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so how much have you lowered you rates?
Thread poster: Harald Roald

Harald Roald  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:58
English to Norwegian
+ ...
May 26, 2009

money matters again......I guess many, but not all of us have noted a downturn in business the last months. I see rates and change in demand get discussed quite frequently, but somehow most discussons have a tendency to get "high jacked " by translators telling us about increase in business and/or rates ( for those of you: Good for you! and I really mean it!) So for the rest of much have YOU decreased your rate in order to win projects/stay competitive?

I might as well go firsticon_smile.gif. As I charge in Euro, I have had to decrease my rates 25% to compete with translators charging in a now much weaker Norwegian Krone and in a far tougher market than a year ago. And I sure notice that decrease.


David Brown  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Spanish to English
Lowered Rates May 26, 2009

I too am experiencing a downturn in work these past few months, but I will not stoop to applying for jobs on Proz which offers 3-5 cents per word for a 10,000 word project to completed within 24 hours.
I forgot to mention. Some of my first jobs were from the UK when it was worth 1.40 euros.

[Edited at 2009-05-26 16:34 GMT]


Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:58
English to Slovak
+ ...
I haven't even though... May 26, 2009

...last two months have been slower for me too. I'm earning less than I used to or as I'm used to, but still make a good average. I am very reluctant to decrease my rates because I'm aware it won't be so easy to increase them again. For now, as I am not struggling yet, I'm just trying to find more direct clients to whom I can offer my services for my usual rate and still be at least 15% cheaper (in my language combination) than agencies.

[Edited at 2009-05-26 17:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-05-26 17:45 GMT]


Jose Ruivo  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:58
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Me too :-( May 26, 2009

I had to lower my rates in Euros almost 20%.

And now I my clients in the US are pushing me to lower my rates in USD - which I think I won't do, since they were already 20% lower than my Eur rates at the begining of this year (I get the feeling someone's trying to take advantage of the situation to get an even better deal ;-P )

Good luck


Rebekka Groß (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:58
English to German
Dare I say it? May 26, 2009

I have been incredibly busy since the end of January after having almost no work from October to mid-January - so how can that be explained? Who knows.

I work for translation agencies exclusively though wouldn't say no to direct clientsicon_smile.gif and am still charging most of them the same rate in Euros as before. One company lowered their standard rates by about 12% but as I live in the UK and I get a lot of work from them I've gone along with it for the time being.

I also work for a Euro rate for an Italian company that I would never have dreamed of accepting if the Euro wasn't so strong. Both the company and I compromise: I accept the lower rate and get paid after 45 days instead of 90 - and they stick to that agreement. I for one would rather work with companies that are professional, pay when they say they pay and keep offering me work again and again - and not just in times of crisis.

There are no hard and fast rules as to what to do. At the end of the day everyone has to make a decision that makes sense business-wise and, if that means lowering rates, won't make them feel resentful (and thus perhaps sloppy in their work).

Good luck everyone. Keep your chins up - we will get out of this recession eventually. And when there is more work around, we may again be able to be more picky based on rates.



English to Russian
+ ...
all apologize May 26, 2009

Unfortunately I have no crisis so I charge what I find reasonable. Thank you.



Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I wonder... May 26, 2009 long will our Governments take to lower taxes? They surely don't have to compete with other people offering their services (which they so neatly keep on an exclusive basis in exchange for taxes we are never allowed to decide), so they don't have these considerations we translators have.

How long will it take? Will they ever lower taxes or will we all have to live in misery before they even think about it?

[Edited at 2009-05-26 18:39 GMT]


FarkasAndras  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Not at all May 26, 2009

After a bit of a drought early on in the year I now have a lot of work. Actually, I have so much on my plate that I'm not too keen on taking on anything new before September... So if anything, I'm raising my rates. One or two large projects do that to you I guess.
So there you go, crisis or not, some projects do go ahead and can provide more than enough work. A boom or a crisis will affect the whole of the market but individual translators or companies can do a lot worse/better than the market situation would suggest at any given time.

