Minimum charges, rush charges and volume discounts
Thread poster: Vitaliy Plinto

Vitaliy Plinto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:57
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Nov 25, 2008

Dear Translators,

After reading some articles online and in print I have noticed that besides translation, editing, proofreading (and sometimes localization) rates most translators also include rates such as minimum charges (e.g. for the volume of less than 250 words), rush charges (e.g. if the client wants the project to be delivered within 24 hours or less) and volume discounts (e.g. translator lowers the rate if the project size is too large) on their rate sheets or quotes. Do translators typically put the same standardized minimum charges, rush charges and volume discounts for all language pairs that they work with, or do their minimum charges, rush charges and volume discounts vary depending on the language pair? Thank you very much for your help and cooperation!

Sincerely,

Vitaliy


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:57
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
There is a lot of variation in what various translators do Nov 25, 2008

1. Volume discounts

The general consensus on that issue is that you do not save on time if you translate twice as many words, or 10 times as many words, or 100 times as many words. Translating 100 words multiplied by 100 takes 100 times as long. Therefore you do not want to lose out on income, and you do not give a volume discount.

2. Rush job surcharges

Until this last summer I generally succeeded in implementing rush job surcharges, though I lost a few orders from agencies, who simply went to the next colleague who would do it without a surcharge. Since the general economic crisis, it is nearly impossible to make anyone at all pay a rush job surcharge, which is a sore point with me. You can understand from this that rush job surcharges depend upon the current state of the economy.

3. Minimum charges

It is pretty easy to apply a minimum charge with end clients, and they would expect it, as they would generally not work for anyone for less than a minimum amount either.

With agencies, it can prove difficult. You tell the agency your minimum charge is EUR 25.00, and they just write back and say, "EUR 25.00 is our minimum charge to our end client. Can you do it for the exact word count?" By this they generally mean EUR 5.00 to EUR 8.00. Whether you go along with them depends upon how established you are, i.e. whether you need the work.

If you insist on a minimum charge of, say, EUR 25.00, it turns out to be quite practical, though, because then most agencies no longer offer you small, uneconomical jobs, for which you still have to do all the administrative and book-keeping work, and which take longer in proportion, anyway, than larger jobs.

Anyhow, there is no standardisation among us.

Astrid


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 15:57
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Depends on you living standard Nov 25, 2008

For some 5 USD is a lot of money, others cannot afford to write an invoice for less than 20 Euro.
Always when you agree to a discount make sure your wordrate is put high enough to ensure the right endsum. That's how department stores proceed, put a high price tag and a big discount to make people happy, instead of putting the same endprice without discount.

For large projects about the same subject you'll save on research effort, so some discount might work for you. But always remember that hitting the last key takes as much time as hitting the first key when translating.

If you're the only guy that can translate straigt from Belbanian to Hinduric you can charge almost as much as you wish, of course. (No offence to the noble citizens of these fine countries intended).

Regards
Heinrich


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:57
English to Polish
+ ...
My point of view Nov 25, 2008

Astrid is right in saying that no standard is applicable. Therefore I can only give my personal point of view.

1. Volume discounts
I generally offer no such. BUT if I see an offer only slightly below my standard rate which on the other hand means I'll be constantly busy for at least two weeks, I seriously consider taking it on. The difference between my normal rate and the accepted rate could be considered a silent volume discount, even if I never use the expression openly - why demoralise the customers who might become regulars?

2. Rush charges
No. I either can or cannot do the job within the proposed deadline without compromising other deadlines or family life.

3. Minimum charge
Definitely yes, the same for my both pairs. Equivalent to my hourly rate - if the job takes e.g. half an hour, the other half would be spent on invoicing it etc.


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
English into Spanish Nov 25, 2008

1. Volume discounts
In general, I don't offer volume discounts. Otherwise, I'll be working more hours to end up with the same "salary". It makes no sense for me. I have enough work at my rates.

2. Rush charges
No. As Iza said, I either can or cannot do the job.

3. Minimum charge
I always charge a minimum rate that is equivalent to my hourly rate. 40 € in my case. However, I have a special minimum rate for small translations for regular clients. I charge that rate for the time "wasted" opening documents, creating folders, cleaning files, etc.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
My three cents Nov 25, 2008

1. Volume discounts
Not even when Hell freezes over. I already work at full capacity all the time. Why would I want to consider giving a discount?

2. Rush charges
Absolutely, as often as I feel "rushed". Sometimes I set the percentage (25 to 100%), sometimes (if it is an agency I know well, and I want to give the PM negotiation flexibility) I tell the client to work out an "appropriate" rush charge and tell me what it is. I can't remember being disappointed any time recently, "economic crisis" or not.

3. Minimum charge
Yes, but mine is much too low at the present time. Considering the excessive number of minimum charge invoices or line items on collective invoices I write and the time I waste doing this, I really need to deal with this issue soon. I used to refuse most jobs that would take me less than a few hours ages ago, but when I merged my business with my partner's four years ago, her practice of doing the small stuff came along. At least I did away with those stupid 3 euro invoices....


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Óscar Delgado Gosálvez  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:57
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
discounts for "slow jobs" Nov 26, 2008

I do not offer any discount on volume, for the same exact reasons pointed out by my colleagues before me.

I do charge a minimum rate unless it is unfair or a special favour to someone.

Rush and over the weekend jobs ar charged at an extra 40%.

I try to encourage my clients not to overrush by offering a 20 % discount if the average word count is equal or below 2000 words a day. That way I can combine assignments from different clients and avoid rollercoaster weeks. I found out many of them are happy with the discount and suddenly find out that their assignments are not that urgent.

It works for me.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:57
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
i do a lot of smaller jobs Nov 27, 2008

for them, i will charge a rush rate. They're usually small and need a quick turnover.

Volume discount, no. However, for some non profits or NGOs with restricted budgets I will charge the minimum per word or per hour rate.


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