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Advice requested on rates for larger projects
Thread poster: NvPoe
NvPoe
Belgium
Local time: 07:45
Russian to Dutch
+ ...
Nov 28, 2014

Hey everyone,

I was wondering if someone could advise me on rates for a larger translation project (15.000 words, DU-ENG). I've only worked with euroct p/word rates and am not sure what I can charge for a large project of 15.000 words. It would be approx. a month's work.

I know the rate depends on a lot of factors, but I'd be happy to receive any advice about price ranges for larger projects.

Thanks a lot in advance,
Nienke


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Olga Koepping  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:45
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
are you sure it's a month's work? Nov 28, 2014

HI Nienke,

I'm just wondering if you wrote the correct number there, surely 15,000 words wouldn't take longer than about a week, assuming full-time work? Or are you fitting it in around other projects / work commitments?

Re rate, can only advise not dropping your price just because it's a good size translation. Take your normal rate per word (which shouldn't be lower than EUR 0.08/word, and that's already low), and multiply it, then you could round very slightly if you wanted to.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:45
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Larger? Nov 28, 2014

I'm not sure I would call this a larger project. At an average of about 2,000 words per day, 15,000 words (or is there a digit missing?) is a week to maximum 10 days work, nothing unusual. I would charge my normal rate.

I don't understand in any case why people have this idea that a larger project should be cheaper. It involves not only more translation but also more searching, editing and proofreading, and ensuring that the whole document is consistent in terminology, formatting etc. It should actually be paid at a higher rate in my opinion.



[Edited at 2014-11-28 15:57 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:45
Member (2008)
Italian to English
The same rate Nov 28, 2014

You should not give discounts for large projects. More work does not equal less effort, or less money. I can't see any reason why you should not charge your normal rate. Tina is 100% correct.

[Edited at 2014-11-28 16:11 GMT]


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:45
Member
English to French
No economy of scale Nov 28, 2014

As we're not producing words on a manufacturing line, I fail to see significant time savings on large projects. Any research "benefits" are offset by the time required to ensure consistency on larger texts, so to me it is just an excuse to request lower rates.

As far as I am concerned, time-savings are accounted for in my CAT discount matrix, full stop.

However, choosing to offer volume discounts or not is part of your pricing policy and in the end is entirely up to you to charge whatever to secure jobs.

And I agree that a one-week job, for any profession, is not "large".

Philippe


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:45
French to German
+ ...
I do give discounts - 15 000 words = a month??? Nov 28, 2014

Are you sure 15 000 words will take you a whole month? I do about 2 500 words a day... (Sure this depends on the project as well, but a whole month for 15 000 is certainly too much if you work on it the whole day...)

I do give discounts for large projects. Marketing etc. means a loads of time especially when you work with direct customers. So for me it's alright to give a discount if I have more then 20 000 words to translate.

Difficult to give you an exact price though as we don't know your file...


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NvPoe
Belgium
Local time: 07:45
Russian to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks Nov 28, 2014

Thanks everyone for the advice! And apologies for the confusion: they gave me a month to do the work, so I will be fitting it in with other projects. Regarding the size of the project - I'm just starting out as a translator, so for a rookie like me it is a large project... Talk to me in 10 years and I'll think differently
I don't believe discounts should be given for larger projects either, but part of me thinks I will scare away the client if they see a fairly large amount. I believe a lot of clients just aren't aware of the time and effort involved in translating. But setting the bar low is never a good option. Anyway, thanks again for your feedback.


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Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
Jordan
Arabic to English
+ ...
Dicount not recommended Nov 28, 2014

I agree with Tina.

First of all, I would not consider 15,000 words a large project. Second, even if it was, I would not offer a discount. Not only do you have to take all the things Tina mentioned into consideration, but the time commitment involved with a large project means that you may have to turn down other projects from other clients while you are working on this one. Charge your usual rate (or even more if you are able to do so).


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:45
English to German
+ ...
Important basics Nov 28, 2014

NvPoe wrote:

Thanks everyone for the advice! And apologies for the confusion: they gave me a month to do the work, so I will be fitting it in with other projects. Regarding the size of the project - I'm just starting out as a translator, so for a rookie like me it is a large project... Talk to me in 10 years and I'll think differently
I don't believe discounts should be given for larger projects either, but part of me thinks I will scare away the client if they see a fairly large amount. I believe a lot of clients just aren't aware of the time and effort involved in translating. But setting the bar low is never a good option. Anyway, thanks again for your feedback.


I recommend looking at this. I get the impression you need more information to get a good understanding for what it means to be/become a successful translator/language expert:

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Determining_your_rates_and_fees_as_a_translator
If you are a freelance translator, putting yourself in a position to do high quality work on an ongoing basis requires that you approach the job from an effective commercial standpoint. While the question "What rates should I charge?" is one that ultimately only you can answer, as a professional in the industry -- and an independent business owner -- you must be sure to address the question carefully. When you do, bear in mind the responsibility we all have to cooperate in creating an environment in which it is possible for translators who take the time to do high quality work, can be paid an amount that allows them to dedicate themselves to their work on an ongoing basis.

