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Salary for a translator in Germany
Thread poster: Michelle Hertrich

Michelle Hertrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:41
German to English
+ ...
Aug 14, 2006

I´ve just applied for a job as translator for an translating agency in Germany. The company would like to know what my expected wage is. Can someone help? What´s normal for a beginner? It´s a full-time job. The seem to work in all possible fields, although my area of speciality is the medical field. Thanks!

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:41
English to French
+ ...
Gather information on ProZ Aug 14, 2006

I can't personally help as I am not in Germany and rates differ depending on geographical location and language pairs. I see you are not a platinum user, so you don't have access to the rates on this site. However, I think that if you search job postings on the site, make an average of those rates and add 20% to it (rates on this site are lower than the actual average rate because only agencies offer jobs here and there are no direct clients), you may have at least an indicator of how much you should ask for.

Also check out the rate calculator here: http://www.proz.com/?sp=rate_calc

This is not going to tell you what the average rates are in your segment of the market, but it will tell you how much you should charge in order to make the kind of money you would like to make.

You also may want to ask around in the German forum for this, there may be more people there willing and able to help.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2006-08-14 17:33]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:41
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Useful link Aug 14, 2006

Hi Michelle,

Try this link:

http://www.gehalts-check.de/Gehaltsfuehrer/Gehalt-Office/BERUFE/BG_10/GR_228/L_228.HTM

Best regards,

Astrid


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Andrea Brumma
Spain
Local time: 00:41
English to German
+ ...
Salary probably depends on the agency's size and reputation Aug 14, 2006

Is the agency big or is it small or medium-sized? What about it's reputation? And what about your qualifications?
If you have a university degree in translation, I think that as a beginner you can ask for:
24,000-26,000 EUR gross/year in a small agency
28,000-30,000 EUR gross/year in a medium-sized agency
32,000-38,000 EUR gross/year in a big, renown agency

That's what German agencies offered me 3 or 4 years ago when we finally got to negotiating the salary. Then I decided to go to Spain, but most of my friends in Germany are working for this salary.
Remember it's always better to give the agency a salary range than a fixed number.

Good luck!
Andrea


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Michelle Hertrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:41
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Aug 15, 2006

Thanks a lot!

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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:41
German to English
+ ...
2K-4K realistic as newbie? Aug 15, 2006

Just want to clarify: I assume you mean in-house, on-site, full-time employment, i.e. not freelance?

Andrea Brumma wrote:
...
24,000-26,000 EUR gross/year in a small agency
28,000-30,000 EUR gross/year in a medium-sized agency
32,000-38,000 EUR gross/year in a big, renown agency
...
Andrea


Granted, there are agencies paying these kinds of salaries in Germany, but to be honest I'm not sure how realistic this is. As an absolute newbie, my guess is that at least initially a "Praktikum"/training position is much more likely, for 6-12 months, at around EUR 1000-1500 per month (potentially even as an "in-house freelancer"!). The rates Astrid quotes are, for a newbie, pie-in-the-sky IMO.

Of course I think one should ask for much more than this in the negotiations. I'd certainly be interested in hearing what agencies with in-house translators have to say! Unfortunately, without any more information about you and your qualifications, it's hard to say. It will certainly be an advantage if you are truly a specialist in the medical field.

I'm afraid reality might look a bit more like this:
http://www.proz.com/post/325196
-----------------------------------------------
Hey guys,

I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a quick question. I have been offered an in-house 'trainee' job with a German translations agency. For the first 6 months they are offering training, but they have told me they only give permanent contracts to translators after this period to those who can comfortably translate more than 2,800 words a day, and ideally well over 3,000. The pay rate for those employed permanently starts at around the 15,000 Euros per year mark.

Is this a fair number of words / salary rate?

Does anyone have any advice?

Thanks for your help.

Matts25.

-----------------------------------------------
P.S. I'd suggest you post this question in the German forum:
http://www.proz.com/forum/27
Remember to write in German though.


[Edited at 2006-08-15 16:04]


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Michelle Hertrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:41
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
in-house, on-site, full-time employment Aug 16, 2006

Yes, I mean in-house, on-site, full-time employment. I´m completely new to translating ("Quereinsteiger"). Up until now I´ve been working as a physiotherapist and due to health reasons am forced to look at doing something else. I´m basically looking at my options. I feel pretty confident with translating medical topics after spending the last 8 years working in the German health system and having completed graduate and post-graduate qualifications in the health field (in German and English). I would prefer starting off with an agency to gain experience. I can understand why other poeple in this forum say the experience is worth the low pay, especially in my situation as newby to the business. On the other side I still have to pay my bills. I find €15000 / year not particularly exciting. After tax etc has been taken out you´re looking at living on the official poverty line for Europe. And that with a full-time job. Great. I´ve sent the translation agency a range of salaries, as Andrea suggested. I´ll just have to wait and see...

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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:41
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Translating as an option Aug 16, 2006

MichelleJ wrote:
I´m completely new to translating ("Quereinsteiger"). Up until now I´ve been working as a physiotherapist and due to health reasons am forced to look at doing something else. I´m basically looking at my options. I feel pretty confident with translating medical topics after spending the last 8 years working in the German health system and having completed graduate and post-graduate qualifications in the health field (in German and English). I would prefer starting off with an agency to gain experience. I can understand why other poeple in this forum say the experience is worth the low pay, especially in my situation as newby to the business. On the other side I still have to pay my bills. I find €15000 / year not particularly exciting. After tax etc has been taken out you´re looking at living on the official poverty line for Europe. And that with a full-time job. Great. I´ve sent the translation agency a range of salaries, as Andrea suggested. I´ll just have to wait and see...


Well, yes... but as you emphasize that you are a complete novice, I am wondering, have you actually tried translating? How about your computer and typing skills? What about picking up the first German medical textbook, or just a newspaper or magazine article and see, how much can you translate in four hours? Can you envisage doing it all day, every day?
You have to try it out for yourself.
Obviously you will increase your output in time, but that will give you a way to work out how much you are worth at the moment (and for the next few month) for the agency.

Judith


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mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:41
German to English
+ ...
Those sound like nice salary levels: but where? Oct 9, 2006

Hi Andrea, I'm picking up on this thread a bit late, but I would be interested to know which agencies in Germany were paying these rates?

I'm currently working for an agency in Germany (German - English) at a very low rate indeed and am anxious to find a new in-house translating post at a company, prefarably paying a rate starting around 2,000 EUROS a month minimum.

Would be possible for you to provide me with any pointers?

A reply or email, if you have time very much appreciated! Thanks in advance, Matts.




Andrea Brumma wrote:

Is the agency big or is it small or medium-sized? What about it's reputation? And what about your qualifications?
If you have a university degree in translation, I think that as a beginner you can ask for:
24,000-26,000 EUR gross/year in a small agency
28,000-30,000 EUR gross/year in a medium-sized agency
32,000-38,000 EUR gross/year in a big, renown agency

That's what German agencies offered me 3 or 4 years ago when we finally got to negotiating the salary. Then I decided to go to Spain, but most of my friends in Germany are working for this salary.
Remember it's always better to give the agency a salary range than a fixed number.

Good luck!
Andrea

[Edited at 2006-10-09 11:40]


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RogerGerEng  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:41
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Thanks, Astrid May 19, 2008

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Hi Michelle,

Try this link:

http://www.gehalts-check.de/Gehaltsfuehrer/Gehalt-Office/BERUFE/BG_10/GR_228/L_228.HTM

Best regards,

Astrid


Thanks, Astrid. Exactly the kind of site I was looking for.


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