QUESTION about a job offer for DE>EN translation (energy) from an agency - 6 cents per word
Thread poster: Marie Jackson

Marie Jackson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
Jun 26, 2012

Hello Proz community!
This is my first ever post (so be gentle!). I hope I've posted this in the correct place.

I've just received the following message from an outsourcer:


"...Wir suchen für einen unserer Kunden nach neuen Übersetzern
im Bereich Energie für das Sprachenpaar Deutsch-Englisch.
Aufgrund der Höhe des Budgets kann ich in der Regel einen
Preis von 0,06€ pro neuem Wort im Ausgangstext anbieten...."


For those that don't speak German, it says:
"We are seeking new German-English translators for one our clients working in the field "Energy". Due to budgetary constraints, we can typically only offer a price of €0,06 per new word in the source text."


I've just left university and am therefore keen to get work, but I'm unsure as to whether this is a reasonable rate to accept - is this a typical rate for my language pair/for agency work?

I'm also a bit concerned about the point about "new words", as I don't operate with Trados at the moment, only Wordfast Anywhere (I only graduated on Friday - I am *that* fresh!).

Any advice that any of you can offer as regards the two issues above would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


Marie

[Edited at 2012-06-26 13:10 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:24
English to Dutch
+ ...
Rather low Jun 26, 2012

0.06€ is quite low, though not shockingly or insultingly low. A good translator should be able to get 0.10 to 0.15, or even more if the language combination or subject matter is not very common.

The fact that they write 'new words' is another concern. This means that they'll probably pay less for fuzzy matches and repetitions. Now, while this is quite common in the market, with a base rate of 0.06 that means you'll get even less for fuzzies - and it remains to be seen just HOW much less. 90% for matches over 95% is not the same as 50% for matches over 10%.

If you're really anxious to get started, and this is the only client you foresee landing in the near future, then you might accept. It'll get you up and running and you may acquire better clients later.
But if you are reasonably confident you can get other clients, this might not be the one for you.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:24
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Disregard Jun 26, 2012

Hello Marie,

I'd recommend to just disregard this "offer" because a rate of six cents per word is way too low to be considered reasonable. You would be doing the profession a disservice if you accepted it.

(By the looks of it, I seem to remember which agency this is, and I am astonished that they have the guts to "quote" such a rate in Germany.)

Best regards,

Steffen


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:24
English to German
Congratulations! Jun 26, 2012

Hi Marie,

Congratulations to your graduation!

I have been working as a freelance translator for 17 years for English into German and I do not accept 6 cents per new word, that's a very low rate, even for beginners.

But the main point is, think about the costs you (or your parents) had for sending you to university. The second point is, once you have accepted this rate, it will be almost impossible - at least with this agency - to raise your rates in future.

Although it might be tempting for you to accept this offer now, I recommend you'd rather spend your time building up a good profile, create a portfolio, send out applications and so forth.

With regard to CAT-tools, you would have to ask the agency what CAT-tool they use. I, personally, do not accept any reductions on fuzzy matches, repetitions and so on, because I have spent money for my CAT-tool, have spent money for training and have spent a lot of time to learn it - why, then, should I grant any reductions or discounts?

My recommendation: perhaps you can try and offer your services to some charity organization for free to gain some experience in the beginning which you can then market as well?

I wish you good luck for your career and a good start!

Annett


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:24
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
In addition to that Jun 26, 2012

Besides, once you accept low rates, they are written in stone. Nowadays, some clients are reluctant to accept an unilateral increase in rates. The only way to get higher rates is seeking new clients and gettting rid of the low rate-payers.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marie Jackson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jun 26, 2012

Thank you to all of you for your speedy responses! It seems that the general consensus is that this is a tad low, which is what my instincts told me, though I'm keen not to over-price myself.

I guess that my two options would be to ask for a better rate (ca. 8-10 cents?), which is unlikely to get me anywhere - though nothing ventured, nothing gained, or to politely decline.

It's a shame, as I've done voluntary work for around 5 years whilst studying and am still doing it now; I'd love to finally get some paid work! All in good time, I'm sure. Not having Trados/any CAT tool apart from Wordfast Anywhere probably wouldn't set me in good stead for freelancing right now anyway.

