German-English Rates in UK and Germany
Thread poster: Write Said Fred

Write Said Fred  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:43
German to English
+ ...
Aug 30, 2013

Hi there
I've recently moved back to Europe after many years overseas. Although I continued to work for established clients here, I'm finding that my rates are a little out of date. Does anyone have an indication of rates for agency work and for private client work, both in the UK and in Germany. Or can you point me in the direction of somewhere I could find out, please? Many thanks in advance


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Here's some basic info Aug 30, 2013

I'm not the best one to reply to this but, seeing as nobody else has replied, I'll get the ball rolling by saying that there are "community rates" published here. They aren't a recommendation or anything like that - the table is just compiled from the rates some of us publish in our profiles here on the site. Some of the pairs suffer a lot from the skew effect of just a few translators reporting their rates, but my pair seems pretty much spot on, so maybe yours is too. You can find the table here: http://search.proz.com/?sp=pfe/rates

I don't know how much the rate differs between the UK and Germany, but it should be a function of the cost of living index. If it costs more to buy the proverbial loaf of bread, then you'll need to earn more to maintain the same standard of living. I doubt there's a vast difference.

AFAIC, the difference between agency rates and direct client rates is quite variable. The bottom line for me is my hourly rate. I may be quoting per word but I arrive at that figure from the all-important hourly rate. Agency work should be quicker - in an ideal world they will find the client, discuss the job, convert from difficult formats to an easily editable format, query anything odd, sort out a glossary, etc. before I even get to see the job, then they'll re-read the translation to make sure it's perfect. In the real world, I tend to find that agency translations take as long as ones for direct clients. So I tend to quote the same but add an extra proofreading step if the direct client wishes. I think the final re-read by a second set of eyes IS important, but I let my direct clients know its price and decide for themselves. Unfortunately, some agencies give their clients the impression that it's included in the price, but they actually send our texts directly without further checking.

You might get more reliable information on rates from the German translators' association, or the ATA or one of the other organisations. I believe most of them publish guidelines.


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:43
German to English
Really? Aug 30, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote: I don't know how much the rate differs between the UK and Germany, but it should be a function of the cost of living index. If it costs more to buy the proverbial loaf of bread, then you'll need to earn more to maintain the same standard of living. I doubt there's a vast difference.


If that were the case, translation rates in the UK would be around 25-30% higher than they are in Germany. Of course, you generally get better quality loaf in Germany than you do in the UK, so the comparison isn't as straightforward as it might appear at first glance. Nevertheless, the cost of living in Germany is a good 25-30% *lower* than it is in the UK, although AFAIK the inverse ratio applies to translation rates. Overall, both rates and earnings (gross and net) for freelance translators tend to be noticeably higher in Germany than they are in the UK, while living expenses are noticeably lower (this latter trend was also evident from the recent BBC2 "Make me a German" programme broadcast recently). So I'm afraid I really don't see any link whatsoever between cost-of-living indices and translation rates. It would be neat, of course, but real world market forces don't work like that.

However, if you live in the UK, your ability to charge "German resident" rates to clients in Germany will depend crucially on your subject area expertise and market demand for that expertise.

The BDÜ does publish a rates survey with a couple of years' delay. The survey of 2011 rates, published in 2012, has been blogged e.g. here: http://www.translationtribulations.com/2013/03/its-2013-latest-bdu-rate-survey.html

The CIOL-ITI 2011 rates survey has also been blogged here: http://linguagreca.com/blog/2012/11/ciol-iti-translation-interpreting-rates-survey-2011/


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Careful use of words Aug 30, 2013

RobinB wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote: I don't know how much the rate differs between the UK and Germany, but it should be a function of the cost of living index. If it costs more to buy the proverbial loaf of bread, then you'll need to earn more to maintain the same standard of living. I doubt there's a vast difference.


If that were the case, translation rates in the UK would be around 25-30% higher than they are in Germany.

I'm glad now that I used "should be".icon_wink.gif


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Aug 30, 2013

I charge 20% more to customers in German-speaking countries than to those in the UK.

 

Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:43
German to English
A little bit more.. Aug 30, 2013

philgoddard wrote:

I charge 20% more to customers in German-speaking countries than to those in the UK.


I charge German customers slightly more to offset the (not inconsiderable) currency conversion and bank charges. But it is interesting that nobody is answering the question... smiles.

Steve K.


 

Write Said Fred  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:43
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Actual rates? Aug 30, 2013

Thanks for taking the trouble to post answers, everyone. I really appreciate your input. Steve, you're right though, it would be lovely if I could get an idea of actual rates. I'm really struggling to know where to pitch myself as too often I've underpriced myself and with 20 years' experience I really shouldn't be doing that! I'll look in to Robin's links - thanks Robin - but if anyone can give an idea of actual rates, I'd be really grateful.

 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:43
German to English
BDÜ rates survey Aug 31, 2013

The BDÜ does an annual rates survey (I think the data always actually has to be around 2 years old, in order to avoid violating anti-price-fixing regulations):

http://www.bdue-fachverlag.de/fachverlag/schriftenreihe/detail_book/68

It's not free and it's not anywhere near as good as the French SFT survey, but it's concrete information about the German market (avg. highest, middle, and lowest rates per word/hour/standard line for each translation direction for direct business clients, direct private clients, colleagues and agencies). I think that close to 1000 translators usually participate in the survey, but that may be wildly inaccurate. At any rate, it is representative (and representative of a different market than the ProZ rates).

I assume the ITI probably does something similar, but in keeping with others' comments: I don't care, because I've never seen any reason to pursue UK or US clients.


 

Simon Chiassai  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:43
English to French
+ ...
From my experience Aug 31, 2013

When I PMed in a agency in London last year, German-English was amongst the highest rates in general, but still, I wouldn't expect more than 7 pence a word and 30 quids an hour. For direct clients I wouldn't know. I hope this helps.

 

Paul Skidmore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:43
German to English
Rates in Germany Sep 1, 2013

Hi social frog,

I agree with what Robin B says. The rates blogged from the BDÜ survey are median / mean rates in 2011.

If you provide a niche service there are direct clients who pay at least 50% above those averages.

In addition, my dealings with agencies suggest that, at least in Germany, for specialist work there are agencies that pay around double the rates Simon mentions.

HTH Paul


 

Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
I agree that cost of living is not a criterion Sep 1, 2013

Rates in Italy are among the lowest ones in Europe, and yet cost of living is as high as in Germany for example, if not even higher. So this cannot be a valid rule of thumb.

 

Write Said Fred  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:43
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sep 1, 2013

Thanks everyone for your input. I'm still not 100% sure what I should be charging but I'll look into the BDU survey and take your comments re: charging extra into account. From what I can tell, it doesn't seem to be all that cut and dried. My experience with German agencies has been that they knock you down as far as possible, and because I haven't been aware of current market rates, they've really fleeced me. My own fault, but that's why I'm trying to be more informed of current rates before I approach anyone else.

 


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German-English Rates in UK and Germany

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