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Thread poster: Kelly Efird
Posting my translation services on Craigslist - feedback needed
Kelly Efird
Local time: 14:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 24, 2013

Awhile back I posted something on Craigslist without being too serious about it because, well, it's Craigslist. I didn't post any rates or anything. But then somebody actually responded and I didn't know what to do. Needless to say, I never took that job.

So, I wanted to try this again, seriously this time.

I'm a student currently working on my bachelors degree in Spanish. I have about a year left.

I charge no less than 28-45 cents/word USD.

I will hire editors myself.

So I should put all this in the ad? What else?

Thank you in advance.


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ATIL KAYHAN
Turkey
Local time: 21:16
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Rate Feb 25, 2013

I would put my rate as one number (e.g. 28 cents/word) rather than a range. A range is confusing. Why would you put a range, anyhow?

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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 14:16
German to English
Craigslist = low-end services Feb 25, 2013

People using Craigslist are generally looking for inexpensive goods and services as an alternative to high prices generally offered in the market. Prices are generally a no-no on Proz, but I might suggest that the range you posted puts you in the market for high-end industrial customers who aren't looking on Craigslist for service providers. I might also suggest that your prices are extraordinarily optimistic in your language combination, especially for someone who hasn't finished a degree.

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Rudolf Vedo CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:16
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
A lot of flaky buyers on Craigslist Feb 25, 2013

What to expect selling on CL:
- Flaky potential "buyers" who make you re-arrange your schedule to accommodate the only time they can come see your item and/or buy it, but they never show up.
- People who make you spend time responding to their request for additional pictures, provenance, and in general far more detail than any reasonable person needs in order to make a decision on whether they're interested in seeing the item, and then never respond.
- People who haggle by e-mail, even though they're already getting a fantastic deal, agree on a price, come to get the item, and then haggle *even more*, after uncovering imaginary "shortcomings" in the used whatever-it-is.
- "This other CL ad has it for cheaper, but yours is nicer, so if you lower your price, I'll buy yours".

Come to think of it, it's pretty much like most of the translation market!

And my favorite, people who ask only a single question: "Do you still have this item?". I say yes, and then I never never from them again. Why did they even bother to ask about it?


[Edited at 2013-02-25 18:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-02-25 18:16 GMT]


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:16
Member (2012)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I tried it once... Feb 25, 2013

and got nothing but junk mail and a couple of scams. The biggest thing I would stress is to present yourself to you intended market, if you want legal work, add examples, give the text that legalese quality that makes it 3x longer than it needs to be (^_^) for example.

I don't think craigslist is a bad idea, I still hop on there every couple weeks to look for work, but the Spanish speaking population is almost null in the St. Louis Mo area.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:16
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
I agree with Kevin Feb 25, 2013


Kevin Fulton wrote:

People using Craigslist are generally looking for inexpensive goods and services as an alternative to high prices generally offered in the market. Prices are generally a no-no on Proz, but I might suggest that the range you posted puts you in the market for high-end industrial customers who aren't looking on Craigslist for service providers. I might also suggest that your prices are extraordinarily optimistic in your language combination, especially for someone who hasn't finished a degree.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:16
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
ATA mentoring program Feb 25, 2013

Have a look at this:

http://www.atanet.org/careers/mentoring.php

Perhaps it would be beneficial if you are just starting out. The deadline for applications is March 15.


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Kelly Efird
Local time: 14:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Different from what I read on here before Feb 25, 2013


Kevin Fulton wrote:

People using Craigslist are generally looking for inexpensive goods and services as an alternative to high prices generally offered in the market. Prices are generally a no-no on Proz, but I might suggest that the range you posted puts you in the market for high-end industrial customers who aren't looking on Craigslist for service providers. I might also suggest that your prices are extraordinarily optimistic in your language combination, especially for someone who hasn't finished a degree.


I remember reading on here that there is no such thing as charging a direct /
private customer any less than 28-45 cents/word USD.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The problem with advice from a single source Feb 26, 2013


Kelly Efird wrote:
I remember reading on here that there is no such thing as charging a direct /
private customer any less than 28-45 cents/word USD.

One person might have said that, but are you in the position of offering the same service, to the same type of clients, as that person? All advice has to be treated with caution (mine included), as do statistics. Another source of rate information, albeit it probably quoting the rate for translation agency clients, is availably in the "community rates" section of ProZ.com. These figures are taken from our own declared rates. Now, many people don't publish rates at all, and there's nothing to stop people quoting one rate and accepting lower, or demanding higher. But I think they are probably a useful guide in the FIGS pairs as the sample size is quite large: out of over 11,000 rates quoted in the EN>ES pair, the average rate per word shows as $0.11 and per hour as $35.15. That may be a little closer to the truth, for agency clients anyway.

How much more (or less) you charge direct clients depends on many things. In theory, we can send a translation that we may not have 100% confidence in to an agency, in the knowledge that they will have it read by a highly competent proofreader. In theory, for a direct client, we will pay for that proofreader out of the rate we quote. In practice, we may find we always provide a similar product, regardless of client. But of course, an agency client finds the client in the first place, may well be in a position to provide us with fairly regular work, and should be making life a little simpler for us by taking on some of the non-linguistic parts of the job; they also take some of the responsibility for any errors. Then again, some direct clients will be able to pay top rates for top service, whereas some (a student needing a dissertation translated is an extreme example), may not be able to pay much at all, and would certainly be horrified at even the minimum rates we quote.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 14:16
German to English
Reality check Feb 26, 2013


Kelly Efird wrote:

I remember reading on here that there is no such thing as charging a direct /
private customer any less than 28-45 cents/word USD.