Thank you to you all, once again

Marie


PS - thank you, Annett for the congratulations!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 03:24
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
. Jun 26, 2012



[Edited at 2012-06-26 13:45 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Accept only with fully-open eyes Jun 26, 2012

Hello Marie,

Another warm welcome from ProZ.com and the world of professional freelance translation! Can I suggest you take some time out to look through the "Getting Established" forum here? You'll actually need quite a lot of time as there has been an awful lot of advice given recently on these very topics. However, remember that some of it may not apply to your personal situation.

When you're calculating your rate I'm not sure that the cost of your education is entirely relevant, but as a result of it you don't expect to earn the equivalent of the minimum wage, do you? Think about how much you'll need to earn to maintain the standard of living you believe you are entitled to (and/or need), and then calculate your per-word and per-hour rates from that. Remember that a freelancer doesn't spend all the time translating, though. There's admin, marketing, training and accounting, networking (e.g. here) and then there's illness, holidays etc., etc.

Elías Sauza wrote:

Besides, once you accept low rates, they are written in stone. Nowadays, some clients are reluctant to accept an unilateral increase in rates. The only way to get higher rates is seeking new clients and gettting rid of the low rate-payers.


I certainly agree in principle. However, as a beginner I would expect you to gain a lot from accepting marginal jobs and then moving on to find other clients. It's really nice to quote a very reasonable figure that will allow you to live very happily, and then keep that client for life - however, that may not be possible and it might be better to settle for less-than-perfect at the start and find long-term clients later. Bear in mind that many of the better agencies will not look twice at you until you have some experience.

I remember starting for 0.06 € in 2007 in France (and only producing 150 wph to boot - dreadful rate per hour), but 3-4 years later my per-word rate was double that. Of course, I haven't worked for that first client in a long while! I have no idea if those figures are representative, though.

Sheila


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marie Jackson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So... Jun 26, 2012

Hi Sheila,
Thank you for your input. It's interesting to see the different arguments for and against this job, and I will certainly go peruse the "Getting Started" forum as soon as possible.

I will now have to weigh up my options and decide whether it is worth it to me to take the job; I don't doubt at the moment that more work will come my way, especially as I'm soon moving to the continent where my skills are in rather greater demand.

I really appreciate everyone's answers - I've heard a lot about translators being very protective about their rates and (perhaps understandably) their clients but you've all been very open with me.

Hope you all have a nice day, however much remains for you where you are!

Marie


Direct link Reply with quote
 
lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:24
Portuguese to English
Get your foot in the door Jun 26, 2012

[quote]Annett Hieber wrote:


"Although it might be tempting for you to accept this offer now, I recommend you'd rather spend your time building up a good profile, create a portfolio, send out applications and so forth."

How do you imagine she will be able to "create a portfolio" unless she accepts some jobs?

[quote]Annett Hieber wrote:
"My recommendation: perhaps you can try and offer your services to some charity organization for free to gain some experience in the beginning which you can then market as well?"

She has already said she's been doing translations for free.

Sheila, take the job and get the experience it represents. Some people advising you not to accept less than 10-15 cents/word are just worried about you undercutting them. They didn't charge top dollar the moment they emerged from university. You have to start somewhere - with experience, in a year or two you'll be earning that sort of money.

Good luck.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marieschen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:24
English to French
+ ...
like Lexical Jun 27, 2012

Congrats on your graduation!

I fully agree with Lexical: try it most important is, do you feel ok with this job and is the delay long enough.

0,06cts is not "shockingly low" (wait until you receive offers from India don't kill me, I never took those and am not saying it's good!), and as far as I am concerned I like to calculate the hourly rate I get from a translation to see if it's "profitable" enough.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:24
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Exceedingly low Jun 27, 2012

Marieschen wrote:
0,06cts is not "shockingly low" (wait until you receive offers from India ...


Sure it is because it's an offer made by a German agency. Calculating the hourly rate on the basis of one's output is sound advice, though.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paul Adie  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why, why, why? Jun 27, 2012

Why didn't I study German?



[Edited at 2012-06-27 13:50 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

QUESTION about a job offer for DE>EN translation (energy) from an agency - 6 cents per word

Advanced search







WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search