Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Do you deserve the rate you charge?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:00
English to French
+ ...
Jan 5, 2009

If you want to know whether the rate you are charging is appropriate for the service you offer, here is a handy matrix for you to figure that out.

Please, check each option that applies to you and add up the corresponding amounts (the amounts apply to per source word rates in USD cents).

O I translate each sentence - 2 cents
O I use a CAT tool - 2 cents
O I communicate clearly with clients, in a polite manner, without grammar or spelling mistakes - 2 cents
O I ensure that I know what the client is expecting of me - 2 cents
O I make sure the client knows what I will deliver BEFORE I accept the assignment - 2 cents
O I deliver on time, or I let the client know ASAP if something will prevent me from doing so - 2 cents
O I use spellcheck on my translations - 2 cents
O I research my terminology in reliable sources - 2 cents
O I proofread and edit all of my translations, with great care - 2 cents
O I ask questions when I can't figure something out (like the meaning of a term or a phrase) - 2 cents
O I offer reasonable after-sale services (answering client's questions, correcting mistakes, etc.) - 2 cents

If your language pair is rare or if you work in a highly sought after specialization, please, replace each occurrence of 2 cents by 3 cents.

Be cruelly honest in your answers. If you only checked a few of the above statements, you are either abusively overcharging your clients or you should be cleaning toilets right now. If you checked most of the above statements - what are you waiting for to raise your rates?!?

P. S.: Yes, this IS a rant!
P. S. 2: If you think anything is missing from the matrix, feel free to contribute.

Edit: I specified the currency, as suggested by Charlie.

[Edited at 2009-01-05 23:03 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vladimir Gurinenko
Local time: 18:00
Russian to English
+ ...
Yeah, right! Jan 5, 2009

If I charge even a third of that amount, the majority of my prospects will think twice before submitting their translation orders to me

Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:00
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Depends Jan 5, 2009

Therein lies the beauty of this matrix!

In my humble opinion, the reasons why so many outsourcers are not willing to pay even a third of that amount are multiple. To name just a few:

- They aren't aware of the fact that you offer them all that.
- They don't understand the value of all those items.
- Given that the great majority of so-called translators nowadays do not offer all those items (whereas all of it is part of their job), outsourcers do not anticipate that they will get that level of service, and they do not dare to offer to pay rates that would pay for all that effort (if I outsourced and had to run spellcheck because the translator didn't, or if I had to correct the terminology because the agreed upon terminology wasn't applied, I, too, would be reticent to pay the all-inclusive rate). In a sense, the translator community is conditioning them into expecting low quality work with neglected parameters, one of which (my favorite) is that translators don't ask questions when they are unsure of something, and they take chances (something I find utterly unloyal).

For the first point, I have posted a long time ago about making a detailed list of what you offer, which is added to the quote, and subsequently added to the invoice. The client needs to know what he is getting. It helps them to 1) understand what your work consists of (client education), 2) feel safe, knowing all is being taken care of adequately, and 3) appreciate the value of your services (this serves the purpose of the second reason given above). Itemizing all the tasks involved in producing a translation is an easy, efficient and effortless (only takes five minutes) way to achieve this.

I bet that if the above matrix were widely applied to rate calculations, provided the clients are also aware of this matrix, many things would change. For one thing, toilet cleaners would go back to their day jobs and stop bothering the translator community (I am just about fed up with reviewing their mess). Then, those who undercharge their services would eventually raise their rates. If the majority of those who offer genuine quality translations raised their rates, the average market rates would follow suit. Not to mention that the image of the profession would also be healthier.

Edit: Don't you think you should be paid your worth? I understand that your clients are not willing to pay for it - but then again, there are plenty of fishes in the sea. If you went on a long-term rate-raising regime, and other translators did the same at the same time, would outsourcers really have the choice to pay lower rates?

Edit 2: One of the points of this matrix is to show how much of that rate covers strictly translation - 2 cents. It is a way to let some ignorant people know what is it that the client expects to get for his money, and subsequently be charged for. The client doesn't care about the translation per se - he wants you to address his preoccupations (which are getting the job done yesterday, not needing to hire extra help to straighten it out, not having to worry, feeling safe, etc.). Perhaps it also explains why those willing to work for two cents can afford to charge that little - and what kind of quality the agencies they work for are selling to their clients.

