Interpretation and Translation fees for agencies in London
Thread poster: Irene_Z (X)

Irene_Z (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:57
English to Italian
+ ...
Apr 19, 2013

Hello everybody!
I graduated one month ago as an interpreter/translator and then I decided to move to London. I sent my CV to an agency which replied asking for the rates, but I don't have any idea about how it works here.
I would like to know how much I should charge considering that I have little experience (I have some experience in face-to-face interpreting and in translation). The services I would offer are the following:

- Simultaneous interpreting
- Consecutive interpreting
- Face-to-face interpreting
- Translation
- Proofreading

My language combination is: Italian (native), English and Spanish (Excellent).
Should I also charge travel costs (within London), days not worked (Jours chômés), and day spent travelling?

Thanks and sorry for this long question, but I don't have any idea about how to start here.

P.S. I already work as a community interpreter (Eng-Spa) for an agency paying £ 20 per hour..


Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
How long is a piece of string? Apr 19, 2013

Hi Irene,

I don't mean to be facetious but yours is a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' sort of question. All these things depend on what you specialise in, how you intend to split interpreting/translating and many other factors.
I do understand though that when you're starting out, it's hard to have an idea of the marketplace and your position in it.
Perhaps you can start by having a look at 'Tools' (on the top right of your Proz screen) and then clicking on 'community rates'.
This information is gathered from what people enter in their profiles as the range of rates they want to apply when companies filter by rate. This means that the ranges can be huge (and not particularly accurate) because I might generally charge X but put a range of X-2 to X+3 to attract more potential clients, whereas I might be inclined to negotiate with a client if they were to offer me X-2. However, it is a good start and will give you some idea.
If you are interpreting you should definitely charge travel expenses (especially in London where they're shocking) and the time spent travelling but I'm not sure that you would need to charge for days not worked. You will presumably be working freelance, in which case you need to factor down time into your rate calculations but can't specifically charge that to a client, unless of course the client has asked you to be on standby - which is a different matter.
Another caveat is that you don't really need to look for agencies for translation work in London. Translation is a global business and the rates don't depend on where the agency is located, it depends on what you're happy to work for. A good exercise is to work out how many words you can translate in an 8-hour day of a fairly complicated text, work out how much you'd like to earn per day worked and divide the amount by the number of words and add 10% (the latter will give you about 24 days holiday/sick/days with no work).
This will be the rate per word that you should be aiming to get from an agency, wherever they're based.

Good luck with your new business!


United Kingdom
Local time: 18:57
Serbian to English
+ ...
An annual figure Apr 20, 2013

is what is really relevant.
If you want a realistic estimate of what you want / need to earn, or compare with an annual salary, you have to calculate your annual earnings on the basis of 240 working days a year.
That way you get a usable figure - assuming you'll be working 2 days out of 3 gives a meaningful annual figure. (it takes into account weekends, bank holidays, your own holidays, average number of days of "sick leave" etc..).
Estimate the output you can produce in 240 days of _sustained_ work - a daily peak figure is meaningless over a long period - divide your annual earnings by your annual output and that's your "reference price" - in my experience it's pointless working for significantly much below that.
My main point is that the "hourly rate" is not really meaningful; what is more meaningful is what you can expect to earn per day / per week or even better per month or annually. Wasting a whole day on one hour @ £30 pound is not he same as 5 hours @ £20 ... etc.


Irene_Z (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:57
English to Italian
+ ...
Thank you, but... Apr 20, 2013

Thank you for you suggestions, anyway I wanted to know what average a translator/interpreter in London charge for the services I mentioned before. The reason why I am asking is because I know that every market has different rules (I read that in the UK interpreter are paid less than in Spain, for example) that I have to consider in order to be competitive, also taking into consideration my little experience.


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Interpretation and Translation fees for agencies in London

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