agency rates
Thread poster: garrett higgins

garrett higgins
Local time: 22:02
Italian to English
Apr 18, 2011

The agency I work for most frequently pays between .07 and .08 USD a word (for ITA-ENG). (They also offer lower but I generally do not consider). Is that an OK rate? It used to be .10 before the 'recession'.
I also discovered recently that they pursue a 3-to-1 policy whereby they pay the translator one third (or less) of what they charge the client. Is that ethical?
I was always under the impression the ratio would be close to 1 to 2.
Any thoughts appreciated.
Thanks,
GJH


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Sandra B.  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:02
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
... Apr 18, 2011

If you convert those rates into euros you will see they are rather low rates. I would not work with those rates. Don't forget that you live in a euro country and pay your bills in euros, so this currency must always be your reference. Yes, clients in the US may not like it, but that's how things are... And this is about business.

And, "recession", is only an excuse to lower rates. If there was no recession, they would come with something else. Plus, recession gives a very good reason not to accept low rates and actually increase them, because we are paying more taxes, more social security, etc., so we need to cover extra costs and keep profit margin.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:02
English to German
+ ...
For editing it is an OK rate. Apr 19, 2011

Definitely not for translation.

garrett higgins wrote:
It used to be .10 before the 'recession'.


I have no idea why some agencies still try to play the recession-card with foreign vendors. Stay clear of such black sheep who try to lower rates by making the US look like a banana republic.

I also discovered recently that they pursue a 3-to-1 policy whereby they pay the translator one third (or less) of what they charge the client. Is that ethical?
I was always under the impression the ratio would be close to 1 to 2.


The ratio 1:3 is common, but it is the agency that is paid the 30% for their administrative work, not the other way around. The other 60% are supposed to be used to pay the translator and the proofreader/editor.


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Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:02
Italian to English
Very low rate Apr 19, 2011

That's a very low rate in my opinion and I wouldn't work for it. I'm not sure what the usual ratio is, but if you are only getting one third of the amount the agency charges the client then that does seem particularly low.

I work in the same language combination as you and all of my agencies pay me significantly more than that. My agencies are all based in Italy, the UK and the rest of Europe. I stopped working for the only US agency I have ever worked for after it started placing huge pressure on my rates.

I'd advise you to start contacting other agencies and build up your client base so that you can drop this one. Tell them why you have dropped them too. Hopefully, if enough people refuse these rates then they will have to see sense, but if not, there is plenty of work out there at decent rates.


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garrett higgins
Local time: 22:02
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
rate Apr 19, 2011

Thanks, Sonia.
So a fair rate from an agency is about .07 EUR per word for Italian-English?
I have 16 years' experience.
thanks,
garrett


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:02
English to German
+ ...
Not for US agencies Apr 19, 2011

garrett higgins wrote:

Thanks, Sonia.
So a fair rate from an agency is about .07 EUR per word for Italian-English?
I have 16 years' experience.
thanks,
garrett



Any rate below 10 US cent is a rip-off.


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Holly Nathan  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:02
Italian to English
are you talking about before or after tax? Apr 19, 2011

garrett higgins wrote:

Thanks, Sonia.
So a fair rate from an agency is about .07 EUR per word for Italian-English?
I have 16 years' experience.
thanks,
garrett


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garrett higgins
Local time: 22:02
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
before Apr 19, 2011

before

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Olly Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:02
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
Rates transparency Apr 19, 2011

Garrett,

Just to contribute to the rates transparency here, I work in the Netherlands in the pair NL-EN and charge almost all agencies EUR 0.10/source word ex VAT, sometimes EUR 0.11. About 10 NL agencies and 1 BE agency pay me these rates and typically claim that they are standard rates. As far as I can gather (rates transparency is a bit of an issue), these are indeed standard agency rates in my language combination, if anything possibly on the low side, although I am well aware that many work for less. Have you looked at this site yet for IT-EN rates: http://search.proz.com/employers/rates?

Olly


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:02
French to English
+ ...
Questions to ask yourself Apr 19, 2011

garrett higgins wrote:

So a fair rate from an agency is about .07 EUR per word for Italian-English?
I have 16 years' experience.


The question you need to ask yourself is: can I live on the resulting income, given the amount I translate in a year/month/week? By "live" I mean pay bills, provide the materials/equipment you need for your translation business, invest in professional development, eat the food you want to eat, save for a rainy day, put some money into a pension, provide for any dependents, buy luxuries, fund any hobbies you may have, travel, etc etc.

Assume you won't be working at full capacity every day (no-one can) and go from there. I'm guessing you were an in-house translator previously. Good luck as a freelancer.

(My actual answer - EUR 0.07 is pretty low, though it might be difficult to achieve much more in IT>EN unless you have a solid specialism).


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:02
French to English
+ ...
Agency margin not relevant Apr 19, 2011

garrett higgins wrote:

I also discovered recently that they pursue a 3-to-1 policy whereby they pay the translator one third (or less) of what they charge the client. Is that ethical?


This is irrelevant, really. What matters is the rate you charge, and whether the agency will accept that rate. If the agency can sell your services for a higher price than they are buying them, then it's reasonable to assume they are adding value to your work (not always the case, but it's necessary to simplify a bit).


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:02
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
And don't accept the recession story Apr 19, 2011

garrett higgins wrote:

... It used to be .10 before the 'recession'.
...


And why should it be any lower now?

Have any of your bills gone down because of the recession?
Rent or the cost of your home and fuel bills?
Insurance and so on?

You may be eating more cheaply or putting off buying new clothes, car, furniture etc., but that is not because others are putting their prices down!

So why should you?


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