In-house salary in Germany
Thread poster: Michelle Plaistow

Michelle Plaistow  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:56
French to English
+ ...
Jan 13, 2009

Hi all,

I have seen several posts about salaries elsewhere, but I was just wondering how much on average an in-house newcomer (straight out of university) could expect to pick up in Germany? I am in the middle of applying to a few, but I would like to know what an acceptable salary would be if they offer or if I have to say what I expect. Being a newcomer I can hardly compare my freelance rates. I don't want to undersell myself, but I also don't want to appear cheeky. Any help, please?

Thanks,

Michelle


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Paul Adie  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Spanish to English
+ ...
You'll probably not have a choice. Jan 13, 2009

Dear Michelle,

I work in Spain as an in-house translator, but I think my reply will be relevant to you in broader terms. As a newbie, fresh from university, I think you'll be probably be given a like-it-or-lump-it offer, if you manage to get one. I already had a year of working as a project manager and some freelance experience before I got offered an in-house job. The first one was not too good, pay was minimal and the working conditions were harsh, but then I found another one, much better paid, a stable contract, lovely people and just better overall. What I'm trying to say is that it seems you do not have a lot of bargaining power at the moment. If you really want to become a translator and get offered a job in a foreign country, and you can make ends meet, why not take it to see what happens? Always excellent for the CV even if you last for only 3 months. I wouldn't have got the job I have now without working for 3 months in a...less than pleasant environment. I'm guessing you don't have that many ties with back home, i.e. husband or children. Maybe you would be better finding work in a specific field first then going to translation, it's what you feel yourself.

I've not been in translation long, but now I'm thinking of taking another degree and carrying on with translation, to feed and clothe me. I enjoy it after all, and that's the great thing about the job...

Oh yes, to get back on track - I do not know if things in Germany are better organised, but working in a translation agency can be really hectic. You get thrown all kinds of texts, sometimes you get your head bitten off because you missed out a comma and the end client noticed it, and you have had another 5 projects on the go, but it's all good experience, and as much as I moan, I like the job. There are many routes to become a translator, you need not restrict yourself only to working in agencies. Maybe it would be easier being an account manager first? Or just going to Germany and picking grapes in the summer?

In any case, if you think I could help further, please just get in touch via the email contact in my profile.

All the best in your hunt!

Paul


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Jalapeno
Local time: 00:56
English to German
Too many factors ... Jan 14, 2009

Hi Michelle,

first of all: Good luck with your job search.

As for your question: There's really too many factors to provide a good answer. Salary depends, among other things, on:

- company type (translation agencies pay less than international banks)
- region (a decent salary in a small town in Saxony would probably not pay for an apartment in Munich)

What you should do is try to find out what the average cost of living in the region you're interested in is and then go from there.

Good luck,

Johannes


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 18:56
Astonishing low Jan 14, 2009

Between 1600 and 2500 Euro brutto.

Agencies are not ready to pay more than 2000 Euro per month, unless you have some specialities; 1800 would be the basis of a bargain. If you work as a translator/texter for the industry, you can ask up to 2500 Euro.

Anyhow you should be happy if you can find any in-house job, in the crisis.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:56
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not much different from the Netherlands probably Jan 19, 2009

Hi Pinkymp,

Unless you have some amazing skill nobody else has you are probably looking at the standard rate for any newbie straight out of Uni... 1600 - 2300 gross..

good luck
Ed


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Check this other thread Jan 19, 2009

You might want to talk to the person that opened this thread:
http://www.proz.com/post/1034735#1034735


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mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:56
German to English
+ ...
That's me! Jan 19, 2009

It's quite a competitive market here in Germany because the translation courses at German universities tend to skill up students who are German for translating into English. That said there is still quite a lot demand for English mother tongues who have good German and a good CV. If you're lucky a company like SDL (Stuttgart / Munich) or SAP (Heidelberg) might be interested in you, I think they pay between 2,000 and 3,000 Euros a month for new graduates which is very good. A few years ago when I had left uni, a company just outside Hamburg offered me 2,500 Euros a month for a six month translation job which I didn't in the event take. At smaller agencies outside the big conurbations your starting salary is likely to be 1,500 - 2,000 Euros a month.