These are rates quoted by translators with years of experience, with extensive subject-matter knowledge. In the EN>ES combination, you are competing with a number of translators in Latin America who would feel they had won the lottery if they got 2/3 or even half the lowest rate you hope to get. As Ms. Wilson has pointed out, the average is much closer to .11/word, and the skeptic in me suggests that people getting significantly lower rates are too embarrassed to report their fee per word.

At the upper end of the rates you hope to quote, you should be prepared to offer DTP services.

As Ms. Jauntirans indicated, you really need to be mentored. The ATA has a program, and you may get some help from a nearby translators association. You may have to do a little research to find such an organization, but performing research is a vital skill for every translator.


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Kelly Efird
Local time: 14:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
In Latin America? Feb 28, 2013


Kevin Fulton wrote:


Kelly Efird wrote:

I remember reading on here that there is no such thing as charging a direct /
private customer any less than 28-45 cents/word USD.


These are rates quoted by translators with years of experience, with extensive subject-matter knowledge. In the EN>ES combination, you are competing with a number of translators in Latin America who would feel they had won the lottery if they got 2/3 or even half the lowest rate you hope to get. As Ms. Wilson has pointed out, the average is much closer to .11/word, and the skeptic in me suggests that people getting significantly lower rates are too embarrassed to report their fee per word.

At the upper end of the rates you hope to quote, you should be prepared to offer DTP services.

As Ms. Jauntirans indicated, you really need to be mentored. The ATA has a program, and you may get some help from a nearby translators association. You may have to do a little research to find such an organization, but performing research is a vital skill for every translator.


I was thinking more on a local level, like translating material from English to Spanish within my city.


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Kelly Efird
Local time: 14:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm not an ATA member Feb 28, 2013


Daina Jauntirans wrote:

Have a look at this:

http://www.atanet.org/careers/mentoring.php

Perhaps it would be beneficial if you are just starting out. The deadline for applications is March 15.


I don't plan on becoming a member for awhile because I can't pay the membership fee. It's good to know though.


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MottoLab
United States
Local time: 14:16
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
Nothing to lose, but be wary Feb 28, 2013

I agree with Kevin.

CL users are bargain hunters. They have likely checked out translation agencies before heading to CL. I thought about posting on CL too, but haven't actually done so. I once encountered a young start-up professional (the type you often get on CL) offering me a ridiculously low price for a 100,000 word project to be finished in less than a week. I declined but I'm sure there are others who will take up that offer. So I wouldn't say there are no opportunities in CL. Just don't expect it to become your bread and butter.

I'd suggest lowering your prices, and be very firm about them. Emphasize you are providing quality work.

On the local level, try contacting the community centers, social services, and municipal government etc in your area and see if they are recruiting translators/interpreters.




[Edited at 2013-02-28 06:49 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-02-28 06:49 GMT]


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 14:16
German to English
This is a global business Feb 28, 2013


Kelly Efird wrote:

I was thinking more on a local level, like translating material from English to Spanish within my city.


I won't touch the issue of translating out of your native language. I'll assume you grew up in a bilingual family or have spent considerable time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

I live in a city with about 100,000 people, in a metropolitan area with close to four million people with a large industrial base. If I restricted my clientele to a 60-mile radius, I'd starve.

Please keep in mind that low barriers to entry = high risk of failure. Just as there are a lot of people with a lawn mower and a love of the outdoors who dream of running a landscaping company, there are also people with a computer who have some familiarity with another language who dream of being a translator. Please believe me, more people need gardening help than need a translation, and lawn care companies go out of business all the time.

A lot of people don't succeed because they think of themselves only as translators. We're businesspeople, and translation is our business.

You really need to find an experienced AND successful translator in your area who will take the time to talk to you about the realities of the words-for-money business. In preparation for this discussion, you should keep in mind the following:
1. Your academic preparation, if any. Specialized subject matter knowledge can be helpful, especially in engineering, the sciences or business. A theoretical knowledge of accounting and how to read a balance sheet can also help you in running your translation business.

2. Work experience. Having worked in a field can provide you with insider knowledge as well as the buzz words of various endeavors. There is no substitute for hands-on knowledge.

3. Knowledge gained through hobbies. Tinkering with bicycles, motorcycles or cars provides insight into how machines function. Animal husbandry, even on the hobbyist level, requires a knowledge of animal behavior, physiology and biology. Hobby knowledge is useful if you can apply it to remunerative endeavors.

4. Investment. Although it's certainly possible to succeed in this business on the cheap, I suspect that if you were to talk to highly successful translators, you would find that many use translation tools, buy dictionaries (despite the Internet), belong to professional societies and subscribe to publications (online or not) pertaining to their specialist subject matter.

You might also take a look at
http://translationjournal.net/journal/
The online issues go back to the last century.


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Posting my translation services on Craigslist - feedback needed







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