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How low is acceptable?
Thread poster: Teodora G

Teodora G  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:52
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Apr 1, 2012

Hello fellow translators,

I am a native Bulgarian speaker living in London. I recently bid for a translation project on Elance, one of those freelance outsourcing networks. The recruiter insists that they cannot offer more than 0.02 - 0.04 USD per source word. I have been working with agencies in London offering much higher rates. However, I cannot say I have an overview of the entire market and I am starting to believe that 0.02 usd per word might be acceptable. Is it? Would anyone agree to translate several thousand words for 0.02 or 0.04 usd per source word?

Thanks for feedback in advance.


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Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:52
Russian to English
+ ...
* Apr 1, 2012

Teddybg07 wrote:

Hello fellow translators,

I am a native Bulgarian speaker living in London. I recently bid for a translation project on Elance, one of those freelance outsourcing networks. The recruiter insists that they cannot offer more than 0.02 - 0.04 USD per source word. I have been working with agencies in London offering much higher rates. However, I cannot say I have an overview of the entire market and I am starting to believe that 0.02 usd per word might be acceptable. Is it? Would anyone agree to translate several thousand words for 0.02 or 0.04 usd per source word?



Sure. There is a lot of people who do not respect their work. Luckily, such people quite rarely can provide a quality product. Therefore, professional translator can still hope to get an assignment at a decent rate.


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Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 00:52
Member (2010)
Greek to English
No. Apr 1, 2012

I would not, under any circumstances, accept those rates.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The steaming coffee cup Apr 1, 2012

Teddybg07 wrote:
The recruiter insists that they cannot offer more than 0.02 - 0.04 USD per source word. I have been working with agencies in London offering much higher rates. However, I cannot say I have an overview of the entire market and I am starting to believe that 0.02 usd per word might be acceptable. Is it?


According to the steaming coffee cup, almost no Bulgarian-English translator in the world charges less than USD 0.06 per word (and more than half charge more than USD 0.08), and for English-Bulgarian the lowest rates are about USD 0.12 per word (though many charge nearer to USD 0.15 per word or higher). The rates offered in the UK for those language pairs are typically about USD 0.11 per word.


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 23:52
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
It is not rate, Apr 1, 2012

but peanuts. I know agencies, which offer (translators who accept) rates at the level of the upper rate (USD 0.04 - € 0,03 per word), but I have never ever heard about PROFESSIONAL willing to work for USD 0.02 (€ 0.014) per word. Actually, the upper rate is peanuts, the lower is insult.

As you live in London, your rates must reflect living costs in London (and taxes applied in the UK). Let's say that you can translate 5000 words in two days. At the rates you have mentioned you would earn from €70 to €150 in two days, i.e. from €35 to €75 in a full day of hard work. Even in the case of upper rate you would worked for less than minimum wage in the Great Britain. Do you really want to work for minimum wage?

By the way, could you disclose a country, in which your wannabe client is based? I am not interested in name of company, just the country.



Teddybg07 wrote:

Hello fellow translators,

I am a native Bulgarian speaker living in London. I recently bid for a translation project on Elance, one of those freelance outsourcing networks. The recruiter insists that they cannot offer more than 0.02 - 0.04 USD per source word. I have been working with agencies in London offering much higher rates. However, I cannot say I have an overview of the entire market and I am starting to believe that 0.02 usd per word might be acceptable. Is it? Would anyone agree to translate several thousand words for 0.02 or 0.04 usd per source word?

Thanks for feedback in advance.


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 23:52
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Sorry, but what is steaming coffee cup? Apr 1, 2012

I do not understand to the phrase.

As for the rates - I do not know Bulgarian rates. But considering the rates commonly paid by Slovak agencies and the fact that Bulgaria is also former communist country, even poorer than Slovakia, I dare to strongly doubt if translators in Bulgaria do work for the rates you have mentioned. Maybe you based your estimate on the rates published by actively marketing translators, who attempts to work online.


Samuel Murray wrote:

Teddybg07 wrote:
The recruiter insists that they cannot offer more than 0.02 - 0.04 USD per source word. I have been working with agencies in London offering much higher rates. However, I cannot say I have an overview of the entire market and I am starting to believe that 0.02 usd per word might be acceptable. Is it?


According to the steaming coffee cup, almost no Bulgarian-English translator in the world charges less than USD 0.06 per word (and more than half charge more than USD 0.08), and for English-Bulgarian the lowest rates are about USD 0.12 per word (though many charge nearer to USD 0.15 per word or higher). The rates offered in the UK for those language pairs are typically about USD 0.11 per word.



[Edited at 2012-04-01 16:54 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-01 16:55 GMT]


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:52
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Sorry, but Apr 1, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

As you live in London, your rates must reflect living costs in London (and taxes applied in the UK). Let's say that you can translate 5000 words in two days. At the rates you have mentioned you would earn from €70 to €150 in two days, i.e. from €35 to €75 in a full day of hard work. Even in the case of upper rate you would worked for less than minimum wage in the Great Britain. Do you really want to work for minimum wage?



