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Typical word rate?
Thread poster: lulaenparis

lulaenparis
United States
Local time: 13:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 22, 2012

Hello, I just started working formally as a translator, and I encounter the "rate per work" questions many times, and I honestly don't know what to charge!

I am a native Spanish speaker, with a wide cultural and literary encyclopedia, getting my BA in Spanish and Literature.

What are the typical rates per word? Rush rate per word? Rate per character? Rate in volume? Min words? Any one have any suggestions?


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
See ProZ link Feb 22, 2012

Hi,

Unfortunately you won't get many people disclosing their rates on this forum although they may be advertised on their profile. My best suggestion is to take a look at this link, which will give you a rough indication: http://search.proz.com/employers/rates


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 22:14
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Unfortunately, Feb 22, 2012

the page gives a quite false image. I can assure you that prices offered by agencies (and accepted by many translators) in my language combination are much lower than those shown on the page. I would really appreciate if Proz could provide information on average prices quoted through Proz job quote system in individual languge pairs.

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

Hi,

Unfortunately you won't get many people disclosing their rates on this forum although they may be advertised on their profile. My best suggestion is to take a look at this link, which will give you a rough indication: http://search.proz.com/employers/rates


 

christela (X)
Prices Feb 22, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

that prices offered by agencies


All in a nutshell.


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 22:14
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Do not forget Feb 22, 2012

that you are beginner. There is no shame in being beginner, we all once were beginners, but it is the fact that you have less to offer (in terms of expierence, background, references etc.) than more experienced colleagues. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are less skilled or capable, but you have yet to prove yours skills and capability to potential clients.

So, my advice is - accept rates offered to you by potencial clients, take small jobs, fast-around jobs, night jobs, and build your reputation. Require positive feedback on Proz as part of your compensation, collect references, gather experience in new fields. In any business, you firstly MUST get a leg into door.


lulaenparis wrote:

Hello, I just started working formally as a translator, and I encounter the "rate per work" questions many times, and I honestly don't know what to charge!

I am a native Spanish speaker, with a wide cultural and literary encyclopedia, getting my BA in Spanish and Literature.

What are the typical rates per word? Rush rate per word? Rate per character? Rate in volume? Min words? Any one have any suggestions?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:14
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
the ProZ community rates Feb 22, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

the page gives a quite false image. I can assure you that prices offered by agencies (and accepted by many translators) in my language combination are much lower than those shown on the page.

I can only say that for French to English and for English monolingual, the prices are spot-on as far as my own rates are concerned.
I would really appreciate if Proz could provide information on average prices quoted through Proz job quote system in individual languge pairs.

I believe their rates are taken directly from our profiles. OK, some people might have put $0.10 on their profile then quote $0.06 to get the jobs, but I expect most of us want our profiles to reflect reality. It could be that too few translators put their rates in their profiles for some of these numbers to be meaningful. My languages are so common that the statistics are not skewed by those with ridiculously high or low rates. Perhaps the poster will find them useful in Spanish English.

Sheila


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:14
Italian to English
Job quote system Feb 22, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

I would really appreciate if Proz could provide information on average prices quoted through Proz job quote system in individual languge pairs.



I very much doubt that such information would be at all representative of the "market rate".
We know that most work obtained via this site comes from clients searching the directory and approaching translators directly, rather than through the Jobs system.

Publishing the information would be doing our profession a disservice as it would give potential clients unreasonable expectations.

A personal view, I hasten to add.


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
The beginner's conundrum Feb 22, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

So, my advice is - accept rates offered to you by potencial clients, take small jobs, fast-around jobs, night jobs, and build your reputation. Require positive feedback on Proz as part of your compensation, collect references, gather experience in new fields. In any business, you firstly MUST get a leg into door.


I agree with Vladimir that you are yet to prove your skills, although there is of course no reason why a beginner should be a less capable translator than someone with several years of experience. Yes, you may lack *specialist* knowledge, but if you are prepared to put time into researching the subject area well you should eventually be able to produce equally competent results.

I also agree that you should be flexible, accept work that perhaps others have turned down (documents that are half-illegible, require a lot of formatting or that are just plain boring), be prepared to work evenings and weekends (while still ensuring you apply reasonable surcharges for these)... However, I don't agree that your rate should be lower, this devalues the profession and you will find that as a beginner you will invariably be working at a slower pace than your more experienced colleagues. A lower output combined with low rates means that you will soon ask yourself why on earth you decided to become a translator at all.

[Edited at 2012-02-22 15:01 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:14
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Rush etc Feb 22, 2012

lulaenparis wrote:
Rush rate per word? Rate per character? Rate in volume? Min words?


Rush rate? Most of us increase our rates for jobs that require us to drop everything else (including family life) to work on a project. I would advise you to make things clear by quoting your normal rate plus a percentage (+50%, +100%?).

Rate per character? Between Spanish and English, I think everyone quotes on a "per word" basis, although per hour would be more logical and more professional. Perhaps one day we'll all change to that.

