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My own little rates survey
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Oct 7, 2009

G'day everyone

I'm interested in rates (aren't we all?). Following some correspondence on a mailing list in my country, I created a little rates survey and I'd like to get some international responses as well. So I'd appreciate it if some of you will consider taking part in it or sending me comments about it.

In most rates surveys, translators are simply asked what their usual rates are. This can produce unreliable results because translators don't all have just one rate that they charge for all types of texts and all types of clients. Most translators do not quote on a job unless they've seen the text, so asking for a rate in a survey is based on the hope that all participants in the survey will assume the same type of text when answering the question.

So I've written a quote-based survey, in which I supply the text to be quoted on, so all rates responses are at least based on the same source text.

If you're interested in taking part in this little survey of mine, have a look at the survey and the text to quote on:

http://leuce.com/tempfile/survey%20(dairy).zip (70 KB)

Depending on the response, I may do another, and another, using different texts. I look forward to your responses or comments (here or in private).

Samuel

==

[Edited: I've changed the format slightly but the content is essentially the same. The text to be quoted on, is now a separate DOC file. The instructions are in both PDF and DOC.]



[Edited at 2009-10-08 11:55 GMT]


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 10:52
French to English
+ ...
Document type not that important Oct 7, 2009

I don't really have different rates for different types of documents (unless it's a 5th generation fax or there's a large DTP component or some other complication). I can either do it or I can't. Some documents are easier than others but it tends to even out over time.

I do however, have different rates for different customers. This is basically because I prefer to raise my rates for new customers only. It also helps even out the work flow - I've noticed that my "cheaper" customers send me more work in quiet months and the more "expensive" ones only send me work in busy months. Being a great believer in "half a loaf is better than none", I would rather have some work in quiet months and I can pick & choose my jobs in busy months.

Terry.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:52
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Interesting approach, Samuel Oct 7, 2009

You used your brain to come up with this survey model. Despite my survey allergy I'll take it

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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'll do it Oct 7, 2009

I'm a bit busy right now, but I will definitely send you a quote, hopefully tomorrow.

Thx Samuel!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A bit more about the survey Oct 7, 2009

Here's a little more information about the survey itself (but please download the file for all the information):

The survey isn't about what what you'd quote for *me* but what you'd quote for the client described in the survey. The survey consists of three parts, namely a description of the client (and job), the text to be translated, and a few more questions that are optional to answer.

To participate, all I'm asking for is a quote for translating the text into your usual language.

* More about the text: The text is essentially a Wikipedia article converted to simple MS Word format and cleaned up a bit. The subject is milk farms. It is fairly general, with not too many technical terms, and most of the terms are googleable. MS Word says there are 4673 words, or 27414 characters with spaces.

* More about the client and job: The download file describes the client and job as follows:

1. The client had commissioned the writing of this text, and he considers it print-ready. He is an expert in the field (in his own language) and can answer your terminology questions if necessary. He is well-aware that portions of the text has a United States bias.
2. The client is a local person in your country.
3. The client is from a well-known national milk producer/seller.
4. The client wants to make the translation available on his web site, as an informational article that adds value to his web site. He may also use portions of it in promotional and financial reporting materials.
5. The translation must be delivered in MS Word "DOC" format.
6. The client has his own reviewer/proofreader in the target language, and he will not send the reviewed translation back to you for querying the reviewer's personal preferences.
7. The deadline is 120 hours away (i.e. 5 full days).

I'm also interested in comments about this method of determining rates (as opposed to asking translators "what are your rates for general stuffs"). The survey also asks how certain variations (9 of them) might affect your quote, eg if the deadline was 1 month or if the client was a school teacher, etc. Commenting about these variations is optional.


[Edited at 2009-10-07 14:20 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:52
French to German
+ ...
I like the client-based approach... Oct 7, 2009

so I definitively will take this survey.

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Daniel Weston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:52
French to English
+ ...
Okay, done Oct 7, 2009

I sent you an email with the completed survey...

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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:52
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Well, ok.. Oct 8, 2009

Your survey is ok, but no time to fill it.

I went to Sears and asked them about refrigerators. They told me "they come in various prices".
So then I told them "in my industry, most translators have a fixed rate for all projects, as if they would sell all refrigerators at the same price".

He laughed.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:52
Turkish to English
+ ...
Only for translators from English? Oct 8, 2009

The source text in your survey is in English. Am I right in assuming that you are only interested in hearing from translators who translate from English into another language? I translate into English only, so for this reason have not replied.

