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Which rate to ask for?
Thread poster: xxxFabrizioFrit
xxxFabrizioFrit
Dec 31, 2009

I'm a begginer in translations and so I'd like to know which might be a good rate to ask for a translation to a Traslation Agency.
I know that the rates are lower if you work for an Agency rather than directly for a client.
I translate from English and Spanish to Italian and for general purpose and technical (Hi-Tech) translations I would ask for 0,05 euro/word or 13,00 euro/page (pages of 1500 characters including spaces).
What do you think about it? Pay attention to the fact that I translate as second work 'cause I usually work as consultant on databases.
Thanks and happy new year!

Fabrizio


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never agreed with that! Dec 31, 2009

FabrizioFritton wrote:
I know that the rates are lower if you work for an Agency rather than directly for a client.

Well, at least that is what many agencies want you to believe. In my opinion, it is a big mistake. Just calculate how much you want to make per annum (take into account things like taxes, software, rent, subscription to associations and professional websites, insurance, computers, supplies, utilities...), divide that between the days you think you can work, and then divide that amount between the number of words you can reasonably do in 6-7 hours of work a day. That is your rate.

Your rate will of course very much depend on your experience, your ability to sell your services, and your ability to never fail a customer and avoid translation mistakes.

Good luck!


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:35
English to German
+ ...
Hello Fabrizio! Welcome and a happy new year. Dec 31, 2009

FabrizioFritton wrote:
I know that the rates are lower if you work for an Agency rather than directly for a client.


Agency rates are not lower because they take their cut for nothing - they take care of all the project management, file preparation and hiring editors. All those tasks that you would have to do by yourself for direct clients. Working for direct clients also includes your financial responsibility for paying your editor before you have been paid by your direct client.

Comparing agency rates to direct client rates is like comparing apples and oranges.

[Edited at 2009-12-31 12:06 GMT]


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
That's way too low... Dec 31, 2009

FabrizioFritton wrote:

I translate from English and Spanish to Italian and for general purpose and technical (Hi-Tech) translations I would ask for 0,05 euro/word or 13,00 euro/page (pages of 1500 characters including spaces).

Fabrizio


Differences between direct clients and agencies set aside, 5 eurocents per word is just way too low.
I always ask at least double that rate, and never go under 9 cents. Anyone that goes below that is, in my opinion, ruining the market.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:35
French to German
+ ...
Agreed Dec 31, 2009

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

Differences between direct clients and agencies set aside, 5 eurocents per word is just way too low.
I always ask at least double that rate, and never go under 9 cents. Anyone that goes below that is, in my opinion, ruining the market.


And this will be my last intervention about rates on ProZ.com, as I discovered that some colleagues complaining about low rates are not ashamed of outsourcing at such rates.

I wonder, Fabrizio, which agencies you plan to contact and/or have contacted. Agencies in Italy and Spain generally offer lower rates than agencies in France (not a patriotic outburst: my ID card is the only French thing I have)... or in other countries looking for real & highly competent Italian natives.

Don't undersell you, nobody will benefit of it - not even, in the long run, the agencies!

[Edited at 2009-12-31 12:42 GMT]


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:35
Member
English to French
From 250 euros for a day's work for an agency Dec 31, 2009

A quick picture: this gets us to EUR5000/month, half of which will go to expenses and taxes. EUR2500/month is nothing to be proud of, but at least bills are paid and you're above the poverty level.
Provided that you are assigned work every working day...

Therefore:
FabrizioFritton wrote:
...I would ask for 0,05 euro/word...Pay attention to the fact that I translate as second work 'cause I usually work as consultant on databases...

this would mean 5000 words/day. Many full-time translators can hardly do half this amount.

Even as a side job to earn pocket money, there is no reason to charge second zone rates to agencies if your work is worth a professional's.
If your work is poor or not better than machine translation, then even 0.05 euro is too much.

Adding a layer to Nicole's comments, agencies don't PAY less than direct customers, but rather you CHARGE agencies less because there is less work involved (if only to win the order from the customer). It is a whole different perspective.
Laurent wrote:
...my ID card is the only French thing I have...

Not even a saucisson? Cheese? Confit du Périgord? Je suis sûr que tu exagères.

Philippe


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:35
French to German
+ ...
Yes Dec 31, 2009

Philippe Etienne wrote:
Laurent wrote:
...my ID card is the only French thing I have...

Not even a saucisson? Cheese? Confit du Périgord? Je suis sûr que tu exagères.

Philippe


A little bit, yes. Un "petit peu", oui.


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Krzysztof Kajetanowicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:35
English to Polish
+ ...
half? Dec 31, 2009

Philippe Etienne wrote:

A quick picture: this gets us to EUR5000/month, half of which will go to expenses and taxes.


Half the money down the government drain is pretty bad, I think.

