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Summary of issues on forums for translators.
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:40
Flemish to English
+ ...
Feb 21, 2003

For the past three years, I had a (quick) look at several bulletin-boards and forums for translators. The following topics occurred frequently:



*A normal employee works from Monday to Friday from 9 to 5. Do you consider these hours as your “normal business-hours” and do you charge extra for overtime, night- and weekend work? Bear in mind that if you calculate your target-income these hours must be included to see if your business is profitable or not.

Translation into the native language:

Isn\'t this actually a relevant quesstion when you are a beginner? When you have been translating into a language which is not your mother-tongue for the past 15 or 20 years, you do develop a feeling for that language.

What if you work together a highly educated specialist whose mother-tongue is the target-language and who will review your translation?

What about team-work: I am specialized in “everything” and I translate everything is just not possible. I am specialized in a few topics and consult and pay specialists, whose mother tongue is the target-language for revision of topics I have little or no knowledge of is more feasible?

With regard to \"Rates”:

You are a member of a professional body that determines the rates in your country. Is it up to the board of this body to determine them (what gives them the right)?

Rates vary from country to country: would you adapt your rates depending on where your customer lives?

Bad payers and payment terms: Some public utilities (electricity companies, the gasworks,…) will sent you an invoice with a request to pay within 15 days. These companies usually have a healthy cash-flow.

Let say that 30 days after delivery of your service is a reasonable term. How flexible are you when an agency or a direct customer exceeds that period? Do you send him one reminder and do you consider the services of an efficient credit-collection agency (D&B) after a second reminder? You will lose money, but you will gain a reputation of being firm with regard to late payments.

Would you still work for bad or late payers, but secure the translation with an encrypted password. I worked for an agency and I knew I would be paid very late. I put a password on the file and I got paid on the spot. I lost that client,but that was not such a problem.

For voluminous jobs: what about a retainer to start with and payment of every part after delivery of the part of the translation you just finished?

What do you do with the oldest trick in the book of translation agencies?

“We had your translation revised and or proofreader has found (invented) some mistakes or omissions? Please rewrite your invoice or please sent us a new proposal at a lower rate (so that in fact you pay the proofreader, who sometimes is right, but sometimes invents mistakes when (s) he or the client did not do a thorough research and when they corrected terminology, you found in official publications.



The way some agencies contact freelancers is food for thought too:

\"We have a translation, please decide immediately if you want make the translation or not.\"

Do you ask them an hour or two time to consider whether you are going to accept the job or not and a sample copy of the text?

What do you do with PowerPoint and DTP: charge by the hour + the number of words on the presentation or only by the hour?

The classical discussion with regard to the use of CAT-tools?

To what extend do you let the country where you are based influence your rates. Some time ago, there was an interesting job offer to give English at a Chinese university. You are based in say Switzerland and you would be interested to live in China for a while as a teacher of English and as a freelance translator (all costs included and tax-free). Would you adapt your rates to the country where you are going to live?

Some concise well-founded advice on what you would do if such situations should present themselves, is very welcome...



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Amy Sommer  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:40
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Rates Feb 21, 2003

That is a very good summary of the difficulties facing translators. I would be especially interested in how other people resolve the problem of professional associations fixing rates. If a rate is fixed at US$0.20 per word that may work in some countries but one is going to lose a lot of work originating in others.

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:40
German to English
+ ...
Not even allowed in the US Feb 21, 2003

\"Fixing\" rates or even having the ATA suggest (or compile info on them, I think) in the US is subject to antitrust regulations! Seems like this practice would be pretty limiting for translators, too, if you like to offer a range of rates for different types of jobs. Is it actually done anywhere?

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:40
English to German
+ ...
Similar restrictions in Europe Feb 21, 2003

I\'m not a legal expert, but European competition law includes similar restrictions on setting minimum rates, whether by professional associations, other organisations or even among teams of translators.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:40
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bidders must live in country XYZ of the E.U. Feb 21, 2003

An extra question and an example Intérpretes de varios idiomas \"residentes en España\" (translation: interpreters sought, different language, must live in Spain\"). To what extend is the specification \"bidder must live in\" an infringement of E.U.-legislation with regard to free competition?





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Maya Jurt  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 12:40
Member (2002)
French to German
+ ...
Yes, we do it! Feb 22, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-02-21 16:22, Daina wrote:

\"Fixing\" rates or even having the ATA suggest (or compile info on them, I think) in the US is subject to antitrust regulations! Seems like this practice would be pretty limiting for translators, too, if you like to offer a range of rates for different types of jobs. Is it actually done anywhere?



Fixing rates and fixing minimum rates are two different things. Everybody in the States is quoting the ATA precedent. ATA got warned because one could assume that (almost) all professional translators belong to that association and ATA could be considered to enjoy a predominant (monopolistic) position in the US. Anti-trust legislation concerns cartels. An international translator\'s coop (one among others) can hardly be considered a cartel.

So, FairTradeNet has set minimum rates below which freelancer and client affiliates may not offer or accept work. Everybody is free to ask more, but not less.

That\'s the \"raison d\'être\" of FairTradeNet.

Maya



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