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IS 0.02 for translating acceptable?
Thread poster: Dirk Wouters
Dirk Wouters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:52
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Nov 30, 2004

I have a client that is also a freelance translator, she came to me with a project of around 80,000 words from dutch into english (I am native Dutch) at a rate of 0,02. Who of you would take this job? She said she will do the proofreading and gets a total of 0,05. Is this 40% translator, 60%outsourcer a fair deal yes or no?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-12-03 17:18]


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Atenea Acevedo  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nooooooooooooooooo Nov 30, 2004

No way!

Atenea


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:52
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
I hope you're joking Nov 30, 2004

If you're not, then tell her to translate the whole thing herself. That way she gets to keep the WHOLE nickel per word.
Even 0.05/word is outrageously low, especially for a language pair like yours.
My two cents (no pun intended),
Catherine


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:52
English to German
+ ...
Hard to see how this could be feasible Nov 30, 2004

Hi Dirk,
Welcome to the forums.

Please don't get me wrong, but the issue of pricing has been discussed numerous times. May I suggest you have a look at past discussions on this issue?

That said, I guess you can answer the question yourself, simply by looking at your fixed costs, your average output per hour and your target income per hour worked.

Frankly, the business rationale of taking a job at 5 cents and then trying to outsource the translation part is lost on me...

Best regards,
Ralf


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Dirk Wouters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:52
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I know Nov 30, 2004

Thank you Ralf for your reply and I agree.
The point of my post is to make my point with her, because I am trying to convince her to give me 0,03 (which I know is still ridiculously low, but I am hoping on more translations and I live in Spain so prices here are very low especially for young translator like me) and I would like to redirect her to this page so she can see for herself that my opinion is not that ridiculous.
thanks

Hi Dirk,
Welcome to the forums.

Please don't get me wrong, but the issue of pricing has been discussed numerous times. May I suggest you have a look at past discussions on this issue?

That said, I guess you can answer the question yourself, simply by looking at your fixed costs, your average output per hour and your target income per hour worked.

Frankly, the business rationale of taking a job at 5 cents and then trying to outsource the translation part is lost on me...

Best regards,
Ralf

[/quote]


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:52
Dutch to English
+ ...
Very low rate even for Spain Nov 30, 2004

Welkom Dirk!

I translate in the same language combinations as you do and even for Spain these are extremely low rates. The standard for the language pair Dutch to English and English to Dutch in Spain is around 0.06 EUR. I know several translators in Spain that charge these rates or even higher.

There is even a job posted earlier today by an agency based in Spain that was offering 0.05 per word (same language combination): http://www.proz.com/job/67060

Just giving you more ammunition!

Kind regards,
Marijke


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arterm  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:52
Member (2002)
English to Russian
short note Nov 30, 2004

Dear Colleagues,
It seems strange in terms of business to count other's money.
I would suggest Dirk to simply count his own benefits about this project rather than counting what his client earns. Just decide if 50 USD/EUR per day is acceptable.
If you have enough of work you can easily deny this offer.
If you have nothing else to do, why not to work and gain 1600 USD. take repetetive words into consideration, maybe there are 50000 repetitive words?

What I wanted to say is that this decision is very simple and should not be motivated by phraseology like "fair/not fair", just evaluate your benefits and risks and make an informed decision basing on your per hour rates

have a great day
Arterm Sedov

[Edited at 2004-11-30 19:37]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:52
German to English
+ ...
IS 0,02 for translating acceptable? Nov 30, 2004

Are you self-employed? Guess what: you get to decide.

Marc


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arterm  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:52
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Agree 100% with MarcPrior Nov 30, 2004

MarcPrior wrote:

Are you self-employed? Guess what: you get to decide.

Marc


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Dirk Wouters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:52
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree Nov 30, 2004

I agree, I know I get to decide. I just wanted some back-up on my opinion that 0,02 is not acceptable. By the way, this rate would be for non-matches with trados only.

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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 00:52
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Unacceptable Nov 30, 2004

Dirk Wouters wrote:

I agree, I know I get to decide. I just wanted some back-up on my opinion that 0,02 is not acceptable. By the way, this rate would be for non-matches with trados only.


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xxxncfialho  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Proofreading better paid than translation???? Nov 30, 2004

Hi,
I would say as translation is the more difficult part of the job, agree with her that either she does the translation and you do the proofreading or she stays with 0,02 and you get the 0,03 for translating.
Thats fairer than the other way round.
Good luck,
Natália


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:52
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
there are 2 issues here imho Nov 30, 2004

First of all, translation is by far the harder of the 2 jobs (this is from someone who works as an editor), and *should* be paid better than proof reading.

Secondly, 0.02 is very very little indeed. Of course, it is your decision but I strongly disagree with the notion of "if you have nothing better to do, take whatever you can". The problem with this approach is that there are 2 markets in translation; the commodity market and the luxury market. If you want to be working for 0.02 forever (someone who pays you 0.02 per word is not likely to offer you 0.10 for the next job) then you take anything you can get. If you want to eventually be paid what top pros are paid, then start _only a little_ below them.

I remember taking a couple of jobs for $0.04 and $0.05 per word when I was getting started, and I honestly regret it now...for many reasons.

Freelance translation is not easy so my advice would be: don't give up your other job (assuming you have one) and try to find clients who pay acceptable prices, slowly but surely building up a clientelle of serious people. Of course, if you spent your last penny on getting into freelancing, do take anything, because you'll die of starvation otherwise...but if you have another source of income, don't act as if you're desperate.

As an example, the average price for my language pairs on Proz is 0.10-0.11 per word, start at 0.07-0.08 and you will be able to gradually build up to that average as you gain in experience and reputation.

Given the volume, I don't think 0.05 is all that bad (if it's Euros at least), that's about $0.07-0.08 per word, which is OK, since that's a month's work.

To Artem: I don't see how we're counting other people's money - Dirk asked, we responded.

Just remember - start as you mean to go on.

[Edited at 2004-11-30 20:57]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:52
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The best Spanish proofreading rate I've seen Nov 30, 2004

was 33% (1/3) of translation rates. 25% is more common.

BTW, 0.05 isn't an acceptable translation rate for what the APETI considers a B (Germanic) language. (Their going rate in 1992 was 0.052, still in pesetas). And APETI don't exactly set their sights as high as the rest of the EU ...

[Edited at 2004-11-30 20:59]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:52
German to English
+ ...
IS 0,02 for translating acceptable? Nov 30, 2004

Dirk Wouters wrote:

I just wanted some back-up on my opinion that 0,02 is not acceptable.


Wrong approach. As soon as you say "a colleague of mine in the Rhineland says that 0.14 euro/(English) word is a reasonable agency rate", you invite your customer to point to other suppliers willing to work for 0.01. That's not the kind of negotiation you want.

You need to convince your customer that she can't afford to pay *as little as* 0.02/word. You also need to do some hard thinking yourself. Any business that consistently pays its suppliers less than an acceptable price runs, sooner or later, into quality problems (the process is known as "Lopezization"). You can't get consistently high-quality Dutch-to-English translations for 2 eurocents a word, as you know full well. If it were possible, I'd probably give up translating and set up an agency myself.

Marc


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