Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
How do I choose my rate?
Thread poster: xxxGineke (X)

xxxGineke (X)
Local time: 05:26
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sep 23, 2013

I need some help. A few days ago a Chinese translation agency contacted me, in request for colleboration. They offered me a reward for $0.06 USD per source word. On this website I saw that $0.09 is a normal minimum. However, the translation agency told me that $0.05 USD is normal. What rate per source word would you all advice? It's all confusing me, and I don't want anyone to take advantage of me (and I feel that, that's exactly what they are trying to do)! Personally I think 6 cents per source word is very little. I translate English-Dutch. I hope you all can give me some advice on rates, so things become a bit clearer for me. Thanks in advance!


daria fedele  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
YOU ARE RIGHT... Sep 23, 2013 my opinion you are right. I never worked below 0.5 euro, but my standard is 0.6-0.8 euro.


Charlotte Farrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:26
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
$0.05 is not normal Sep 23, 2013

In USD, I wouldn't go below 9.5 cents!


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Have you also tred the rates calculator? Sep 23, 2013

Again, with reservations - it is not possible to feed all the details in, so teh answer you get from this is only indicative.

But this can give you an idea of what to aim at. Then you can work out how much leeway you are willing to give clients, and how much you need to adjust your own hopes and expectations...

Rates vary between different markets - in some parts of the world and some language pairs rates are considerably higher than others.
You can try focusing your marketing on the areas that pay best for you.

It may even make a difference which way you are translating - 1000 words in some languages translate into a lot mor or a lot fewer in others.

I work on a 20% difference between my source and target languages! So check yours carefully.


Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Pick your market before deciding about your rate Sep 23, 2013

Dear Gineke,

In the more than ten years I’ve been translating from English to Dutch I’ve encountered an unbelievable range of agency rates.

Lunatics, subprime translation projects, about to collapse: “Gerard, can you do the first 10K tonight. We have a budget of $0.02 for translation and proofing 700K before the end of this month.”

Bottom feeders, ProZ colleagues, Asian agencies: “Sorry Gerard, over here $0.06 is the norm.”

Average European agencies used to deal in euros: “Thank you for sending us your résumé. For this project we can’t offer you more than 0,09 euro per weighted word but we’ll keep your details and hope to get back to you in the near future.”

The agencies you want to work with: “Hi Gerald, your tariffs wouldn’t be a problem. Are you available for an interview by telephone with our Dutch PM this afternoon? I’ll probably be there too, to explain what we expect from our partners.”

Agencies you also want to work with: “Sorry Gerard, We can pay in Euros by PayPal only. We accept your source word rate of 0.11 EUR but will renegotiate when we can send you more than 10,000 a month.” « Rebonjour Gérard, J’ai bien apprécié notre conversation de ce matin. Si vous pouvez offrir traduction plus relecture à 0,12 euro le mot nous sommes d’accord. La seule chose que nous exigeons de nos traducteurs est de combiner tous nos jobs dans une seule facture à la fin du mois. »

Agencies you probably also would like to work with: “Dear Nina, What you want from me is SEO/transcreation/copywriting. My minimum rate for that service is 30 euro an hour. I’d send you an XLS or HTML file because something has gone wrong with your Trados files.

Top agencies I have to disappoint: Liebe Frau Möller, Ihr Angebot ist wirklich schön aber ich fürchte Partnertausch ist nicht mein Ding.

Good luck,

[Edited at 2013-09-23 20:35 GMT]


Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
English to Polish
+ ...
Asking here was actually a good idea Sep 23, 2013

Talking to your peers is probably the best idea with those kinds of questions, especially to people who have more experience than you but not enough to have developed their careers in different market circumstances and now be a couple of leagues above you without knowing what's going on where you are.


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:26
Chinese to English
There's always someone who will offer you less Sep 24, 2013

Gerard de Noord wrote:

...I’ve encountered an unbelievable range of agency rates.

That's my experience as well. I started from rock-bottom Chinese rates (think 1/6th of what you were offered!) and worked my way up, and every time I raised my rates I was surprised to find a flourishing market at the new rate level. You don't have to work for peanuts; there is work out there at decent rates.


Meta Arkadia
Local time: 10:26
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Jobless Sep 24, 2013

My rate for the very same language pair is € 0.09. That has been my rate since 1994. Inflation? What inflation?

I don't get enough work. And I'm effing brilliant.




Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:26
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
on the basis of your skills Sep 24, 2013

The reason rates mentioned on this site are higher than on many other platforms and higher than a lot of agencies offer is that there are a lot of translators with years of experience, highly specialised knowledge and a range of qualifications. It would be very naive to assume that anyone who believes that they have great language skills and tries their hand at translations can demand the same rates.

While I think it is great that some highly experienced people on here have publicised their rates, this is what a beginner with no experience should keep at the back of their head as the amount "to aim for" in a few years time, when they have a good reputation, a range of regular clients and some industry qualifications.

I did accept jobs at the rates you are currently being offered when I first started out in this industry. And that was after a couple of years of on-site translation and interpreting, a degree and with some specialised knowledge. The qualification you state on your profile is one that I obtained at the age of 16, before going on a high school student exchange. $0.06 is not a great rate and one that you will want to move away from, ONCE you can prove that you can do this job and have build up a solid customer base. With zero experience and no specialist field, it is a reasonable rate for learning the ropes.

The quality of translations varies as much as the rates offered. If the agency has to invest in extensive editing/proofreading to tidy up after you, naturally your earning will and should be lower.


Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The rate you were offered is not normal Sep 24, 2013

bearing in mind that it was offered in USD. You would still have to convert that back into Euros and it would make a lot less (I see that some people have commented as though you had quoted this rate in Euros).

I also can't help noticing that you have stated on your profile that you translate both into Dutch and into English and I have to say that, although there are some true bilinguals who can translate both ways, most people translate only into their native language.

I don't personally think that you should be offering translation into English as you have made a number of grammatical and syntax mistakes in your post, which of course there is nothing wrong with, as you write really well considering English isn't your native language. However, a native English speaker reading a text in English will not make those allowances.

Equally, back on the subject of rates, I don't agree that you should accept a lower rate when you begin. This is because it is notoriously difficult to raise your rate once you have entered the bottom-feeder market and also because, when you begin, you will invariably need more time to research and perhaps need to pay a proofreader (certainly for work with direct clients) out of your rate. This means that even if you asked the same rate as someone more experienced than you, you'd still be earning less than that person because your productivity will be lower.

I would certainly not advise accepting the rate you were offered by the Chinese agency.


xxxGineke (X)
Local time: 05:26
Dutch to English
+ ...
Thank you. Sep 24, 2013

Thank you for your comments. I realise that I have a lot to learn.
But I know what to do now. So I just wanted to say thank you for your help. I really appreciate it!


Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:26
English to Spanish
. Sep 24, 2013

$0.06 USD/word is low even for my highly-depreciated/prostituted/undervalued language pair (EN>ES).

If I dared venture a guess, I'd say rates in your language pair (English-Dutch) should be at least double that; i.e., $0.12 USD (at least!!)



Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:26
German to English
My five cents' worth... Sep 24, 2013

You can't be serious!!

Twice that, minimum... and then a bit more.

Steve K.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Set your rate high until you're a fast translator Sep 24, 2013

Gineke wrote:
A Chinese translation agency ... offered me ... $0.06 USD per source word. On this website I saw that $0.09 is a normal minimum. However, the translation agency told me that $0.05 USD is normal. What rate per source word would you all advise?

What is "normal" depends on your location and the location of your client (among other things). Your client is in China, where the "normal" rate is much lower than in the country where you live.

My advice to you (if you're a new translator) is to set your rate high, and only accept lower rates when you are confident that you will be able to maintain the same income due to higher volumes (i.e. when you become a fast translator).


Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:26
German to English
Eh? Sep 24, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

My advice to you (if you're a new translator) is to set your rate high, and only accept lower rates when you are confident that you will be able to maintain the same income due to higher volumes (i.e. when you become a fast translator).

So the better you get, the less you charge? I can't believe you just said that!

Steve K.

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

How do I choose my rate?

Advanced search

Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search