£75/day is not less than the minimum wage in the UK.


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 23:52
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
I mentioned Apr 1, 2012

€75, not £75.

Diana Coada wrote:

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

As you live in London, your rates must reflect living costs in London (and taxes applied in the UK). Let's say that you can translate 5000 words in two days. At the rates you have mentioned you would earn from €70 to €150 in two days, i.e. from €35 to €75 in a full day of hard work. Even in the case of upper rate you would worked for less than minimum wage in the Great Britain. Do you really want to work for minimum wage?



£75/day is not less than the minimum wage in the UK.



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Teodora G  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:52
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Apr 1, 2012

Thank you guys. It's good to know there are still sensible people out there. The client is located in India and I don't know with any certainty but perhaps these are the rates there.

The figure I mentioned Vladimir, is what the client insists on paying. As for Bulgaria, minimum rates there are only a penny or two lower than minimum rates in the UK to my knowledge. I have not agreed on working for that amount of money. But obviously such recruiters manage to fool someone into working for them. This is the first time I apply for a translation project online and I think I will stick with my London employers from now on.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Off-topic: Minimum wage Apr 1, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:
Diana Coada wrote:
£75/day is not less than the minimum wage in the UK.

€75, not £75.


I think Vladimír's statement is roughly correct, by a certain margin. The minimum wage in the UK is EUR 7.30 per hour. In London it is 20% higher. To make EUR 75.00 per day in London while earning the minimum wage, you have to work 8.5 hours per day.

The steaming coffee cup is a rival of ProZ.com, so we can't say its name.


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Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:52
Russian to English
+ ...
* Apr 1, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

I do not understand to the phrase.

As for the rates - I do not know Bulgarian rates. But considering the rates commonly paid by Slovak agencies and the fact that Bulgaria is also former communist country, even poorer than Slovakia, I dare to strongly doubt if translators in Bulgaria do work for the rates you have mentioned. Maybe you based your estimate on the rates published by actively marketing translators, who attempts to work online.


Hi, Vladimír. You are making one very big mistake now. There are no "Bulgaria rates" or "Slovakia rates" - there are global rates (at least for written translations).

Indeed, why guy A living in the US who translates from English into Bulgarian should be paid more than guy B living in Bulgaria who does the same job equally good?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Excellent Bulgarian translators in India Apr 1, 2012

Teddybg07 wrote:
Thank you guys. It's good to know there are still sensible people out there. The client is located in India and I don't know with any certainty but perhaps these are the rates there.

I bet they can find very good Bulgarian translators in India who are happy with the rate they suggest. It is best that you recommend them to contact such translators.


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Depends on your cost of living Apr 1, 2012

.02c a word equals what many Thai-English translators work for here in Thailand (approx. 150 baht per page), many agencies offer a lot less! As a native English speaker I can ask for more (200 baht/page) but it's still very low compared to the rates we can get from overseas contracts like on ProZ. Needless to say, one can still live very comfortably off .02c a word here where the cost of living is incredibly cheap.

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:52
Hebrew to English
Mimimum wage UK - Clarification Apr 1, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:
Diana Coada wrote:
£75/day is not less than the minimum wage in the UK.

€75, not £75.


I think Vladimír's statement is roughly correct, by a certain margin. The minimum wage in the UK is EUR 7.30 per hour. In London it is 20% higher. To make EUR 75.00 per day in London while earning the minimum wage, you have to work 8.5 hours per day.

The steaming coffee cup is a rival of ProZ.com, so we can't say its name.


The minimum wage (for people aged 21 and over) is currently £6.08 (about EUR 7.30).
This also applies in London. The London Living Wage (LLW) is about £8.30 however, unlike the minimum wage, this is voluntary and you have to be lucky enough to be working for one of the companies who have voluntarily signed up to the scheme to be paid this much.

So the prospect of living in London on the National Minimum Wage (£6.08) is a very real one. There's no guarantee of the extra 20%.


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 23:52
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Hi, Alexander Apr 1, 2012

Philosophically, you are true. We are living and marketing in global world, so we should be compensated at global rates. Clear and understandable. However, in reality, rates that national clients are willing to pay strongly reflect wage level (i.e. indirectly, living costs) in respective country. You can hardly expect that a company will hire freelancers of any kind on permanent basis, if employees can do same job and require one third or even one quarter of amounts paid to freelancers. Of course, there are many additional costs and aministrative duties associated with employment, so some difference is (fortunately) acceptable, but you can't push it too far.
Moreover, as DJHartman corrently pointed, there are many people who are satisfied with decent or comfortable living owing to the rates, for which their colleagues in more expensive countries would hardly cover their basic needs. It's free market and we can be only happy that our jobs are still tied with our mother tongues. Otherwise, they were outsourced to China a long time ago.

Nobody says the life is fair.

Alexander Onishko wrote:

Indeed, why guy A living in the US who translates from English into Bulgarian should be paid more than guy B living in Bulgaria who does the same job equally good?


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