Poll: Do you negotiate rates for different projects with your regular clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:54
SITE STAFF
Jul 4, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you negotiate rates for different projects with your regular clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mette Melchior

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 20:54
English to German
+ ...
Customers always specialize on a few domains.. Jul 4, 2008

That is why it is necessary to discuss the pricing some times. For example some body specialising on gaming culture would not look outside the domain, because it by itself is very large, or same thing with video adaptation and localization, same things with art and literary. Brandis

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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 14:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
As I like all inclusive packages, I offer all inclusive packages Jul 4, 2008

When on vacation, I like going to all inclusive resorts that offer all the comforts I seek without having to pay extra or worry about details. I realize that I could pay less and pay each and every service separately and avoid paying for services I do not need or use. Nevertheless, if the resort is a good one, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

As a translator, I provide clients with an all inclusive service. I just make sure I charge what my services are worth. That way, whatever I am requested to do is worth my while and the client doesn't have to worry about the details.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:54
English to German
+ ...
Certainly. Jul 4, 2008

I have different rates with the same agency depending on the respective project.

At the same restaurant, the lobster will always be pricier than the spaghetti.


Edited:

Addendum. The quality standards are always high-end, I just can't apply the same standard rate for an easy-to-read flyer for consumers compared to a sophisticated and highly technical text for resellers, even if it is about the very same product, because in this case the same amount of text will take me three times as long.

[Edited at 2008-07-04 17:01]


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- Carolina  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:54
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jul 4, 2008

My clients know they cannot expect to be charged the same for the translation of a simple Word document, a project involving DTP or a rush job. Asimenia

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Mette Melchior  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 20:54
English to Danish
+ ...
No - or at least not yet.... Jul 4, 2008

I suggested this poll, because I would like to hear how others deal with their regular clients. With the more sporadic contacts I think it's easier to look at the project at hand, and establish a rate based on that, than with clients you receive work from on a regular basis.

Of course, some text types take more time to translate or are more specialized than others, and the rates should reflect this - but on the other hand I also understand that it is inconvenient for the client (and myself), if we had to establish a rate for each project.

With the agencies I have worked with, the norm has also been that a standard rate was established from the beginning and then applied for all projects. I am still somewhat "green" in this business, so I don't yet have the feel with the "do's and don'ts" regarding pricing. Although I am happy with my standard rate, I also agree with Nicole - not everything can come at the same price, and the time you spend can vary quite a lot depending on what kind of project you're translating.

However, I don't want to bother my good, regular clients either insisting on negotiating all the time, so at the least for the moment I am not negotiating the standard rate with them. I might try though, but still keep it to the minimum...


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 20:54
English to German
+ ...
always read the client.. Jul 4, 2008

before reading the document. That works. Brandis

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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Maybe it is Spain Jul 5, 2008

I'm based in Spain too. Maybe it is Spain that is not used to scales of rates. Agencies themselves by and large work with set rates and so expect translators to do the same. Your language pairs are less common so you may be able to do it. There are many into English translators and many into English translations. So it seems to me to be a case of "I've got a translation, who can do it". That is, the major concern of the agency is to place the translation with someone, and deadlines do not tend to be very long. If they have to send it to you to get a quote, negotiate etc. it would complicate the process.

I think that you could make this approach work with direct clients, but again if their material is always along the same lines it may be pointless.

Personally, I think that there is a lot to be said for predictability and transparency. I just set my rate for the year and send it out, for some it will be OK and for others it will be too high. But the peculiarity for me is that, all translations take me about the same time. If they don't it is because I'm feeling a little lazy. If you are certified then naturally you work with a different rate for certified translations, agencies expect that too.

It would be good to hear from translators based in Spain who charge agencies according to the project ...


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes, in a way Jul 5, 2008

But the process is quite simple.

I classify jobs - which in my case are nearly always legal - as general, semi-specialised or specialised and then one of three rates apply.

Clients know I regard a standard commercial lease or a set of general terms and conditions as "general" - i.e. something any legal translator could handle - so the only question really is whether something else is semi-specialised or specialised.