[Edited at 2009-01-05 23:12 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
French to English
Currency Jan 5, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
P. S. 2: If you think anything is missing from the matrix, feel free to contribute.


Could you be a tad more specific about the species of "cent" you are using, please?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 17:00
English to Croatian
+ ...
My 2 cents, pun intended Jan 5, 2009

I negotiated with a client today, so my memories are fresh. At first he refused to tell me what the area of translation is, prior to my estimating the rate. When he finally gave me an excerpt, I realized it was a highly-technical sensitive material that will require an extensive care and thorough proofreading/terminology verification, so I gave him a high price, considering the parameters.

Then he began with the " it is too expensive for us" story, after which I explained to him that each translation also requires a research, etc.. and that I am a professional who cares about all aspects of the translation process ( I gave him a detailed explanation, like that in your intro post). I also told him that if he can afford a cheap translator who will mess something up, and it is a sensitive material, then I don't mind it, it's his call. This was the turning point, after which he accepted my rate.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:00
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
USD Jan 5, 2009

Since the bulk of translators is paid in USD (increasingly even when they are in Europe and the agency is in Europe as well - whatever is up with that), I used USD. Please, convert as needed.

I guess I just made an ass out of you and me...

[Edited at 2009-01-05 23:07 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:00
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some more ideas Jan 5, 2009

What about these?:

- I have an extensive network of professionals I can turn to for terminology questions.
- I have a back-up plan in the event of computer hardware/software, internet connection problems.
- I am an active and participating member of a professional organization for translators.
- I read professional journals/blogs, etc. about translation and in my field of expertise.
- I keep current with my source and target languages through extensive reading, foreign television broadcasts, travel, social contacts, etc.
- I respond to RFQs/availability queries in a timely manner.
- If I cannot do a good job (subject matter/deadline), I will not accept the project.
- I maintain the confidentiality of your private documents.
- I will notify you if I find a mistake in the source document.
- Where applicable, I will provide an explanation and/or reference information for legal or cultural terms that do not exist in the target language.
- I will not subcontract work out to someone else without your approval.
- In exchange for providing me with regular work and paying me on time, I will provide you with the translation of short sentences/words as well as answer miscellaneous questions about potential projects at no charge to you and I will refer requests for work outside my language pairs/specialties to your company.




[Edited at 2009-01-05 23:58 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 17:00
English to Croatian
+ ...
Jeff, you deserve a golden medal Jan 6, 2009

What you added is simply genius, Jeff.

Hilarious and genius.

Ha ha



[Edited at 2009-01-06 00:27 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:00
English to German
+ ...
More. Jan 6, 2009

- I spend thousands of dollars per year to ensure that you can and will receive all data via high-end, high-speed and secured internet access and that I can upload / download your data at all times and in a speedy manner without having to charge you extra
- I spend a lot of money on a certified tax accountant to ensure that you will never, ever be bothered regarding previous invoices / payments, should I ever be audited
- You may call my toll-free phone number at all times. I will cover the cost, even if you call to tell me about the weather


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 17:00
English to Croatian
+ ...
A few to add Jan 6, 2009

- I have a back- up translator to finish my work in case I get hit by a car, or accidentally eat bad butter for breakfast and thus end up in the hospital

- In the latter case, I will make sure I have bribed the nurse to let me use my laptop in order to finish the translation ( 10 cents)



[Edited at 2009-01-06 01:04 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:00
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
You have to find the right clients---but there are inherent limits Jan 6, 2009

As a freelance translator who definitely has his own rate floor beneath which he will not descend, I sympathize with Victoria's remarks. However, I fear that if I were to seriously apply her matrix, I would quickly find myself with nothing to do but answer Kudoz questions and catch up on my reading.

Not that all hope is lost. You just have to find clients who appreciate the difference between "good enough" and "very good," who require a "very good" translation, and who are willing to pay the premium for the added value.

You probably won't end up getting triple the average going rate, but you could very well get 30-50% beyond the going rate--and that makes a very big difference indeed.

Bob

[Edited at 2009-01-06 01:45 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:00
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's not a serious matrix Jan 6, 2009

The point of the matrix I posted is not to apply it as is - it is rather a simple way to illustrate that actual translation is only a small part of what we do. The same way, only a small part of the rate we charge covers actual translation. I can translate 300 words per hour, but if I count the other related tasks (adding comments and questions to a PDF, running spell check, proofing and reviewing, etc.), and then the time spent on customer service, I don't even translate half of that per hour.

