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Italian --> English Translation Rates
Thread poster: Becky Green

Becky Green  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
Italian to English
Apr 15, 2015

Hello Everyone,

I'm recently starting out as a translator here on the site and could use some pricing advice. I'm receiving a few jobs here and there (Italian into English translations) of varying subject matters. Most of them are not incredibly technical, although they do require a bit of time acquainting myself with new vocabulary. I'm wondering what type of pricing you all would recommend.

I checked on ProZ's pricing website for the average of Italian to English Translations and if I remember correctly, the lowest price quoted by members was $0.09/word. Given that I'm starting out, I've taken a few jobs at $0.07/word, although I've received a fair number of replies saying that price was way too high.

Do you have any suggestions? What is your lowest rate? Perhaps your highest? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Hope everyone is well and happy translating!

-Becky


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
English to German
+ ...
Be professional Apr 15, 2015

Becky Green wrote:

Hello Everyone,

I'm recently starting out as a translator here on the site and could use some pricing advice. I'm receiving a few jobs here and there (Italian into English translations) of varying subject matters. Most of them are not incredibly technical, although they do require a bit of time acquainting myself with new vocabulary. I'm wondering what type of pricing you all would recommend.

I checked on ProZ's pricing website for the average of Italian to English Translations and if I remember correctly, the lowest price quoted by members was $0.09/word. Given that I'm starting out, I've taken a few jobs at $0.07/word, although I've received a fair number of replies saying that price was way too high.

Do you have any suggestions? What is your lowest rate? Perhaps your highest? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Hope everyone is well and happy translating!

-Becky


Way too high?
No, not at all.
Whoever says that falls in a category of agencies/clients I wouldn't recommend working with and would never work with. It's simply inadequate.
I understand how you feel starting out, but how do you think the experienced translators feel every time a newbie comes along and does "great" work for a pittance? Who wins? Who loses?

Stick to adequate rates. You owe it to yourself!
Bernhard


[Edited at 2015-04-15 15:12 GMT]


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Becky Green  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 15, 2015

Thank you, Bernhard!

That was one of my concerns; I don't want to accept lower rates as I feel translating is a complex endeavor that requires respectful rates (especially for the rest of the translating community). Glad to hear that I'm not quoting at prices that are "way too high."

Lastly, if you or anyone else is willing to share their rate-range, that would be great! (Although if people don't feel like sharing for privacy reasons, I completely understand).

Thanks again for the input!

-Becky


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You can always be undercut on price Apr 15, 2015

Becky Green wrote:
Given that I'm starting out, I've taken a few jobs at $0.07/word, although I've received a fair number of replies saying that price was way too high.

When GoogleTranslate will provide a translation of sorts for free, it's only natural that some clients will baulk at paying even a below-average rate. So, leave their work to those 'translators' who either see any money as welcome (i.e. who put no value on their time) or who quickly edit GT output so that it's slightly less weird and has some of the real howlers corrected. Either way, the quality of the result is going to be questionable. Professional translators need to target clients who need quality translations. For that you should be charging a rate which enables you to earn a living, bearing in mind that you aren't an unskilled worker and that you have a heavy load of social contributions to pay. I don't know much about your pair but I'd say you need to at least stick to your minimum, if not raise it.


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Becky Green  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 15, 2015

Thank you, Sheila! Great advice!

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
High/low Apr 15, 2015

Becky Green wrote:

.... I've taken a few jobs at $0.07/word, although I've received a fair number of replies saying that price was way too high.

-Becky


That converts to about 0.066 Euro, which as low as you should go, although as an inexperienced translator you probably shouldn't expect more. If you work with Italian agencies you'll find that they almost always will say that's much too much. If they say that, don't work with them.

[Edited at 2015-04-15 16:24 GMT]


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Becky Green  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 15, 2015

Thank you, Tom!

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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:35
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Word count differences Apr 15, 2015

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Way too high?
No, not at all.


A translator friend of mine makes the point that since a text in a Germanic language has 20% fewer words than the translation into English, and a text in a Romance language has 20% more words than the English translation, the equivalent word rate in a Romance language is 40% lower than that of a Germanic language.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:35
Italian to English
Word count not a problem in Italy Apr 15, 2015

Michele Fauble wrote:

A translator friend of mine makes the point that since a text in a Germanic language has 20% fewer words than the translation into English, and a text in a Romance language has 20% more words than the English translation, the equivalent word rate in a Romance language is 40% lower than that of a Germanic language.



