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How do you determine or justify your high rate?
Thread poster: Eno Damo
Eno Damo  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:36
English to Albanian
+ ...
Feb 11, 2004


There have been many topics regarding low or high rates and everyone seems to be complaining about translators who offer low rates or accept jobs at a low rate. On the other hand, I would like to see how high rates are being determined or justified, if you were to explain that with regard to those circumstances you take into account when you come up with your rate.

Thank you,

Eno Damo

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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:36
It is a mix of assets and demands Feb 11, 2004

I do not have much time right now, but here are a few elements that IMHO determine rates:
-Level of education
-Level of experience (these two, together, are supposed to result in higher quality, even though it might not always be true).
-Service offered (for instance, I offer the proofreading of the client's final version in PDF or whatever other format s/he will use to print at no extra cost, or if you prefer, included in my rate per word).
-Specialization fields; there are some fields that are just more expensive due to the level of difficulty and scarcity of expert translators (like mining, oil, medical specialities, and the sort).
-Turnaround time. If the job is rush (i.e. needs overnight or week.end work) the rate is higher.
-Hardware, software and CAT tools required to perform the translation.
-And an external, but basic one, comparable rates in the market.

I am sure there will be a lot more comprehensive answers from other colleagues, I just wanted to contribute with my "grain of sand".

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Patricia Fierro, M. Sc.  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:36
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Market rates Feb 11, 2004

Hi Eno,

I think it is a matter of the average rates that can be applied according to the market, the standard of living, and expenses.

Most agencies already have a standard rate which they charge to their customers and they deduct a percentage to determine what they will pay their translators and proofreaders.

For example, some translators have a rate that they use for local customers, if they live in a third-world country and another rate according to the standard of living, for countries such as the USA, England, etc.

Several ways to justify how much you charge, if none of the above is applicable, would depend on your studies, college degrees, and previous experience.

Best regards.

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Peter Motte  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:36
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
+ ...
High rates Feb 11, 2004

Rosa Maria Duenas Rios wrote:

I do not have much time right now, but here are a few elements that IMHO determine rates:
-Level of education

Certainly. You can't expect somebody with a university degree to work for low wages.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:36
English to German
+ ...
Never forget supply and demand Feb 11, 2004

Hi Eno,
Regardless of how you substantiate your rate structure, never forget that you actually need someone to buy the service at that price.

I should also add that we're active in a highly specialised field, covering complex financial material.

Consistent quality of service is the cornerstone of what we do - this means actively going beyond translation only, and to ensure that we're very much aware of the client's processes. This allows us to fully integrate our service, and to add value. I'm fully aware that this isn't the whole story, but you will appreciate that I won't go into more details in a public forum.

Best regards, Ralf

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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:36
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Offer solutions, not only translation Feb 11, 2004

There is a difference whether you're working for an agency or for direct clients. If "your" agencies work for quality-oriented clients, they will be happy to pay you an adequate price for the quality you can deliver. If you are working for direct clients, you have to be focussed on solving the clients problems, not on translating a text. Say your client is exhibiting at a major trade show in your town. He's calling you at 7:00 and tells you he has a press release to be translated and needs 50 copies by 9:00. You options are:
a.) "Sorry, office hours start at 10:00 only".
b.) "I'll fax the translation and you can take it to the trade show's office service".
c.) "I'll deliver those 50 copies by 9:00. Need anything from the bakery store ?".

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
university degree Feb 12, 2004

Peter Motte wrote:
...You can't expect somebody with a university degree to work for low wages.
Correct. This would be a breach of the privilege system.

[Edited at 2004-02-12 10:20]

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Miguel Llorens  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exchange with PM from localization multinational this morning Feb 12, 2004

I thought this e-mail exchange would be illuminating for the topic.


Dear translator,

We reviewed all details and would like to take a next step (?) to establishing a cooperation between us.

We would like to find a translator with a very good knowledge of financial terminology and markets.

Please reply asap with your best rate - we have a first project to translate.

I replied with "hello, etc." and stated my rates.

PM´s reply:

Thank you very much. Your rate is very high compare (sic) to others on a (?) market. We usually pay 0.05 USD.

Thank you.

Kind regards,

My reply:

Well, your rate is rather low if you want a real specialist who is well acquainted with the NYSE, the LSE, and the Latin American markets. My rate would be considered low when taking into account my background, specialist subject, in-house experience, education, memberships, investment in IT, and knowledge of CAT tools. If you find a finance specialist willing to accept that rate, by all means use them. However, if the job is urgent and you want an experienced specialist, contact me at any moment.

Miguel Llorens

Nuff said.

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