I also notice that you do not ask people to specify which target language the quote is based on. It is quite posible that a translator who works from English into more than one target language would charge a different rate depending on the language. I do not believe that all language pairs are equally easy or difficult. I think it is far easier to translate between two languages which are in the same family than between two languages which are not. Would translating your sample text into Zulu, for example, involve no more effort than translating it into Afrikaans? I frankly doubt that. Surely such considerations must have an influence on what people charge. Moreover, the balance between the supply of work and the supply of available translators in each language pair obviously influences the rates in that pair. I do not think this survey will yield interesting results unless classified according to language pair.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:52
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Outsourcing is another factor Oct 8, 2009

Hi Samuel,

I sent you a quote that I would give to a local direct client for translating this text
into German. The figure I have quoted is based on the assumption that I would be outsourcing the work to a colleague who is a native speaker of German, and on knowledge of how much that colleague would want for doing the job well.

I used to charge less for something that I would be translating myself. However, I find that is not a good idea, since I have also meanwhile experienced that the client will want English into German next time, and will be expecting to pay the same price as last time. It is not really possible to vary the price between EN-DE and DE-EN if the text is in the same field and of approximately the same level of complexity.


Astrid


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Tim Oct 8, 2009

Tim Drayton wrote:
The source text in your survey is in English. Am I right in assuming that you are only interested in hearing from translators who translate from English into another language?


No, your assumption is incorrect. I am interested in any language combination, but the nature of the survey requires that someone prepares a source text for translators to quote on, and I only understand English (plus my other language). I think it would be great if, after we've learnt something from the responses of this survey, someone go ahead and create one for other languages as well.

I'll give this survey another week or so. I'm beginning to think that I'll get more responses if the survey is web-based and I simply place the text (to be quoted on) in a scrollable text field. I never thought I'd get many responses, and if one would want to do this as a real survey, one would have to promote it more aggressively.

I also notice that you do not ask people to specify which target language the quote is based on. ... I do not think this survey will yield interesting results unless classified according to language pair.


So far everyone who quoted told me what language they were quoting for, even though I did not specifically ask for that information. I agree with you that one should compare apples with apples, and it was not my intention to do otherwise. But you're right, the survey should contain fields for country of origin and language.


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 10:52
French to English
+ ...
Translation is a service Oct 8, 2009

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:

I went to Sears and asked them about refrigerators. They told me "they come in various prices".
So then I told them "in my industry, most translators have a fixed rate for all projects, as if they would sell all refrigerators at the same price".

He laughed.


And so he should. Refrigerators are goods, translating is a service. Goods and services have different pricing models.

Anyway, we don't charge the same for all projects, we charge the same for all words (or hours, if you prefer). A project with more words is charged more than a project with less words. Just like refrigerators with more raw materials and labour content cost more than those with less.

Terry.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:52
Turkish to English
+ ...
Clarification Oct 8, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

No, your assumption is incorrect. I am interested in any language combination, but the nature of the survey requires that someone prepares a source text for translators to quote on, and I only understand English (plus my other language).



I am sorry if I sound obtuse, but are you saying to me as a Turkish into English translator, "What would you charge for translating into English a text in Turkish of a similar length and with a similar subject matter to the English text that has been provided as the model source text?"


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Tim Oct 8, 2009

Tim Drayton wrote:
Are you saying to me as a Turkish into English translator, "What would you charge for translating into English a text in Turkish of a similar length and with a similar subject matter to the English text that has been provided as the model source text?"


Yes, I think so. I would be happy to receive responses from translators who translate into English and treat my text in the way you describe.

The point of the survey is to remove the uncertainty aspect that comes from having to state a rate based on an entirely hypothetical text, but I don't think one can remove all variability from a survey, so I think it would be quite acceptable if translators saw my text in the way you describe.

Do you think for future similar surveys it would be better to describe the text instead of providing the text? The problem is that it can be difficult to describe a text sufficiently accurate that translators who don't quote sight unseen would be willing to quote anyway.



[Edited at 2009-10-08 11:20 GMT]


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:52
Turkish to English
+ ...
Please just make it clear Oct 8, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

Do you think for future similar surveys it would be better to describe the text instead of providing the text? The problem is that it can be difficult to describe a text sufficiently accurate that translators who don't quote sight unseen would be willing to quote anyway.



[Edited at 2009-10-08 11:20 GMT]


I just think you need to make things absolutely clear. As I said, I initially thought that this survey was directed solely at translators from English into another language.


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