By and large, customers here are happy to base the count on the number of source keystrokes, usually expressed as a standard "technical" page of 1,500 keystrokes. For most text types, Italian has 5-15% more keystrokes than English if you're doing your job properly.

When you have enough loyal customers, though, aim to quote by the job.


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
English to German
+ ...
There are adequate prices for any language combination, and then there is exploitation Apr 15, 2015

Michele Fauble wrote:

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Way too high?
No, not at all.


A translator friend of mine makes the point that since a text in a Germanic language has 20% fewer words than the translation into English, and a text in a Romance language has 20% more words than the English translation, the equivalent word rate in a Romance language is 40% lower than that of a Germanic language.



There are adequate prices for any language combination;
Becky's combination is Italian into English and she said:

Becky Green wrote:
I checked on ProZ's pricing website for the average of Italian to English Translations and if I remember correctly, the lowest price quoted by members was $0.09/word. Given that I'm starting out, I've taken a few jobs at $0.07/word, although I've received a fair number of replies saying that price was way too high.


For a professional, I can assure you that for her combination, these numbers are too low. And I go so far as to say that they probably are in any language combination (basing the rate on word-counts).

A far as your comparison of words is concerned, it's quite relative.

If you translate a text from German into English (say a novel), you might start out with 400 pages of German original text and end up with 330 pages in English. That's because there are more compound words and a greater use of the two-word perfect tense construction in German, and more "long words" in general, resulting in more "letters" but fewer words. So, yes, a word-price should be adjusted keeping these things in mind (one consideration is that you need to know, use and type more individual words in English), and it doesn't mean that it becomes okay to charge below a certain per-word/rate in any language where rates are based on words. I am not saying that prices must always be based on words, you can figure a total price by estimating how long the work will take you, how complex it is, keeping everything else that is important in mind, or you can quote an hourly price or a per-word or per-character price.

So if a text needs to be translated from Romanian into German, as I understand you, you might have 40% more words, but that's not the whole story about what that means with regard to Romanian words.

And by the way, English is also a Germanic language. But I agree that English is "shorter" in many regards than other Germanic languages. But that's just one of its characteristics.


[Edited at 2015-04-15 17:41 GMT]


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Becky Green  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Great input. Apr 15, 2015

This is great. Thank you. I'm grateful for the contributions of more-experienced translators to those of us who are new in the field!!

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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:35
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Italian agency rates Apr 15, 2015

Becky Green wrote:

Lastly, if you or anyone else is willing to share their rate-range, that would be great!


The highest rate I've ever had accepted by an Italian agency was 0.12 euro per word. The lowest was $0.12 per word. But I've only worked for two Italian agencies, and the source languages were Scandinavian.



[Edited at 2015-04-15 18:49 GMT]


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Becky Green  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Apr 15, 2015

Hi Michele,

Thanks for sending that information along. I've had a few agencies quote me at €0.03 or €0.04 cents a word - and that seemed super low. Having received that price-range from a few others as well, I wanted to check with the community to make sure it wasn't me.

Good to know I'll need to keep searching for a different type of clientele.

Thanks again!

-Becky


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Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:35
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
My thoughts Apr 16, 2015

This has obviously been said before, but pricing also depends on the market and language pair. I don't work with Italian, but for English into Chinese for example people will be pretty happy to be paid 3 or 4 euro cents a word. I get to charge more since I primarily translate into English; competition-wise, there's a bit less people out there to compete against.

I started out in the trade purely by accident. I didn't know ANYONE who work with my language pair and when starting out it was not easy to gauge how much is considered a "fair" market rate. I was paid peanuts for my first job, but it was a rate I gladly accepted. Why, you ask? It was an opportunity for me to understand better how I should sell my services, and what "fair rate" means to me. It also helped me get my foot in the door with a pretty big agency, which led to more work. Eventually, I left that agency and moved on to work for higher rates.

The way I see it, it's not necessarily a bad thing to work for a certain lower rate. You are learning something (likely) new, you still get paid for your work (albeit less), and you're building up your track record. The key is to know how and when to raise the price when the time comes, and when you feel ready for it, go ahead and negotiate with your clients. For one of my long-term clients, I raise my rate annually.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Another ridiculous offer Apr 16, 2015

Hi Becky

See this thread and my post of 5 minutes ago. Don't accept job offers like this !

http://www.proz.com/forum/italian/281996-unofferta_dis_onesta.html


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