Fees for first-time translating project - feedback needed
Thread poster: Kelly Efird
Kelly Efird
Local time: 18:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 3, 2013

I posted an ad online (not on ProZ) offering my translation services (from English to Spanish and vice-versa). I didn't post what my fees were because I have no idea what to charge yet; I left the ad very open-ended because I mostly just wanted to see what would happen and I honestly didn't think anyone would actually respond to it. The thing is, somebody responded with an email asking me what my fees are. It's a graphic designer that needs a website translated to Spanish. It's a five-page site with very little copy on most pages. What's the best way to respond to this and how much do I charge?

P.S. I googled the graphic designer's name; they are legit.

Thanks in advance.


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Thomas Carey  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:07
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Charge per page Jan 3, 2013

Hi Kelly,
You may want to charge per page, seeing as there is little copy and that, considering the sector, a richer translation in terms of style and SEO-friendly keywords may be required, thus requiring maybe more time to translate with more work on the style. You could give them your "standard" rates for website translation, but explaining you'd rather charge per page for this project, and why, if you wish to.

regards

Tom


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Kelly Efird
Local time: 18:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"Standard" rates Jan 4, 2013

I like your idea about charging per page. The problem is, I don't have a standard rate. How do I go about picking a number?

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:07
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Your qualification Jan 4, 2013

Translation rates (we usually call them rates and not fees) heavily depend on the translator's ability and qualification, which in turn determine the final quality of the translation.

Can you give us an idea of your qualification and experience as a translator? Maybe we can then give you an idea of what is normal in our industry for your level of expertise and capability.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:07
English to German
+ ...
With Tomás Jan 4, 2013

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Translation rates (we usually call them rates and not fees) heavily depend on the translator's ability and qualification, which in turn determine the final quality of the translation.

Can you give us an idea of your qualification and experience as a translator? Maybe we can then give you an idea of what is normal in our industry for your level of expertise and capability.



If a small business wants their website translated, it is a serious investment for them and nobody cares if you charge per word or per page (per page - for a website???). What matters is that you are familiar with the industry speak of your client without research. Only then you can charge the client accordingly and based on your knowledge. If you are not familiar with this industry and/or if you have no formal training in advertising you should drop this job.


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:07
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
Nobody can tell you what to charge Jan 4, 2013

Take a look at some of the articles on rates. Check out "Getting started as a freelance translator" and some other great books. Also, research and look at what other translators are charging in your language pairs with similar qualifications.

You should also consider that translating a website is not the same as translating a normal document such as a file in MS Word. There are codes and other specific things like graphics that need to be translated in addition to the actual content of the website.


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Kelly Efird
Local time: 18:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
FIRST-TIME translating project Jan 4, 2013

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Translation rates (we usually call them rates and not fees) heavily depend on the translator's ability and qualification, which in turn determine the final quality of the translation.

Can you give us an idea of your qualification and experience as a translator? Maybe we can then give you an idea of what is normal in our industry for your level of expertise and capability.


To put it bluntly, I'm someone off the street who happens to like languages.

I'm not nearly as qualified as you; I hope to get there some day.


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Kelly Efird
Local time: 18:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's what I'm doing... Jan 4, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Translation rates (we usually call them rates and not fees) heavily depend on the translator's ability and qualification, which in turn determine the final quality of the translation.

Can you give us an idea of your qualification and experience as a translator? Maybe we can then give you an idea of what is normal in our industry for your level of expertise and capability.



If a small business wants their website translated, it is a serious investment for them and nobody cares if you charge per word or per page (per page - for a website???). What matters is that you are familiar with the industry speak of your client without research. Only then you can charge the client accordingly and based on your knowledge. If you are not familiar with this industry and/or if you have no formal training in advertising you should drop this job.


Everyone has to start somewhere. This is my start.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:07
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I (basically) agree Jan 4, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:
If you are not familiar with this industry and/or if you have no formal training in advertising you should drop this job.

