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Translation rates and agency cut
Thread poster: Pamplemousse
Pamplemousse
German to English
Nov 10, 2008

Hello,

I am fairly new to freelance translation and my languages are German and French and I translate into English.

I was just wondering what a reasonable rate to charge for a translation would be? And is it normal practice to charge per word or per 1000 words in the UK?

Also, does the rate charged vary as to whether you are working for a direct client or via an agency? What percentage of the client's fee does an agency usually take?

Thank you for your help.


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:39
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
there are some differences... Nov 10, 2008

If you work alone it is up to YOU who will
- produce TM
- manage terms
- proofread the text
- provide for QA
- etc.
Hence the price.

If you work for an agency you may expect THEM to
- produce TM
- manage terms
- proofread the text
- provide for QA
- etc.
Hence the price.

I cannot disclose the figures... All I can say is: know you daily needs and come to some daily rate.
Cheers!

[Редактировалось 2008-11-10 20:07]


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Samantha Payn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:39
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Rate calculator Nov 10, 2008

There is a rate calculator here on Proz http://www.proz.com/?sp=rate_calc which will help you to calculate the rate you need to set/work at to earn the income you're aiming for. If you look through people's resumes here some of them do give their expected rates which may give you some idea of a ball-park figure.
Hope this helps.

[Edited at 2008-11-10 20:15]


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Els Spin  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:39
Dutch to English
+ ...
Oops! Nov 11, 2008

Hi Pamplemousse,

I guess you've got the message by now: rates are the best guarded secret among translators.

But to answer your other questions: rates per word in the UK will do fine.
And expect a lower fee from translation agencies. They often have standard fees; I find that in 8 out of 10 cases it's a matter of take it or leave it. (I wonder why those agencies still ask for rates when you apply, since they pay everyone the same rate anyway.) But there are exceptions.

To set yourself a rate, consider the average number of words you translate per hour.

Kind regards,
Els


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:39
Dutch to English
+ ...
Per 1000 words Nov 11, 2008

Pamplemousse wrote:

I was just wondering what a reasonable rate to charge for a translation would be? And is it normal practice to charge per word or per 1000 words in the UK?


UK customers usually do expect rates to be quoted per 1000 words.


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:39
English to German
+ ...
Welcome! Nov 11, 2008

Pamplemousse wrote:

Hello,

I was just wondering what a reasonable rate to charge for a translation would be?


€0.15 - €0.25 per word (it's no secret, rather it's reality, but it depends...)


Also, does the rate charged vary as to whether you are working for a direct client or via an agency?

Yes, definitely.


What percentage of the client's fee does an agency usually take?


20 %, 50 %, 100 %, it depends on the agency and so many other factors.

Best wishes,
Aniello Scognamiglio
www.italengger.com


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:39
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Answers to Pumpkinmouse Nov 11, 2008

Pamplemousse wrote:
I was just wondering what a reasonable rate to charge for a translation would be? And is it normal practice to charge per word or per 1000 words in the UK?


I find that many UK agencies want me to quote per 1000 words, but on the purchase order they usually use the actual word count, not increments of 1000.

Reasonable rate? Do a sampling... here's, I'll start for you:

Out of the first 20 DE-EN translators in a general search on ProZ.com, 4 people indicated their rates:

0.15 EUR per word / 30 EUR per hour
0.15 EUR per word / 45 EUR per hour
0.14 EUR per word / ?? EUR per hour

0.12 USD per word / 30 USD per hour

...now continue until you have twenty or thirty rates

Out of the first 20 FR-EN translators in a general search on ProZ.com, 8 people indicated their rates:

0.08 GBP per word / 25 GBP per hour

0.15 EUR per word / 50 EUR per hour
0.10 EUR per word / 30 EUR per hour
0.12 EUR per word / 40 EUR per hour

0.20 USD per word / 100 USD per hour
0.12 USD per word / 120 USD per hour
0.11 USD per word / 27 USD per hour
0.14 USD per word / 125 USD per hour

...now continue until you have twenty or thirty rates

Also, does the rate charged vary as to whether you are working for a direct client or via an agency? What percentage of the client's fee does an agency usually take?


