How about competing with developing countries?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:49
English to French
+ ...
May 1, 2003

I have noticed an issue that nobody seems to have spoken about yet.

I translate from Hungarian into English and French. There is no way I can quote the full rate to a client in Hungary simply because the cost of living over there is not the same as in Canada. Even if I gave a 50% discount, they would probably still argue.

Now, if I do give that discount and I believe many of us already do, customers in underdeveloped countries AND in developed countries will expect that price from then on, and there will be no way to charge the full price EVER again. Not only is this hurting my wallet, it is hurting the profession itself, thereby hurting all of us.

I have lost contracts to people in Eastern Europe because they were charging five times less than I - and they were laughing all the way to the bank. If I charged the same rate they do, I would be more than broke.

Anybody knows how to deal with this highly delicate subject?


P.S.: Has anybody read the Translator\'s Bill of Rights lately? I really think most people are not even aware of it, because nobody seems to care about those internationally recognized and approved rights. People, if us translators don\'t live by our Bill of Rights, how do you expect customers to respect it?

If anyone is interested in reading it (highly recommended) just ask for the link.


Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:49
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Apply flexible rates May 1, 2003

I\'m exactly in the same position, and Ukrainian local rates are supposedly much lower than in Hungary. To give you an idea, a couple of years ago I got $1.4 per page. Two years of international freelancing taught me to apply flexible rates depending on where the client is based.

You don\'t have to advertise you single rate. \'Exact quote can be made after reviewing a sample of the source text\' and meanwhile you also see who\'s the client to offer your final rate.




Erika Pavelka (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:49
French to English
Szia Viktoria! May 1, 2003

I translate from French and Hungarian into English (I\'m in Montreal), and I was in the same situation. I\'ve basically stopped working for Hungarian agencies because of the rates. I hardly get requests for Hungarian anymore - most often, it\'s from an agency here in Canada that has a birth certificate or other similar document.

If you really want to keep translating from Hungarian, I\'d suggest you take the going Hungarian rates and keep working with those agencies, but balance those jobs with ones from Canadian clients. That\'s the only way you can pay your bills here...

Remélem, hogy segített!




Maya Jurt  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
Member (2002)
French to German
+ ...
We are working at it.... May 1, 2003


On 2003-05-01 09:17, ViktoriaG wrote:

I have noticed an issue that nobody seems to have spoken about yet.

Just go and have a look at




Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
same thing with a few agencies in my country as well May 1, 2003


I fact we do have the same sort of problem in Portugal. Some agencies are always looking for cheaper translators and believe me they always get them somewhere. Therefore, the solution is to look for work sources abroad and work with foreign agencies directly instead of having in-country agencies giving translators all the breadcrumbs they want to. That\'s not hard if we are specilized enough and know our way in the business. This is probably the solution...

Hope this helps



[ This Message was edited by: mmachado on 2003-05-01 15:46]

[ This Message was edited by: mmachado on 2003-05-01 16:46]


Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:49
Latvian to English
+ ...
Flexibility of rates May 1, 2003

I fully agree with Oleg on this one! I\'m currently based in Latvia and if I solely accepted jobs from clients in Latvia I couldn\'t possibly work as a freelance translator.

Having said that, I never agree to work for the bargain-basement rates many agencies and clients offer here. Whilst I cannot apply my UK rates, I always tell the client that they pay for what they get and we reach a compromise (and I can afford to be selective!) I\'ve worked hard and acquired a great deal of experience over the last 14 years - plus I have professional recognition in the UK. Why should I agree to work for the same rates that an agency will pay, for example, to a student with no experience, who is still studying the language (and who they might end up using anyway, because it\'s cheaper?)

Each and every client is different, irrespective of their location. Therefore negotiation skills and flexibility are the key. In the end, it\'s our own personal choice for whom we work.


Lisbeth Benavides  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Please read APUNTEN!!! ....FUEGO!!!! May 1, 2003

This issue was also widely and interestingly discussed following a posting by Aurora H. about a fortnight ago. This focused on the same problem occuring in South America: abuse and low pay from agencies and translators who are downgrading the profession by accepting to work for as little as US$0.01 per word!

It seems to be a global \'malaise\'... and as qualified translators, I think that while one can allow for a certain grade of flexiblility, we should, as a group, at least have a fixed minimum rate - worldwide.

Thats my two cents! Saludos!


(Jana, by the way - I think we have \'talked\' before - when you were working in the UK!)


Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
The relevant standard is the one of the target country May 1, 2003

In your case the price difference between a translation by a native speaker and a non-native speaker is particularly big.

This will not change in the near future.

So the client will have to decide whether he can pay a professional quality or not.

Anyway, the rates in the target country are the relevant ones for professional translations.


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