Translators rates
Thread poster: RosaPuerto

RosaPuerto
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 11, 2015

Hi guys!

I would like some advice about the rates as a Translator.
I am looking for some job as a freelancer and I am using the same rates that are published here in Proz.com as I think they are quite good.
However, all the "possible clients" are rejecting my offer because they think the rates I offer are too high.
I tried to put them a little bit lower but I even got to the point when I received a job offer for 0,02EUR per source word, which I do not think is acceptable.
Please give me some advice.
Thanks!


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:41
English to French
+ ...
Find another profession Aug 11, 2015

You want advice?

Here it is: I have been a professional translator for 30 years. Mark my words: if you want to make a living, learn a trade which cannot be outsourced or purchased by people who don't care about what they buy.

Plumber and electrician come to mind as the best ways to make a honest living in the coming DECADES. Even unskilled buyers can figure out if the light's on or the toilet unclogged, after they have paid.

Until, of course, someone comes up with self-fixing plumbing, or robots which can troubleshoot and fix building wiring.


RosaPuerto wrote:

Hi guys!

I would like some advice about the rates as a Translator.
I am looking for some job as a freelancer and I am using the same rates that are published here in Proz.com as I think they are quite good.
However, all the "possible clients" are rejecting my offer because they think the rates I offer are too high.
I tried to put them a little bit lower but I even got to the point when I received a job offer for 0,02EUR per source word, which I do not think is acceptable.
Please give me some advice.
Thanks!


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:41
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
Possibilities to get higher rates... Aug 11, 2015

Well, I think your language pairs unfortunately are not part of those for which you can easily have good rates. Also there are quite a lot of translators working in your specialty fields. Tourism is a field where you can really get nice projects but where the rates are never very high, in German neither.

My personal point of view is that you either should trie to specialize in fields which are not that common, or do some transcreation (as you already translate in the marketing) or interpreting. Other possibility: Trie get some well paying direct customers.

Anyhow I think you should really improve your profile on Proz so that people know what type of projects you already have translated.


 

Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:41
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Rates Aug 11, 2015

I definitely agree with

Andrea Halbritter 'My personal point of view is that you either should trie to specialize in fields which are not that common, or do some transcreation (as you already translate in the marketing) or interpreting. Other possibility: Trie get some well paying direct customers.'

Jobs at 0,02EUR per source word in some countries might pay for a living, but I doubt that one real professional would charge it. Once you charge your clients this amount, some will not trust your QA, others will 'slave' you. In Brazil, a minimum rate would be USD 0.08.

Another point is negotiate if your clients are regular and keep payments on due dates, however you must set a limit.
Good luck.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:41
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
(Un)disintermediation Aug 11, 2015

Unfortunately, even trades such as plumbers, electricians and locksmiths are not immune to the effects of "intermediation". The last time I called a plumbing company, they sent out a "representative" who quoted me a price (it quickly became clear that this person - who was impeccably dressed - had only limited knowledge of plumbing) and then they hired a plumber (who has his own plumbing business, but not the scope of the advertising budget available to what I found out was just an agency - they don't tell you this up front of course).

Same thing with painting companies - the big players are all agencies that outsource the work to smaller painters/painting companies. Locksmiths too work with agencies.

Most of the service companies that have big ads in the yellow pages or big websites don't offer the services themselves, but subcontract the work (and the subcontractor subsequently is only paid half as much).

People are more willing to trust WORLDWIDE PAINTING SERVICES and WE PLUMB EVERYTHING PLUMBERS than Joe's Painting Inc. or Mike's Plumbing, even though they may get worse service because even though the same professional comes to their house, that person is only paid half as much (and probably isn't too happy about it). They make their money off of you contacting them directly next time (although this is against the "rules" of course).

I recently paid a painting company $4,000 to paint the inside of my house and I found out that the painters who did all the work only received $1,200.

JL01 wrote:



Plumber and electrician come to mind as the best ways to make a honest living in the coming DECADES. Even unskilled buyers can figure out if the light's on or the toilet unclogged, after they have paid.



