Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4 5 6] >
Are you happy with what you earn?
Thread poster: Marie-Hélène Hayles

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Italian to English
+ ...
Feb 2, 2007

I've just submitted this as a Poll topic, but in reality the issue is too complex to be limited to just a few possible answers. I imagine that the response will be both language-dependent and specialism-dependent. And probably also country-dependent.

I'm prompted to ask this because I'm stupefied by (not to mention somewhat tired of) the constant threads posted on the topic of the insultingly low rates offered by agencies. It seems not a day goes by without yet another thread saying "0.03 euros per word! Scandalous!" or whatever, and members competing to post the lowest rate they've ever seen, or been offered, and everyone agrees that the translation industry is going to the dogs.

And yet I'm doing all right. I started translating full time as a freelancer nearly 4 years ago. The first year was hard, as I had to establish myself and build up my client base, but then things took off and I've never looked back. About 80% of my income comes from Italian agencies. I raised my rates substantially last year, and they are now on the high side for my language pair in Italy. Since I raised them I've lost a few clients but gained several more. I love my work and am more than happy with what I earn (although not with the taxes I have to pay, but that's Italy for you).

Am I the only one? And if I am, what on earth are you all doing working as translators anyway?

[Edited at 2007-02-02 17:46]


Direct link
 

Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Yes! Feb 2, 2007

Ditto on all counts.
I jettisoned the low-paying folks... along with the long-paying ones. The trend in Italy now is to wait as loooong as possible to pay. So people who pay at 90 days are very low on my list and I'm not willing to jump through hoops for them.
I'm happy with what I do, happy with what I earn, and share your complaint about the tax burden
Catherine


Direct link
 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, that makes two of us... Feb 2, 2007




[Edited at 2007-02-02 18:09]


Direct link
 

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:51
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Yes, I'm happy Feb 2, 2007

I agree with you, Marie-Hèlène. I earn quite a bit more than I did when an employee, with the added benefits of working from an office in my house with far fewer disturbances and interruptions. I've been freelancing full-time for 17 years and have some good, regular clients and, of course a few less regular, less reliable ones. I'm a very fast worker, some would say a workaholic, which helps me earn more, I suppose. It took me a few months to get established, but now I can't imagine stopping this way of life until my brain falls out.
It's not only in Italy that taxes are a burden - but that's another question!
Best wishes, Jenny.


Direct link
 

Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:51
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Yes Feb 2, 2007

Yes, I'm quite happy with what I earn. Especially when I take into account that I have only been in business (full-time) about a year The downside is that I have to pay back taxes _a lot_ this year, because my income estimate early last year was rather conservative (about a half of what I then actually earned, which is quite positive, of course). Yep, the taxes are a nuisance, but that's just how it is...

[Edited at 2007-02-02 18:33]

[Edited at 2007-02-02 18:34]


Direct link
 
Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:51
English to French
+ ...
All things considered, yes. Feb 2, 2007

Marie-Helene Hayles wrote:
what on earth are you all doing working as translators anyway?

[Edited at 2007-02-02 17:46]


This is what I wonder, too, reading some posts... Thanks Marie-Helene for asking that!


Direct link
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:51
English to French
+ ...
Happy with what I earn - but tired of having to fight for it Feb 2, 2007

I am happy with what I earn. I just don't understand why on earth can't I simply quote a rate without being told regularly that I'm too expensive - what? I know many translators who charge more than this! - or having to justify my rates. Why can'T clients simply accept that this is my rate and leave me alone if it doesn't suit them? That's the rate-related problem I am having. When you go to a restaurant, do you question why a hot dog costs a buck?

I am saddened to see that undercutting the entire market seems to be what too many LSPs consider being competitive. I think that strategy is closer to prostitution than to competitiveness...

Nevertheless, I agree that there is also a sane market for people who charge "normal" rates (whatever that means?) and more. I just can't believe that there are so many freelancers that don't have a sense of business to realize this. And that's another thing: if you don't have a sense of business, what are you doing working on your own???

So, while I am happy with the money I earn (I am clearly above the average revenue in Canada), I am sick and tired of having to justify myself and being told I am expensive. Sometimes, I just feel like answering back "I am not expensive, it's just that you are a cheapo".


Direct link
 

Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:51
German to English
+ ...
Good for you Feb 2, 2007

I am glad to have such a positive post to read. I have to say that actually, I am delighted with what I am earning. I now make approximately 3 times as much as I was earning 5 years ago as a teacher. For the first time in my life, I am making more than I can spend. I have to admit that I am somewhat of a workaholic, but I love what I am doing, my kids are almost grown up, and my husband is a doctor who has always worked long hours, so the longer hours don't bother me.

