student rates
Thread poster: Victoria Amengual

Victoria Amengual  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 1, 2007

i am currently taking the CIOL course in translation, spanish to english.. and someone has offered me a job translating around 1000 words for a well established website and book. What rate should I charge per word???!! Really would appreciate some advice!
Thank you.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:08
English to French
+ ...
No such thing Apr 1, 2007

I am afraid there is no such thing as a student rate. Students tend to charge less, thinking that as with regular jobs, one should "sell" him/herself cheaper for a while before deserving to be paid a higher wage. However, this is in my opinion wrong.

No one, whether student or seasoned translator, should translate something they don't feel comfortable with. It is very important to get at least a sample, if not all, of the text you are expected to translate before you even quote on a job or agree to work on it. If after having taken a look at it, you know you can translate it nicely and that the resulting translation will be of good quality, then you should charge what everyone charges. In the end, your client expects you to do a professional job - and should be willing to accept a professional rate.

The drawback of being a student is not that you get paid less per job - it is that you get less jobs, as you will be qualified for certain - more advanced - jobs only after acquiring a certain amount of experience. In the meantime, accept only easier jobs. You should base this on your feelings. If you feel confident about a job, chances are that you are qualified for it, just as any seasoned translator with lots of experience will be qualified for the same job.

Another thing I would like to add - we will never stress this enough - is that once you have quoted a rate on a project, that client will expect the same rate from you time after time. Clients tend to not listen to rate increase arguments such as "I have more experience now so I deserve a better pay". If you start with a low rate, it will be much more difficult to reach a professional rate once you have become a true professional with a few years of experience. Also, charging less depreciates the value of your work. When you charge less for a job than others, you may have a competitive edge, but at the same time, many clients will wonder whether the quality of your work matches that of translators who charge higher.

I recommend you use the rate calculator on this site to establish your rate. The important thing is to keep in mind how much it costs you to work (price of your internet connection, student debt, price of software, membership on ProZ, etc.) and how much money you need to make an honest and comfortable living. Don't forget to take in consideration that you will have to pay taxes! Last I looked, translators all over the world were losing, in average, 52% of their total earnings to taxes and business expenses. So, if you want to have $100 in your pocket at the end of the day, make sure you charge at least $200. That is what most of us do, at least those of us who know the industry well. Based on your calculations, you will find the figure that works for you. Also compare your prospective rate with those of other people who work in your language pair, your specialization and your geographic region.

The rate calculator can be found here: http://www.proz.com/?sp=rate_calc

All the best!

[Edited at 2007-04-01 19:12]


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:08
English to Dutch
+ ...
I'm with Viktoria Apr 1, 2007

I was going to say more or less the same thing as Viktoria, but she said it so much better than I could have done.

If you can do the job professionally, you should charge professionally. If you can't, you shouldn't do the job at all.


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Nicolas Coyer  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 12:08
Spanish to French
+ ...
Self-confidence Apr 1, 2007

Although it might sound a bit harsh, it's more of a "take or leave it" thing....
What I mean is, if you take the job, that means you feel that you are duly skilled to complete it, and so, you can charge like a full-time translator.
What you charge for is not only experience. They are even some "experienced" translators doing a crappy job (believe me, I have worked with them). What you also charge for is you willingness to look in every way possible to learn what you don't know about the document (not being lazy and "invent" your own translations), and, if needed, to integrate your client suggestions. You also need to have a nice readable style. And that you don't learn. You even have it (or don't) before taking any course, because it's the way you express yourself in your own language. There is also this special cultural/linguistic intelligence, that will help understand something that other people who simply have "studied languages" won't. And then you can add everything else listed by Viktoria.
These are the extras you're offering. Not only translation.

[Modifié le 2007-04-02 01:51]


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:08
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Long term vision Apr 2, 2007

solovah wrote:
i am currently taking the CIOL course in translation, spanish to english.. and someone has offered me a job translating around 1000 words for a well established website and book. What rate should I charge per word???!! Really would appreciate some advice!
Thank you.


