Minimum rate
Thread poster: Erwin S. Fernandez

Erwin S. Fernandez
Philippines
Local time: 16:24
Member (2014)
English to Pangasinan
+ ...
Jul 7, 2014

How does one compute one's minimum rate in translation?

 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:24
Member (2009)
French to English
Hourly rate Jul 7, 2014

My minimum is the same as my hourly rate, which is itself set on my per word rate based on average words translated per hour plus a small buffer for setting up a projet and invoicing it. This is not an exact science, but it should be enough that you make the same amount for doing four projects that take one hour each as you would for one, four hour project and yet not so much as to discourage clients from hiring you for small projects (unless that is your objective).

 

Erwin S. Fernandez
Philippines
Local time: 16:24
Member (2014)
English to Pangasinan
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Minimum rate (example) Jul 7, 2014

Can you please give an example? Sorry if this troubles you.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
How much do you need to earn from your work? Jul 7, 2014

As Jenn, I calculate my rates based on what I need to be paid for each hour of my time. The one factor that every translator is absolutely bound by is the number of hours in a day, a week, a month... Man hours (or woman hours, in my case) are limited to one human being, and cannot be increased above a certain number, allowing for sleeping, eating and R&R (rest and relaxation). Not unless you outsource work, but then everything changes.

Of course, your hourly rate has to include an awful lot of things other than translation. You have to receive, log, research, check, deliver and account for the job, as well as translate the text. But even that isn't the whole story as there will be entire days of training, holidays and sickness, and days when you have to sort out your book-keeping, install new hardware/software or (all too frequently) recover from hardware/software problems. Plus, don't forget that you won't get to spend all that money as you'll have taxes and contributions to deduct, and loads of other expenses related to work (equipment, consumables, services...) - most of us can kiss goodbye to about 50% of what we receive, and PayPal and the banks have often had their nibble before we even receive what the client sends.

Once you have your hourly rate, you're just a simple calculation away from your per-word rate. So, next time an agency requests (sorry, demands) a ridiculous "best rate", you can quote that lot. Not that that sort of agency will bother to read it, of courseicon_frown.gif.


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 11:24
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Community Rates Jul 7, 2014

As for reference, you can look at Community Rates in ProZ, that is under the Tools menu at the top of the ProZ page.

This link will hopefully take you there:
http://search.proz.com/?sp=pfe/rates


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:24
Member (2009)
French to English
Research! Jul 8, 2014

Erwin S. Fernandez wrote:

Can you please give an example? Sorry if this troubles you.


How much help do you need? I have just told you that I base my minimum on my hourly rate and my hourly rate is listed in my profile.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You can't say fairer than that Jul 8, 2014

Jenn Mercer wrote:

Erwin S. Fernandez wrote:

Can you please give an example? Sorry if this troubles you.


How much help do you need? I have just told you that I base my minimum on my hourly rate and my hourly rate is listed in my profile.

Actually, I don't see your hourly rate, Jenn - maybe it's only set as a filtericon_wink.gif? I believe mine's displayed though. But what use is either really to a translator of a different pair in a different part of the world? In the end, we each have to set our rates bearing in mind industry averages, local earnings in intellectual professions, and our own needs.


 

njweatherdon
Canada
French to English
+ ...
Per word. In my opinion. Jul 8, 2014

Per word. From which language into which language? What's your area of specialization? Clients won't likely care how much you make per hour, they want to know how much it will cost, whether it takes you 5 or 50 hours to get it done. But YOU should want to know how much you're making per hour.

Most people want a translator to be translating INTO their native language. If that's not the case, you may be in a different market segment, but that's OK too. They will also want to find a translator who knows a lot about the specific area of translation (probably not very often Pangasinan literature). Many people will tell you never to charge less than 8 or 10 cents US per word. If you can demand it, that's good. But if you're from the Philippines and native in Spanish and Pangasinan, then maybe you would have to charge half that, or less, to get any work.

Quality clients will not be looking to underpay you. I don't think you will find quality clients in the lower price range. But there's a big market in that price range, and probably you can still make a comfortable amount of money after many years of effort to build clientele. But you may have to build decent relations with many such clients in order to eventually get a crack to show your abilities with some clients who work on higher value (according to who will pay how much money) translations.

Unless you're applying to work in a translation company in their office, then normal working conditions apply ... probably they pay you by the hour or a monthly salary, maybe with various incentives to encourage you to get better and faster.

But you should have some idea of how much you are making per hour. Some projects I make less than Canadian minimum wage because I take great care in crafting the output or because it's a messy translation. Other projects where my experience, knowledge, etc. are perfectly matched to the project, I wonder if I could be earning six figures.

I would be concerned to create a very high quality portfolio to help get some first clients, hopefully without having to underprice yourself by too much in order to get in the door.

At the end of the day, translation takes real skill, and translators should not be negotiating in ways which lead them to earn the same salary as a taxi driver or cook at the local burger joint.


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:24
Member (2009)
French to English
Apologies Jul 9, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Jenn Mercer wrote:

Erwin S. Fernandez wrote:

Can you please give an example? Sorry if this troubles you.


How much help do you need? I have just told you that I base my minimum on my hourly rate and my hourly rate is listed in my profile.

Actually, I don't see your hourly rate, Jenn - maybe it's only set as a filtericon_wink.gif? I believe mine's displayed though. But what use is either really to a translator of a different pair in a different part of the world? In the end, we each have to set our rates bearing in mind industry averages, local earnings in intellectual professions, and our own needs.


Sorry, my deepest apologies for my abrupt and, as it turns out, erroneous response. Let me doublecheck my filters and make sure it is visible to all. I could list it here, but forum posts are forever and I revise my rates from time to time.


 


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