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Translation + revision rates
Thread poster: eva75

eva75
English
+ ...
Oct 8, 2006

What's the best translation rate one can get from an agency? I've been paid only €1 from a German agency, but wondering how much more I could get from other agencies and even from direct clients.

As for revision, what's the minimum and maximum rates one can expect to get from agencies and direct clients in France/Germany/Switzerland etc.?


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I suggest you use the rates calculator Oct 8, 2006

This tool may help you set your rates. It is to be found under the "Jobs" menu. Basically, you work out what you need to earn per year, and then find out what you need to earn per month/week/day/working hour. You determine what you can do in an hour, and set your rates accordingly.

The other thing you should do, in order to justify your rates, is make sure that your translations are of high quality, thoroughly proofread, etc.

Hope this helps.

Astrid


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
It is up to you to decide what is a satisfactory rate for you Oct 8, 2006

eva75 wrote:
I've been paid only €1 from a German agency


For translations:

€ 1 / source word is a wonderful rate, why do you want more?

€ 1 / hour is IMO an unacceptable low rate, why did you take it?

€ 0.1 / source word might be an acceptable rate (depending on the job).

€ 0.01 / source word is IMO an unacceptable low rate, why did you take it?

What is your question? It is up to you to offer a rate to the outsourcer and it is up to you to accept or decline a offered rate.

Siegfried



[Edited at 2006-10-08 10:02]


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Giulia TAPPI  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:23
French to Italian
+ ...
I totally agree with Siegfrid Oct 8, 2006

I don't know the rates in Germany, but in France no one, not even direct clients, would pay 1 € per word. I charge my direct clients 0,16 € per word, and I think it is a fair rate. In some cases, you could get a bit more, but not as much as 1€ per word!

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
For clarification Oct 8, 2006

Eva is talking about EUR 1.00 per target line. That is a common method of calculation in Germany. That is actually a very high rate for an agency to pay. In general, over a year ago agencies were still paying EUR 0.70 per target line, and these days they will (grudgingly) pay EUR 0.80 - EUR 0.85 per target line. That corresponds to EUR 0.095 - EUR 0.10 per target word, or EUR 0.10 - EUR 0.11 per source word.

I would be quite interested in learning how to persuade the agencies to issue P.O.'s for EUR 1.00 per target line!

Astrid

[Edited at 2006-10-08 10:48]


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eva75
English
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TOPIC STARTER
per line Oct 8, 2006

Yes, of course, I meant €1 per line! Those who translate for German agencies would understand that.

Funny, Astrid that you said this is a good rate; I would have thought there's better than that. I guess with a direct client I could earn €2 a line in Germany.

thanks for your help.

[Edited at 2006-10-08 12:48]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
EUR 2.00 per line? Oct 8, 2006

I very much doubt it, Eva! I can't imagine what you base your optimism on! Agencies pay the rates I have stated. As for direct clients, they are as tight-fisted as anything. Direct clients are hard businessmen, who have extremely definite ideas about what they will and will not pay for a translation. If they go to a translator directly, instead of to an agency, they do so in order to get lower prices.

In any case, not even the agencies get EUR 2.00 per line. Many smaller agencies get as little as EUR 1.10 per line, and a lot of them get up to, but not more than, EUR 1.40 per line. That is why they have to look for modestly-priced translators. They need to make a minimum profit of 40%, and many do not have a greater profit than that.

The good news, however, is that, if you accept the normal rates that agencies pay, you can still earn around EUR 60,000 per year, which is really not too bad.

Astrid


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Sybille  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
English to German
+ ...
You should not reach for the stars, eva75 Oct 8, 2006

they are too far away.

My opinion is the same as Astrid 's. 1 € per line from an agency !! That's a very good price, indeed. I wish I knew that agency.


Sybille


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
English to German
+ ...
Careful about generalisation Oct 8, 2006

Astrid, I beg to disagree...

As for direct clients, they are as tight-fisted as anything. Direct clients are hard businessmen, who have extremely definite ideas about what they will and will not pay for a translation. If they go to a translator directly, instead of to an agency, they do so in order to get lower prices.

This may be true in some cases, but should not be generalised.

In any case, not even the agencies get EUR 2.00 per line. Many smaller agencies get as little as EUR 1.10 per line, and a lot of them get up to, but not more than, EUR 1.40 per line.

