In need of advice in order to establish myself as a translator
Thread poster: Rodolfo Martins
Rodolfo Martins
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 8, 2015

Hello fellow linguists,

I am currently in the last stages of my Masters in Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies and I am somewhat confused as to what rates I should be charging taking into consideration both my education and my background in the field of languages.
I am a Portuguese/English bilingual (European Portuguese and European English), moved to the UK when I was 13 and completed all of my education here.
My education consists of a BA in French and Spanish (Swansea University) and I am currently completing my MA in Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies at the University of Leeds.
Recently I was approached by a client, my first may I add, who asked me to provide him/her with my rates for translation per word, per hour, per repetition and also for proofreading per word and per hour.
My language pairs are Portuguese/Spanish into English.
I am not looking to work into Portuguese or Spanish at the moment.
After having researched this so far for many hours, I am planning on charging around GBP 0.10 per word and around £22 per hour for translating. For proofreading I am not so sure as so far it seems like the rates vary very much from person to person.
I am just scared that after having invested so much of my family's money and a great part of my life into my education, that I will fall into the bracket of poorly paid translation.
I hope someone here can shed some light on this problem and hopefully point me in the right direction.
Also I am aware that it is hard to quantify how much a translator should be paid exactly, as it depends a lot on the text etc, but a general answer would be appreciated.

Furthermore, I am planning on working as a freelance translator from home.

Thank you very much for taking your time reading this, I really appreciate it and I also hope that I have provided all the necessary information.

Thank you,
Rodolfo


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:29
English to Polish
+ ...
... Jul 8, 2015

Hey, Rodolfo.

You can indeed escape the bracket of poorly paid translation, but it will entail a couple more costs.

Read this (as a student you can get a discount):

http://wantwords.co.uk/school/business-checklist-book-translators/

Perhaps also these:

http://prosperoustranslator.com/
http://thoughtsontranslation.com/booksclasses/

Browse blogs and free resources:

http://wantwords.co.uk/school/free-resources/
http://wantwords.co.uk/school/
http://thoughtsontranslation.com/
http://www.translationjournal.net/January-2015/fire-ant-worker-bee.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOmfWGfLS5c

And more.

And perhaps take Marta's course:

http://wantwords.co.uk/school/business-school/

Get a website, business card, logo etc.:

http://websitesfortranslators.co.uk/

Doing it all will cost you some time and even some money, but it will spare you from years of trial and error and from getting your name associated with certain blunders you don't want to make.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
pricing thoughts Jul 8, 2015

Your rates per word and per hour don't seem to match. Do you really translate that slowly? 10p a word also sounds a lot for a beginner but if you can get away with it good for you. Your editing rate should logically be the same as your translation rate per hour. You can't quote editing per word because it depends on the text. Good luck.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:29
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My 10p Jul 8, 2015

With an MA in translation you don't need to charge low rates, even at the beginning. I have no particular knowledge of the pair, but 10p sounds fair to me. However, I'm sure you can command £25 at least per hour.

I personally have never been asked for an hourly translation rate, and I've always refused to give a per-word rate for any other work (apart from jobs where I've examined the files).


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I agree Jul 8, 2015

Chris S wrote:

Your rates per word and per hour don't seem to match. Do you really translate that slowly? 10p a word also sounds a lot for a beginner but if you can get away with it good for you. Your editing rate should logically be the same as your translation rate per hour. You can't quote editing per word because it depends on the text. Good luck.


0.10 per word and 22 per hour = 220 words per hour. Normal standard (if there is any) is around 350 words per hour (this is on average, because I've worked with 100-word-per-hour text, which is not fun).


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Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:29
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Varying speed Jul 8, 2015

Different types of content will result in different speed. I've translated transcripts of dialogues at a speed that's way over and above 350 words/hour.

This is not to put anyone down, but simply pointing out that depending on the level of difficulty, context, content type, etc, there's not really a standard speed. As Merab has already mentioned, some text might require you to work at the speed of 100 words an hour.

