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Potential work directly with the customer, how much shall I charge?
Thread poster: claire letaillieur

claire letaillieur  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:01
English to French
+ ...
Sep 23, 2010

Hi,

I am about to send my details for what I hope will be some work with a direct customer (manufacturer). I had the person in charge on the phone. She said that I could give an indication of my rates. This is quite important as obviously I won't be able to change it.
I am very specialised in this field, I normally charge 0.08 euros for all kind of work, which I think is really reasonable. I just want to get your opinion on how far I can go if you are in a similar situation, i.e doing some work directly for a client, not through an agency.
My other idea is to ask how much translators have been charging in order to offer a competitive rate? Qu'en pensez-vous? Cheers.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:01
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Cut out the middle man Sep 23, 2010

claire letaillieur wrote:

Hi,

I am about to send my details for what I hope will be some work with a direct customer (manufacturer). I had the person in charge on the phone. She said that I could give an indication of my rates. This is quite important as obviously I won't be able to change it.
I am very specialised in this field, I normally charge 0.08 euros for all kind of work, which I think is really reasonable. I just want to get your opinion on how far I can go if you are in a similar situation, i.e doing some work directly for a client, not through an agency.
My other idea is to ask how much translators have been charging in order to offer a competitive rate? Qu'en pensez-vous? Cheers.


By cutting out the middle (wo)man you should be able to charge at least 0.09 (to be reviewed on an annual basis if this is ongoing work)

That's better for you and presumably it's still less than what your client would pay to an agency.

[Edited at 2010-09-23 13:28 GMT]


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QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
triple it... Sep 23, 2010

if you are paid 0.08 euros/word working for an agency, then the agency is paid at least 2-3 times of that.

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Andrea Melletat
Germany
Local time: 18:01
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
think twice Sep 23, 2010

Normally agencies would hire another proofreader for your work and he/she would need to get paid with at least another 0,03 € which would add to 0,11 € + your margin for taking the risks .
If you would charge 0,08€ you would not only put less into your own pockets but would damage the whole system of quality translations...

Those clients would ask for a rate of 0,07 € the next time. Which is fine if you don't have to pay a living out of it considering the price structure here in Europe...


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Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:01
Member (2009)
German to Greek
+ ...
Sep 23, 2010

I charge double my agency prices, which are not the lowest in the market (also due to my specialisation) ...

... and still suspect, the clients start dancing on their chairs, as soon as they read my rates.



[Έγινε επεξεργασία στις 2010-09-23 13:58 GMT]


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Removal requested by poster.

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What you need and how much it's worth Sep 23, 2010

Hello,

You must charge more per word, for some good reasons:

Extra services
An agency should do the final proofreading (the second pair of eyes). You need to add that in to your rate because you need to pay a second native-speaker to review the text - it's all too easy to leave "form" in place of "from" if you have written it yourself and are sure that you typed "from". Personally, I make it a separate item in the quote to give them the option of not paying if they have a native-speaking contact who will do it for free/less. However, I make it very clear that I cannot guarantee perfection. The same is true for any formatting - it's all down to you.

Volume
An agency normally supplies you with work from various sources. If one of their clients stops sending work, the agency still gives you work and very often the volume doesn't decrease significantly. If your direct client goes quiet, you have to market yourself to fill the shortfall in your earnings.

Risk
When you invoice an agency for a good translation, you are (legally, anyway) guaranteed full payment unless the agency goes into liquidation. If an agency client folds, the agency may not get paid but this does not (legally, anyway) affect your payment. If your direct client folds, you can expect to receive 0% of all outstanding invoices.


I'm sure there are other reasons that others can add. It's not about fleecing someone who doesn't know how much a translation is worth. It's simply about being paid for your time and your risk and making enough money to continue trading profitably.

HTH Sheila


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very specialised? Then charge a lot more! Sep 23, 2010

claire letaillieur wrote:
I am very specialised in this field, I normally charge 0.08 euros for all kind of work, which I think is really reasonable.

In my opinion it is not that reasonable. It is not much more than the rate of a non-specialised translator. If you really know the matter at hand and can prove it (you might want to prove it by doing a short test translation for them), I would at least charge double your current rate.

Good luck!


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:01
German to English
With Sheila Sep 23, 2010

There's a lot more to delivering a finished product than a supplying a translated text.

Do not offer a blanket price for all translations, as all documents aren't the same.

When dealing with a direct client I need to factor in several costs:

1. Additional translators (if any). Sometimes I can't respond to the volume within the customer's specified time frame by myself (despite customer education). Sometimes the client absolutely has to have a document by a certain date in order to meet a tender deadline, for example.

