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Poll: What is the highest rate (per word, USD) you were ever paid?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:16
SITE STAFF
Dec 19, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is the highest rate (per word, USD) you were ever paid?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ziad Marzouka

View the poll here

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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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:16
English to Swedish
+ ...
Why does the scale only cover the sweatshop range? Dec 19, 2005

The scale should be extended to at least USD .50!

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Miomira Brankovic  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 23:16
Member
English to Serbian
+ ...
0.04 Dec 19, 2005

This is not a mistake. That was the highest rate per word I was ever paid and the client was one of the most powerful Washington-based international organizations. Their Language Services Department came to Belgrade to recruit a team of Serbian-English translators that would be their outsourcing pool when the need arises. After testing and interview, selected candidates were offered a take-it-or-leave-it one-year contract that promissed no work and specified US$0.04 per word as the going rate. I was happy to accept the offer as at that time (5-6 years ago) that was about 50% more than the prevalent translating rate in Serbia. I did some pretty tough translations for them over the next three years (my contract was renewed twice) and they paid promptly. Everybody seemed to be happy. They got translations done for just a fraction of what they would have to pay in the U.S. and I got what seemed a very good rate in our circumstances.
That is still the highest rate I ever got. I currently work for some 0.30-0.35 per word for local customers and consider myself lucky. It is not a dumping price, just that nobody pays more. That is the sad reality of living and working in one of the poorer countries in the world.


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 23:16
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
differentiating between rates Dec 19, 2005

The poster of the question most probably means rates paid per word. If this is the case, most respondents would fall into any of the proposed brackets.

But there is also a different type of job, i.e. short but creative texts, where payment is not by word but by project/document. I do regular translations, or "adaptations" for one particular outsourcer that pays me much higher rates for creative adaptation. I think the highest rate I ever received from them was USD 15 per word (I only had to translate two very simple words, for USD 30).
Csaba


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Lesley Clayton
France
Local time: 23:16
French to English
+ ...
The rate bands overlap Dec 19, 2005

The problem with this survey is that the rate bands overlap. For example, 0.8 - 0.10, then 0.10 - 0.12. Which rate band do you click if your highest rate was 0.10?

Lesley


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 00:16
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Only jobs paid per word Dec 19, 2005

Csaba Ban wrote:
But there is also a different type of job, i.e. short but creative texts, where payment is not by word but by project/document.


Not necessarily creative ones, but any small job paid with a fixed price may give a very large average "per word" ratio.
Many translators have their minimal price per job, so sometimes even 20-30-word job for $30 may mean $1-1.5 per word. Or even the incredible ratio of $15 per word as in Csaba's example.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I call it something else when there are only a few words... Dec 19, 2005

I have one client who sometimes asks for very small jobs to be done in Trados... to be added to their TM or multilingual bases.

If you simply divide the rate by the number of words, then it is quite princely

If you convert it into an hourly rate I can't complain, but it's nothing outstanding.

These jobs are often titles of sections in larger documents (which may or may not come later as straight jobs) or slogans that cannot be translated directly etc.

My English versions sometimes form the basis for translations into other languages where translators do not understand the original Swedish. So they have to be carefully thought out. I'm not counting these jobs in my answer to the poll.

I call time not directly spent translating 'setting up time' or 'research time' or 'formatting time' and charge separately (by agreement with the client) where the source text is not reasonably straightforward.

My answer in the poll is for setting up and translating, not for extra formatting or Trados-processing and administration on 3-word jobs or anything like that.



[Edited at 2005-12-19 11:40]


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Some still pay high Dec 19, 2005

I still get paid 0.25 USD per word for Rush Projects from a few companies (yeah, really a few: only two of them!)

However, the other ones still pay me a very decent price, whether normal or rush price and I am satisfied with my income.

Monika


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 23:16
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
average value after 512 votes Dec 19, 2005

I made a quick calculation on the average value of individual highest rates:

The result is 12.55 cents

For each bracket, I used the mean values (0.11 for the 0.10-0.12 bracket, etc.). For the two extremes, I used 0.20 and 0.06, respectively.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:16
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's possible you'd still get a sizeable percentage for >0.18 Dec 19, 2005

I agree with Sven.

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overseas
Local time: 18:16
English to Korean
+ ...
Why is the rate so low? Dec 19, 2005

The highest rate I've ever been paid was US$0.25/word. I was able to charge the amount because it was a translation project for my END client. My average rate is from US$0.13 to 0.15/word nowadays. Why is the rate most agencies offer so low? And why do translators accept outrageously low rate, such as US$0.04/word??? (I translate from English into Chinese and Korean.) Because of a living standard difference? As professional translators, what can we do to remedy such practice of translation agencies? Whenever I see someone posts a job and says "please send your CV and MOST COMPETITIVE rate," I imagine a picture in which we poor translators struggle and fight to grasp the ONE shiny apple the job poster hands out in one hand, and in the other hand s/he hides behind her/his back is a card reads, "the lowest rate possible." I never send my quote to such job posters.

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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:16
English to Swedish
+ ...
Statistical methods applied to the data produced indicate that 3% of us charge more than .30! Dec 19, 2005

Gonna increase my fees!

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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 23:16
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
don't misinterpret the data Dec 19, 2005

The poll is about the highest rate each individual ever received, which is, by definition, much higher than the average rate for that individual.

[Edited at 2005-12-19 23:34]


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:16
English to French
Some thoughts about the poll Dec 20, 2005

It's interesting as a starting point for iddle chat, but it's quite limited:

As someone else was pointing out, $0.04 is a great rate in some poor countries - after all, 300 bucks a month is good money in many parts of the globe. On the other end of the spectrum, a highly specialized financial expert in the US or Canada may routinely charges above the $0.18.

Unless the rates are compared to the type of service provided and the market circumstances, they don't mean much, do they?

It would be more interesting to compare results within a single language pair

One thing though, irrespective of situation and language, 52% said they were never paid more than 0.12

[Edited at 2005-12-20 09:12]


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