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How much are freelance translators charging nowadays?
Thread poster: francescaco
francescaco
United States
Local time: 18:11
French to English
Jul 24, 2009

How much are freelance translators charging, on average, per word and per hour nowadays? Many of my freelance translation jobs were paid by the "dinner and drinks" fee (LOL)... They were evidently friends who asked me for help.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-07-24 11:54 GMT]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 01:11
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
How much do you pay? Jul 24, 2009

How much do you pay your hair-dresser for one hour of work? There you know roughly how much to charge for one hour of work. It all depends on the standard of living in your country.
Translating is not something that you just take up like a job at McDonalds. Its a serious craft.
Regards
Heinrich


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Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 00:11
English to French
+ ...
Living standards Jul 24, 2009

Mr Pesch,

Let me point out that in some countries, the range of salaries for different professions can be much higher than in northern Europe (Finland for instance, correct me if I am wrong).
When I first moved to Turkey I was shocked to hear that a surgeon's hourly rate for an operation could be several hundred times higher than that of a cleaning lady in the same hospital. Don't take my word for it, I don't have statistics, but the bottom line is that a lot of people find this normal here.
In northern Europe (and you can include France to some extent), it sometimes doesn't make a big difference in terms of salary to study for 8 years compared to not studying at all - although the same might not be said about the ease with which you can find employment.

In conclusion, in some countries, you definitely don't want to be paid the same as your hairdresser. In some others, you wonder why you haven't made the same career choice as him/her

Francescaco, as an answer to the original question, you can have a look at this thread where the same topic was discussed :
http://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/140648-looking_for_recommendations_for_a_new_translator.html





[Edited at 2009-07-24 13:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-07-24 13:44 GMT]


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:11
English to German
+ ...
... Jul 24, 2009

francescaco wrote:

How much are freelance translators charging, on average, per word and per hour nowadays?


Your question is very vague, it's like asking "How much are freelance programmers charging nowadays?" Ask a SAP consultant and ask a Word trainer...


Many of my freelance translation jobs were paid by the "dinner and drinks" fee (LOL)... They were evidently friends who asked me for help.

Translation is a serious matter!

Best, Aniello



[Edited at 2009-07-24 13:44 GMT]


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
English to Norwegian
Depends on how you measure. Jul 24, 2009

How much do you charge for one yard of rubber band?

It depends on whether the buyer or the seller is stretching the band!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Insufficient information Jul 24, 2009

This is a serious, complex market. I think you should tell us what language pairs you mean, what subjects, what degree of complexity, what format of the files, what experience and quality do you expect? These and other factors greatly influence the price.

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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:41
German to English
Look at some other profiles in your language pair Jul 24, 2009

Something you could do is look at some of the profiles of translators working in your language pair who have declared their rates on their profiles.

If you go to the directories tab at the top of the page and then click on translators, you will get to the page for directory searches. Enter "French to English" as the language pair and any other criteria you want (you can enter "United States" as the country, since you live there) and you will get a list of all the translators with the qualifications and expertise you have specified. You will see their rates on their profiles, that is, if they have chosen to show them.

All the best!


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:11
Dutch to English
+ ...
Dinner and drinks? Jul 24, 2009

Sure you didn't overcharge?

LOL, of course


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:11
Member
French to English
+ ...
Dinner and drinks Jul 24, 2009

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

Sure you didn't overcharge?

LOL, of course


This made me remember: whilst on holiday a few years ago I came haphazardly upon a fancy restaurant pretty much in the middle of nowhere (in the French Massif Central). Looking at the menu, I realised that I had actually translated it into English a few months before. After a short spat with my partner (he's far more demure than I), I went in and introduced myself to the manager and said that I hoped that he was happy with his English menu. It turns out he was... and he invited us to dinner that evening! I reckon my "tip" for this job (dinner and drinks for two) was about 200 EUR - which was more than I had earned for the initial translation, which was only a few hundred words long!

I don't know if it was my translating skills or some timely coincidence that accounted for my luck, but I wasn't about to complain (and, of course, prefer to chalk it up to sheer talent!).

Best,
Jocelyne


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Suzanne Blangsted  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:11
Danish to English
+ ...
translation income Jul 24, 2009

Jocelyne,

I also had an experience in a restaurant - this one in the Danish town of Ringsted.

While eating there with a friend, the waitress was trying to explain to my friend in English what the menu was about. When my friend wanted a glass of water, she asked "with or without gas" -

After I explained to my friend that she probably meant carbonated water or regular tap water, I talked with the owner and offered to translate the menu for him into English or give him some common English restaurant terminology - at no charge. His answer was "I don't need that - my wife is doing it". (She happened to be our waitress).

We paid for the dinner and laughed all the way back to the hotel, and I am still amuzed by the "water with gas" and sometimes wonder how she had translated other items on the menu.

Back to the original question about charges for translation - I charge to a certain extent according to the treatment I get from my clients. I have a price I quote when asked to do a project and then I adjust the price according to the project size. If a good client ask me to translate a few words, I do that pro bono.

suz


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:11
Member
English to French
This is all about specialising in the RIGHT subject matters Jul 24, 2009

Jocelyne S wrote:
This made me remember...

I just wish I will never happen to read the operating manual of a forklift truck at a manufacturing plant. Wouldn't know what to do with it if I were given one.

I also envy wine translation specialists...

Philippe


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I must take a Finnish cruise NOW!!! Jul 24, 2009

Jocelyne S wrote:
This made me remember...

Oh my!! I must definitely board the Finnish cruises to Sweden and give it a try!


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:11
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Ahem... Jul 25, 2009

"It all depends on the standard of living in your country." says Heinrich.

Therefore, if the standards of living in your country are low, then you MUST keep them low by charging less. You should also spread the word to the other professionals in your country: "do not charge more because you have to keep your standards of living at a low level". Do not even think of increasing your living standards. You MUST keep them as they are in your country for the majority of the population. This way you will remain poor and happy for the next 100 glorious years.

Also, if you change your address information at proz (you can enter whatever address you like), then you can charge more. You can't charge more if you live in Asia. It's forbidden. Agencies which thrive in applied discriminatory policies will tell you "how do you dare charge more if you live in a poor country". Applied discrimination. They don't even recognize it.

Therefore, you have to first move to Switzerland, or change your address to Switzerland (you don't have to actually move, just change your address). Who's going to know anyway... my address says "Philadelphia, USA". Who knows if that's true or not. I'm thinking of changing it to Athens next month.



[Edited at 2009-07-25 00:52 GMT]


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Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 00:11
English to French
About France standards of living Jul 26, 2009

And how would you situate French standards of living compared to other EU countries and with other foreign countries?

[Edited at 2009-07-26 17:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-07-26 17:44 GMT]


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Same in Italy:-) Jul 27, 2009

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:

You can't charge more if you live in Asia. It's forbidden. Agencies which thrive in applied discriminatory policies will tell you "how do you dare charge more if you live in a poor country". Applied discrimination. They don't even recognize it.



Translation fees are very low in Italy, but living standard is not lower than in Germany, France or Austria, for example. And tax load is even higher. So how can freelancers survive with those lousy rates unless they charge more than the average?

What is worst, the agencies with "discriminatory policies" love very much those rates, while they charge the price of their own country and the translator is starving while he/she is working hard. Certainly their end clients don't get a bargain, though:-(.


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