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I need advice with rates for large projects.
Thread poster: Beatriz Ramírez de Haro

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:36
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 8, 2009

Having scared away a couple of potential clients with my rates, I am now lost when asked to give a block price per thousand or ten thousand words.
I normally translate small technical documents Eng>Es for 0.09 euros per word. My questions are:
- How many words does a text need to be considered "large".
- What would be the proper reduction?
- Should I make my estimate per word or is there a better option?
All your comments and suggestions are most welcome!


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Definition of large Apr 8, 2009

I'd say anything over 50,000 words is large.

I'd recommend to be careful with rate reductions, as each word of a large project will mean the same effort to you as if the project had 200 words! Having said that, a flexibility of 10%-15% from your normal rate is something I would say is acceptable for large projects.


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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:36
English to Dutch
+ ...
turnaround time, preferences? Apr 8, 2009

Does the turnaround time set out for the large project imply that you will have to say "no" to your regular clients? Or are you talking about a long ongoing project that would provide you with a secure income for a couple of months?

In the first scenario, you might well lose some of the 0,09 p/w clients because you're working at 0,07 for someone else, and that would seem like an unwise approach to me. But if the turnaround time is reasonable, you get a different story altogether of course.

Another question: you mainly work on shorter jobs. Do you even LIKE larger ones? Some of the translators with whom I work prefer jobs with a horizon of one week max, because they lose their motivation with longer jobs. Others love larger projects, since they usually involve less admin, less stress and less startup time, and they offer regularity and predictability. Ask yourself, "which type of translator am I?"

If you don't like the larger projects, and you have enough smaller ones to keep you happily occupied (yes, big IF, I'm aware of that), that's again something you want to consider when you send out your quote.

Good luck!


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 08:36
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Don't sell yourself short Apr 8, 2009

1. 0.09 Euor is not high, especially for technical projects coming from the U.S. or Europe.

2. Large projects involve much more QA time and work, including outside editors in some cases. Not only should you not reduce your rate, in terms of time spent, there is justiification for raising rates for such projects as I do not see how I (or you) can do proper quality control for so many words without another pair of eyes.

3. Large projects often mean that you cannot take on other projects for a significant period of time. Consider that as loss of income.

Unless you want to work for less money per hour than your cleaning lady (if you have one), do not reduce rates. Instead, say that you are giving a discount by not raising them!


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree with rifkind Apr 8, 2009

Completely agree

rifkind wrote:

1. 0.09 Euor is not high, especially for technical projects coming from the U.S. or Europe.

2. Large projects involve much more QA time and work, including outside editors in some cases. Not only should you not reduce your rate, in terms of time spent, there is justiification for raising rates for such projects as I do not see how I (or you) can do proper quality control for so many words without another pair of eyes.

3. Large projects often mean that you cannot take on other projects for a significant period of time. Consider that as loss of income.

Unless you want to work for less money per hour than your cleaning lady (if you have one), do not reduce rates. Instead, say that you are giving a discount by not raising them!



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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 02:36
Quality controll for large projects Apr 8, 2009

I mainly do small and medium-sized jobs, i.e. jobs with less than 10.000 words. After checking my translation on PC, I would print out the documents for the last check. It seems to be the most effective way to proofread my own translation, cause there are always some errors which I did not detect on the PC. For a large job with, say 100.000 words, I don't know how my quality check could be possible.

I do translation on a part-time basis, completing about 1000 words per day. Large jobs can't wait that long till I can finish them.

I do enjoy smaller jobs, which not only keep me happily busy, but also make my future more interesting. What will my next job be? Like a teenager, who can dream of any future.

I definitely have no discount for large jobs.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 07:36
English to German
+ ...
@beatrice Apr 8, 2009

HI! QA is a difficult subject. I would consider a quarter million word finishing within 7 working days is a true challenge. It can truly skin people, I would else have suggested to stick around 30000 words 10 working days period, which is healthy and a manageable size.

Last year our team had done almost over 3,2 milion words but at the end we were so tired, and had to decide not to take such projects any more. 10 years ago it was worse, the demand was single handed finishing and over 100000 words in 20 working days. I used to do very high speed translation, at a very low pricing, because I thought large project pays off, but the amount of concentration I had to invest into it can be recalculated into working hour. I think I have got my lesson, and advice all my colleagues to be not easy going with large projects. QA is a subject by itself, and there many standards. Brandis


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Beatriz Ramírez de Haro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:36
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I am happy I asked Apr 8, 2009

This is just the advice I needed! I was definitely going to sell myself short without even considering my own preferences. Now I have a much clearer picture.
I really appreciate your help.
Thank you Tomás, Susan, rifkind, Penélope, Bin, and Brandis for your time and your insight.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A very good point! Apr 9, 2009

Susan van den Ende wrote:
Do you even LIKE larger ones? Some of the translators with whom I work prefer jobs with a horizon of one week max, because they lose their motivation with longer jobs. Others love larger projects, since they usually involve less admin, less stress and less startup time, and they offer regularity and predictability. Ask yourself, "which type of translator am I?"


Indeed this is a very good question. I used to like bigger jobs ten years ago, and anything over 200,000 words was lovely. If I had a 200,000-word job today, I would probably not be very excited, as it would mean having to work very hard to sustain the regular flow of translations to other customers. I prefer things as they are now: a regular flow of jobs that range from 400 to 10,000 words, from different customers and on different subjects.


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Valery Kaminski  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 08:36
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Another thing to consider... Apr 9, 2009

... is the nature of the text.
E.g. a 10,000-word complicated text might take you more time than 30,000 words on something simple, where only your typing speed is the limit. I always try to assess my hourly output in each particular case and build my bid on that.


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Silvina Gospodinova  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:36
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Hi all Apr 9, 2009

Hello,

I know it is out of this topic but I am ever so disappointed : at the beginning of this discussion is mentioned that the charge is 0.09 per word - great! But do you know that there are loads of translators in my language group that charge 0.02 per word!... And it is ever so demoralizing for me having all these degrees and still being passioned in getting the best qualifications but having in mind that I may not be able to ever find clients through proz just because of the "competition" here...
Recently a UK based translator/agency offered me £20 per 1000 words?!
How do you cope with this underpaying?

Regards


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 02:36
I am prepared to leave this business Apr 9, 2009

Silvina Gospodinova wrote:
How do you cope with this underpaying?
Regards


Hi Silvina,

I am not ready to stay at this business for whatever cost. If no client is willing to pay my minimum rate, I will have to choose another profession, though I love translating.

I received stupid job offers as well. The client did not even bother asking my rates, they just had a fixed price for xx pages.

No, I'd rather be unemployed than be exploited.

Best,
Bin


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Reduction? Apr 9, 2009

As the industry stands, only a TM can reduce a work load (and you pay to acquire one). So the logic of discounts for volume is a bit "fuzzy", to be diplomatic about it.

There is an upper limit to the number of words that can be done in a day. A large volume would only mean more days of work (unless the TM can reduce that). Quality Control will be another time and cost equation.

So before quoting, I suggest you think of price in terms of time (a limited resource that is also a non-recoverable asset) and any outside help you may require.

And, no, 10,000 words in not large. That's less than a week's work for one person.

On the other hand, how long would 50,000 words tie you up? (If the answer is, one month without invoicing, maybe you ought to think it over, unless they give you time enough to fit in other clients).

Good luck!


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