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Devaluation of the dollar (rates in USD)
Thread poster: Sandra Baptista

Sandra Baptista  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:19
Partial member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Nov 23, 2007

Hello,

Since the dollar started to go down it is been a little bit complicated to accept certain rates in USD when you live in Europe and pay all your bills in euros.

When a client asks me for my rates in USD I'm now using the following method: rate in euros and between brackets the correspondent rate in USD according the exchange rate.

I'm just wondering how other translators from Euro zone are dealing with this issue.

cheers,
Sandra


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 17:19
English to German
+ ...
USD or €uro whichever is higher on the day of invoice clearance Nov 23, 2007

Hi I usually quote that to direct clients. Brandis

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:19
English to German
+ ...
Quote in euros Nov 23, 2007

Hi Sandra,

Since the dollar started to go down it is been a little bit complicated to accept certain rates in USD when you live in Europe and pay all your bills in euros.

If you depend on clients paying in US dollars, it's high time to change the focus of your client base and/or to consider hedging your US dollar exposure.

When a client asks me for my rates in USD I'm now using the following method: rate in euros and between brackets the correspondent rate in USD according the exchange rate.

I only quote in euros - of course, this means I no longer get any business from the US.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Gisela Murdter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Pound/Euro Nov 23, 2007

I have stopped working with US clients - bar two agencies, who pay my Euro/Pound rates.

Gisela


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Miguel Jimenez  Identity Verified
Germany
German to Spanish
+ ...
You have to increase Nov 23, 2007

You have to increase your US$ fee with more than 1,50 US$ per Euro. Next year maybe pass the 1,60 US$ per Euro.

The best think is to get only Euros and not more US$.

Best regards

Miguel


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 18:19
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
I increased my rate in US Nov 23, 2007

Three days ago an agency contacted me for another job - after a pause of almost two years since the last assignment. Two hours after the first email, we agreed on a new rate that makes up for the 2 years' US dollar depreciation.

Cheers,
Oleg


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
French to English
+ ...
regular updates Nov 23, 2007

I do occasional jobs for a few US clients - I make sure I don't leave my dollar rate unchanged if exchange rates have affected it. The agencies obviously aren't happy about this but as they are generally looking specifically for a UK English speaker, there's not much they can do and they accept my rate.

Then if they take longer than a couple of weeks to pay I start biting my nails as the dollar will inevitably be worth even less by the time I receive the money. I'm starting to think I should stop working for US, though it would be a shame as my US clients are all good ones.


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golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:19
English to Dutch
+ ...
Very true Nov 23, 2007

Unfortunately, the sword is double-edged. With the lower value of the dollar, many of the US/American companies have also or are lowering their payments.
I now accept more than 90% of all my work from European employers since, to put it bluntly, they pay more.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:19
English to French
+ ...
The best solution Nov 23, 2007

No matter where you are geographically and no matter where your clients are, the best thing to do is charge in your local currency. This will give you much more safety - and spare you lots of headaches when going to the bank.

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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:19
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Stopped working with US clients Nov 23, 2007

I have stopped working with US clients, after losing thousands of euros in the last years.

It's a pity because I had a couple of clients (agencies) who used to send me very interesting jobs but they don't seem to get the point at all. They even ask for discounts or reduced rates!


Laura


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Renegotiate rate Nov 23, 2007

There's no problem with charging USD as long as you get enough. Clearly there has been depreciation. Some US agencies will be willing to negotiate their rate but others will not be. I guess you have to drop those who keep on expecting you to do the same for less.

My most recent US client raised my rate by 0.5 cents pw (wow!:-)) after being shocked that I was asking for a higher rate than in July of this year. You have to wonder whether agencies in the US understand the global implications of a weak USD. That raise clearly wasn't enough considering the slide of the dollar, but the assignments they send me are interesting and fairly easy, and they are so old-world courteous....so I am willing to hold on to this one... Clearly other clients will have to be dropped though. Use your discretion.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:19
English to French
+ ...
Not so sure... Nov 24, 2007

islander1974 wrote:

There's no problem with charging USD as long as you get enough.


I agree, but the problem is that it is impossible to predict how currency exchange will vary in the near future - in the past year or so, it's been a rollercoaster ride. Even if I was to raise my rates now, there's no telling if I will have to do it again in a month - and I don't think clients would appreciate several raises over a short period of time.

When one establishes rates factoring in currency exchange rates, one plays with fire.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends on where in Europe and which language pairs Nov 24, 2007

In my language pairs, I get the impression that U.S. agencies are generally willing to pay about 11 or 12 U.S. cents per source word, whereas agencies in Spain and Portugal are only willing to pay about 8 euro cents per source word. At least that's been my experience.

What the weak dollar means, in practical terms, is that the U.S. and European rates are now comparable, since 12 U.S. cents are now worth about 8 euro cents.


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:19
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
It depends, Nov 24, 2007

Ralf Lemster wrote:
I only quote in euros - of course, this means I no longer get any business from the US.

Best regards,
Ralf


I just got a new client based in the USA, I quoted in euro and they accepted,

instead I have another old client based in the USA who pays me in dollars, and I am aware that if I will ask payment in euro, I will no longer get jobs from him, so I am thinking what can I do for finding a solution. I really won't loose this client.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:19
English to French
+ ...
Win some, lose some Nov 24, 2007

Angioletta, I have the answer to your question. You just got a new client willing to pay you in Euros - why not ditch the old client, then? I mean, you now have someone to replace the old client with. Why not? Business is business. You are a businesswoman. You are looking to have the upper hand. I am guessing your client knows that you don't want to lose them, and that is why they are not willing to negotiate. If you projected that you are willing to let go of them if they are not willing to pay you as you deem fit, they may want to negotiate. And if not - you already found a backup!

Please don't take it the wrong way, but I think that if all of us left things as they are, with the forex problems we are currently facing as well as other factors, then these US clients would have a lot of freedom for fixing rates worldwide. I don't think we want to go down that road. In the past few days, I read some refreshing posts here from translators who finally acknowledged that charging the same old rates in this new context was not viable and that they started looking for clients elsewhere or asking for a raise. This, in turn, makes it harder for US clients to have a satisfactory number of translators, and when they feel the heat, they will start paying better rates - besides, if they start charging their clients more, they will still have the same profits. End clients do not really have a choice but to comply. If the market rate is $X, they will not have the choice to pay $Y instead, will they? I am really happy about this, because I feel like there are more people on the freelancers' end of the rope. These people are taking matters in their hands - wouldn't you like to be part of them? The more the merrier!

The problem most of us have with the businesses we run is that we still feel like we are the subordinates of our clients, as if they were our employers. As long as most of us think this way, clients will be able to force their rates down our throats. My philosophy is that I want to charge XY rate in XY currency, and if my clients are not willing to offer me that, too bad for them, because I will then replace them by the clients that will show more willingness to appreciate the fact that I am a service provider and that ultimately, it is my terms that will make it into the contract, not the opposite. The way I see it, if I lose a client in the process - it's their loss and my win.

[Edited at 2007-11-24 16:27]


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