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Payment for medical translations (which rates should I charge?)
Thread poster: xxxDr.G.MD

Local time: 12:28
Sep 5, 2004

I have decided to go independet and specialize in medical translations English>German. What rates can I charge, in Europe and locally here in Western Canada ?

Thank you all,


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-09-05 05:30]

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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:28
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Curious about other people's rates? Sep 6, 2004

My suggestion: Become a Platinum member!

Platinum members are able to view the community's rates.
Go to the "Jobs" tab, then scroll down to the "Rates" section:

8. What rates are people asking? Can I view aggregated data?

You can view the rates entered the community on this page or by using the 'View rates' link in the menu. Limitations:

***Available to Platinum members only***
You must enter your rates
You can view the rates for up to 5 of your language pairs.

Cheers, johanna

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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:58
English to Tamil
+ ...
Never accept low rates Sep 6, 2004

You live in Canada and are affected by its tax regime, cost of living et al. And you should go for rates that are viable for daily life in Canada.

By the way, are you a practising doctor wanting to do translation on the side? In that case you will be in a stronger position economic-wise as well as prestige-wise and can command a good price. Remember that with your medical qualifications and a reasonable control of language pairs, you will kindle a lot of interest in prospective clients - agencies as well as direct clients.

If on the other hand, you want to discontinue medical practice and to become fulltime translator, you have a steep uphill path before you. To minimize the difficulties, I would suggest that you go easy on immediately giving up medicine. You can decide later. Don't rock the boat for the moment.

Now let's come to the question of rates. Go for a rate that will guarantee you a comfortable living. I would suggest you charge not less than 0.10 Euro per English word. I am given to understand that in Canada the market is governed by regulations and not every Tom, Dick and Harry can become a translator. It may be a good thing, as once you fulfill the conditions posed by law, there is no risk of your being undercut by translators charging much less.

If you want, just click the profiles of Proz members of your pair. With luck some may have entered their rates. And in this manner you can have a good idea of the way the wind blows.


Gerhard Rentsch, MD PhD wrote:
I have decided to go independet and specialize in medical translations English>German. What rates can I charge, in Europe and locally here in Western Canada ?

[Edited at 2004-09-06 06:47]

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Laura Vinti  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:28
German to Italian
+ ...
The community rates... Sep 6, 2004

...just give you the rates for general/technical translations.
Translators specialized in the Medical/Legal/Financial etc. fields usually charge more that technical translators.
It would be interesting to find out more about rates in these fields.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
French to English
Market rates plus Sep 6, 2004

My rule of thumb is that it is easier to justify a high rate than a low one. Target reader should always be borne in mind. The better your understanding of the subject matter, the more convincing your final text will be. Therefore, start at market rates for the field and modify depending on complexity of the text. Assuming that you are linguistically skilled, readers from the medical field will generally appreciate a piece from a professional peer.

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Andrea Bianchi
Costa Rica
Local time: 04:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Try finding out current rates from your pharmaceutical sales reps. Dec 6, 2004

As someone who went in that direction 5 years ago, I salute and welcome you. Now, for rates, usually, the biggest market for textual is in the pharmaceutical industry. If you have made friends with some sales representatives, they might tell you the cureent rates that their marketing and medical directory departments are paying. It will vary fom country to country, but beware for the flow of potential medical jobs is not constant and you may find yourself with some finantial unstability. That being said, carpe diem and be sure to try and takle medical research jobs as well using the same sources I alrready mentined.

Have the best luck in the world


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Paolo Valenti  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
German to Italian
+ ...
As a medical translator working also for German agencies, I say, be expensive! Dec 17, 2004

It may sound snobbish, but we have to be expensive. Translation in the medical field is a responsibility job, because many texts are informations to patients and they have to be scrupolously right. Clients must understand that we are specialists, and, furthermore, pharmaceutical companies usually CAN afford to pay more.

The rates you see here are usually too low, I refuse jobs for less than 1 Euro per line (55 characters). Maybe as a starter you can charge a little less, but rates like 0.06-0.08 E/word should never apply to the medical field.

Another suggestion: if you are a medical translator, introduce yourself as a medical translator. It sounds a bit unprofessional if you are specialized in "law, marketing, technical and medicine."

Viel Glück! Paolo Valenti

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