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What was your volume of work last week?
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Apr 15, 2009

G'day everyone

The issue about how much we earn is linked to how much work we can get. Not so much how much work we can do, but how much we can get.

Following a comment I made in another thread, I was wondering if you could tell me what was your volume of work the past week or the previous week. Calculations by aspiring freelancers are often based on how much work we can do in a day, but the real question is how much work do you *get* in a day.

So, how much work (in words) did you really do in the past week or previous week? Take a look at your inbox for the past two weeks and round off the numbers. You can be detailed or you can give a daily overview or you can give a weekly overview. Include work that you received but did not do (either because you refused it or because the client refused your rate or for whatever other reason).

==

Here's mine. I don't mind being specific, but you don't have to be. I don't do a lot of work at this time and I don't market my services currently, hence the low volume of work.

30 March to 6 April: two hours reviewing, 50 words translate, 20 words translate (not done), 3000 words translate, 50 words translate, 300 words back-translate, 800 words translate, 50 words translate, 270 words translate, 150 words translate, 900 words translate, 50 words translate.

7 April to 13 April: 40 words translate, 50 words translate, 4000 words translate, 40 words translate, 15 words translate, 20 words translate, 2000 words translate, 800 words translate.

14 April (yesterday): 50 words translate, 1 hour reviewing, 50 words translate, 1 hour reviewing, 300 words translate, 800 words translate.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:59
English to Dutch
+ ...
25 hours Apr 15, 2009

Since I keep track of my working hours, I can answer with a certain reliability, that on average, I spend about 25 hours on translation/review work. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, but last week was about the average.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
Italian to English
+ ...
About 12000 words Apr 15, 2009

Last week (4-day week, I didn't work on Friday) I did about 12,000 words and don't seem to have turned anything down.

The week before, I did about 25,000 words and turned down an unspecified amount of proofreading (two articles each of 15 "pages"), about 2000 words of translating and probably a few other translation jobs, but it'd take too long to go back and check.


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 18:59
Easter holiday Apr 15, 2009

The last 2 weeks are typical holiday weeks for many Europeans.

The Easter holiday in Bavaria, where I live, starts on the 4th of April, and lasts until 19th of the month. My children are still at home on holiday.

Your business will thrive afterwards, I promise.

Bin


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 23:59
Turkish to English
+ ...
Flat out Apr 15, 2009

I was working flat out last week. I have been quite busy so far this year - work volumes have been much higher than in the same period last year.

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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 22:59
Italian to English
+ ...
Easter slowdown Apr 15, 2009

In the first 10 days of April I did about 40,000 words plus a 6-hour proofreading job, a near-record pace, but since Friday the pace has slowed to a trickle, making it an average month so far.

As Bin Teade mentions above, hopefully volume will return to record-setting pace towards the end of this week or early next week.

I agree with Samuel's basic premise that actual volume is key - being fully employed, working at maximum capacity utilization.

To be sure, there are ways to increase rates, improve efficiency and cut costs, but these ways have their limits and there is virtually no economy of scale.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You mistake my meaning Apr 15, 2009

Bin Tiede wrote:
The last 2 weeks are typical holiday weeks for many Europeans. ... Your business will thrive afterwards, I promise.


I'm not asking "why is my volume so low" but "what is your volume". The reason for my question is to determine or get an indication of whether EUR 100 000 a year is attainable, specifically in the light of the volume of work translators typically get per week. So I'm trying to answser the question "how much do you earn per week" by asking not "how much *can* you do per week" but "how much work do you *truly get* per week".


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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 22:59
Italian to English
+ ...
Difficult, not impossible Apr 15, 2009


The reason for my question is to determine or get an indication of whether EUR 100 000 a year is attainable, specifically in the light of the volume of work translators typically get per week.


Yes, it's possible, but you would have to work at full capacity - meaning 96,000 words a month for 12 months - and receive an average rate of around €0.09 per source word.

Exchange rates could also help: now it helps to have costs in USD and revenues in EUR, but about 7 years ago it was the opposite and one could reasonably expect, based on history, the scenario to flip-flop one or two more times over the next 7-10 years.