[Edited at 2009-05-26 18:49 GMT]


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:58
English to French
+ ...
What is the real issue? May 26, 2009

As Rebekka says, there is no explaining why some people get a dry spell when they do. Rebekka's example is a good one - her dry spell came when others were relatively busy, and now, when many of us are complaining that there is less work, she is busy. It is dangerous to conclude that the current slow economy is surely what is behind those dry spells. What if it isn't? Dry spells can be due to a myriad of factors - a slow economy is just one of them. The issue may lie elsewhere, and I believe it is important to recognize that before being too hasty in changing our business parameters. Also, as Rad says, when the economy is back on track, do you really think clients will agree to a sudden rate increase?

I think that we need to keep focused on our businesses and stop constantly worrying about the impact the current state of economy may or may not have on our businesses. Being nervous always leads to bad decisions. I agree to a certain extent that this slowdown probably has some impact on our respective businesses, but jumping to conclusions isn't the way to go. Let's also remind ourselves that the current situation is temporary, and let's also think about what will be our next move once things are back on track. I don't think I will retire before things get back to normal, and I believe I need to plan ahead to be successful.

I had a dry spell at the end of last summer. Had I concluded then that it was all because of the economy, I probably would have lost a few thousand bucks since then by prematurely lowering my rates to remain competitive. Since then, I have been busy full time - imagine if I had lowered my rates... This undercutting game is bad for all of us, and the way I see it now, if things keep going the way they are, we will end up working free. The current tendency is to undercut. Everybody is undercutting somebody - it's a vicious circle and it isn't smart to be part of it.

In any case, I'd rather work less to earn less than work as much to earn less. Makes sense to me...


Harald Roald  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:58
English to Norwegian
+ ...
in a free market May 26, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:

This undercutting game is bad for all of us, and the way I see it now, if things keep going the way they are, we will end up working free. The current tendency is to undercut. Everybody is undercutting somebody - it's a vicious circle and it isn't smart to be part of it.

I actually have to disagree here. In any free market place, thats excactly how business works. Given that the quality and outcome is equal, a client would choose the best deal. And thats where our prices come in. Should I keep my prices, and get less business or should I compete? Ideally we would not have to compete on price, just quality. However, thats not reality. And to stay on the top of the game, we have to adjust to market prices- even when they drop.


Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Italian to English
And in that same free market... May 26, 2009

Harald Roald wrote:

I actually have to disagree here. In any free market place, thats excactly how business works. Given that the quality and outcome is equal, a client would choose the best deal.

Price isn't the only variable, Harald.

If you can offer superior quality when demand for translation exceeds supply, there is nothing to stop you raising your prices. In fact, it's the only way to test what the market will bear.

Obviously, to be able to do this, you need to be working in sectors that are relatively protected from the general downturn, and translating into target languages that aren't currently traumatised by exchange fluctuations.



Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:58
English to Spanish
. May 26, 2009

I'll readily admit that business has been a little slower than usual for me, but I haven't lowered my rates nor do I intend to do so. Instead, I've used the spare time to launch a maketing mini-campaign to get new clients and improve my visibility.




Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I get the impression that the amount of work now is average May 26, 2009

I do not see a reason to reduce fees while there is an average amount of work about. From around Autumn 2005 to mid-2008 I was rather overloaded with work and had to work day and night all the time, burning the candle at both ends, and never having the chance to do anything other than work.

Things are not like that any more. By comparison, the workload has dropped. However, if the working week is more comfortable now, it just means that the amount of work is about average, and I never heard of anybody in any other profession dropping their rates in average times. They usually charge normal rates, and then even put them up when it gets busy again.

I suppose I would be cutting my rate down to average if I had been overcharging during the times when there was too much work, but I did not do that. Since I charged average rates all along, there is nothing to reduce.



Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:58
Member (2004)
English to Italian
funny... May 26, 2009

never been so busy in my life!


Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:58
Member (2008)
Italian to English
don't lower them May 26, 2009

If you lower them you're going to have a hard time raising them again, later.

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