Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Are my rates too high??
Thread poster: Jekaterina Kotelnikova

Jekaterina Kotelnikova  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:21
English to Russian
+ ...
Dec 11, 2013

Dear colleagues, I have been wondering recently. I have been working as a translator for some years now. In the beginning I took the translation job as an opportunity to earn a bit of money while still studying. But then I really got into it and realized that I love this kind of work. So, at first I didn't even know what the true rates are and should I count words or pages or anything else... Little by little I started to get into the environment and started to get more jobs (mainly from agencies). As I am Latvian, I started to work with Latvian agencies. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but some of them were not very nice, or better - at a certain point they stopped paying and, not only that, they kept sending me projects knowing that they will not pay (usually they payed once a month).

But this is not the point. Lately I have been receiving offers that made me worry. I understand that I am not a super-best-in-the-world translator but I also need to feed my family. I used to charge 0,05EUR/word but the offers I have been receiving lately are 0,01-0,02USD/word.

To be honest, I have even accepted some low-rate jobs (please, do not judge me, I know that some of you will consider it wrong, but I was in dire need of money).

I am not very experienced using ProZ and other internet resources (I have started to use internet (and ProZ.com) for finding clients only recently) but can anyone tell me if my rates are too high?? Because I don't seem to find any clients recently (stopped working with the ones that didn't pay, others agencies still send some projects but rarely), either I do not get an answer to my quote or the rate is so low, I don't know if I should accept it.

Thank you for paying attention to my post! I'm really eager to hear (read ) what you think about this.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:21
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sorry to be blunt... Dec 11, 2013

but translation is not the place to be if you are in "dire need of money" because companies prey on people like you. Even 0,05EUR/word is a complete rip off and they know it!

Double your rates to at least 0,10EUR/word. It sounds counterintuitive because you think, well, if I can't get work at 0,05EUR/word, how on earth will I get work at 0,10EUR/word! However, the reality is that all the good companies are passing you by because your rates are too low (and they think something must be wrong). At low rates you have no room to negotiate and you have to work twice as fast and twice as hard as all of your colleagues and quality suffers as a result.

New translators think that they can charge low rates in order to gain experience. However, the companies they work for will NEVER pay them more money and they will have to eventually seek out better paying clients anyway and they will be right back to where they started. Better to just do this from the start, invest in yourself and your future, rather than lining the pockets of CEOs with million-dollar bonuses.

This will not be an instant process and it may be several years before you can give up your other sources of income and work full-time as a translator (you may get lucky, but as a general rule, you should expect to earn less than $4,000 your first year, so you will need to have other income or a nest egg).

If customers in your home country won't pay you decent rates, don't work for customers in your home country.

[Edited at 2013-12-11 17:41 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Cetacea  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 23:21
English to German
+ ...
Couldn't agree more Dec 11, 2013

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
Even 0,05EUR/word is a complete rip off and they know it!


Especially with your language combinations and specializations. I understand that you need to make a living, but once you're known to accept any offer no matter how low, it will be very hard if not impossible to get back up on a decent rate level.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jekaterina Kotelnikova  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:21
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for the answers Dec 11, 2013

Thank you for the honesty really! Because to be true I was starting to think that my rates ARE too high.

At the moment I am "out of the hole" what comes to money problems so I am starting to think that my rates are not so high after all.

The problem is that I have been working with Latvian agencies and rates there are lower than 0,05EUR/word, also Russian ones are trying to go for the lowest possible. That is why I had stuck with this rate for so long (afraid to raise it even more). Now the problem is to find the clients who would be willing to work with me. As I have said, I'm not the best but for sure not the worst (had to deal with proofreading-eventually-retranslating texts of other colleagues).


Direct link Reply with quote
 
philgoddard
United States
German to English
+ ...
. Dec 11, 2013

You have some unusual language combinations there, and I wonder if you're marketing yourself enough, or to the right people. For example, I would have thought you could charge quite high rates to clients in the UK and the US for English to Latvian and English to Russian.

Also, how do you know you're "not the best?" Why not try getting some honest opinions from established translators?

The reason why you're not getting enough work may have nothing to do with your rates, and I agree with Jeff that you should consider doubling them. And you should spend every moment of your spare time contacting potential customers. Don't give up!

[Edited at 2013-12-11 16:22 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gad Kohenov  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 00:21
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Don't be a modern slave of anyone Dec 11, 2013

Don't work with countries that pay low prices. You ruin your health for nothing.
Work only with Western countries that pay 0.10Eur. Latvian is not Spanish. It is not common so you have to find a few good clients in every decent paying country. But you will have to contact many agencies in order to receive one-two clients. It the same statistics for everyone. Most of our time is invested in finding new clients and the evasive 'direct clients". Concentrate on combinations with Latvian. Too many Russian language translators anyway! Latvian is not very common so you will have to be patient. When you do get a good client try to keep them with you as much as possible. I don't know how it is in your country, but in some countries translating for students is much easier and pays more than some exploiting companies pay. And students have whole articles to translate (I have done that myself many years ago). Don't let people tell you "in your country life is cheaper than in the "West", so work for less". Don't accept work for them. And "fire" old clients who don't agree to pay even 0.01$us more after years you served them. They need your work as much as you need them. I learned from experiences that some people have to be "fired", otherwise they never stoy preying on you. I just "fired" them and made place for those who paid better. Stay away from long texts. Immediately they will ask for "quantity discounts" as if the words are easier when the text is longer. 0.10Eur per word even if they have 100,00 words! Otherwise do only short texts. Do long texts for a discount, and bisides losing money, all your regular customer will leave you because people have crazy deadlines in most cases. For small texts people are ready to pay more.
Some agencies want to pay per word for birth certificates, death certificates or marriage certificates. The number of words is small but the translation is not always easy. Ask for a fixed price. If they tell you: "this is a birth certificate, you must have a template. Do it for 10$us". You know what to do ("fire" them on the spot).
Since the advent of the Internet even translation became a very competitive profession. When I started no one wanted to do this work. People asked me what does a translator do?
As freelancers no one cares for us. We have to be businessmen too not only "artists".
If all of us refused to work under a certain price, prices would not go constantly down.
The problem is that even translators think that this is a temporary jobs. Why don't you consider yourselves as "upgraded typists" as those who want to underpay you think of you?
They need your work! Don't sell yourself short! Better find another (decent) job instead of learning so many years and working for peanuts!
I hope this will be an eye opener for some of you.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jekaterina Kotelnikova  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:21
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I have decided to follow the advice... Dec 11, 2013