[Edited at 2015-08-12 00:15 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Are you relying on the ProZ.com public job board? Aug 12, 2015

If you are, and especially if you're mainly looking at jobs offered by Spanish agencies (low payers on the whole), then you're likely to be in communication with the worst type of "bottom-feeding" agency. The fact that the jobs are still open, without takers, after the 12 hours or so when the job is restricted to paying members, means that nobody wants to work with these sharks.

This is not to say that there are NO worthwhile jobs posted on the public job board - there are. I've found some very good clients that way over the years, but their jobs were all snapped up within a couple of hours of posting, well before non-paying users were able to quote. And by far the majority of good clients choose a less public method. They select potential translators from the register, based on various criteria such as experience, specialisations etc., and send them private messages. Of course, you have to pass those filters to stand a chance. You can find out how to improve your position here: http://www.proz.com/guidance-center/directory-rank. There are an awful lot of other tips in the Site Guidance Centre to help beginners find clients here, including at least one free webinar.

So, don't reject the public job board out of hand, particularly if you're free to work at the weekend or over holiday periods (when a good agency might find itself suddenly with an unexpectedly urgent need). But start finding out how to market yourself so that clients coming here (or elsewhere) on the lookout for a translator find you. Then, when they're impressed by what they read, quote them a sensible rate. Negotiate, if necessary, by reducing your rate by a cent or two, no more.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:41
Member (2008)
French to English
More marketing needed Aug 12, 2015

RosaPuerto wrote:

However, all the "possible clients" are rejecting my offer ...


I would suggest that you are not reaching the right "possible clients". There are both end users and agencies that pay reasonable rates for a job well done.

One thing you can do is go through the BlueBoard and identify clients that are well rated and contact them directly. It seems to me that as a general rule, clients that are well rated on the BlueBoard tend to be better managed and pay better fees.

[Edited at 2015-08-12 19:31 GMT]


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:41
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
A good Blue Board does not mean a good rate Aug 13, 2015

I do not agree. A good Blue Board does not mean that an agency pays well. I know quite a few agencies with an average between 4,7 and 5 (and really lots of 5s even from European translators) which do not offer more than 0,05 €/source word for translation from French to German...

 

RosaPuerto
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much, guys!! Aug 14, 2015

I will really take into account all your comments!!
Thank you for all your answers and fingers crossedicon_smile.gif


 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:41
Dutch to English
+ ...
tips Aug 18, 2015

Hi Rosa,

First you need to improve your profile page:
'I consider myself to be good at time keeping' would read easier as 'I'm punctual' or 'I meet deadlines', etc. Cut out 50% and put up some relevant translation information!

Secondly, forget the rubbish on pro.z. Contact agencies directly, (with a link to your pro.z page), offer to do a free translation test, or do some 'half-price' introductory work, because subsequently increasing rates is very hard, but you need experience. If you've got what it takes, you'll be fine.


 

Jenae Spry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:41
French to English
Good advice Sep 18, 2015

You have some good advice here. This is running a business and you have to figure out how to market yourself, create processes that work for you, and how to charge. Figure out what makes you special. In the end though, I tell the freelancers I coach all the time that figuring out what to charge isn't actually that hard. It's whatever rate you can get someone to actually pay you. If you think you're worth X but no one will pay it, you're not...either because you need to improve your quality, your marketing, your business practices or all of the above. One strategy is to set your rate and then give discounts as you acquire clients. This allows you at any time to tell them that you can no longer give them that discount as you grow your business while still having an income.

Best of luck and welcome!icon_smile.gif


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Keep looking for clients Sep 18, 2015

RosaPuerto wrote:
I am using the same rates that are published here in ProZ.com as I think they are quite good. However, all the "possible clients" are rejecting my offer because they think the rates I offer are too high.


You just have to keep on looking for clients that can afford you. Are you looking in the right places?

How many agencies have you sent your résumé to or for how many agencies have you filled in their online application forms?


 

Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:41
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
... Sep 20, 2015

Paulinho Fonseca wrote:
......In Brazil, a minimum rate would be USD 0.08.
....


Ideally, yes, yet funnily enough, every single Brazilian agency who approaches me these days offer me the AWESOME rate of USD 0.05, and tells me I should be content with the offer. HA!


 
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