What other expenses — I mean, pure business expenses — are there, after all, once you're more or less established? Don't count in phone bills and utilities as you'd be spending money on that anyway, so they're not really costs of doing business, even though you may be getting a tax deduction for them.

[Edited at 2009-12-31 14:08 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:35
English to German
+ ...
Oh, it adds up. Dec 31, 2009

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz wrote:

Philippe Etienne wrote:

A quick picture: this gets us to EUR5000/month, half of which will go to expenses and taxes.


Half the money down the government drain is pretty bad, I think.

What other expenses — I mean, pure business expenses — are there, after all, once you're more or less established? Don't count in phone bills and utilities as you'd be spending money on that anyway, so they're not really costs of doing business, even though you may be getting a tax deduction for them.

[Edited at 2009-12-31 14:08 GMT]


Software updates, new machines, computer doctors, CPA/accountant, membership fees, internet fees, updated dictionaries (paper or electronic), paper and other office supplies, and - health insurance and social security.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
conservative estimate, maybe Dec 31, 2009

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz wrote:

Philippe Etienne wrote:

A quick picture: this gets us to EUR5000/month, half of which will go to expenses and taxes.


Half the money down the government drain is pretty bad, I think.

What other expenses — I mean, pure business expenses — are there, after all, once you're more or less established? Don't count in phone bills and utilities as you'd be spending money on that anyway, so they're not really costs of doing business, even though you may be getting a tax deduction for them.

[Edited at 2009-12-31 14:08 GMT]


Believe me, the French government takes getting along for that, the social security contributions being astronomical (particularly the obligatory retirement contribution).

Then there are the non-obligatory expenses which DO have to be taken into account. Every phone call that is purely for business is a business expense, whether or not you are not entitled to any tax relief - if you ring someone in another country about a translation and you have to pay for the call, that's a business expense you wouldn't have had as a private individual. *

Nicole has given a list to start with - I'm sure we can all add more items to it.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 06:35
English to Spanish
Interesting tidbit of info... Dec 31, 2009

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

And this will be my last intervention about rates on ProZ.com, as I discovered that some colleagues complaining about low rates are not ashamed of outsourcing at such rates.



(I apologise for the digression)

Andrea

[Edited at 2009-12-31 21:49 GMT]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:35
Flemish to English
+ ...
Economics 101 Jan 1, 2010

Could be a question from an economics 101-exam:

What type of market according to competition are you active in and when are you profitable?

Answer: Monopolistic Competition. (Different prices, but easy come easy go(easy access).

If your price is above Average Total Cost with a demand willing to pay a higher price than ATC and with Marginal Revenue (the profit you get when you produce one extra unit) at least equal to ATC.

In normal words, your rate/the rate the customer is willing to pay must cover all your expenses (taxes included) plus a %-age above your Average Total Costs.
Otherwise, you better do something else.


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:35
English to French
+ ...
drain, really? Jan 1, 2010

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz wrote:
Half the money down the government drain is pretty bad, I think.
Edited at 2009-12-31 14:08 GMT]


Well, this makes the competition very difficult for us... but no doubt you envy anyway the lifestyle and social protection of these "pretty bad" countries.
Calling that a "drain" is very simplistic.

In my opinion, the sooner all countries request similar contributions and offer similar protection to everybody (unlike private insurances), the better.


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Krzysztof Kajetanowicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:35
English to Polish
+ ...
really Jan 2, 2010

bohy wrote:

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz wrote:
Half the money down the government drain is pretty bad, I think.
Edited at 2009-12-31 14:08 GMT]


Well, this makes the competition very difficult for us... but no doubt you envy anyway the lifestyle and social protection of these "pretty bad" countries.
Calling that a "drain" is very simplistic.


The word "no" is just not strong enough to express how much I do not envy the "social protection" that high taxes and high "social transfers" offer.

And the lifestyle is because of the wealth, created on account of post-WW2 capitalism as well as reconstruction under the Marshall Plan (not to menthon that West Europe was relatively wealthy before WW2 already).


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
That is not our problem Jan 2, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:
FabrizioFritton wrote:
I know that the rates are lower if you work for an Agency rather than directly for a client.

Agency rates are not lower because they take their cut for nothing - they take care of all the project management, file preparation and hiring editors. All those tasks that you would have to do by yourself for direct clients. Working for direct clients also includes your financial responsibility for paying your editor before you have been paid by your direct client.

Comparing agency rates to direct client rates is like comparing apples and oranges.

I don't quite agree with this. The way an agency manage their business is not our business. Our goal si to serve all our customers well, no matter whether they are agencies, direct customers, government agencies, etc.

Our duty is to supply the best translation we can produce, and that means the same effort in all cases. I never understood why we should charge less for the same effort depending on the kind of customer. I can understand that you offer special prices or conditions to some customer based on the amount of work you get from them, but considering the nature of the customer does not make much sense to me.


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