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How honest are people when talking about rates?
Thread poster: Rad Graban

Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:23
English to Slovak
+ ...
Jun 21, 2009

Hi all,

I've always been very honest about my rates, being 'stubborn' when asked to lower them, have them published on ProZ, etc. On couple of occasions, I had people telling me that my rates were too low.
Now, I have found out from a translator back home, who used to work as a project manager for one of the largest translation companies in Slovakia, that an average rate in Slovakia is 0.03 EUR per word.
What do you think about it? Where is the community spirit in this case? I've been sticking to mine rates regardless, not to undermine the "trend", just to find out that others in my language combination are playing "funny games"?


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:23
French to German
+ ...
A partial answer Jun 21, 2009

can be found here:

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/138062-translators_being_treated_like_cattle-page2.html

KudoZ to Kevin's post!

Laurent K.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Honest people will discuss rates honestly Jun 21, 2009

That's all I can say. Honest people will either keep silent or be honest about his/her rates. A dishonest person is not very likely to keep silent.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two points Jun 21, 2009

Rad Graban wrote:
1. I've always been very honest about my rates, being 'stubborn' when asked to lower them...
2. Where is the community spirit in this case? I've been sticking to mine rates regardless, not to undermine the "trend", just to find out that others in my language combination are playing "funny games"?


1. My rates are not set in stone.

2. Even when I was at college we were warned by our professor to beware of being guilty of undercutting other translators by being too cheap. Undercutting is only bad from an ethical point of view... although you can never quite tell where undercutting begins and good, clean competitiveness ends.


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:23
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Fair enough... Jun 21, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:
1. My rates are not set in stone.

2. Even when I was at college we were warned by our professor to beware of being guilty of undercutting other translators by being too cheap. Undercutting is only bad from an ethical point of view... although you can never quite tell where undercutting begins and good, clean competitiveness ends.


Mine are not set in stone either, but I don't judge others' rates as too low if I know mine are 50% lower.


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Emma Hradecka  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 03:23
English to Czech
+ ...
Honest answer Jun 21, 2009

I can honestly tell you that the majority of Czech translation agencies will not work with you on permanent basis if your rate is higher than 0.04EUR. I graduated a Translation and Interpreting MA a year ago and I am very well aware that I am to be considered an "inexperienced" translator. After reading many discussions on Proz concerning rates, I decided I would not work for less than 0.6EUR (and I expect all of you to say that it's way too low).

I don't get much work.

Fortunately, I have some satisfied direct clients (who help me out approx. once a month with some 15-30 pages of translation - again I expect all of you to consider it ridiculous as many translators claim to be able to do it in one-two days).

Fortunately, I am employed part-time as an in-house translator/interpreter in a financial company - this is my major income which earns my living quite comfortably.

From October I will take a one-year Oficial Master in Institutional Translation (semi-virtual, not attending school frequently) in Spain, to improve my skills and gain more expertise. This means that from October I will operate as a full-time freelance translator/interpreter and, honestly, I am a bit afraid of how I will make ends meet. Fortunately, my family is able to help me out financially for the whole year if necessary (but I hope I will be able to somehow earn my living myself).

This is a newbie point of view. I know that all of us have to start somehow, it was difficult for all of you to build up your client base. But I must say that if all those "I would not even get up for 1.2EUR rate" are not true, please let us - beginners - know and be honest. You can save at least some psychological strain.

Emma

P.S.: All tips on how to get clients who are happy to pay over 1.2EUR are welcomeicon_smile.gif


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:23
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the honest answer, Emma. Jun 21, 2009

I don't think there is anything wrong with 0.04 EUR/word if that's an average rate back home and you can live on it. What I think is wrong; is when people are pretending to work for higher rate when it's not truth.

Good luck, Emma.

Rad
Emma Hradecka wrote:

I can honestly tell you that the majority of Czech translation agencies will not work with you on permanent basis if your rate is higher than 0.04EUR. I graduated a Translation and Interpreting MA a year ago and I am very well aware that I am to be considered an "inexperienced" translator. After reading many discussions on Proz concerning rates, I decided I would not work for less than 0.6EUR (and I expect all of you to say that it's way too low).

I don't get much work.

Fortunately, I have some satisfied direct clients (who help me out approx. once a month with some 15-30 pages of translation - again I expect all of you to consider it ridiculous as many translators claim to be able to do it in one-two days).

Fortunately, I am employed part-time as an in-house translator/interpreter in a financial company - this is my major income which earns my living quite comfortably.

From October I will take a one-year Oficial Master in Institutional Translation (semi-virtual, not attending school frequently) in Spain, to improve my skills and gain more expertise. This means that from October I will operate as a full-time freelance translator/interpreter and, honestly, I am a bit afraid of how I will make ends meet. Fortunately, my family is able to help me out financially for the whole year if necessary (but I hope I will be able to somehow earn my living myself).