Hello

I wouldn't say that a student can do a translation job as well as a professional translator. This would mean that experience and years of school are useless. So, I understand what a "student rate" could mean.
But I wouldn't advice to offer a "student rate" because you're a student.
Ask a professional translator to proofread your translation and pay him/her. The payment you charge should allow you to do that.
This way you're going to offer a good quality translation and your client might come back to you again. Keep in mind that you're going to become a professional and you are starting to build a name and a reputation now.

Claudia


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:08
English to Polish
+ ...
The same opinion Apr 2, 2007

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

I was going to say more or less the same thing as Viktoria, but she said it so much better than I could have done.

If you can do the job professionally, you should charge professionally. If you can't, you shouldn't do the job at all.

There are only two types of translations - good or bad. You either deliver a good job or not. No translation is stamped as delivered by a woman / disabled / red-headed / gay / over-60 / under-25 ... This would be discrimination - are you for?


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Marsha Way  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Amen! Apr 2, 2007

I was going to respond to this, but after reading the replies, there is really no need. My colleagues have done a wonderful job expressing the reasons for NOT charging a student rate.

[Edited at 2007-04-02 14:27]


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Navy Huang
China
Local time: 01:08
English to Chinese
+ ...
God favors the bold Apr 2, 2007

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

If you can do the job professionally, you should charge professionally. If you can't, you shouldn't do the job at all.


I am not with Willem on the point that "If you can't, you shouldn't do the job at all". Nobody is a professional from the very beginning and I think sometimes what really matters is the GUTS to have a try, the RESPONSIBILITY to deliver a decent translation and the DETERMINATION to do a good job. As time goes on, the three things only will make a great difference!!


Huang Haijun


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:08
English to Spanish
Slightly disagree Apr 3, 2007

Haijun Huang wrote:

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

If you can do the job professionally, you should charge professionally. If you can't, you shouldn't do the job at all.


I am not with Willem on the point that "If you can't, you shouldn't do the job at all". Nobody is a professional from the very beginning and I think sometimes what really matters is the GUTS to have a try, the RESPONSIBILITY to deliver a decent translation and the DETERMINATION to do a good job. As time goes on, the three things only will make a great difference!!


Huang Haijun



A person can think they have all three things and still deliver a bad product. I mean, how can a person with no experience on a given subject (and without an experienced mentor) tell if they are really delivering a decent translation?

There's a fine line between gutsyness and downright irresponsibility, and knowing when to say no in order not to do any damage takes guts as well.

[Edited at 2007-04-03 03:40]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge what everyone else charges Apr 3, 2007

solovah wrote:
I am currently taking the CIOL course in translation, Spanish to English... and someone has offered me a job translating around 1000 words for a well established website and book. What rate should I charge per word?


Unless your agreement with your client states that you are not to be held responsible for the quality of the translation (which no client in his right mind would agree to), I suggest you charge what other ES-EN translators charge.

Personally I have no objection to students charging less for translation, but when it is done, it must be absolutely clear to the client that the translation's quality is not guaranteed. I'm not sure if such a thing is possible in your country -- if it is legal to provide a product to a client "as-is" (a "take what you get" kind of approach).


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Aleksandra Mišak  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 19:08
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Student rates Apr 6, 2007

In my experience, there are clients who think that if a person can speak a language, then the person can translate everything from or to that language. With such clients, there is a huge possibility of "misunderstanding" because they do not really understand nor appreciate what it takes to produce a good translation.
I agree that you have to start with something and I understand that you don't feel comfortable charging the same rate as a professional. However, the best way to learn is first to work with an experienced translator and charge as s/he would. Even if you feel comfortable with the subject/topic of that book/website, there are "linguistic traps" that you might not recognize if you have no experience, and a more experienced colleague could point them out to you.
In my country, "student rates" have produces such a mess at the translation market, that now even high quality translators have difficult time charging the fair rate for the work they do, because they have to explain why they cost more, up to providing forensic evidence... So charging less because you're a student is a disservice to everybody in the field.
In short, accept the job, but be careful.


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