Volume discounts? Why charge less for doing more? That only makes sense if you are producing products: make one cake and you spend ages weighing the ingredients etc. Make two cakes and it won't take significantly more time. Normally, 2000 words takes twice as long to translate as 1000 words, so the client must pay twice the amount. There are exceptions, but consider each case and make absolutely sure the volume will be there and the money will keep arriving.

Min words? It is a very good idea to have a minimum, maybe representing 30 minutes' or an hour's work. Otherwise you can find yourself spending longer on the quote and the invoice than on the translation. However, if you have regular clients who send big and small jobs then it's often best to invoice them monthly and itemise every job on it, even if it was 6 words. Of course, you can give regular clients a freebie now and again, but don't let them take advantage of your kindness.icon_smile.gif

Sheila


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 22:14
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
It is very useful information, Feb 22, 2012

thank you very much! Definitely, I should improve my profile.

As for disservise, I dare to say that it seems to me a bit illogical. If there is a difference between proclaimed and quoted prices, a client can easily find it by a general bid for small volumer (or even by a "potencial job" request /I hope the clients do not read this forum:-)/. If no, there is no disservise.

Moreover, if the service would be offered only to Proz members, there is little risk of disclosure of difference (if any) to clients searching for a translator for specific job.



Russell Jones wrote:

I very much doubt that such information would be at all representative of the "market rate".
We know that most work obtained via this site comes from clients searching the directory and approaching translators directly, rather than through the Jobs system.

Publishing the information would be doing our profession a disservice as it would give potential clients unreasonable expectations.

A personal view, I hasten to add.


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 22:14
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
It seems to me Feb 22, 2012

that you recommend that young colleagues should keep themselves in line with others and do not dare to endanger translation industry with lower prices. Then I wonder why a client should choose inexperienced translator instead of experienced one if both offer same conditions. In any business, young, freshly employed graduates generally earns less and works more than their colleagues with many years of practice. Why the translation business should be exemption?


Sheila Wilson wrote:

lulaenparis wrote:
Rush rate per word? Rate per character? Rate in volume? Min words?


Rush rate? Most of us increase our rates for jobs that require us to drop everything else (including family life) to work on a project. I would advise you to make things clear by quoting your normal rate plus a percentage (+50%, +100%?).

Rate per character? Between Spanish and English, I think everyone quotes on a "per word" basis, although per hour would be more logical and more professional. Perhaps one day we'll all change to that.

Volume discounts? Why charge less for doing more? That only makes sense if you are producing products: make one cake and you spend ages weighing the ingredients etc. Make two cakes and it won't take significantly more time. Normally, 2000 words takes twice as long to translate as 1000 words, so the client must pay twice the amount. There are exceptions, but consider each case and make absolutely sure the volume will be there and the money will keep arriving.

Min words? It is a very good idea to have a minimum, maybe representing 30 minutes' or an hour's work. Otherwise you can find yourself spending longer on the quote and the invoice than on the translation. However, if you have regular clients who send big and small jobs then it's often best to invoice them monthly and itemise every job on it, even if it was 6 words. Of course, you can give regular clients a freebie now and again, but don't let them take advantage of your kindness.icon_smile.gif

Sheila


[Edited at 2012-02-22 12:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-02-22 12:16 GMT]


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:14
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Reported rates and currencies Feb 22, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

My best suggestion is to take a look at this link, which will give you a rough indication: http://search.proz.com/employers/rates


I've just checked out Spanish>English rates and see that it states $0.11/word or €0.10/word.
Without wanting to discuss the actual figure, it's a bit worrying that the exchange rate is not remotely accurate. This renders the guide quite useless because we don't know which is the "original" currency. And, more to the point, rates in profiles are entered in the currency of your choice.


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Not sure exchange rates come into it Feb 22, 2012

Emma Goldsmith wrote:

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

My best suggestion is to take a look at this link, which will give you a rough indication: http://search.proz.com/employers/rates


I've just checked out Spanish>English rates and see that it states $0.11/word or €0.10/word.
Without wanting to discuss the actual figure, it's a bit worrying that the exchange rate is not remotely accurate. This renders the guide quite useless because we don't know which is the "original" currency. And, more to the point, rates in profiles are entered in the currency of your choice.


Presumably if the rates are taken from our profiles then there isn't an 'original' currency. I'm afraid I can't judge, I do zippo ES>EN work in USD but the EUR rate seems about right.


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 22:14
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
No boss, no annoying colleagues, Feb 22, 2012

no need to waste your time with daily travelling to/from work, generally higher earnings compared to employees - do I need to continue?:-)) (Of course, there are cons, there are many cons, but still, I rarely think about why on the earth I had not choose another job (ok, sometimes when a client sends me the twentieth "last small change which should be included into your translation"...:-)))



Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

A lower output combined with low rates means that you will soon ask yourself why on earth you decided to become a translator at all.


[Edited at 2012-02-22 12:18 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-02-22 12:18 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-02-22 12:19 GMT]


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:14
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Oops Feb 22, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

Presumably if the rates are taken from our profiles then there isn't an 'original' currency.


Ah yes, you're right. In fact it actually says "Currency in which rates were reported".
My mistake.


 
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