Of course, I am in the extremely fortunate position of working in a language pair which is definitely first world, while living in the third world. So even though my rates are on the low side from what I can tell, I don't have the tax burden that my colleagues in other countries have. In fact, don't tell anyone, but..... !! There are some advantages to living in a chaotic area.

I too hope to continue until Alzheimer's sets in.


Direct link
 

Klaus Urban  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
"Earn per word" or "earn per month"? Feb 2, 2007

There seems to be a very tricky relationship regarding "earn per word" and "earn per month". While I love being assigned with jobs accepting my targeted "earn per word" ratio, I do need more jobs to reach a satisfactory "earn per month" level. I checked with some of the responders what their rates are - fortunately my average rates are substantially higher. The tricky thing seems to be building a client base accepting your rate on the basis of such simple things as top quality, reliability, high speed and week end availability, what all peers promise but obviously apparently not all do deliver.
Klaus


Direct link
 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Earn per year Feb 2, 2007

My question is are you happy with your actual income on a yearly basis.

Direct link
 

Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:51
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Happy Feb 2, 2007

I'm happy with what I earn BUT... I'm really thinking of moving somewhere else where I don't have to give it all away in taxes in exchange for nothing!

Direct link
 

Jackie Bowman

Local time: 00:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, not happy with translation income. Fairly content, and my dog gets fed every day, but happy ...? Feb 2, 2007

In fiscal year 2006, from translation, I earned less (net) than US$ 125,000. I only translate part-time, and if I didn’t spend most of my time working in another field, FY 2006 would have been bad news for me. As a point of principle I never, ever, translate for agencies.

I see these translation jobs advertised, Spanish to English at 10 US cents a word, sometimes 9 US cents a word, and I think: are you kidding me? Who takes that stuff these days? How desperate do you have to be?

There’s a recent and parallel thread on this site about how much should be paid to a translation project manager. Someone has posted a public comment to say that, as a project manager, she earned €1,200 a month, As far as I could tell, this was a completely serious reply. €1,200 a month, as a project manager. Are you joking?


[Edited at 2007-02-02 21:07]


Direct link
 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:51
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Dn't worry about it Feb 2, 2007

Marie-Helene Hayles wrote:

. . . everyone agrees that the translation industry is going to the dogs.

And yet I'm doing all right.


I think you have answered your own question. As translators, we get very worried and emotional about low-priced jobs. We want customers to pay us the rate we demand, without negotiation.

But that is not the real world. We operate in a market, not a mediaeval guild with fixed prices. In all other industries, competition is the rule. Some people bid low prices, some high prices. You have clearly managed to get better prices, and I suspect that is a very common pattern -- you start off at low rates, then increase in line with your experience and quality.

In short, we should accept low-priced jobs as quite normal -- and ignore them, not get worked up about them.


Direct link
 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Peter, I'm not worked up about it, just bored with people moaning about it! Feb 2, 2007

And Jackie, you earn getting on for $125,000 (i.e. about €80,000 or £62,000 NET and PART TIME and you're not happy? I'm happy as I am, I'd be ecstatic if I earned that much!

And neither would I be happy with €1200 a month (= about $1600 or £800 a month) net but it's an average or even above average wage in Italy.

[Edited at 2007-02-02 22:49]


Direct link
 
xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 23:51
English to Russian
+ ...
Cm'on, Jackie... Feb 3, 2007

Jackie Bowman wrote:

In fiscal year 2006, from translation, I earned less (net) than US$ 125,000.


The show-off spirit in your posts was truly amusing and I enjoyed it so far but this is a major one indeed:-) 125K part-time for dog feed... I think you outdid yourself this time:-).

125000K / 8 mos 15625K/mo / 0.15 104166 words/mo 20 days/mo 5208 words/day

This is my simple math assuming that part-time means a generous assumption of 8 months a year, 20 days a months.

If part-time means 6 months out of a year at $.18 and 15 days/mo - 7716 words/day. If even less... my congratulations:-)


Direct link
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4 5 6] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Are you happy with what you earn?

Advanced search


Translation news





Across v6.3
Translation Toolkit and Sales Potential under One Roof

Apart from features that enable you to translate more efficiently, the new Across Translator Edition v6.3 comprises your crossMarket membership. The new online network for Across users assists you in exploring new sales potential and generating revenue.

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs