Is this a legit rate?
Thread poster: languagelunatic

languagelunatic
Philippines
Dec 14, 2015

Hello. I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section but I didn't know where to put it and since it's about Chinese translation, I thought I could post it here.

I am a freelance Chinese-English translator from the Philippines. Although I have been translating for about a year, I am still having a hard time figuring out my rates. My current rate is .06 USD/word, but am considering raising my rate to .10 USD after reading other translation ads and posts. I have pretty good credentials as I studied Chinese as a minor in college and studied in Beijing for two years but I'm wondering if I should only use the .10 USD rate if I was not only more experienced but also a licensed translator. Would it be best for me to keep my current rate?


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:01
Chinese to English
Per character or per word? Dec 15, 2015

Did you mean to say .06 per Chinese character? Or are you really charging based upon the English words in the translation? .06 per Chinese character is (at least based on US living costs) either the high end of unacceptable or near the low end of acceptable, depending on your outlook, whereas .06 per translated word would be very low.

The good news is that regardless of the answer to this, you still have a lot of room to grow rate-wise. There are payers out there at .1 USD per character and higher, provided your quality is there. I've found that once you move beyond the .06 per character range your best bets in terms of clients will be North American and European agencies or Chinese direct clients--Chinese agencies seem to cap out largely in the .06 per character area.

If you're in a position where you need a steady flow of income, my advice would be to keep the clients you currently have at .06 (assuming this is per character), and then look for better paying clients at higher rates. The only trick is that it's a bit of a juggling act--if you take too much work at .06 you won't have time for higher paid projects that do come in.


 

languagelunatic
Philippines
TOPIC STARTER
Per translated word. Can I change rates depending on market? Dec 15, 2015

It's per translated word. As of now, most of my clients are Philippine based (since it's mostly through word-of-mouth and friends of friends). .06USD is considered to be pretty high. I do want to branch out to international clients (through freelance sites, etc) but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to raise my rates for international clients as it might be unfair for them. Is it alright for freelancers to change prices depending on the market you target?

 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:01
Chinese to English
RE Dec 15, 2015

languagelunatic wrote:

It's per translated word. As of now, most of my clients are Philippine based (since it's mostly through word-of-mouth and friends of friends). .06USD is considered to be pretty high. I do want to branch out to international clients (through freelance sites, etc) but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to raise my rates for international clients as it might be unfair for them. Is it alright for freelancers to change prices depending on the market you target?


As a freelancer, you own your own business, and have complete control over the rates you charge. So yes, it is OK to have different rates. There's some debate as to whether or not it's wise to make your rates public; my own opinion is that it's best to keep your rates private. Just as one example, clients paying in RMB may be more valuable to you than those paying in USD, and so perhaps you're OK with accepting slightly lower rates from Chinese clients. Stating a fixed rate publicly may either scare off RMB clients ( if the public price is high) or make USD clients feel like their getting a bad deal (if the public price is low). Besides all of this, different clients have different demands, and some of these demands necessitate higher prices.

In any event, if you're thinking of making a career out of this, you're in a great position (assuming your Chinese is up to snuff). Don't worry about what your friends tell you in terms of a good rate for the Philippines-- there's a whole world out there outside the Philippines, with much higher rates being offered.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:01
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Just out of curiosity Dec 16, 2015

Is your native tongue Tagalog or English?

 

languagelunatic
Philippines
TOPIC STARTER
Tagalog but my English is better Dec 16, 2015

Tagalog is although having grown up in the US, my English is better, which is why I haven't bothered looking for Tagalog translation jobs.

[quote] As a freelancer, you own your own business, and have complete control over the rates you charge. So yes, it is OK to have different rates. There's some debate as to whether or not it's wise to make your rates public; my own opinion is that it's best to keep your rates private. Just as one example, clients paying in RMB may be more valuable to you than those paying in USD, and so perhaps you're OK with accepting slightly lower rates from Chinese clients. Stating a fixed rate publicly may either scare off RMB clients ( if the public price is high) or make USD clients feel like their getting a bad deal (if the public price is low). Besides all of this, different clients have different demands, and some of these demands necessitate higher prices.

In any event, if you're thinking of making a career out of this, you're in a great position (assuming your Chinese is up to snuff). Don't worry about what your friends tell you in terms of a good rate for the Philippines-- there's a whole world out there outside the Philippines, with much higher rates being offered. [quote]

Thank you very much. That makes a lot of sense (not making rates public).

[Edited at 2015-12-16 06:52 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:01
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
In that case I think you should claim English as your native tongue Dec 28, 2015

otherwise the clients would think you are translating from your L2 to L3 if you are marketing your English to Chinese translation services. Most clients won't trust the translators for whom neither the source and target languages is the native tongue.

 

languagelunatic
Philippines
TOPIC STARTER
That makes sense. Dec 28, 2015

jyuan_us wrote:

otherwise the clients would think you are translating from your L2 to L3 if you are marketing your English to Chinese translation services. Most clients won't trust the translators for whom neither the source and target languages is the native tongue.


I see. I guess it's just that I've always been confused about the concept of what counts as a native tongue as I have always thought of it as basically being the indigenous language of your parents or native country. I grew up my entire life speaking both languages so I guess English would also count as my first language. I wouldn't be lying if i said that English is my native tongue.


 


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