Again, please don't generalise - there are outsourcers who pay more than that - admittedly for specialist stuff, such as complex financial texts - but saying it doesn't happen is simply not true.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Perspective Oct 8, 2006

Good evening Ralf,

I was just trying to encourage more realistic expectations in regard to rates. Agencies do not usually even pay that much to translators with some years of experience, so why should they pay double that - or more - to those with only, for example, two years' experience?

As may be evident, there is a very good reason for my assertive comments, which have no doubt fulfilled their purpose regarding perspective.

Astrid


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eva75
English
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TOPIC STARTER
€1 is minimum rate I've come across Oct 8, 2006

To be honest, the few German agencies I have been dealing with pay me this rate of €1 per line. I guess they can afford to pay that much to freelancers...

As for direct clients, if you are specialised in such areas as finance or law, I should imagine the ball is in the translator's court.


[Edited at 2006-10-08 22:23]


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eva75
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
;-) Oct 8, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:


As may be evident, there is a very good reason for my assertive comments, which have no doubt fulfilled their purpose regarding perspective.

Astrid


Well, I'm already getting paid €1 a line, so I don't think you have a chance of changing my perspective. I guess I'm a good businesswoman, charm works wonders. I'm also not prepared to work for low rates.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Agency market is highly segmented - please do not jump to conclusions based on own experience alone Oct 9, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
I was just trying to encourage more realistic expectations in regard to rates. Agencies do not usually even pay that much to translators with some years of experience, so why should they pay double that - or more - to those with only, for example, two years' experience?


Hi Astrid,

While I can see where you're coming from with your comments, I beg to respectfully disagree. The agency market is not homogeneous but highly segmented/fragmented (this applies not only to Germany but also to other countries), so to make fairly categorical statements such as

"In general, over a year ago agencies were still paying EUR 0.70 per target line, and these days they will (grudgingly) pay EUR 0.80 - EUR 0.85 per target line.

or
"Agencies pay the rates I have stated."


is certainly not very helpful. Your comments merely reflect your own market perception. My experience has been different. Even in the agency market there is a low and a high end, which means that per-line rates offered/paid (in Germany) can range from a rock-bottom EUR 0.60 (whether target or source depends on each individual agreement) to a smashing EUR 1.20 (or more). This just to put things in perspective (perhaps it's just time for a shift in the customer base?).

FWIW,
Steffen


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Certainly the rates I quote are not based on my own experience as a freelancer Oct 9, 2006

Hi Steffen,

My perception of agency rates is based very little on my own experience, as I actually work mainly for direct clients, and only for agencies to a limited extent. Nevertheless, I have been working for agencies for some years.

The figures I have perceived, over a long period of time, are to a large extent those that I hear from colleagues, both privately and from time to time in the forums. I think it is possible, over some years, to form an accurate picture of how agency rates are placed. There are extremes, as you mention. However, I have never heard of anyone getting EUR 2.00 per line, for example.

I have not made any generalisations in this thread either, Ralf! I have never at any time used the word "all" in relation to agencies. Again, my observations of what agencies can afford to pay translators, and what they charge to end clients, is based on extensive reading of the pricing pages of agencies on the Internet, as well as my own extensive research when considering possibly starting an agency.

Again, I see what translators ask for if I outsource jobs and they place bids. I see what the end client is prepared to pay me for the job that I am outsourcing.

All my observations in this thread, without any exceptions at all whatsoever, are based on extensive experience of diverse kinds, and on that alonel

Astrid


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Inga Jakobi  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2006)
Chinese to German
+ ...
Just try! Oct 9, 2006

eva75 wrote:

I've been paid only €1 from a German agency, but wondering how much more I could get from other agencies and even from direct clients.



Hi Eva,
I just started working as a freelancer and I'm not that confident with the real rates in Germany. One of my teachers at university who is also working as a freelancer, said that you could earn up to 3 € per line, but only for very, very, very,... specific texts. And I doubt, that a lot of translators may ever profit of such high rates. But when you feel like not earning enough (although I dare say, that 1 € ist not that bad), why not try out?
Offer 1,10 € or 1,20 € for the next jobs and you will learn, if agencies are willing to pay or not. It also depends on the language combination. If you can offer translation in a rare combination, you can definitely offer higher rates.

Inga


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