Food for thought
Thread poster: Madeleine MacRae Klintebo

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:06
Swedish to English
+ ...
Oct 17, 2009

Interesting article by Chris Blackhurst in the Evening Standard yesterday. The subject of the article was bank bonuses and how come they can be so gigantic, and what's needed to bring them back to earth. But from a translator's point of view the first lines are the most relevant:

"A friend of mine who is something of an internet guru once pitched for a job to revamp a well-known company's website. Later, the managing director sought me out. "Your pal was superb." Then he frowned. "But we can't hire him." Why not? "He's far too cheap, I can't possibly tell the board we're using him. They'll ask how much he's charging and when I tell them, they'll say: 'That's not enough, he must be no good.'""

Edited a zillion times to get the link to work....

[Edited at 2009-10-17 14:55 GMT]


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:06
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Rocks and prices Oct 17, 2009

There are at least two "rock prices":

  • rock-bottom prices
  • rock solid prices

Mine belong to the second category. No, I'm not "expensive", just the quality market average. However if I lower my rates just because a client asked me to do so, IMO that's hard evidence that my first offer was dishonest. If they tell me to cut items from the order, okay, nobody should pay for what they won't get.

Recently a local agency owner said that I'm the only one that never left them out on a limb. So they feel that it justifies my fees as being reasonable.

The problem with low prices is that if, while carrying out a cheap job, the guy is offered a larger and much higher-paying gig, it might be worthwhile to leave that "pastime" aside for a while, eventually deliver late and lose the client, and go for some real money.

Maybe that's the reasoning that led the managers to consider that the cheap individual might turn out to be(come) unreliable.

Any other "rock" prices out there?


Esther Hermida  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
You Get What You Pay For. Lo barato sale caro. Oct 17, 2009

Madeleine and José,

I share your same school of thought. I've been told that my rates are higher than most. I don’t know who 'most' is. I know what ‘most’ charge. I do know what I have to offer, beside my credentials: I’m a reliable, professional language interpreter. As an independent contractor, I do not get job performance evaluations and a raise based on that evaluation. So then, I see fit to set my own prices based on years of experience and public relations work that I do on behalf of language companies or myself. However, I make sure my rates are reasonable and I work with companies based on their allocated budget for certain assignments.

I work closely with certified interpreters who have my same qualifications and their rates are similar to mine. The same group of interpreters who are always punctual, who won't give out their own business cards if an agency sends them to represent them, the same group of interpreters who dress in business attire, who don't chew gum while interpreting and who don't lean back in their chairs as if they're bored out of their minds. I refer those interpreters. Language companies should seek out interpreters who really care about their job performance. They should be compensating them, retaining, and living by the old Vidal Sasoon slogan: If you don’t look good we don’t look good.

I love to work for you but I won’t be cheap.


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