The main purpose of the proposed matrix is to illustrate the fact that the only way a translator can expect to be paid better rates than the ones advertized lately here and elsewhere is to consider that translation goes beyond simple translation. Needless to say, the financial investment doesn't stop at buying a CAT tool. Even though many of the products and services we buy are tax deductible, they are not free. So, in a way, the matrix uncovers the difference between true businesspersons such as freelancers are supposed to be and people who translate just for fun, to "get rich quick in the comfort of your home" or to have a bit of extra income (read: people who are not serious). A client who wants top-notch translations expects no less than the items in the matrix - and those who understand the value of it all are willing to pay. But serious clients who want top-notch translations who are constantly deceived by the majority who thinks that translation is just translation end up changing their minds about how much they are willing to pay.

In a sense, the matrix is a message to those who are not serious and who often ruin things for those who are: clean up your act! It is also a wake-up call for those who are professional but follow the majority in all they do (that is, they undersell themselves, let their clients dictate rates and conditions, etc.).

In short, if you want to earn good money, it's possible - but you will have to get used to doing a whole lot more than just apply 100% matches.

The key to my initial post is in its title: Do you deserve the rate you charge? I know I do - but I am only part of a tiny minority...

P. S.: I have spent the past few months reviewing the work of half a dozen so-called translators. The majority didn't use spellcheck, none (!) of them asked questions when stuck with obscure technical terms and instead made very wrong guesses, about half had no clue about typography, most of them didn't apply the terminology (they all use Trados and they had a termbase), half of them delivered late... I could go on. The client is due for a nice, long vacation - and so am I. We did everything we could to find competent, serious people - I was amazed at the fact that there simply seems to be none of that on the planet. We worked with people who have beeeeutiful profiles on this site and elsewhere, very credible, with certification, diplomas, the whole shebang, only to find out later they were unable to tell the difference between a common noun and a proper noun. Do we wonder why both agencies and direct clients doubt we will serve them well? Do we wonder why the rates remain so low?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

PRAKAASH  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 20:30
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
I deserve more than that! Jan 6, 2009

Hi everyone,

I always feel I deserve more what I charge/recieve, however due to stiff competition, I can't raise the bar. I don't commit anyone till I have enough time to complete job whereas others do and offer the same job to the spare fellows. I rarely believe in getting work done from others. I don't feel that I can get work done in the same manner from others, that I do. I don't feel that intensity of following commitment would be same.
When I commit, I keep on going with good quality work, till it is completely impossible to do the same work.
Example: I fulfilled my commitment, when revolution in Nepal was going on and it was impossible to work from anywhere in the town Narayangarh for me to continue. I talked to one of my local friend, arranged a system and net connection and completed the designated task alongwith sending emails to various news channels giving reports of truth of revolution through emails.
Hopefully, you agree!

Thanks & Regards,
PRAKAASH
FREELANCE TRANSLATOR OF NEPALI, HINDI, SANSKRIT AND ENGLISH TO FOUR OF THE SAME.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 10:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I got a 16! Jan 6, 2009

Sixteen USD cents, looks nice! But I really charge a third of that and to Peruvian companies even less, as they are not willing to pay much...

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Any proof of that? Jan 6, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

Since the bulk of translators is paid in USD (increasingly even when they are in Europe and the agency is in Europe as well - whatever is up with that), I used USD. Please, convert as needed.

I guess I just made an ass out of you and me...

[Edited at 2009-01-05 23:07 GMT]


The majority (66 %) of prozians reside in Europe, and we get paid in Euro. I guess USD is no major currency any more in our industry. These last few years US agencies could not even afford qualified European translators.

According to a recent poll (http://www.proz.com/?action=results&poll_ident=164&sp=polls ) 73 percent of our work comes from inside Europe.

I hope since 2004 that the default unit of currency in job postings would be changed to Euro, but because this is a US site no action was taken.

Regards
Heinrich

[Bearbeitet am 2009-01-06 08:29 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Do you deserve the rate you charge?

Advanced search







Across v6.3
Translation Toolkit and Sales Potential under One Roof

Apart from features that enable you to translate more efficiently, the new Across Translator Edition v6.3 comprises your crossMarket membership. The new online network for Across users assists you in exploring new sales potential and generating revenue.

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs