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Offer of the week
Thread poster: Diana Coada

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Feb 1, 2012

I was offered £3.00/hour for travel time to an interpreting assignmenticon_eek.gif I have seen £4.00 being offered before, but this one was the lowest amount ever! Obviously I did not accept the assignment.

Do you have similar stories to share? What was the lowest amount you were ever offered?


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:41
English to German
+ ...
Panhandlers at a good location make ten times as much Feb 1, 2012

Diana Coada wrote:

I was offered £3.00/hour for travel time to an interpreting assignmenticon_eek.gif I have seen £4.00 being offered before, but this one was the lowest amount ever! Obviously I did not accept the assignment.

Do you have similar stories to share? What was the lowest amount you were ever offered?



 

Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:41
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Different view Feb 1, 2012

Diana Coada wrote:
Do you have similar stories to share? What was the lowest amount you were ever offered?


The best rate I ever got (as a freelancer) was EUR 10.00/per word for a 90 word job.


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:41
Romanian to English
+ ...
Even "better" Feb 1, 2012

I was recently offered GBP 0.46 (yes, GBP 0.46) for a 13-word job.

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:41
English to German
+ ...
That's the rate per word Feb 1, 2012

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

was EUR 10.00/per word



for promotional text on magazine covers such as the Vogue or the Cosmopolitan.


 

Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:41
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
I am shocked :-) Feb 1, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:
That's the rate per word for promotional text on magazine covers such as the Vogue or the Cosmopolitan.


Incredible, it seems that specialists can earn real money in the translation industry. Reading through years of ProZ forums, I nearly assumed that nobody could ever get more than USD 0.03/per word.

Maybe we are doing something wrong or maybe we are just doing something differently.icon_wink.gif))


 

Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
German to English
+ ...
Thread starter wants to discuss min. rates, not max. Feb 1, 2012

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:
The best rate I ever got (as a freelancer) was XXX for a YYY word job.


I just felt you were hijacking...

c


 

Taña Dalglish
Jamaica
Local time: 23:41
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Outrage - Adding insult to injury! Feb 1, 2012

http://www.proz.com/job/xxx - English to Spanish Large Volume - "low-ballers"

Please quote your best rates, etc. (yay, yay, what's new?). This project is likely to last for one month and we are looking at a team to handle 1,000,000 words. The budget entered for this job is below the rates charged by at least 80% of ProZ.com members for this pair and currency. If it is any consolation, they were polite enough to warn you beforehand. $0.03 USD to $0.04 USD per word (obviously the maximum - but $0.01 - 0.02 would be even better)!

However, what never ceases to amaze me is the number of "takers" - 71 and counting (actually it does not surprise me ...)!

I am so disgusted. I want to scream!

Taña


 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:41
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Huh? Feb 2, 2012

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:
That's the rate per word for promotional text on magazine covers such as the Vogue or the Cosmopolitan.


Incredible, it seems that specialists can earn real money in the translation industry. Reading through years of ProZ forums, I nearly assumed that nobody could ever get more than USD 0.03/per word.

Maybe we are doing something wrong or maybe we are just doing something differently.icon_wink.gif))



Ten years ago in the U.S., the average rate was 12 cents per word. Your language combo was 14-16 cents per word (average "standard" rate). Through proz and other avenues, many translators from Europe, especially former Soviet countries, accepted much lower rates. Also, new executives entered the agency market, with a pure market logic. Considering also inflation etc, the rate per hour of work has fallen to one third (1/3) of what it was 10 years ago. Agencies did not lower their charges to their clients, generally speaking. The formatting that you do for free, they are actually charging it (no DTP, just bold/underline etc) at $75 per hour.

The more you accept low rates, the more it becomes "standard business practice". Over the last 7-8 years I was posting that rates will keep falling because "translators are clueless", I was actually pretty close to what happened. My current prediction is that rates will go down to equalize the minimum salary per country, calculated on an hourly basis.

For example, in the U.S., it will eventually go down to $20/hour minus taxes = $14, minus secretarial work time, invoicing time, equipment cost etc = $11/hour, which is pretty close to the minimum wage. If you consider health insurance as well and the portion of rent you pay for your "office", you are at the minimum wage. Same will happen in all countries, and in some of them with a high cost of living and taxation (central Europe etc), it will be lower than the minimum wage. Five years from now, most translators (except some specialists with high volume clients) will be earning less than cleaning personnel. At the same time, agencies will be charging just a little less than today, but their profit margin will go from approximately 220% which is now on average, to 250%. I'm not talking about all agencies, just the "high volume" agencies.

As far as the "specialist market", it's too small to fit all those translators - it's less than 5-8% of the overal market. Advertising phrases (slogans etc) can go up to 2-3 thousand dollars easily if they are "creative" (you can ask advertising agencies in the U.S. what they pay agencies for "creative translation work"). The agency pockets about 500 to 1,000 bucks for creative work in some cases, claiming that they hire cultural consultants, and they pay the translator a $25 minimum or so.
But as I said, these are rare projects and a small segment of the market.


PS. Have you noticed how translators usually have "one rate"? Or just two rates. With the complexity of this job and the variety of projects, a typical professional transator should have at least 20 different rates and not just round numbers. A rate of 9.3 cents is very different than a rate of 9.8 cents at the end of the year (instead of 98,000, you made 93,000 - that's a 5,000 difference, which is a lot of money). That's how amateuristic we really are. Our pricing system as translators would be rejected even by little kids selling lemonade on the street. And since we build no equity, this is not a real business. With the agencies imposing rates on us, according to whatever they want, it's not even a profession in the strict term. It's just hired labor. It's only natural fate is to go even lower (for the client, the "professionals" he knows, are the agency people, not you - nobody knows you - quite a few agencies would run out of business if they disclosed your name and the inner workings of rates, that's why it's also a "secretive" industry - remember how much noise was caused in the market when one translator disclosed the rates of a major agency? it was a "scandal" - nobody cares because they know that Walmart makes 10% or 20% - that's normal - but when those rates came out, it was a PR disaster... apparently said agency was making a 220% profit, as many of them do).





[Edited at 2012-02-02 05:52 GMT]


 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:41
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Progress... Feb 2, 2012

Taña Dalglish wrote:

http://www.proz.com/job/xxx - English to Spanish Large Volume - "low-ballers"

Please quote your best rates, etc. (yay, yay, what's new?). This project is likely to last for one month and we are looking at a team to handle 1,000,000 words. The budget entered for this job is below the rates charged by at least 80% of ProZ.com members for this pair and currency. If it is any consolation, they were polite enough to warn you beforehand. $0.03 USD to $0.04 USD per word (obviously the maximum - but $0.01 - 0.02 would be even better)!

However, what never ceases to amaze me is the number of "takers" - 71 and counting (actually it does not surprise me ...)!

I am so disgusted. I want to scream!

Taña



Tweleve (12) years ago, editing/proofreading was 500 words per hour.

At the "ordinary $30/hour". Since then, they pushed it to 700, then 750, then 1000 (that's when we started to protest), then 1200, then 1500 words per hour proofreading at the same rate. Which means, you are reading 3,000 words (1500 source + 1500 target) and editing, professionaly, in 1 hour. And this pays $30 - taxes - expenses - processing time cost = $16.

PMs were just bargaining (fishing around and proposing - they do get bonuses you know), and translators thought that this was normal (!). Which means, translators do not even know their own business (!).

It's the only industry in the history of our solar system, in which the volume of work (demand) increases faster than the supply of professionals, and the prices, instead of increasing, they are actually going down for the translators (!). Agencies are able to maintain high prices simply because there is a lot of demand. Therefore they are also capable of paying insurance to their employees (the PMs).

Yes - it does have an explanation - we' ve analyzed this. I'm just predicting (common sense and simple trend analysis) that it'll go down to the rate of a "cleaning lady without insurance". Except just a few specialists in some difficult areas. Watch it happening month after month. For this year I say that the "5 cents - how scandalous!" will go to "4 cents - how scandalous!", that is, a 20% rate decrease.


 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:41
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Consider leaving the industry at such rates Feb 2, 2012

Diana Coada wrote:

I was offered £3.00/hour for travel time to an interpreting assignmenticon_eek.gif I have seen £4.00 being offered before, but this one was the lowest amount ever! Obviously I did not accept the assignment.

Do you have similar stories to share? What was the lowest amount you were ever offered?



For travelling time? The lowest, which I did not accept, was $30/hour. The "normal" rate for interpreters in Chicago is $50/hour - travelling time $40/hour and I don't travel at locations that take more than 30-40 minutes to get there because traffic can be unpredictable.

You should leave this industry immediately if you are paid travelling time (which is work time) less than what's hourly acceptable in your country as wage+insurance for professionals of this category.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:41
English to German
+ ...
Acceptable if they use their teleportation machine as in Star Trek Enterprise Feb 2, 2012

Diana Coada wrote:

I was offered £3.00/hour for travel time to an interpreting assignmenticon_eek.gif


Or did they plan on picking you up with a stretch limousine with champagne, flowers and an assigned personal assistant or their private jet?

Are you sure this wasn't a typo?


 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:41
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
What about Data? (and Google) Feb 2, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Diana Coada wrote:

I was offered £3.00/hour for travel time to an interpreting assignmenticon_eek.gif


Or did they plan on picking you up with a stretch limousine with champagne, flowers and an assigned personal assistant or their private jet?

Are you sure this wasn't a typo?



Can Data translate a legal document? The Star Trek transporter is a good idea, but if the end clients get a hold of it, they will bypass the agency all together.

And that's what's going to happen when someday machine translation becomes very good: end clients will bypass agencies.

I have a feeling that if Google incorporates a list of professionals to edit the text, right next to their machine, our world will change in ways we never imagined. Google will be the agency. The only agency. Without managers though... client sends the text to the machine, and clicks on the name of a translator (who is "google-approved") who will edit the text. That's all the client needs to do. The translator submits the edited text to Google, and Google sends it to their client. For a small monthly fee.

PDFs will be submitted as PDF files, and send directly to the translator.

The agencies, in the beginning, will ask the help of translators against this practice. Translators will tell them "all these years you did not support us at all - how can you expect us to support you now?".

There was a time when the agencies were the best friends of translators. Some still are. The rest are shooting themselves in the foot.



[Edited at 2012-02-02 06:47 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The difference between translation and interpreting... Feb 2, 2012

Diana Coada wrote:
I was offered £3.00/hour for travel time to an interpreting assignment.


Siegfried Armbruster wrote:
The best rate I ever got (as a freelancer) was EUR 10.00/per word for a 90 word job.


Annamaria Amik wrote:
I was recently offered GBP 0.46 (yes, GBP 0.46) for a 13-word job.


Taña Dalglish wrote:
If it is any consolation, they were polite enough to warn you beforehand. $0.03 USD to $0.04 USD per word (obviously the maximum - but $0.01 - 0.02 would be even better)!


Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:
Ten years ago in the U.S., the average rate was 12 cents per word. Your language combo was 14-16 cents per word (average "standard" rate).


Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:
Tweleve (12) years ago, editing/proofreading was 500 words per hour. ... At the "ordinary $30/hour".


Translators often complain about how the public don't understand the difference between a transaltor and an interpreter, but... it would seem that the same holds true for many professionals here...

Diana, what would you regard as a fair compensation for travelling?



[Edited at 2012-02-02 07:11 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:41
French to German
+ ...
25 € per page and the confusion Feb 2, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

Translators often complain about how the public don't understand the difference between a transaltor and an interpreter, but... it would seem that the same holds true for many professionals here...

Diana, what would you regard as a fair compensation for travelling?



[Edited at 2012-02-02 07:11 GMT]


One sworn translator/interpreter once wrote in this forum that court interpreting was paid 25 € per page...


 
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