2. Editing/checking, related quality control activities. I always hire a second set of eyes to read my translations for a direct client. I also run XBench to make sure my numbers match, etc.

3. Graphics. Sometimes I have to edit/recreate illustrations/figures/graphics in a document. This has to be budgeted, either in terms of my own time (if simple processing is required) or the time required by a specialist.

(4. Layout). Fortunately I haven't had to worry about DTP issues. My clients have been happy with the options offered by MS Office. But someday I may need to pay for DTP services.

5. Administrative expenses. You need to compensate yourself for the time spent negotiating with the client, managing and delivering your product.

There are doubtless other things included in my pricing that I don't consciously think about.

My own suggestion would be to find out what agencies in your region charge their clients. Using this as a guideline, you can set your rate lower than the agency rate. The trick is to set a rate that makes you more attractive than an agency, but still allows you to cover expenses and get a better return than you would by working for an agency.


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
A general rate Sep 23, 2010

claire letaillieur wrote:

I am very specialised in this field, I normally charge 0.08 euros for all kind of work, which I think is really reasonable. I just want to get your opinion on how far I can go if you are in a similar situation, i.e doing some work directly for a client, not through an agency.
My other idea is to ask how much translators have been charging in order to offer a competitive rate? Qu'en pensez-vous? Cheers.


You may be specialised but your rate (0.08) is very general.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:01
German to English
sft info Sep 23, 2010

Take a look at this from the sft:
http://www.sft.fr/clients/sft/telechargements/file_front/4c45ab788dee5.pdf


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Absolutely agree Sep 23, 2010

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Hello,

You must charge more per word, for some good reasons:

Extra services
and so on)
[/quote]

That's what I have always thought and done and wrote in different languages here in the forum.

It would be completely nonsense (and would contradict any marketing principle) not to consider these factors and to charge the same for agencies and final clients (but anyway this does not seem to be Claire's intention here).

If my English were better, I could add a lot more of reasons and explain better my thoughts, e.g. the fact that we should never undercut agencies, whatever are our experiences (there are also very serious ones...). Personally, I charge normally 50/60% more for direct clients. In my opinion, 2-3 times appears too much - unless one normally works for lousy rates for agencies...:-)

[Bearbeitet am 2010-09-24 11:24 GMT]


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Anna Herbst  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 02:01
Member (2008)
English to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Working for peanuts? Sep 26, 2010

Hi all,

I've been wondering lately about the situation in Europe. The going rate per word from translation agencies in Australia where I am, seems to be 0.20 AUD ~ 0.15 EUR, and I generally charge 50% more when I deal with the client directly. However, these last few weeks I have been offered 0.05 GBP and 0.07 EUR from a couple of European agencies. I have not accepted these jobs, as they are not economically viable, and I strongly believe that anyone who works for that sort of low rates is doing our profession a great disservice by selling their services much too cheaply.

There is a lot of food for thought (no pun intended) on the web-site No Peanuts! for Translators http://nopeanuts.wordpress.com/

By the way - I suppose there would be a few of those reading this who got the same or similar offer as me yesterday through ProZ.com mail:
We invite you to collaborate with us for English>Swedish proofreading work. We need proofreader for this project.
Here are the offered rate:-
Rate for review:- $ 5 per hour

This is 2010 and the minimum wage in Australia is $569.90AUD (546.21USD) per week
for an ordinary 38 hour week, not $198.30AUD (190.00USD) that I have been offered. And this outsourcer has a Blueboard rating of 4.9...

Wishing you all proper remuneration for the professional work you're doing,
Anna


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:01
English
+ ...
What if we who feel you pay peanuts you get monkeys Sep 26, 2010

Anna Herbst wrote:

There is a lot of food for thought (no pun intended) on the web-site No Peanuts! for Translators http://nopeanuts.wordpress.com



all added the No Peanuts badge to our profiles? the http://nopeanuts.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/no-peanuts-badge/

Or what if we could otherwise indicate on our profiles that we endorse reasonable rates or a reasonable rates policy, or something to that effect?

What would happen?

Would agencies/outsourcers stop contacting us? Or would there be unity in numbers? Or....?


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solange trad
Portuguese
+ ...
think business Sep 26, 2010

Hi,

Price for a customer has nothing to do with "translation rates" and everything to do with business.

There are so many factors involved when setting your price.

For example, what industry is the customer in, how many other people are available to offer the same service to them, how much do they need you/your service?

It is absurd to state a price without considering all these issues.

You are providing a service as a business.

But whichever way you look at it, 0.08 euros is way way way too low to be charging to customers for a quality translation service.

good luck!


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