Hourly rates for translators
Thread poster: transition10
transition10
Local time: 08:01
French to English
+ ...
Feb 18, 2013

I've just been offered some ad hoc freelance translation work but they want to pay me by the half hour, rather than per 1,000 words which I am used to. Anyone have an idea of the going rate on this basis? I'm based on the UK and will be translating short texts and emails initially and from French into English and vice versa. I've looked at the CIOL's Rates Survey for guidance but they only quote hourly rates for interpreting.


Thanks


Sue


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Dr. Matthias Schauen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:01
Member
English to German
Rate calculator Feb 18, 2013

Hi Sue,

You could try the rate calculator provided by ProZ.com:
http://www.proz.com/translator-rates-calculator/

Good luck,
Matthias


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:01
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
output per hour Feb 18, 2013

Some of my clients pay me on this basis, although often because it's combined with legal research. I would suggest - which is what I do if it's just translation - work out approximately how much you earn per hour on your per 1000 words rate (based on total average words per day/hours worked x per 1000 word rate) and then set your hourly rate on or around that (+/-). If you feel it's too low, work it upwards, but essentially it should be what you feel your work is worth. You may want to take the field/content into consideration too.
I hope this is helpful, Aisha


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Exactitude  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Market value Feb 18, 2013

I agree with the rate per words converted into hourly wage. Yet, only to a certain extent. What if such a calculation leads to you being to cheap?

I am based out of London, UK my self. I have experimented a bit with what level of hourly rate is acceptable here. From what I can understand, you can come across a great deal of work if you charge in the range of 16-22 pounds per hour, ie. 8-11 per half hour. An agreement of getting paid per half hour is really quite common.

Yes, DO calculate what your per word rate equals in hourly wage, DON'T follow it empirically if you experience that you can easily charge more.


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:01
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Up and down Feb 18, 2013

Haaland wrote:

I agree with the rate per words converted into hourly wage. Yet, only to a certain extent. What if such a calculation leads to you being to cheap?

I am based out of London, UK my self. I have experimented a bit with what level of hourly rate is acceptable here. From what I can understand, you can come across a great deal of work if you charge in the range of 16-22 pounds per hour, ie. 8-11 per half hour. An agreement of getting paid per half hour is really quite common.

Yes, DO calculate what your per word rate equals in hourly wage, DON'T follow it empirically if you experience that you can easily charge more.


I did say "... and then set your hourly rate on or around that (+/-). If you feel it's too low, work it upwards, but essentially it should be what you feel your work is worth."

I am in London and work in one of the same language pairs as the OP, and while I doubt there is a "London weighting" issue involved in freelancing, hourly rates - AFAIK from myself and some colleagues - are higher than that you have quoted (although I have heard of lower rates too). I should hope translators earn more in any case, especially in rarer language combinations. The same rate should also apply to clients everywhere, unless you vary rates according to regions/countries.
Thanks

p.s. agree completely with the last sentence in Haaland's post

[Edited at 2013-02-18 11:54 GMT]


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transition10
Local time: 08:01
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Feb 18, 2013

Many thanks for your responses. They are very helpful. I will take a look at the link you sent me, Matthias asn also work out what my hourly rate would be, based on my rate per 1,000 words and come up with a sensible figure from that.

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Mohd Hamzah  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 16:01
Member
English to Malay
+ ...
How many words exactly... Feb 29, 2016

Hi.

I would like to open this issue again since hourly rate is quite confusing. Sometimes you got a task, only a page but the rate offered for review is USD 40. The words were around 300-400.

Then you got a job about 3000 words but they just manage to offer USD 30/hr. As I would like to ask to fellow friends, what is the standard in WORD that we could decide this is equal to 1 hour job or 2 hour job?

Thanks a lot.


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Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:01
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Measure your output and in general avoid hourly rates Mar 1, 2016

To figure out what you earn per hour on any given assignment, measure your output! I generally work in 25-minute segments (pomodoros), so two of those with 5-minute breaks is an hour. I can tell you that I almost never translate less than 250 words in 25 minutes, and often I translate 300-400 words. I consider 500 words per half hour to be very fast. Words/hour * $/word gives me my theoretical hourly rate of $/hour.

Unfortunately and like most translators, I find that I cannot convince clients to pay me the hourly equivalent of my per-word rate. Based on my rates and productivity, I generally earn anywhere between $50 and $150 per hour, but clients have a hard time accepting that top number. My recommendation: charge per word, get good, get fast (while maintaining quality), and reap the benefits of your efficiency.

[Edited at 2016-03-01 16:20 GMT]


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