This is a newbie point of view. I know that all of us have to start somehow, it was difficult for all of you to build up your client base. But I must say that if all those "I would not even get up for 1.2EUR rate" are not true, please let us - beginners - know and be honest. You can save at least some psychological strain.

Emma

P.S.: All tips on how to get clients who are happy to pay over 1.2EUR are welcomeicon_smile.gif


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Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:23
English to Serbian
+ ...
Hm. Jun 21, 2009


Now, I have found out from a translator back home, who used to work as a project manager for one of the largest translation companies in Slovakia, that an average rate in Slovakia is 0.03 EUR per word.


Well, I guess here on ProZ it's one thing, but "out in the wild" it's something completely different. At least in my country.
Although 0.03€/w is considered quite a low rate here in my language pair as well, in Serbia it is usually considered an excellent rate; actually anything above 0.017€/w is for most of the people ok price, and even for 0.010-0.013€/w an agency or a direct client would probably have no problem finding available translators. Since there is no any kind of association or similar organization worth mentioning, I don't think there is any way of doing something about it.
It goes to such extent that once when I said to a 'colleague' on a Serbian forum that her rate of 3.5€ per page (1800 chars) is abysmal and that it should be at least 3 times higher she called me an idiot, probably thinking I'm pulling her leg or something.


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The Misha
Local time: 21:23
Russian to English
+ ...
What you, folks, are talking about is called price collusion, Jun 21, 2009

and it is perfectly illegal in my country. What rate the other guy is charging is his own business and none of mine. What determines my own rate is what I want to make - which is to a large extent determined by how expensive my cost of living is. If the market overall determines that I am too expensive - or too cheap and thus can't make a decent living - then I failed as a business and should better switch to a different occupation. This is the way capitalism works everywhere, so why should we be any different?

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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 20:23
English to Spanish
I'm honest, that's why I keep silence Jun 21, 2009

(Silence.)

I'm honest, you see?

[Edited at 2009-06-22 16:29 GMT]


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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 18:23
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
Price collusion? Jun 21, 2009

The Misha wrote:

and it is perfectly illegal in my country. What rate the other guy is charging is his own business and none of mine. What determines my own rate is what I want to make - which is to a large extent determined by how expensive my cost of living is. If the market overall determines that I am too expensive - or too cheap and thus can't make a decent living - then I failed as a business and should better switch to a different occupation. This is the way capitalism works everywhere, so why should we be any different?


Collusion? Surely you jest! Ever heard of pricing research?


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The Misha
Local time: 21:23
Russian to English
+ ...
Sure have Jun 22, 2009

Marcelo Silveyra wrote:

The Misha wrote:

and it is perfectly illegal in my country. What rate the other guy is charging is his own business and none of mine. What determines my own rate is what I want to make - which is to a large extent determined by how expensive my cost of living is. If the market overall determines that I am too expensive - or too cheap and thus can't make a decent living - then I failed as a business and should better switch to a different occupation. This is the way capitalism works everywhere, so why should we be any different?


Collusion? Surely you jest! Ever heard of pricing research?


Sure have, but you seem to have missed the point altogether. This is not about price research, what is implicitly proposed here is maintaining an artificial price floor through collusion. That's the illegal (in the US, at least) practice I referred to above. It's like setting the price of milk at three bucks at all neighborhood groceries and keeping it there come hell or high water. Generally, the sooner we all recognize that we operate within the same market environment as everyone else, the better. Unfortunately, we are in no way special.


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Andres & Leticia Enjuto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Let me disagree Jun 22, 2009

The Misha wrote:

What you, folks, are talking about is called price collusion,



Either you missread this post, or read another one. Confabulation in the open is not such, is it? And colluding to set high prices is, of course, virtually impossible among us freelancers.

What we have here is someone who's noted double-talk among colleagues. Nothhing more, and nothing less.

Andrés


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Freelance DK  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:23
English to Danish
+ ...
Can´t compare across borders Jun 22, 2009

You can´t compare rates across borderlines !
How can you compare when the living costs are so huge different
across the world ? The rent, food and daily expences are much higher
in Northern Europe than Eastern Europe and China and so on...
So when bureaus reply "we are only used to pay this and this rate" you
can ask if it is for your language pair and/or country, don´t feel you
are forced to lower your rates - often it is a standard sentence they use.
Beside that I can only support the free price setting as working as "free"lancericon_wink.gif


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:23
Flemish to English
+ ...
How low can you go? Jun 22, 2009

Below a certain rate (not the average Proz.com rate) it is simply not worth to start work.
Do all of you have only 1 activity or a back-up activity such as teaching languages, software etc... This enables more flexibility in accepting jobs at your rate. If translation does not pay enough, simply do something else or look for other customers.


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