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DE>EN freelancers - opinion needed re rates
Thread poster: Seamus Moran

Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:59
Member
German to English
+ ...
Dec 14, 2007

Hi, I was wondering what freelancers with this combination consider good rates for certain subject areas, i.e. do you think 0, 085 Eur per source word is an average or good rate for a legal/financial text? Or should it be more like 0,10?

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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 08:59
Swedish to English
+ ...
Low Dec 14, 2007

I don't know what other people think, but I wouldn't get out of bed for €0.085 whatever the subject and especially not for legal/financial work. I wouldn't settle for €0.10 either...

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Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:59
Member
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Swedish Dec 14, 2007

maybe that's because you're translating from Swedish plus you have credentials. I thought 0,085 was pretty ok.

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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
I was rich and and I was poor ... Dec 14, 2007

... but I liked 10 cents better;)

The one thing we always forget - possibly / hopefully imply - that our work must be WORTH its price.

Regards

Vito


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:59
Member (2004)
German to English
I started at EUR 0.08 Dec 14, 2007

many years ago. It's not bad, it's not great - I don't work that low any more.

And I had one joker this morning who asked me if I would drop my hourly rate to EUR 18 - the week before Christmas!!!!! And was quite shocked when I said "no".
Gillian


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Renée van Bijsterveld  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:59
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Why less? Dec 14, 2007

Hi,
I'm not sure of the price level/cost of living in Ireland, but I think you should not go below 10 cents. Translation rates keep going down, it seems to me that technical translators are the only professionals that get paid less every year for doing more work. Ever since I started working as a freelancer, the agencies keep trying to lower the rates. In 1991 I started at a little over 0,12 euro, and now I'm struggling to keep my 10 cents. I know that we, as a group, are not supposed to agree on minimum wages, but I think we are allowed to 'fight' for fair rates. After all, most of us have an academic degree or another form of higher education.
Best regards,
Renée


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Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:59
Member
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's good to know Dec 14, 2007

Thanks everyone. I'm a little surpised at the feedback.

Actually, Ireland is terribly expensive - rents, food, transport etc. It's probably on a par with somewhere like Norway or London. I think I may increase my rate. I started at 0, 06 which has risen to 0, 085 in the past few months and have done work for the very occasional 0, 12.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:59
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
No definite answer possible Dec 14, 2007

I believe there is no definite answer to your question. As the translation market consists of so many segments, we'd have to narrow down our consideration to a certain subset first (was your question referring to agencies?). Yet even in that case, rates higher than the ones mentioned by you can often be negotiated.

Apart from that, I fully agree with Clare. At any rate (no pun intended), EUR 0.085 are way below the level I'd be prepared to even start working on a legal/financial translation. In addition, much higher rates can frequently be agreed upon when dealing with direct clients, at least according to my experience.

Steffen


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Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:59
Member
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Working with agencies Dec 14, 2007

Hi Steffen.

Yes I was talking about the rates charged to agencies, not direct clients. I have a good working relationship with some agencies - I wonder if I can propose a new rate and whether they will agree to this?


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Renée van Bijsterveld  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:59
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Why not Dec 14, 2007

There's no harm in trying

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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:59
German to English
+ ...
Exit strategy Dec 14, 2007

Seamus Moran wrote:
I have a good working relationship with some agencies - I wonder if I can propose a new rate and whether they will agree to this?


Probably not - or only with a minor increase.

Key questions here:
1. Can you earn a better rate elsewhere? (Try it and see how much work you can get.)
2. Are you willing to be at the same fee level for the next 20 years?
3. Are you willing to make a clean break if necessary?

When you are ready (and confident enough) to move up the fee scale, you can of course give your current agencies the chance to match your new rate. But for many, the only way "up" is "out".
When I decided to move up market several years ago, it meant saying a friendly goodbye to a couple of regular clients. At the time, I did not have enough clients in hand to make up the gap instantly, but before long I was again rushed off my feet.

If your work is good enough (and specialised enough) and your marketing is good, it shouldn't be long before the same happens to you.


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 08:59
Swedish to English
+ ...
Danish Dec 14, 2007

I was actually referring to my Danish to English rates - where I don't have credentials, just experience!

Victor's advice is good - try other agencies and see if you can get higher rates, then hopefully you'll be able to say goodbye to the lower paying agencies. I don't see any need at all to drop below €0.10, especially not for Scandinavian languages - get a good reputation and you'll be rushed off your feet.

It's also worth remembering that underpricing yourself can be as offputting to serious clients as overpricing yourself.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:59
Flemish to English
+ ...
Price-setter Dec 14, 2007

ReneevB wrote:

Hi,
I'm not sure of the price level/cost of living in Ireland, but I think you should not go below 10 cents. Translation rates keep going down, it seems to me that technical translators are the only professionals that get paid less every year for doing more work. Ever since I started working as a freelancer, the agencies keep trying to lower the rates. In 1991 I started at a little over 0,12 euro, and now I'm struggling to keep my 10 cents. I know that we, as a group, are not supposed to agree on minimum wages, but I think we are allowed to 'fight' for fair rates. After all, most of us have an academic degree or another form of higher education.
Best regards,
Renée


All combinations into Dutch are combinations into a narrow market-niche. Not everybody can translate that way. Demand>Supply, so you are a price-setter. That is if the entire group of Dutch translators sticks to its guns eh.. minimum rates.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 07:59
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Try higher Dec 14, 2007

Seamus Moran wrote:
Hi, I was wondering what freelancers with this combination consider good rates for certain subject areas, i.e. do you think 0, 085 Eur per source word is an average or good rate for a legal/financial text? Or should it be more like 0,10?


Or perhaps more like € 0.14 per source word - a realistic rate for this subject area. If you feel guilty charging that price, you can always get rid of some of your gains by hiring a good proofreader. That's a good investment anyway.


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Ian Harvey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:59
French to English
+ ...
I'm new to ProZ.com and need explanation about min. rate conversation here May 13, 2008

I've read comments from a couple of people that say something like this: "we, as a group, are not supposed to agree on minimum rates," "that's rate-fixing," etc. I'm new, so someone please explain to me what's stopping us from all banding together and refusing to work below certain rates until the people with the work come up to those rates or go away. Otherwise, we are another reserve labour pool helping to bring down our own collective standard of living.

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