I review all jobs before final acceptance and inform them which of the three rates will apply. They know the two possible ends of the scale and the approach works well for us both.

To take Nicole's example and draw an analogy to my field, there's no way I'm going to charge the same for a standard commercial lease as I am for a legal opinion written by a leading Dutch/Portuguese specialist in a niche area of maritime law. The latter will certainly be more interesting but there's obviously going to be more research involved and it will be more time-consuming. Also, it's not something not just any legal translator is going to be able to pull off, so the pool of available resources is far smaller - another factor which determines price.

Formatting doesn't really come into play with my work, I rarely have anything but Word docs, however I do apply a surcharge in addition to one of those three rates if formatting is going to take up too much time.

I don't take on work that I can't finish to my normal standard at my normal speed, so 'rush job', as such, doesn't feature either.

To sum up: there's no negotiating each time. My rates are set, it's just a question of which one will apply to the job at hand. I don't haggle over whether something is semi-specialised or specialised. I simply state which it is and fortunately don't have the type of clients who ever query that. It's not a system that will work for all fields of translating, but it definitely works in mine.

Have a good weekend
Debs



[Edited at 2008-07-05 11:09]


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:54
Spanish to English
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Specialised translation Jul 5, 2008

My contribution hasn't been authorised yet, can you see it?

In the scheme of Debs' categories , I don't receive anything specialised. I'm not sure whether I receive anything semi-specialised for that matter either. That would be why everything takes me the same amount of time too!


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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 20:54
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
wise answer Jul 6, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:
At the same restaurant, the lobster will always be pricier than the spaghetti.


very good answer


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Horses for courses Jul 7, 2008

Tatty wrote:
It would be good to hear from translators based in Spain who charge agencies according to the project ...
.

I currently try to stick to a standard "flat rate" of 0,08/wd., for most clients, but sometimes will give a reduction of up to 25% on projects depending on volume (over 30k words, for example), deadline flexibility, complexity and/or workable format (no PDFs thank you very much!). I have 2 regular clients who negotiated me into keeping my 2006 rates at 0,07 €/wd at the start of 2007, but they give me a lot of work over the years and pay promptly (the funny thing is both of them are women MDs).

I also charge an hourly "real time" rate for non-word-compatible formats or time consuming orders (formatting, text boxes, XL, PPoint, HTML etc).

BTW some translators in my area consider 0,08€/wd. too cheap and say it should be around 0,10€/wd as standard.

[Edited at 2008-07-07 10:27]


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Very honest of you Jul 7, 2008

Hi Neilmac,

That's very honest of your disclosing your rates like that. The truth is that our knowledge about the translation market is always imperfect. I think most people do charge 0.10 but even so if you don't have the expenses of a premises and you'll be able to itch your rate up in time. I probably have enough experience under my belt now to sniff out some direct clients for myself - I'm still working with agencies at the moment. But I must admit that I do find the prospect slighting daunting. My major concern is receiving too much work and not being able to handle it. In which I would have to outsource it and everything could become slightly complicated. Nevertheless, I think that I'll soon have priced myself out the agency market anyway, not that it takes long! But I am lucky in one respect because as I am certified and the bulk of my work is certified so I manage to work with a higher rate most of the time. (And you should buy not rent! Wonderful things are happening at the moment.)


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Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 12:54
English to Dutch
+ ...
agency rates Jul 7, 2008

Tatty wrote:

Nevertheless, I think that I'll soon have priced myself out the agency market anyway, not that it takes long! But I am lucky in one respect because as I am certified and the bulk of my work is certified so I manage to work with a higher rate most of the time.



I have never understood why translators should work at cheap rates for agencies.
Isn't a translation worth as much for an agency as it is for the end customer? The work remains the same for the translator, it's the agencies that take off with the nice profits.
In my experience, agencies do pay nice rates (and I only have about three years of experience), as long as you insist and always deliver good quality. Of course, they always try to negotiate a cheap rate, but they nearly always come back when you don't give in. An agency can't exist without translators and does appreciate quality! It is also my experience unfortunately that agencies that pay less, aren't the best ones around...


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