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Michelle Plaistow  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:56
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarifications Jan 19, 2009

Hi, some things I probably should've said from the start:

1. I don't speak German - my native language is English, my working languages French and Spanish.
2. I am living in Germany already, no choice about it, my partner works here, so I'm limited to where I can apply.

I have been assured (by professors at university) that this shouldn't be too much of a problem in a large agency which deals with many languages. Unfortunately my financial situation means I need to find work ASAP, so can't commit to a German course yet.

To tell the truth anything in the region of 1500-2000€ would be great right now. I would even be prepared to make the coffee and empty the bins of a translation agency to get my foot in the door right now

I'm just not really sure where to apply either. I have found several agencies which would be commutable, although it's always hard to know whether they would want my skills. What kinds of companies would usually have an in-house department?


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:56
German to English
Consider freelancing Jan 19, 2009

pinkymp wrote:
1. I don't speak German - my native language is English, my working languages French and Spanish.
2. I am living in Germany already, no choice about it, my partner works here, so I'm limited to where I can apply.


To be brutally honest, your chances of being hired by a German company (*any* German company) although you don't have even a working knowledge of German are pretty slight. How are you going to handle all the paperwork (including your employment contract) and the day-to-day communication?

I have been assured (by professors at university) that this shouldn't be too much of a problem in a large agency which deals with many languages.


Highly unlikely. If those professors know this so well, perhaps they can help you find a job? Even large agencies dealing with many languages will normally require some knowledge of German, and it has to be said that large agencies in Germany that handle many languages don't tend to have in-house translators (which part of Germany are you in?).

Why not consider freelancing? Of course you'll have to learn some German to deal with the minimal amount of paperwork involved, but you don't have to do it straight away. Germany has one of the most liberal regimes in the world for freelance translating (no closed shop, no authorisations or permits required, no compulsory social security contributions, and so on), provided of course that you're an EU citizen. Check out other threads on ProZ for details.

Robin


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:56
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Or less! Jan 19, 2009

Bin Tiede wrote:

Between 1600 and 2500 Euro brutto.

Agencies are not ready to pay more than 2000 Euro per month, unless you have some specialities; 1800 would be the basis of a bargain. If you work as a translator/texter for the industry, you can ask up to 2500 Euro.



"Brutto" is "gross" in English, though here you might want to translate it as "brutal", because it certainly is trying to live on that amount of money in Germany. Unless you are a literature translator, in which case it may seem like riches.

Several years ago a PM I knew was laid off by the agency which employed her so that she could be replaced by a "junge, engagierte Arbeitskraft" who worked full time for a monthly gross salary of 1200 euros. They continued to use her (operative word: "use") as a freelancer, but under conditions that raised my blood pressure whenever I heard of them.

In industry, I have known staff salaries for translators up to around 4,000 euros per month (in the early part of this decade - I negotiated one at about this level for someone), but that is probably an exception, because the person was very good.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:56
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Surely the best option Jan 19, 2009

RobinB wrote:

Why not consider freelancing? Of course you'll have to learn some German to deal with the minimal amount of paperwork involved, but you don't have to do it straight away.



You can hire a tax consultant who speaks English to deal with your paperwork if you have to.

Given that you have no German skills, your chance of finding a job here in this economy are most likely rather slim. I think your professors may be a bit out of touch with regard to opportunities for in-house work here.

Your income goals are quite modest, so they should be realistic for freelancing if you have good skills and apply yourself to marketing.


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golana
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:56
English to Russian
+ ...
The same problem... Jul 23, 2010

I have the same question now. I found these web-sites, they help to make some idea:

http://www.gehalts-check.de/gehaltsfuehrer/gehalt-office/berufe/bg_10/GR_228/GB_W_1.HTM
http://www.gehaltsvergleich.com/gehalt/Dipl-Uebersetzer-Dipl-Uebersetzerin.html

[Edited at 2010-07-23 14:55 GMT]


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In-house salary in Germany

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