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Average rates per line in Germany?
Thread poster: Patricia Will

Patricia Will  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 14:50
Member (2004)
German to English
May 9, 2007

Would anyone be prepared to give me an idea of the minimum rates offered per line by agencies in Germany. I am usually charging a per word rate but recently a few agencies have wanted me to quote per line and I am unsure of the going rate. One agency quoted Euro 0.55 - 0.60, but that seems a bit low to me, as another agency is happy to pay 0.70.

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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just a hint May 9, 2007

There exists a calculator to make an estimation of the conversion. It's not the first time this question arises, so that if you search within the forum archives you will probably find a link to it.

I would suggest you tried with a document, though: count the lines, count the words, apply your current rate and see if it's alright for you.

0.55-0.60 seem too low to me, but of course it depends on the job.

Let's see what others say...

Ruth @ MW


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:50
German to English
+ ...
Average rates per line in Germany? May 9, 2007

See the summary of the survey by the AdÜ Nord here:

www.adue-nord.de/frame.html?http://www.adue-nord.de/umfrage/auswertung.html

In particular:

"Für die Abrechnung pro Zeile ist die absolute Spanne für Direktkunden und Agenturen gleich (0,29 bis 5,00 Euro). Die aus diesen Niedrigst- und Höchstwerten berechneten Mittelwerte ergeben für Direktkunden 1,11 bis 1,53 Euro und für Agenturen 0,94 bis 1,09 Euro."

HTH,
Marc


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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks a lot, Marc May 9, 2007

I was also interested in the subject, and this has been really useful!!

Ruth @ MW


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:50
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
ADÜ survey - lower rates May 9, 2007

Marc P wrote:
für Agenturen 0,94 bis 1,09 Euro."
HTH,Marc

Not quite right. I have the book about the results of the whole survey (172 pages).
I find the following results regarding prices for agencies:
423 translators (in Germany) stated 0,86-1,12 Euro per line
Of course you have to distinguish, e.g. language pair
English -> German (153 translators): 0,80-1,04 Euro
German -> English (147): 0,86-1,05 Euro.
Areas of expertise did not matter much, to my big surprise.
Economics/Finances 0,85-1,12 Euro
Industry /Technical 0,83-1,13 Euro
But experiences are very important.
1-2 years: 0,77-1,00 Euro
3-5 years: 0,77-1,00 Euro
6-9 years: 0,83-1,06 Euro
10-15 years: 0,89-1,15 Euro
16-29 years: 0,91-1,24 Euro
Please keep that in mind: seasoned translators are asking for higher rates as a matter of course.
Regards Steffi


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:50
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Or they have managed to keep their rates May 9, 2007

Tuliparola wrote:

But experiences are very important.
1-2 years: 0,77-1,00 Euro
3-5 years: 0,77-1,00 Euro
6-9 years: 0,83-1,06 Euro
10-15 years: 0,89-1,15 Euro
16-29 years: 0,91-1,24 Euro
Please keep that in mind: seasoned translators are asking for higher rates as a matter of course.
Regards Steffi


I believe those who are a long time in business have managed to preserve their rates somehow, because they used to be much higher.

Regards
Heinrich


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Kristaps Otrups
Denmark
Local time: 08:50
English to Latvian
+ ...
Huh May 9, 2007

Tuliparola wrote:
But experiences are very important.
1-2 years: 0,77-1,00 Euro
3-5 years: 0,77-1,00 Euro
6-9 years: 0,83-1,06 Euro
10-15 years: 0,89-1,15 Euro
16-29 years: 0,91-1,24 Euro

If the difference between 1 year of experience and 9 years of experience is ~6%, that doesn't really make it seem like an imporant factor.


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Katrin Hollberg  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:50
Japanese to German
+ ...
Another example May 9, 2007

This is my third year as a freelancer. I accepted 0,85 EUR/line for Jap-Ger in my first year and first big project (and several corresponding quite low rates for ENG-GER).

But pretty soon you find out there a clients who are willing to pay 1,20 EUR (1,30 EUR and even more) per line without any hesitating. I know Japanese translators who charge appr. 2,- EUR /line.

Of course, this all depends on the specific fields, language pair and related competition. (not to forget the quality/segment your customer is familiar with)

However, the number of years you are working as a translator does not seem to be that important. Just my experience...Greetings - Katrin


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Andrew Steel  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:50
Spanish to English
Experience IS important (to the translator) May 10, 2007

Katrin Hollberg wrote:

This is my third year as a freelancer. I accepted 0,85 EUR/line for Jap-Ger in my first year and first big project (and several corresponding quite low rates for ENG-GER).

But pretty soon you find out there a clients who are willing to pay 1,20 EUR (1,30 EUR and even more) per line without any hesitating. I know Japanese translators who charge appr. 2,- EUR /line.

Of course, this all depends on the specific fields, language pair and related competition. (not to forget the quality/segment your customer is familiar with)

However, the number of years you are working as a translator does not seem to be that important. Just my experience...Greetings - Katrin


Just a few comments on this thread and Katrin's post in particular:

Rates are essentially a function of a translator's sales/negotiation skills (within a range that the market can bear). Unfortunately, clients rarely pay the translator solely on the basis of their merits; they pay them on the basis of the price-to-quality ratio offered. This means that if a competent translator is willing to work for cut-price rates, then the client will rarely volunteer to pay a great deal more.

Given this situation, and as Katrin mentions, clients will not increase your rates as you gain more experience. In fact, a great many will offer the same rate to translators with 10 years' experience as they will to those with 1 year's.

Where experience generally does count is on the translator's side of the fence (both as regards translation competence and sales/negotiation skills). As Katrin again points out, with time new translators (hopefully) get to know the market and work out what sort of rate they should and can charge.

Also, and equally importantly, their productivity increases. Thus, new translators often start out working at the bottom end of the market and have an output of around, say, 300 finished words per hour. Experienced translators tend to gravitate towards the top end of the market and can produce, for example, 500 polished words per hour.

Finally, the longer a competent translator is active in the market, the larger and more loyal their client portfolio becomes, which means that they have a steady stream of work coming in and even have to turn down jobs.

Of course, there are exceptions: not all new translators start off at the bottom and not all experienced translators find themselves at the top end of the scale.

Hence, the number of years working as a translator IS important; not necessarily to the client, but certainly to the translator, as experienced translators tend to acquire the knowledge that allows them to earn more than their newly-arrived colleagues.

Andrew


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Patricia Will  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 14:50
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for the information May 11, 2007

Thank you all very much for your input regarding this matter. It has confirmed what I suspected, that some of the rates I am being offered are indeed unacceptable (particularly in view of the fact that I have 25 years experience!), although it does seem that experience does not matter that much to some agencies, as they just want the cheapest rates. Armed with this information I am now in a much better position to negotiate - thank you colleagues!

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