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Translator_career_path


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Frankie JB
France
English to French
+ ...
Discounts are a case-by-base issue Nov 28, 2014

Tina Vonhof wrote:

I'm not sure I would call this a larger project. At an average of about 2,000 words per day, 15,000 words (or is there a digit missing?) is a week to maximum 10 days work, nothing unusual. I would charge my normal rate.

I don't understand in any case why people have this idea that a larger project should be cheaper. It involves not only more translation but also more searching, editing and proofreading, and ensuring that the whole document is consistent in terminology, formatting etc. It should actually be paid at a higher rate in my opinion.


Very funny perspective!!

What about all those economies of scale you make in terms of file/software handling, and, more importantly, the time you save to make sense of the topic you are working on / comprehend the whole context you are in?

My own reality, although perhaps not "normal" for many, exemplifies perfectly this situation: for each project I work on for a client, I have about 10 minutes of "fixed cost" as I need to download files on their server + open/close a software package (admittedly awfully slow). Thus, a project of, say, 30,000 words, will result in a fixed cost of 10 minutes, while 20 projects of 1,500 words will amount to 200 minutes of file/software handling...

On top of that, and it's still more important, having to dive in, say, 20 more or less different topics (following the example above), i.e. familiarize myself with the context/terminology, etc., require a lot more time and effort than to make sense of only one general topic...

It's possible indeed that larger projects involve extra efforts in some aspects, but it can't offset all the gains. Consistency? Maybe, but in my experience it takes minimal efforts, including in localization projects... (maybe it's harder for older brains to remember what they have translated 2 weeks before though?? ).

In my view volume discounts are a very fair pricing policy and I encourage anyone to do it. As much as I think as translators we have to get paid at decent and sustainable rates, I also think that we have to be reasonable and upright when it's needed.

As for your initial question: wordcounts and discount %s are a personal thing and need to factor in the effort/time saved in terms of fixed cost, which is often a function of working conditions.

As far as I'm concerned, I usually don't grant discounts below 30,000 words.

NB: all I have said is valid if and only if your unit rates are sustainable!! If you offer them "friendly rates" or "student rates" or however you want to call rates that are unsustainable or not a true reflection of the value you produce, then discounts are not necessarily a good thing!!


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Frankie JB
France
English to French
+ ...
Loss of opportunities Nov 28, 2014

Amel Abdullah wrote:

I agree with Tina.

First of all, I would not consider 15,000 words a large project. Second, even if it was, I would not offer a discount. Not only do you have to take all the things Tina mentioned into consideration, but the time commitment involved with a large project means that you may have to turn down other projects from other clients while you are working on this one. Charge your usual rate (or even more if you are able to do so).


You score a valid point Amel! I forgot to consider this argument, i.e. the risk of lost opportunities, that goes against discounts... That still doesn't change my view on discounts though, and in those cases where the deadline is long as here, it shouldn't be factored in IMHO.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:45
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Rise your rate and give a discount Nov 28, 2014

First rise your rate 20 % and then allow for a special discount of 25 % for large projects.
My first large project was 37 000 words and I had two months time back in 2003. With modern technology I could do it easily in three weeks today.
Today one customer was announcing 250 000 words over next year's time, and I'm thinking of giving a discount on a monthly basis. Each month they will give me more than 15000 words I will apply a discount.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:45
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Never give a discount just because a project is large Nov 28, 2014

Do you get a discount when you fill up your car?

Why should you give a discount because you do more work? Are you running a fruit and vegetable stall, or are you a translator?


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 13:45
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Sure there's overhead Nov 28, 2014

In time spent on invoicing/payment tracking, email correspondences, signing agreements, etc. Which is why many of us set minimum fees.

Not saying you should slash your prices significantly. But say you get a project of 100,000 words as a month's work - the time spent on bookkeeping on one such job isn't much different from that spent on a 1000 word job. It's not a stretch to say that you could save 10-20 hours, and if you get to spend 10 hours less on paperwork that could be worth $300-500+ depending on your hourly output. Percentage-wise that comes out to maybe 5-10% on the month.

As for lost opportunities, that's never been a factor for me, because I don't feel the need to try and book myself for a full schedule. If there's some job that I want to do I'm always able to fit it in. So it depends on the deadline - if the schedule is loose enough for you to do 1000-2000 words per day, you're getting some security without losing any real opportunities. There is value in that.


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Frankie JB
France
English to French
+ ...
Translation is not a commodity Nov 28, 2014

Tom in London wrote:

Why should you give a discount because you do more work?


It's not giving discounts because you "do more work", but because you have less overhead, and it makes sense for the many sound reasons explained above.

Tom in London wrote:

Do you get a discount when you fill up your car?
(...)
Are you running a fruit and vegetable stall, or are you a translator?


If you want to reason in relative terms using comparisons (which is never smart - enlightened minds should be able to reason in absolute terms, from scratch!), at least please compare like with like. Translation is not a commodity but a service.


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