wage - question by newby
Thread poster: EnglGermAndBack

EnglGermAndBack
Germany
Local time: 07:29
English to German
+ ...
Jun 4, 2014

Hi, all. I'm new here, being a freelancer. Recently did 2 urgent jobs under time pressure, complicated contract - texting as well. Breaking down my time spent, I got approx 200$ for altogether 24h of effective working time, making me about 8 $ gross/ hour; after taxes and costs, that gets me down to 5 $ net income an hour for a very responsible contract - translation with sensitive terminations, needing interpretation / language experience - and: well over 3100 words ! They were very happy with the work - and was sent another translation offer right away. I would like to know, if this wage is ok or if I am being hacked for my quality. At this rate, I will need to effectively work 12-13h a day and 31 days a month - flatout - to make 3100€ and be able to live from this. Any experienced comments ? Thanks!

 

texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:29
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
. Jun 4, 2014



[Edited at 2014-06-04 15:10 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:29
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Isn't that way below the lowest minimum wage in Germany? Jun 4, 2014

If there is a minimum wage then I would imagine you earned less than it - by some way. Now, you don't give us any information about your education, training and experience, though you do claim to offer an awful lot of services, so it's difficult to tell what your expectations are.

But I agree with the previous poster that you aren't working for a wage, and it's up to you to price your services as you see fit. You can quote any rate you want: per word, per character, per line, per page, a flat rate for the job or a rate per hour of your time. But the bottom line is that you should be able to earn a decent amount. Remember that a professional freelance translator doesn't (or shouldn't) just sit there churning out translations day in day out. We should be undergoing regular training, attending conferences and suchlike, reading and researching, marketing, book-keeping... you name it. So your rate has to take account of that as well as holidays and the inevitable periods of sick leave at some time, plus pension plans, essential equipment, consumables, membership fees...

It's nothing like being an employee earning a wage and enjoying all the benefits that go with it.

[Edited at 2014-06-04 14:55 GMT]


 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:29
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
ProZ rules Jun 4, 2014

EnglGermAndBack wrote:

Hi, all. I'm new here, being a freelancer. Recently did 2 urgent jobs under time pressure, complicated contract - texting as well. Breaking down my time spent, I got approx 200$ for altogether 24h of effective working time, making me about 8 $ gross/ hour; after taxes and costs, that gets me down to 5 $ net income an hour for a very responsible contract - translation with sensitive terminations, needing interpretation / language experience - and: well over 3100 words ! They were very happy with the work - and was sent another translation offer right away. I would like to know, if this wage is ok or if I am being hacked for my quality. At this rate, I will need to effectively work 12-13h a day and 31 days a month - flatout - to make 3100€ and be able to live from this. Any experienced comments ? Thanks!


On this website we all have to abide by ProZ rules. One rule is that we have to stay civil in our discussions. So my polite question to you is: why do you think you're a newby?

Cheers,
Gerard

PS There must be a ProZ rule about misrepresentation too but I don't have the time to check that.


 

Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:29
Member (2003)
French to English
Sustainability Jun 4, 2014

I think you've answered your own question. If need to work 12-13 hours a day, every day just to make the money you need to live on, then clearly the rate is too low a) for you to have a viable business and b) for you not to cause yourself physical and mental stress at a level that is almost certainly unsustainable and, as Sheila says, leaves no time for all the other things professional freelancers need to do.


[Edited at 2014-06-04 16:55 GMT]


 

Terence Noonan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:29
German to English
+ ...
I recommend not advertising yourself as a German into English translator Jun 4, 2014

Although your writing is fine for communicating here in this forum, it is easy to tell that English is not your native language. My opinion is that if people think you need to be told this explicitly (I'm not saying you do), they are also going to think that you possess an off-putting lack of self-awareness with respect to your professional skills, or they will assume that you are simply okay with working at the bottom end of the market. In either case you are very unlikely to get the kind of rate that you want. By offering translation into a non-native language you will be attracting buyers who are willing accept some grammatical and syntax issues in exchange for a translation that "gets the point across" at a lower price. Usually translators only accept this kind of work when they live in a low cost of living country where five cents a word would actually provide a reasonably acceptable income. Even if you were to be offered a job from English into your native German, by offering non-native translations you have already signaled to the marketplace that you are willing to work at low rates, which will hurt you when negotiating.

[Edited at 2014-06-04 15:51 GMT]


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
How did you calculate your charge? Jun 4, 2014

I'm not clear whether you priced this job by the number of words or by the hour. The former is the more usual practice unless it's an unusually fiddly job. Or did the customer tell you how much they were prepared to pay? If so, they're exploiting you.
Also, 24 hours to translate 3,100 words seems extremely slow. Most people would budget maybe eight hours.

[Edited at 2014-06-04 16:27 GMT]


 

KateKaminski
Local time: 06:29
German to English
If you have 20 years of translation experience, I am not quite sure why you are asking this question Jun 4, 2014

You know your "wage" is not acceptable - it is not even a wage. It's a fee for a professional service.

Your profile says you have been in the translation business for 20 years. A good German-English (and back) translator should be earning a very good hourly rate, especially someone as experienced as you. It should certainly be much higher than minimum wage, considering all those years of study and experience you surely have behind you.

Out of interest, what is a "translation with sensitive terminations"?

[Edited at 2014-06-04 16:38 GMT]


 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Welcome to the real world of translation Jun 4, 2014

Imo, if you are translating into German, then the wage you are being paid probably is too low. But if you are translating a responsible contract with sensitive terminations into English, then I do not think you are being hacked for your quality. In that case, I'd suggest that you just take the money and run.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:29
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Newby Jun 5, 2014

Based on your profile here, you seem to be new only to ProZ and/or perhaps to freelancing.

When you're just starting out as a freelancer, you're usually eager to get your first job. In this respect it might be understandable that you accepted such a rate, a rate that is 30% below the minimum hourly wage in Germany.

Since this client now knows the quality of your translation(s), and if s/he truly valuates it (actually meaning, valuating you as a business partner), then it's time to negotiate a "real" rate, one that you can live on, and one that covers your time you need to spend on all these aforementioned additional duties of a freelancer.

These are my 2 cents.icon_wink.gif


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:29
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Do the math Jun 5, 2014

If I didn't misread your post you got $200 for translating 3100 words and that took you 24 hours of actual work

$200 ÷ 3100 words = $0.06 per word, this is a low rate, accepting jobs at this rate will in the end cost you money, it might be difficult to turn down paying work especially when you are starting but your time would be better spent looking for better paying clients.

3100 words ÷ 24 hours = 125 words per hour this is very slow, there are varying opinions on how much you should be able to translate per hour, and without getting into any arguments on this, a lot of translators would agree that about 3000 words per day (8 hours) is a reasonable amount. So you need to basically triple your translation speed to get to what is considered normal. I must say even for a newbie this seems slow, are you a slow typer, maybe you need to improve your typing skills, or maybe there s another reason, whatever it is you need to get a lot faster, so you need to spend time improving your skills.


 


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