Am I too expensive?
Thread poster: Nicola O'Brien

Nicola O'Brien
Local time: 02:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 6, 2002

I am new to but have been very impressed with the quality of the advice offered. Therefore I come before you, begging your honest opinions. I recently submitted an offer for translating a magazine (approx. 12000 words) from Spanish into English. The original translation was dreadful (e.g.IV Centenario as 400th Centenary). My price was 0,09 Euros per word. After chasing them for two weeks trying to get an answer, I was informed today that my charges were far too high, at more than three times the budget. My gut feeling is that their budget is much too low for such a volume of work. Am I wrong? If so, what would be an acceptable rate?


Bob Kerns  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:43
Member (2002)
German to English
No ! Jun 6, 2002

If anything your price per word is a little low for Europe. In this case you\'re either dealing with an agency who wants to rip off new translators or an end customer who hasn\'t got a clue as to what the normal rate is for a translation.

Just ignore them!


Emanuela Corbetta  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:43
English to Italian
+ ...
sort of, Jun 6, 2002

for Spain the rate is aprox.0.05 Euro/word.

I know it is a \"miseria\", how we say in Italian but it is the reality


Paul Roige (X)
Local time: 03:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spain is different Jun 6, 2002

but then, where else can a Brit get a week holiday in a 3-star hotel by the beach for 100 pounds, all included? Not in Germany for sure.

It\'s crazy here.



Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:43
Spanish to English
+ ...

The market bends. It\'ll wise up.


Anthony Green  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:43
Italian to English
+ ...
Yes of course you're too expensive ... Jun 6, 2002

In the sense that you\'re too expensive for them, so you can either let them go on their merry way - conventional wisdom has it that after doing a few cheapo jobs they\'ll come knocking at your door looking for quality and being prepared to pay for it - or else get down on your knees where they want you to be.

If I did a job for low rates (I charge €0,11 by the way), I\'m sure it would reflect my commitment (or lack of it) - I\'d be dying to finish the thing so that I wouldn\'t have to repeat the same mistake again.

Other people are clearly in a different situation from me (and presumably you) which is why some translations are so poorly paid. That said, I\'ve accepted ProZ jobs, which means some agencies accept my (high?) rates.

If you never get a job you bid for, then there\'s something wrong and it could be your rates, but equally if you get every job you bid for, there\'s something very wrong with your rates too - they\'re far too low!

Best wishes

Stick to your guns



Erika Pavelka (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:43
French to English
Not too expensive Jun 6, 2002

Your rate definitely isn\'t too expensive. Your client\'s location does make a big difference though. You could certainly get more working for a company in Scandinavia or Germany than for one in Spain or Italy.

Like the others said, stick to your rates and continue to look for good clients. They are out there!



Nicola O'Brien
Local time: 02:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks to everyone for their comments. Jun 7, 2002

I guess I should be prepared to lower my rates a wee bit, but I\'m certainly not going to charge 0,03! Some things in life are more important. The dour Scot in me thinks that I could be dead tomorrow anyway........ hahaha


mmachado (X)
English to Portuguese
Don't lower your rates - you will get more clients if you don't Sep 6, 2002


I quite agree that we need to stick to our rates once we know it\'s the right value. I personally think that if we know we offer quality clients will soon or later know it as well. Of course it depends on the specialities. A specialized translator that only accepts work in one or two areas can charge higher rates.

The most important is to offer a good and professional service (e.g, respect deadlines, and all those topics we can easily find on advices to translators); if you do, clients will come back and will understand you are a good value for money.

Hope this helps. Don\'t give up. Be patient. Someone who wants to be a translator and earn a living being one, can\'t twist too much to rates. Quality is far more important and good clients who know the business, know that too.

All the best

Mónica Machado


Richard Flight  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's hard setting a price for translations, isn't it? Sep 26, 2002

I charge agencies 0.10 euro/source word and direct customers 0.16 euro and up, and have a fairly handsome and consistent amount of work throughout the year. The weird thing is that I\'ve been offered the 0.03 euro jobs, and seen 0.30 euro jobs, so the bracket is immense, really. I don\'t know if the 30 cts job was genuine - I answered the phone, it was a new agency offering me this urgent job, I declined as I was already chasing a surreal deadline, and the lady on the line said something to the effect of \"shame, we\'re paying 0,30 euro for this job because it has to be top-notch\" - I still wonder if it was true, or she was just angry and wanted me to feel gutted I\'d turned it down...

But proper translations take time - and serious customers will want proper translations whether they know that at the start, or learn it the long and rocky way, getting burnt by all the cheap options first.


Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
offer and demand make the rate Nov 6, 2002

I think that 0.09 EUR is a good rate to start freelance translating. And when you regularly get more work than you can do, you can reconciliate offer and demand by increasing your rates.. icon_wink.gif

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-11-06 00:46 ]


Local time: 04:43
English to Greek
+ ...
Bid depends on factors Nov 15, 2002

I personally most of the time bid high. By high I mean more than 0.20 $ per word. Of course I do not accept every job there is, rather the ones very close to my experties. There are three factors that should be considered before making a bid. 1) Quality: What you can offer in terms of quality is the most important thing. I would quit instantly if a customer was not pleased in any way by the translation I provided. 2) Deadline: I would not bid the same for a 3000 word project with a deadline of 5 days and another of 15 days.If you can be quick bid high. 3) Field of Experties: If a job is right on my experties field I bid high.Cause I know that the

factors 1 and 2 I mentioned above will be at the top compared to other translators\'.


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