Obviously right now it is easier to generate USD 100,000 in revenue than EUR 100,000.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Your capacity vs your market's capacity Apr 15, 2009

Latin_Hellas wrote:
Yes, it's possible, but you would have to work at full capacity - meaning 96,000 words a month for 12 months...


Is 96 000 words a month your personal capacity or your market's capacity? I'm trying to find out what people's market's capacity is -- speculation and calculation based on an ideal inbox is for another thread. What is your intray *really* like?


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:59
English to German
+ ...
Who is "you"? Apr 15, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:


I was wondering if you could tell me what was your volume of work the past week or the previous week. Calculations by aspiring freelancers are often based on how much work we can do in a day, but the real question is how much work do you *get* in a day.

So, how much work (in words) did you really do in the past week or previous week?



Hi Samuel,

I assume that by "you" you mean a single translator and NOT a multi-person agency. If you do mean a single translator this thread may generate a lot of misunderstandings.


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 18:59
My situation isn't typical Apr 15, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:
I'm not asking "why is my volume so low" but "what is your volume".


How much work I can do depends very much on my family situation.

In March I completed around 10.000 words for translation, 20 hours for language training, and 8 hours interpreting assignments. In April I haven't taken any assignment up till now due to the school holiday and the fact that I am caring my kids alone at the moment.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Not an ideal week... Apr 15, 2009

to pick, because of the Easter Holidays in many countries. I had 3 days off and worked flat out the rest (I probably did about 10,000 words). I'm booked up until the end of June...

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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 18:59
Rates play an important role Apr 15, 2009

Latin_Hellas wrote:

Yes, it's possible, but you would have to work at full capacity - meaning 96,000 words a month for 12 months - and receive an average rate of around €0.09 per source word.


I want to point out that 0,09 Euro per word is the international standard. In the domestic market in Germany, a good translator can charge up to 0.20 Cent (or even more) per word. To achieve the same income, those who have enough direct clients in Germany only need to do half of the work.


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 22:59
French to English
+ ...
Over the last year... Apr 15, 2009

April 2008 to May 2009, assuming a 50 week year, I averaged 8,700 words per week or 36,300 a month. I also did a total of 11 hours reviewing billed by the hour and, somewhat unusually, no interpretting billed by the day.

My worst month was 4,900 words (but I was away for 2 1/2 weeks that month) and my best was 66,200.

I've been in business for 2+ years and my moving 12-month average is still increasing though it shows signs of levelling out (but maybe that's the recession...)

Terry.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Member
English to French
About 75% of my full capacity in 2009 Apr 15, 2009

Last week I had 6 deadlines totalling 5500 source words plus 3 hours of various tasks. I also spent two days changing hard drives and reinstalling.

So little work last week looks scary, but I have projects spanning several weeks. Below is how much I delivered from 01/01/09 until 9/04/09 (14 weeks)

57 deadlines (using Translation Office 3000)
translation: 99636 source words
MT post-editing: 99668 source words
proofreading/QA/Aftersale: 32 hours

Or on a weekly average:
translation: 7000
MT post-editing: 7000
Proofreading: 2 hours

So I invoiced about 11 000 full words a week, which is consistent with a not-too-busy period. I had many quiet days, and a lot of busy days. Usually no offer comes in during the quiet days.
95% of the work came from 4 agency customers.

I don't keep track of the amount of work I turn down, it makes me cry. If I could evenly distribute the workload, I could probably work at 100% of my capacity (or 700kwords/year). Unfortunately, deadlines are stiff and usually cannot be put off by more than a few hours/days.

Looking ahead, I have 25k full words for 27 April and a 2-hour task.

2005 will remain my record year with 65keuros gross. A hundred thou is one of my goals, but I seem to be incapable of reaching it without dying of exhaustion in my current business strategy and pricing.
Anything below 40keuros gross is flagged as a bad year, and I had 2 or 3 such years since 2000, of which last year.


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