OK. I agree with this and practice it in my work as a translator: do not take jobs you are not adequately familiar with.

However, I also feel that everyone is entitled to developing a career in translation, and part of that is also accepting challenges at first and work hard to learn about that industry and do a lot of research. This is the situation I was in 16 years ago when I first started translating full time after a career in IT and localisation engineering.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:07
English to German
+ ...
Same here. Jan 4, 2013

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:
If you are not familiar with this industry and/or if you have no formal training in advertising you should drop this job.

OK. I agree with this and practice it in my work as a translator: do not take jobs you are not adequately familiar with.

However, I also feel that everyone is entitled to developing a career in translation, and part of that is also accepting challenges at first and work hard to learn about that industry and do a lot of research. This is the situation I was in 16 years ago when I first started translating full time after a career in IT and localisation engineering.


However - whenever a new translator takes on the very first project, he/she should make sure that sufficient knowhow is in place. Be it medical, technical, legal or the design industry.


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Kelly Efird
Local time: 18:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
For the record Jan 4, 2013

I haven't actually responded to the email, so I haven't (yet) accepted the job. I apologize for any confusion.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:07
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Definitely something to bear in mind Jan 4, 2013

Sarah McDowell wrote:
You should also consider that translating a website is not the same as translating a normal document such as a file in MS Word. There are codes and other specific things like graphics that need to be translated in addition to the actual content of the website.

Some clients just expect you to magically come up with a translated version of their website; others give you a normal word file full of text for you to translate, and they take care of everything else; then there are all the in-between stages. Personally, as a translator and definitely not an IT geek, I only accept Word (or equivalent) text files. And for that I charge my 'per word' rate, of course. Anything more would have to be paid for on an hourly basis, but for me anything technical would take too long and I'd have a very unhappy client.

One of the most important attributes for a freelancer: know and make the most of your abilities; accept and avoid your weaknesses. I.e. either accept the job and do it well, or turn it down. Of course, that doesn't stop you learning about it in your own time so that you can say 'Yes' next time.

I imagine all young translators have to be IT savvy as well as 'word geeks' to get anywhere in this business nowadays, but at 57 I'll just keep turning down those jobs - got to share the work around, after all.

Edited for an afterthought: It seems as though you are not fully job-prepared, Kelly, if you are proposing your services without having any idea what they are worth. I wonder if you have thought about payment terms, invoicing, VAT, your own tax structure... If you really are interested in becoming a freelance translator, you're effectively setting up a business (albeit a very small one) and embarking on a career. As an independent business person, you'll have to deal with your own tax and social security obligations etc. All this needs to be thought about before getting the first client, really. But you've come to the right place for info: tons of it here in this forum and in articles etc. Good luck!

[Edited at 2013-01-04 12:00 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:07
English to German
+ ...
I think, Kelly wants to know what to charge a direct customer Jan 4, 2013

Kelly - there is no such thing as charging a direct / private customer any less than 28-45 cents/word USD. You are not dealing with an agency (they are wonderful because they do all the bookkeeping for you and hire editors). A direct customer however will expect you to hire a third party for editing / proofreading and will expect that your delivered translation is indeed ready to be published worldwide. There is no babysitter between your work and whatever will be visible to the rest of the world. This is your sole responsibility. You have to add: Your fee for translating + the fees for your editor + your time for administration.

Happy translating in the US!


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Sybille  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:07
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Native language Jan 4, 2013

Kelly, what's your native language? I assume it's English, isn't it?

You wrote that this designer "needs a website translated to Spanish". Please bear in mind, you should always translate INTO your native language only.


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Kelly Efird
Local time: 18:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
But I like translating from English to Spanish better Jan 5, 2013

With the help of an editor of course. Multiple editors, even better.

Sybille wrote:

Kelly, what's your native language? I assume it's English, isn't it?

You wrote that this designer "needs a website translated to Spanish". Please bear in mind, you should always translate INTO your native language only.



If I have to translate into English only, I'll find another career path.

Thanks for the heads up.


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