Rate for full-time availability
Thread poster: KCastle


Local time: 22:51
German to English
+ ...
Mar 2, 2013

Hello everyone,

I'm hoping you can help me out. I've been asked to quote a rate for the following:

- being available to pick up the phone at any point during the day to aid with translation/interpreting issues occurring as several teams currently on the road encounter them
- travelling with one of the teams in person for the entire duration of the assignment, picking up the phone whenever one of the other remote teams has issues.

The language is Dutch to English. I am not enormously experienced and have not done an assignment like this before, so I really have no idea what would be a fair rate.

Any help much appreciated!



Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:51
Member (2007)
+ ...
Charge for your time Mar 2, 2013

Sounds fascinating!

My reaction to the first requirement was "difficult!". But the second made it easy: if you're with them all day, you must charge more or less whatever you'd likely make in a day (assuming you don't have a "daily rate" to hand). Exactly how much would depend a little on how much you want to do it, IMO: if you think it'll be great experience (and good for your CV etc) then you might be prepared to charge a "light" day; if you're really not terribly keen, you might want to pitch it at the maximum you're ever likely to earn, so that whatever other work you have to turn down you're making a good day's income.

I don't think the amount of work you actually do is really relevant in this situation. Unless of course you'll be able to do other paid translation work if there's not much to do.


Harry Oikawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:51
Member (2012)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Ask for a mobile phone Mar 2, 2013

Hello KCastle,

If you really want to do this job you must first set up your horly rate for the interpreting job, as Sheila suggested.

If you would go out for travelling with the client, you charge from the moment you leave your house and to the moment you get back to your entrance or, if so required, to the moment you finish your daily report.

And to make the first request realistic, I suggest you to ask the client to supply you a mobile phone. Using the dedicated mobile phone for this job allows you not to completely giving up your day for this assignemnt and you can keep doing translation works. Plus, it would be easier to make an invoice with your hourly rate based on the invoice from the telephone comapny.


ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:51
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Charge by the hour Mar 2, 2013

I would charge by the hour. It is more precise than a daily rate. A day can be short (e.g. 5 hours) or long (e.g. 10 hours). That is why it is fair to charge by the hour. As for the hourly rates, you can go to


Good luck!



Local time: 22:51
German to English
+ ...
Thanks! Mar 2, 2013

Thanks very much for the help. Based on your advice, I decided to charge hourly and figured out two separate rates. Fingers crossed!


LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:51
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Charge a retainer Mar 3, 2013

No. 2 is easy - charge your full-time daily rate, plus expenses (including any ancillary cell phone charges that may apply - roaming, etc.). If they are paying for your time, it doesn't really matter whether you're helping the team your travelling with or are on the phone with another. As Sheila astutely observed, this can be on the high or low end of your typical daily earnings, depending on your inclination toward the task overall.

No. 1 is a bit trickier. They basically want you to be on-call whenever one of the mobile teams needs something. What if you have a pending deadline right when they call? I've sometimes had days with 5 or 6 deadlines in the course of the day, and any disruption of more than a few minutes could have thrown the whole schedule into chaos.
Other professions (lawyers, for example) handle those situations, where the timing of their need for the provider's services is unpredictable, but they still want to guarantee the provider's availability, with retainer agreements. The client pays in advance for a certain number of hours, and the provider sends invoices/statements as the services are performed. If a balance is left over after a certain period, it is refunded to the client or rolled over into the retainer for the next period.

If you don't go the retainer route, I would suggest some kind of minimum charge per call. Otherwise you'll end up sending prorated invoices for five or ten-minute phone calls, which isn't worthy your time.


Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:21
English to Hindi
+ ...
You should charge for the whole day Mar 4, 2013

Basically they are hiring you for the whole day, even if you are not actually answering their phone calls all the time, but the calls could come any time and you are expected to answer them. So effectively, you are putting aside your entire day for them.

You should therefore charge them for the whole day. The tricky part is what your day rate should be.

Some ways to calculate this are the following:

- Charge for the average amount of work you manage to do on a fully employed day. Most translators do about 3000 words of translation a day. So this could provide you with a rough idea.

- Charge 8 x your hourly rate, assuming you will be employed for 8 hours a day on this project. If it is more than 8 hours, you will have to charge for that. The question her would be what if you don't have to work 8 hours (ie, they relieve you after say 6 hours). My answer would be, if they can tell you in advance, say a couple of days before, that they would be able to relieve you after such and such time, then you can agree to charge them for the actual hours spent on their work. But if it so happen you begin the day expecting to spend the full day with them and then half way through they tell you the work is now over, then you should charge them for the whole day. The reason is, you cannot do any gainful work in the rest of the day as you could not have planned it before hand.

If the work really interests you or if you feel it would have hidden benefits for you such as perking up you resume, then you can give them a calculated discount on the above rates.

The main thing to remember always is that it is our time that we should be charging for. This is all the more so in a case like this.


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

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

Rate for full-time availability

Advanced search

Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »

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