Rates
Thread poster: Ally Stack

Ally Stack  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 19, 2014

I'm certified as a translator in Spanish/English and I'm a native American English speaker. I haven't been in the translation industry long. I was wondering what are the average rates to charge? Are there different rates to post when bidding online? Should your rate be different if you are a newcomer or should you set one rate and keep it?

Thanks!!


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:06
English to German
+ ...
Never lower your rates just to get the work Jun 19, 2014

Ally Stack wrote:

I'm certified as a translator in Spanish/English and I'm a native American English speaker. I haven't been in the translation industry long. I was wondering what are the average rates to charge? Are there different rates to post when bidding online? Should your rate be different if you are a newcomer or should you set one rate and keep it?

Thanks!!


Here is some good information for you:
http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Determining_your_rates_and_fees_as_a_translator

The most important statement from above link:
"Unfortunately, the reality is that more and more translators are acquiescing and agree too willingly to the lower rates just to get the work."

It's really important not to get drawn into the downward spiral of cheap rates and lots of work - don't go there!

Another topic discussed in the Wiki article from above is CAT-based discounts:

"Some translators working with CAT tools give discounts for repetitions and 100% matches, and sometimes fuzzy matches, too. Think carefully about whether you want to do this as it can represent a significant reduction in income and to a large extent negates the benefit of investing in a CAT tool. Furthermore, it also means that work you do now is likely to be recycled by translation agencies and any similar work you do in the future will be heavily discounted."

I recommend don't do it.

I look at every single project and decide how much time it will take me, of how much help the CAT tool will be (if at all), consider all the other aspects of my work and then decide what I am going to charge. It will be a total price based on a per-word rate or it could be a total price based on a per-hour rate. As far as the per-word rate goes, it will vary but repetitions such as "fuzzy matches" and "100% matches" are only one factor in the overall analysis of the original text (analysis! - not an automatic reason for staggered discounts for words as many agencies will have you believe). So, my per-word rate will always be for ALL the words of the text. If you feel that a discount is warranted, you can always reduce the overall rate per word or give a discount based on the total you calculated. No need "to get fuzzy."

When determining the rate/price as a new member of the profession, it won't be a good approach to charge much less than experienced translators - AS LONG as you can provide accurate translations/excellent work. And that's the only goal we should have as professionals anyway. Having said that, it is indeed easier to ask for more when you have 15 years of experience but don't think you need to work for low rates - that doesn't work out in the end.

Although the Proz.com translator rates page [ http://search.proz.com/employers/rates ] makes suggestions of what to charge, there are three things to consider:

first - the suggestions are based on rates reported by translators AND agencies - it's all very relative. Certainly not the perspective of a translator only.

Secondly, the rates - from my point of view as a freelancer - are on the lower end of what you might call "professional rates," so I cannot recommend to a new member of the profession to charge less than what is listed there as "Standard Rates" - but it gives you an idea about where you should start.

Thirdly, I want to emphasize that there is really no "standard" rate for certain or all translation/proofreading etc. tasks. You need to look at every single project, need to do a thorough review of the original text and consider all the work involved for the entire project before you calculate your price and submit a quote.

A good profile with a great background, confidence and good points for convincing clients (even in email exchanges) to use your services at the price you suggest will make you a successful translator.

HTH

Bernhard

NB: Participating in KudoZ and getting the Certified Pro batch will move you up the translator directory at Proz.com

[Edited at 2014-06-19 06:39 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:06
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Ally Jun 19, 2014

Ally Stack wrote:
I'm certified as a translator in Spanish/English...


You are "certified" by an online training site whose certification exam is not recognised by any other large or well-known translator association (although I must say that their exam appears to be moderately difficult and hence a useful measure of skill). Ask yourself, however, what your clients think that you are when you say that you are a "certified" translator.

I was wondering what are the average rates to charge?


http://search.proz.com/?sp=pfe/rates

Are there different rates to post when bidding online?


When bidding online, you're often bidding "blind", i.e. you state your rate before you have seen the text. This means that your bid should be somewhat higher than what you would normally quote, in case the text turns out to be more difficult than anticipated. You are free to try to raise your quote after your bid has been accepted at ProZ.com, if you notice that the job is more difficult than you anticipated, but you run the risk of losing the client if you do that. If your rate is slightly higher to begin with, and the job turns out to be more difficult, then you don't have to renegotiate the rate with the client.

If you're bidding against a small number of other translators (say, less than ten), then offering a slighly lower rate might help get you that job. But if you're bidding against dozens and dozens of other translators, then there is likely to be translators in the bidding pool who charge any rate that you can reduce your rate to, and that means that reducing your rate is ineffective, and you might as well bid your normal rate.

Should your rate be different if you are a newcomer or should you set one rate and keep it?


Very few clients will actively seek out inexperienced translators on the assumption that new translators may be cheaper. If a client wants a cheap translator, he will try to get the most experienced one at that price (or the most available one).

Many translators don't change their rates for many years, so eventually inflation catches up with you, and raising your rate with established clients may be very difficult. You may then be tempted or forced to raise your rate just a little bit, which will not be enough to beat inflation but may still scare off some of your loyal clients.

You'll rarely find clients requesting to pay more than what you offer initially. Clients always try to reduce your bid (or they simply accept it).

In the light of the above, I'd suggest setting your rate slightly higher than the average rate for your pairs, regardless of you being a new translator. Being a new translator might mean that you'll take longer to do the job, but it shouldn't mean that your work may be of "cheaper" quality.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Position yourself Jun 19, 2014

Other posters have already given good general advice on rates. I just want to relate it specifically to your pairs: they are absolutely flooded with wannabe translators who are ready to work for peanuts as they don't see themselves as professional career translators. They are only anxious to top up their unemployment benefit, their salary from a full-time job, their student grant... or they're just looking to pass some time doing something quite interesting and earning a bit at the same time. So, you have to decide whether to join them or distance yourself from them.

Do you want to make ProZ.com your showcase as a professional translator? I imagine you do as you've paid for membership, but now is the time to fully complete your profile and follow all the advice you'll find in the Site Guidance Centre. I'm afraid simply paying for membership will not land you with the better jobs here, though it is of course a good start. You'll certainly need to be very precise about what sectors you specialise in. For "general/easy" jobs you'll be competing against everyone who speaks both languages; for a text requiring specific terminology, a discerning client will filter those who are able to apply. I'm also surprised to see you list EN>ES as your first (i.e. major) pair - as an English native speaker do you really think you can offer to write a better Spanish text than the millions of Spanish-speaking natives out there? Normally, we translate into our native language only, though reverse pair translating has its place in very specialised texts, rare language combinations, and by those who have been brought up fully bilingual.

For rates as a beginner, bear in mind that there are many highly experienced translators who charge at least double the average rates you'll find here; others may charge average rates yet be able to translate at double the average speed, and they'll likely earn 50+€ per hour. As a beginner, you should charge around the average rate (certainly not much less), but you're likely to only translate about 150 wph as you'll be doing a lot of research, glossary-building, back-checking, re-reading etc. - or at least you should be doing a lot of those things! That way, the client pays the average rate for an acceptable translation, and you'll earn maybe only 15€ an hour. But it will soon increase. An alternative is to charge the average rate and pay an experienced proofreader to check your work and thereby improve your knowledge.

The golden rule of any freelancer: you're the supplier (think of yourself as the baker, the mechanic, the lawyer), so you set your rates. Of course, everything can be negotiable, but the bottom line is that if the client won't accept your minimum rate, your maximum payment term, your payment method/currency, whatever, then you must simply say "No deal". Letting the client dictate things is the slippery slope down to joining those "hobby" translators.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:06
Russian to English
+ ...
The rates are all the same--whether you are a newcomer or not Jun 19, 2014

It will just take an inexperienced translator three times as long, at least, to translate a certain text compared to an experienced translator. The final quality should be the same --almost perfect. So, you should charge a regular rate. I think the rates in the US are between $0.12 and $0.30/word. Don't let them tell you any nonsense about any repetitions, unless the text has some real boilerplates--you could give them a discount for those.

The rates have been plummeting over the last 2-3 months, and something has to be done. Time for some action. You can even see rates like $0.04/word. Are they joking?

Also, if they ask you to do some post-editing--be careful. It usually takes longer than regular translation, since, often, you have to retranslate the whole text.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:06
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
Per-word rate for all the words of the text and no standard rate Jun 19, 2014

Bernhard wrote:

"Some translators working with CAT tools give discounts for repetitions and 100% matches, and sometimes fuzzy matches, too. Think carefully about whether you want to do this as it can represent a significant reduction in income and to a large extent negates the benefit of investing in a CAT tool. Furthermore, it also means that work you do now is likely to be recycled by translation agencies and any similar work you do in the future will be heavily discounted."

I recommend don't do it.

I look at every single project and decide how much time it will take me, of how much help the CAT tool will be (if at all), consider all the other aspects of my work and then decide what I am going to charge. It will be a total price based on a per-word rate or it could be a total price based on a per-hour rate. As far as the per-word rate goes, it will vary but repetitions such as "fuzzy matches" and "100% matches" are only one factor in the overall analysis of the original text (analysis! - not an automatic reason for staggered discounts for words as many agencies will have you believe). So, my per-word rate will always be for ALL the words of the text. If you feel that a discount is warranted, you can always reduce the overall rate per word or give a discount based on the total you calculated. No need "to get fuzzy."


I entirely agree with that and my price also depends on every project, I do not propose standard rates.

[Modifié le 2014-06-19 20:46 GMT]


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