How much should I charge for the translation of a document?
Thread poster: Cristiano Lima

Cristiano Lima
Brazil
Local time: 07:50
Russian to Portuguese
+ ...
Sep 4, 2014

Greetings!

Since I'm the only person that works with a certain language pair at this site, I got a request from a new client by personal message. She requires the translation of university documents. It's not a hard task, basically "Name, Last name, disciplines studied...". The fields are fulfilled with handwritting info at another alphabet that I know. It consists in five pages. Btw, the outsourcer is a translation company from that country.

How much is it worth? The client asks for my price. I usually inform the prices per word, but in this case, it's a few words at every page.

I'm pleased with your attention and assistance.

[Edited at 2014-09-04 13:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-09-04 13:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-09-04 13:16 GMT]


 

Cristiano Lima
Brazil
Local time: 07:50
Russian to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Aditional info Sep 4, 2014

The pages are scanned.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Your minimum rate Sep 4, 2014

Cristiano Lima wrote:
She requires the translation of university documents.


Charge your minimum rate. If you don't have a minimum rate, charge as much as 300 words could have costed.

Cristiano Lima wrote:
The pages are scanned.


In that case, add your minimum rate for doing the formatting, if you want to.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:50
Chinese to English
Minimum charge Sep 4, 2014

Samuel beat me to it. There is no job in the world that takes up less than an hour of your time (almost), so one way of setting a minimum charge is just your hourly rate*1.

If the format means that it's going to take longer than an hour, then make a time estimate and base your quote on that.

Don't be embarrassed if your number sounds high for just "a few words". Like you say, you offer a highly specialised service that very few people in the world can provide. The law of the market says you should be well compensated for it.


 

Cristiano Lima
Brazil
Local time: 07:50
Russian to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hour Sep 4, 2014

Great point, Phill! I've never charged per hour.

 

Cristiano Lima
Brazil
Local time: 07:50
Russian to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Guess what Sep 4, 2014

The client considered USD 50(per hour) too high.

 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:50
Portuguese to English
+ ...
It's 5 pages Sep 4, 2014

so charge per page. A minimum fee would only cover 1-2 pages.

 

Cristiano Lima
Brazil
Local time: 07:50
Russian to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Guess what Sep 5, 2014

Diana Coada, PGDip DPSI NRPSI wrote:

so charge per page. A minimum fee would only cover 1-2 pages.


Do you claim that USD 50,00 would be a proper price for only two pages? Wow, guess what, the client claimed that it was too high.

Translation companies offer so interesting payments... I think that even an hourly housekeeper earns more per hour.

Today I got a phone call from a client. He expected me to translate a book with 420 pages. I offered him my services, R$ 2300,00(around USD 1050). Guess what, he claimed it was "too expensive for him". Then I waited for his proposal. His answer was that he expected it to be around R$ 200 or R$ 300. For a book of 420 pages!


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:50
Member (2008)
French to English
Not quoting by the hour Sep 5, 2014

Cristiano Lima wrote:

The client considered USD 50(per hour) too high.


Which is why I never quote per hour - my hourly rate would come to more than that. But when trying to determine a price for such a job I might work it out on the basis of my hourly rate, but quote a flat rate for the job. In the end that's all the client actually cares about, but quoting by the hour just gives them something to pick apart.


 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:50
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
University documents are not easy to translate Sep 5, 2014

Cristiano Lima wrote:

She requires the translation of university documents. It's not a hard task, basically "Name, Last name, disciplines studied...".


Personally I find CVs, certificates and diplomas very difficult to translate simply because it's not easy to find exact equivalents. Not all universities offer the same courses or qualifications. Now I hardly ever translate this kind of document because I got tired of trying to find terms that reflected the original and which would be understood in the target language.

Many years ago, before I became a professional translator, a sworn translator translated my Royal Academy of Dance teaching qualifications, and he translated 'Merit' (final marks that were between 65% and 80%) as 'Mention'. I can't say I agree with his decision.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:50
Chinese to English
Bad clients Sep 5, 2014

I'm sure there are good Russian agencies out there, but there are a lot of very bad ones. I advise looking for business in the best markets. I assume for you that means Rio/Brazilia. Don't even think about the bad clients. They're not worth your time.

 


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