About rate per word
Thread poster: Elibelqua

Elibelqua  Identity Verified

Local time: 22:27
English to Spanish
Mar 4, 2011

Hello!

I'm new in Proz as well as in the profession. I got my degree as a translator last year and I'm beginning to look for work. I've just sent a few CVs and an agency from the USA asked me what my rate per word is. Honestly, I don't know what I should say. As I don`t have much experience I want someone to advise me on how much they should pay me. Am I supposed to earn less money because I don't have years of experience yet?

Thank you all in advance. I really need your opinion =)


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 04:27
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Community Rates Mar 5, 2011

ProZ has a nice feature called Community Rates. It is under Tools > Community Rates. As you can see, it is all conveniently plotted. If I were you, I would choose an average (or just below average) rate from Community Rates. You can look at the response rate, and adjust your rate accordingly.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
100 dollars per word Mar 5, 2011

Elibelqua wrote:
Am I supposed to earn less money because I don't have years of experience yet?

You are not supposed to anything...icon_smile.gif

What I mean is that this is a free market. There are no regulations about the rate, so you can virtually charge whatever you wish. If you wish 100 dollars per word, you can ask for it.

However, if your local bakery asked for 100 dollars for a leaf of common bread, what would you say? You would say they are nuts. But, what if they asked for 100 dollars for a bread covered with goldleaf? Maybe you would think twice about it.

The same applies to translation. You are still unexperienced, so at the moment you are offering a common bread and cannot ask for 100 dollars per word. Your ultimate career goal is to keep learning (the Bachelor in translation is just the start), keep doing courses, do a MSc programme if you can afford it, and slowly advance to become the bread with a goldleaf, by training, experience in translation and experience in quality and level of service.

In the mean time, you should try to see what other bakers are charging for their bread. You can easily see that in many profiles of Argentinian colleagues.

Good luck!


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Signe Golly  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:27
Danish to English
+ ...
what others are charging and what you want/need to make Mar 5, 2011

You probably need to weigh what others are charging together with how much you want/need to make.
It sounds like you've done some translation work since you have a degree, so you probably have some idea what your output is. How many words can you translate per hour/day/week? Multiply that with some amounts that you find that others are charging in your language pair(s) and see what's an acceptable wage for you.
I just started out as a freelancer last summer and definitely started on the lower end of the scale (i.e. rates that other translators in my language pairs supposedly find absolutely outrageous). However, I was just trying to break in to the business and get some clients/work and even with this low rate, I was still making triple the minimum wage for where I live and almost twice what my husband makes after working for the same company for 9 years!
Now that I have more work and more clients, I have simply increased the rate that I bid for new clients and also upped it a bit for repeat clients. Most of the jobs that I do now, about 9 months after first starting out, pay about double the rate that I first started out with and so I'm actually already charging in the range of what is listed in the community rates for my working languagesicon_smile.gif


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Elibelqua  Identity Verified

Local time: 22:27
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Mar 6, 2011

Thank you! I'll take your opinions into consideration. I've also thought I should lower the rate, but I needed someone else's opinion. So, I really appreciate your answersicon_wink.gif

May be I should consider the rates in the "Community Rates" section and lower them. At least just a little.


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:27
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The "community rates" are already low Mar 6, 2011

In my experience, whatever you see in the "community rates" is already the low end.
However, I am not sure about your language pair - and can't check as you did not provide that basic info on your profile page...

Have you read this article yet?

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Determining_your_rates_and_fees_as_a_translator

Maybe useful for you.
Katalin

[Edited at 2011-03-06 21:51 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:27
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Remember, you are not just earning a 'wage'. Apr 4, 2011

Signe Golly wrote:

You probably need to weigh what others are charging together with how much you want/need to make.
...
Multiply that with some amounts that you find that others are charging in your language pair(s) and see what's an acceptable wage for you.
I just started out as a freelancer last summer and definitely started on the lower end of the scale (i.e. rates that other translators in my language pairs supposedly find absolutely outrageous). However, I was just trying to break in to the business and get some clients/work and even with this low rate,

***I was still making triple the minimum wage for where I live and almost twice what my husband makes after working for the same company for 9 years!***

Now that I have more work and more clients, I have simply increased the rate that I bid for new clients and also upped it a bit for repeat clients. Most of the jobs that I do now, about 9 months after first starting out, pay about double the rate that I first started out with and so I'm actually already charging in the range of what is listed in the community rates for my working languagesicon_smile.gif


Good for you, Signe! Don't stop there!

But the community rates in our pairs are not high, although Scandinavian languages are considered expensive.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you are not only earning a 'wage'.
You also have to earn all the overheads in your business. People who are employed typically get benefits like holiday pay, sick pay and a pension scheme, at least over here.
You have to arrange those and pay for them for yourself as a freelancer.

You also have to pay for your own office expenses, computer, software, insurance and tax.

So when you compare your earnings with what someone employed by a company earns, you should first subtract the cost of running your business, and then remember the other benefits an employer pays.

Can you afford to take a break now and then?
Travel to visit family? And to hear your 'other' language(s) spoken and catch up with culture and current affairs? That is a necessity, not a luxury for a translator.

What happens if you are sick or have to go into hospital? Will your insurance cover you?

After you have deducted all those expenses, your 'take-home' pay should still be comparable with a reasonable wage that allows you to pay your way, educate your children, and enjoy a little free time.

Best of luck!


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:27
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This post reminded me of something Apr 4, 2011

When I accepted my first translation job in 1992 (I had just quit teaching), I also had no idea what to charge (and there was no internet at that time to help me). Not knowing any better, I asked the agency what they felt was fair (this was a non-rush job and they were aware I was a beginner).

Nineteen years ago, they suggested .12 cents a word. After working with them for a few years, they actually suggested that I increase my rate to .14. I doubt this sort of thing happens today. Back then, I thought that in nineteen years I would be making .30 or more a word.

[Edited at 2011-04-04 13:00 GMT]


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Holly Nathan  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:27
Italian to English
direct clients and agencies Apr 4, 2011

[quote]Elibelqua wrote:

Hello!

I've just sent a few CVs and an agency from the USA asked me what my rate per word is. Honestly, I don't know what I should say.




I find it often doesn't even matter what "my" rates are because it is the agency who turns round and says "well, never mind that, we pay this" and you are either happy to accept that or not. Next time an agency asks you, you could just immediately ask them back "What do you pay?" and then decide if you are interested. I have done this before - I explained that my rates vary and I certainly wouldn't expect the agency to pay what my direct clients pay me - and they actually seemed to like that as an answer.

[Edited at 2011-04-04 13:47 GMT]


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