Advice on French-to-English rates
Thread poster: Alice Jones

Alice Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:56
French to English
Dec 9, 2011

Hello everybody,

I have recently decided to set up as a freelance French-to-English translator and proofreader and am a new member of Proz.com. I was hoping to get some advice on what rates I should be charging for translation and proofreading as searching the internet for information is proving bewildering!

I hold an MSc in Translation Studies but have little professional experience and would like to reflect this in my rates. I have already checked the Proz.com Community Rates for my language pair and have set my rates at 0.07 - 0.09 GBP / word (23 - 30 GBP / hour) based upon this. Does this sound fair for somebody just starting out in the industry? Clearly I do not expect to be paid as much as an experienced translator but I do not want to contribute to the devaluation of the industry as a whole by offering unreasonably low rates...

Also, I am assuming that rates for proofreading will be lower - is that correct?

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Welcome! Dec 9, 2011

Hello Alice,

As a Site Guide, I would like to welcome you to the ProZ.com community. I can see that you have already prepared your profile meticulously and it seems to me personally that you have set your rates just right.

I'm not sure that beginners should necessarily set their rates any lower than you have done - a rate that is considered to be 'normal/average'. The thing is that a beginner with the right abilities should be able to deliver a very good translation, so the client should pay the market rate. On the other hand, to achieve this end result a beginner will undoubtedly spend extra time in researching and checking before delivering, and may spend money on a final proofread by an experienced translator. For those reasons, the income per hour is lower when you start. As you gain experience you speed up and deliver without a proofreader's help, so you earn more per hour. Finally, if you find a niche market as a highly experienced translator then you can raise your rates.

You talk of proofreading rates being lower than translation rates. Yes and no! Clearly, if you are quoting by word, then the rate is lower - you can proofread faster than translating NORMALLY. That 'normally' means that quoting per word is a very dangerous (though not impossible) thing to do. Proofreading a machine translation or a FR-EN text done by a French school-leaver can actually take longer than translating from scratch so be very careful - insist on seeing every word before quoting. On the other hand, you need to earn as much from proofreading as you do from translating - it is not a lesser occupation.

In fact, the hourly rate is the really important rate - the rate you need to make your living and you derive the per word rate from that. As a sole trader you only have a certain time each day to earn your income. For this reason, large volume discounts etc don't really make too much sense.

Good luck and feel free to use the forum for any other queries. Hope to see you playing an active role in contributing to KudoZ, too.

Sheila


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good to go Dec 10, 2011

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Hello Alice,

... can see that you have already prepared your profile meticulously and it seems to me personally that you have set your rates just right.

I'm not sure that beginners should necessarily set their rates any lower than you have done - a rate that is considered to be 'normal/average'....

... Proofreading a machine translation or a FR-EN text done by a French school-leaver can actually take longer than translating from scratch so be very careful - insist on seeing every word before quoting.

Sheila


I second everything Sheila says, it looks like you are going about things the right way.
Wishing you the best of luck for 2012!


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Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Looks good to me! Dec 10, 2011

I agree with Sheila and Neil, and wish you well.

Alison


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Alice Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:56
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Dec 10, 2011

Thanks to Sheila, Neil and Alison for your advice - it's really set my mind at rest!

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