Is this rate acceptable for English - Czech translation under the terms stated?
Thread poster: magdamatuskova

magdamatuskova  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:54
English to Czech
+ ...
Jan 13, 2010


I am just starting to work independently as a translator an I was wondering if you find this rate acceptable/low/reasonable under these conditions.

"We are currently paying $40 -$55 per job (more depending on
the details/length of the job). We try to keep the word
count to around 400-500 words. We hope that you will be able
to match the current rates which we are used to and provide
us with top quality and fast turnaround."

Thank you,



david young  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:54
French to English
these people are vague... Jan 13, 2010

in your place I'd say "OK for 10 cents per source word", otherwise I think you're gonna be finding yourself doing 650 words or so for 40 dollars.


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:54
German to English
Price per job Jan 13, 2010

As Mr. Young pointed out, agreeing to a blanket rate for all jobs will backfire on you. I'd be less concerned about the 600 word document (which might be offset by a 350 word doc) than the 1200 word document for which you would be paid $50.

This is akin to agencies proposing that you do a 2000 word "test" translation --gratis-- with the proviso that if they get the client's business, you would be the recipient of all the work. I fell for this many years ago, and found myself working for a much lower rate than I would normally get, with deadlines that were barely manageable ("But we promised you all the work!").

You're really better off pricing each job/project individually, even if the client in question appears to be sincere. It will be less stressful for you and the agency in the long run.


Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:54
English to Czech
+ ...
Require word-based rates Jan 13, 2010

Hi Magda,
if I were in your shoes, I would require a fixed rate, say $0.12, per source word. A flat fee per job is rather unusual and would put my senses in "Red Alert" mode.


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:54
Italian to English
Some risks worth taking Jan 13, 2010

It's not easy finding new clients, especially direct clients and even more so when you're just starting out.
As long as you're not signing a contract for future work, I would take the risk.
Keep a running total of the per word rate you're actually being paid and if they start taking advantage of you and your rate drops below an acceptable threshold, either stop working for them or try to negotiate new terms.
Once they've got used to working with you and are happy with your work, they probably won't want to lose you.
You could even tell them up front that this is what you will do; if they're not bona fide, that will probably scare them off.
The rate isn't particularly good of course but I'm not in a position to say how it compares with US rates in general.

[Edited at 2010-01-13 19:24 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-01-13 23:01 GMT]


Marek Buchtel  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:54
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
Volume Jan 14, 2010

Hello Magda,

I've been providing translations for these people so far. However, not under these conditions (I use per-word rate) - that's probably why they're looking for someone else.

As others have suggested, the volume might be an issue. In the last two years, it varied from 400 to 800 words per job, with rare exceptions under 400 (average is around 500).




Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:54
French to English
+ ...
red flags Jan 14, 2010

It's the words "try" and "hope" that set off my alarm bells. I like my clients to be more sure of what they are doing than that. I'd try to get them to agree to a per-word rate for each job, and if they don't like it then there are other clients out there. Not easy to believe when you're starting out, but it's true.


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