My very personal opinion is that 10p seems to be very high for someone who has just started. If you can get that price, kudos to you.

Best of luck!


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:29
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I charged 0.10 a word in 1993 (22 years ago) when I was a beginner... Jul 9, 2015

...and a lot of agencies even bumped my pay up to .12 of their own accord, claiming that I wasn't charging them enough.

Taking inflation into consideration, all of us should really be charging .25 to .30 per word by now.

Chris S wrote:

Your rates per word and per hour don't seem to match. Do you really translate that slowly? 10p a word also sounds a lot for a beginner but if you can get away with it good for you. Your editing rate should logically be the same as your translation rate per hour. You can't quote editing per word because it depends on the text. Good luck.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 05:59
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Seem ok Jul 9, 2015

Your rates seem ok.

I would advise you to keep your editing/proofing rate high visavis your translation rate, as agencies show a tendency to get translations done by cheaper, less qualified translators and get these edited by a more qualified translator, with the result that you will get burdened with editing low quality translation, if your editing/proofing rates are pegged too low. To avoid this, you should charge high editing/proofing rates. I myself charge 3/4 of my translation rate as editing/proofing rates, just to avoid this situation. The normal industry practice is to pay 1/2 of translation rate for editing and 1/4 of translation rate for proof-reading, but you need to be very clear at the outset what the client means by editing and proofing, otherwise, you will end up rewriting poorly translated and edited stuff and get paid proofing rates. This is why many translators charge editing/proofing/reviewing by the hour.

At 10 pence a word, you should be charging 30 pounds an hour, as normally people are able to translate 300 words an hour of reasonably difficult stuff.

To find out whether these rates are along the norm for your country/place of work, compare themwith what other entry level professionals would get, for example, doctors, dentists, designers, architects, etc. who charge by the hour.

As far as fuzzy rates are concerned, offer them only if you are using CAT tools and you are familiar with their use. Since you are a beginner, you might not have large enough TMs or glossaries at your disposal to really leverage on repetitions, and the required expertise with CAT tools to achieve major productivity enhancement with them. Many professional translators do not offer fuzzy rates at all, but presumably, as a beginner you won't be able to dictate terms now, but eventually when you are more established, you too can make not offering fuzzy rates a policy of your business.

[Edited at 2015-07-09 05:30 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Pounds? Jul 9, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

...and a lot of agencies even bumped my pay up to .12 of their own accord, claiming that I wasn't charging them enough.



I find that hard to believe. I started in 1992 charging 4-5p a word in a high-paying pair.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:29
French to English
Strange times Jul 9, 2015

Chris S wrote:
I started in 1992 charging 4-5p a word in a high-paying pair.


A couple of years later, on a course at Univ of Westminster to prepare for the Dip Trans, we were told that 10p a word was average-ish for Fr-Eng. I doubt it is as much as that now (I don't work much for British agencies - I'm going on basis of remarks made elsewhere, mainly the CIoL forum).

meanwhile: http://cbavington.com/blog/2011/06/28/article-beginners-rates/


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Rodolfo Martins
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all! Jul 9, 2015

Thank you all for your informative answers, I feel much more confident about the rates that I will be charging any future clients and you have all pointed me in the right direction.


Regards,
Rodolfo


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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:29
Member (2012)
French to English
Just a thought Jul 10, 2015

Can't you get any useful advice regarding rates from the tutors on your MA course? I would think that they should be the very people who should be able to advise on this. Having said that, I did an MA in translation a few years ago, and found that this financial guidance aspect was distinctly lacking on my course.

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Camille Beaupin
Peru
Member (2010)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Rates Jul 13, 2015

When I tried to work as a freelance translator a few years ago, I didn't want to accept rates below €0.10 because I knew that below this rate, it would be difficult for me to make a living from translation in France. No agency accepted this rate, the only offers I received were around €0.05, for Spanish into French translations. At that time, I also offered English to French translations.
And I already had a few years of experience as a technical translator in the field of IT.


[Modifié le 2015-07-13 12:19 GMT]


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