenorikuma is right, but there is one thing you have to establish: at what point your minimum charge doesn't apply any more, and make that clear when quoting or sending your details to an agency.

In other words, you have to work out, and let them know, that your minimum charge applies - based on your average daily input - to jobs for example: up to 300 words or 1 hour work. Which means that your min. charge is the same as 1 hr work. Or 150 words / half hour work, whatever your preference happens to be.

[Edited at 2008-06-28 17:42]


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
English to Norwegian
+ ...
and then there are those strange agencies Jul 7, 2008

I have a minimum fee which I charge on all jobs up to 250 words.
One of my biggest clients however doesn't accept a minimum charge. They actually sent me a PO for 1 word the other day

Since 80% of my work is with them I've decided to accept this strange policy.


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