It's up to you, but the price the client quotes is the price the client pays, so you don't have to calculate the agency's fees from your own fees. Some people accept lower rates from agencies because agencies tend to bring in more work, but it is up to you. I don't have a special rate for agencies myself (but I don't have a single, non-negotiable rate anyway).

Possible scenarios:

* Client pays translator LSD 100
* Client pays agency LSD 200, agency pays translator LSD 80


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:39
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Make sure they pay you by either the target word or the source line for DE-EN Nov 11, 2008

If you accept payment by the source word for DE-EN, your time will scarcely be renumerated.

[Edited at 2008-11-11 08:33]


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Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:39
Member
German to English
+ ...
Agency v. direct client Nov 11, 2008

Hi just wondering what you would charge a direct client for a DE>EN translation? I usually work for agencies but am thinking of looking for direct clients soon.

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:39
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nice one Nov 11, 2008

Seamus Moran wrote:

Hi just wondering what you would charge a direct client for a DE>EN translation? I usually work for agencies but am thinking of looking for direct clients soon.




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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:39
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Direct clients will not let you charge them too much Nov 11, 2008

So if you quote a price, and they accept it, then you did not quote too much.

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Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:39
Member
German to English
+ ...
Still wondering Nov 11, 2008

But my question hasn't been really answered. What are the rates for direct clients as opposed to agencies? Are we talking 0.15 Eur to 0.20 Eur per word or lower? I have a friend who charges 1.60 Eur per line but I don't know whether she is an exception or whether this is the norm. She translates English to German.

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rates Nov 11, 2008

I would say that .15 - .20 euros would be a minimum rate to agencies. Agencies in the US typically bill between .30 and .45 cents per word for Spanish to English/English to Spanish translation (usually viewed as the "cheapest" market), so your rate to direct clients should be greater than .20 euros.

Seamus Moran wrote:

But my question hasn't been really answered. What are the rates for direct clients as opposed to agencies? Are we talking 0.15 Eur to 0.20 Eur per word or lower? I have a friend who charges 1.60 Eur per line but I don't know whether she is an exception or whether this is the norm. She translates English to German.


[Edited at 2008-11-11 14:27]


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Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:39
Member
German to English
+ ...
Really? Nov 11, 2008

I find that really hard to believe. Agency rates, as evinced here on Proz, seem to hover anywhere between 0.04 Eur to 0.10 Eur per word. Anything above this is rare.

[Edited at 2008-11-11 15:19]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Different markets Nov 11, 2008

The keyword is "as evidenced here on ProZ". There is a much larger market of LSPs that do not participate in ProZ and regularly bill their clients between .30 and .45 a word.

Of course, while they do tend to pay their translators better, the clients are more demanding and these companies usually have a multistage review process which adds to the cost and time required. One LSP I spoke with regularly turns away work if the client is unwilling to wait the amount of time necessary for them to provide a proper translation.

They would never dream of posting a job here or entrusting a large project to an untested translator. As a result, the types of jobs usually posted here on this site involve clients who are less demanding and for whom the deadline and price are often the most important factors or jobs that have been outsourced through multiple vendors, resulting in a lower rate for the translator (Company X wants a translation and pays .35 a word to WeTranslateAlmostAnything who outsources the job to WeReallyTranslateAnything for .25 a word, who forwards the job to an agency in another country for .15 a word, who in turn outsources the job to a KTA in the U.S. for .12, who assigns the job to a translator for .08, who then posts the job here for .05 - with all of these transactions (the job needs to be sent and returned through multiple vendors) having a very significant impact on the deadline, resulting in all the low-paid rush work that is often posted).

Seamus Moran wrote:

I find that really hard to believe. Agency rates, as evinced here on Proz, seem to hover anywhere between 0.04 Eur to 0.10 Eur per word. Anything above this is rare.


[Edited at 2008-11-11 19:20]


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