So, there, I have changed the rates on my page... As I am contacting translation agencies every day, lets hope this works out

Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts on this. A new year is approaching so I will try to make a resolution a bit earlier: never again sell myself cheap.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:21
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Great news! Dec 11, 2013

This is great news. Perhaps we should start a counter to count the number of people who raise their rates for the new year.

Also, I see that you are a paying member of ProZ. Did you know that your membership fee includes website hosting as well as your own domain name and e-mail address with your domain name? Even if you do not know how to set up a website (or have a friend who does), ProZ has its own website creator. See: http://www.proz.com/?sp=web_create/index



Jekaterina Kotelnikova wrote:

So, there, I have changed the rates on my page... As I am contacting translation agencies every day, lets hope this works out

Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts on this. A new year is approaching so I will try to make a resolution a bit earlier: never again sell myself cheap.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
A translation has the same value for the client, no matter who does it Dec 11, 2013

That is oversimplifying the situation a little, but if you deliver a translation to a client that is fit for its purpose, then it is irrelevant whether it was done by a beginner or someone with years of experience.

In principle beginners straight from college, if they know what they are doing, can deliver excellent work. Those who have been in the business longer still have to keep up with developments in their specialist areas and the way the language changes. They may be able to work faster because they have experience to draw on. It may enable them to take on more specialised work too, and justify higher rates, but that is how older translators earn more as time goes on.

Agencies do not tell clients whether the job was done by a beginner - they take the same rate. So never underrate yourself, if you know your work is good enough.

The samples are fairly small in the Proz.com 'community rates' statistics (on the Tools menu) for translation rates to and from Latvian, but you need not tell clients that.

http://search.proz.com/employers/rates

Quote them anyway - Proz.com is not known for over-high rates, maybe unfairly.

And best of luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Audra deFalco
United States
Local time: 17:21
Italian to English
+ ...
I can only echo what's been said Dec 11, 2013

Hello there.

You have an unusual language combination and from the looks of your profile you are educated in this field. I can only echo what's been said and tell you to RAISE your rates. Trust me when I say this: it seems counterproductive but the positive results are two-fold. You'll both weed out bottom feeding agencies this way AND you'll be able to work less, but earn the same amount if not more.

Best of luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
German to English
+ ...
If(!) you're as good as the best, Dec 12, 2013

then charge as much as the best do.

What bugs me is that anyone claiming to be a translator here is often automatically assumed to be competent, whereas very many (the majority I'd say) are far from it.

This is not directed against anyone in particular. But I've noticed (viewing as an outsourcer/recruiter) that many newbies are advised to increase their rates w/o having shown what they're (in)capable of.

It must be quality first, price second.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxxxLecraxx
Germany
Local time: 23:21
French to German
+ ...
competency Dec 12, 2013

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:

What bugs me is that anyone claiming to be a translator here is often automatically assumed to be competent, whereas very many (the majority I'd say) are far from it.


So what do you propose as a remedy? Testing his competency first before giving advise about rates?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:21
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Compare to whose? Dec 12, 2013

Jekaterina Kotelnikova wrote:
…I used to charge 0,05EUR/word…

…can anyone tell me if my rates are too high??


Everything is relative in this world as Mr. Einstein proved. For the ex-USSR countries, your rates are quite high. Many translators here charge USD 0.01—0.02 and their translation quality is not necessarily poor (I had an offer with such rates from a Ukrainian agency that has a BlueBoard rating of solid 5). Thus, if you want EUR 0.05 or more, just avoid agencies from ex-USSR/ex-socialist countries, India, China, Israel.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jekaterina Kotelnikova  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:21
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
not a newbie Dec 12, 2013

All I can say is that I am not a newbie when it comes to translating or interpreting. I am a newbie, though, with finding clients.

The main reason I do not work with Latvian companies (or Eastern Europe) anymore is the fact that I am living in Italy and if I agree to do the job for these low rates in the best of scenarios all my life I will be eating just plane pasta with not even a tomato sauce on it (no even mentioning cheese)

I don't want to raise the rates sky-high. All I want is a decent pay for the effort I put into my work (and there is a lot of it, trust me).

p.s. thanks for the replies and the encouragement!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

KateKaminski
Local time: 22:21
German to English
You are not a charity or low-skill clerical worker Dec 12, 2013

If you are a good translator you should be charging much more! EUR 0.06 minimum!

You have valuable skills and need to realise what you are worth. If these agencies in Latvia are unable to pay a decent professional rate they are not viable businesses.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


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


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

Are my rates too high??

Advanced search







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 »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



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