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0.07USD a word: Where does this sit, really?!
Thread poster: Inspectress

Inspectress
Ireland
Local time: 00:01
English to Irish
+ ...
Sep 25, 2015

Hi all,

I work in a niche language pair (English to Irish) as a freelance translator - I have another 'main' job so translation is a side earner for me, but it is something I really studied towards for a number of years.
I have recently received a couple of emails offering a rate of USD0.06 per word, and for other jobs it seems that if I quote over USD0.07 I won't get the gig. I recently agreed to a do an assignment for this rate of 0.07 purely because it was a large assignment and I needed the extra cash and I did it despite the deadline being incredibly tight and the document being of a quite technical nature.

I am just wondering if this rate is the reality on the ground for this and other language pairs?
I would have imagined that USD0.10 was the base rate.

Basically I am considering to just leave the industry as it isn't worth my while if this is going to be the going rate of pay, and on top of that to be expected to treat the assignments as urgent and operate in a very tight deadline for no extra monetary compensation.

I would love to hear what you guys have to say.


 

Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:01
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Other countries Sep 25, 2015

I just converted 0.07 USD into Brazilian reias and it is .29. I would be extremely lucky to get anything near that! The last job I did I got .22.

 

Inspectress
Ireland
Local time: 00:01
English to Irish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cost of living Sep 25, 2015

I live in an expensive country. If I had that rate and lived in Brazil I would be pleased too, but I live in a first world country as do the agencies assigning the translations. Additionally, a lot of the work is from the EU institutions.

 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 02:01
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Community Rates Sep 25, 2015

I highly recommend that you check the rates at:

ProZ > Tools > Community rates

That should give you a good idea of the rates in your language pair. Good luck!


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Very low! Sep 25, 2015

According to the community rates it should be standard €0.12/wd and minimum €0.09/wd. See http://search.proz.com/?sp=pfe/rates


[Edited at 2015-09-25 13:10 GMT]


 

Inspectress
Ireland
Local time: 00:01
English to Irish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sep 25, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

According to the community rates it should be standard €0.12/wd and minimum €0.09/wd (http://search.proz.com/employers/rates)...


That rate makes more sense for sure but when asked to by an agency and whenever I have quoted even 0.10 or as low as 0.09 I never hear back, with one agency who contacted me insisting on 0.06 which I of course refused.

I do wonder if there are other translators who have set the bar this low. I wonder how these community rates are determined?


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 06:01
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Diving rate Sep 25, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

According to the community rates it should be standard €0.12/wd and minimum €0.09/wd. See http://search.proz.com/?sp=pfe/rates


[Edited at 2015-09-25 13:10 GMT]


Price trends on web-based bidding jobs dive gradually. I set my own rate and ignore proposed rate of the customers/agencies.

Soonthon L.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That was not the question... Sep 25, 2015

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

According to the community rates it should be standard €0.12/wd and minimum €0.09/wd. See http://search.proz.com/?sp=pfe/rates


[Edited at 2015-09-25 13:10 GMT]


Price trends on web-based bidding jobs dive gradually. I set my own rate and ignore proposed rate of the customers/agencies.

Soonthon L.


The question was is this too low or not? In order to set one's own rate, one has to know what is the "market" rate...


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:31
English to Hindi
+ ...
It would depend on the type of translation Sep 25, 2015

Yours seems to be a minor pair. I don't think big businesses would be spending huge amounts of money in marketing their products in the Irish language, especially since most Irish understand English pretty well and can be effectively reached in UK English.

This can impact on the English-Irish translation rate both positively as well as negatively. Positively, because people opting to get something translated into Irish would understand the importance of the Irish language for their purpose and therefore would be prepared to pay a decent rate.

Negatively because, since not much money is being spent on marketing in Irish by big companies, there won't be much money (and work) in this pair which would shrink the rates.

Also, only certain niche-type products are likely to get translated into Irish, such as literature, cultural items, etc. These usually command premium rates if you can properly market yourself.

So a lot would depend on what type of translation you are referring to.

Looked at from another angle - the cost of living in Ireland, I would say 0.07 is certainly on the low side.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:01
English to German
+ ...
Doesn't sit well Sep 25, 2015

Inspectress wrote:

Hi all,

I work in a niche language pair (English to Irish) as a freelance translator - I have another 'main' job so translation is a side earner for me, but it is something I really studied towards for a number of years.
I have recently received a couple of emails offering a rate of USD0.06 per word, and for other jobs it seems that if I quote over USD0.07 I won't get the gig. I recently agreed to a do an assignment for this rate of 0.07 purely because it was a large assignment and I needed the extra cash and I did it despite the deadline being incredibly tight and the document being of a quite technical nature.

I am just wondering if this rate is the reality on the ground for this and other language pairs?
I would have imagined that USD0.10 was the base rate.

Basically I am considering to just leave the industry as it isn't worth my while if this is going to be the going rate of pay, and on top of that to be expected to treat the assignments as urgent and operate in a very tight deadline for no extra monetary compensation.

I would love to hear what you guys have to say.


It doesn't sit well. The base rate should be higher in any case. I see you are not a member here which means if anyone contacts you through the directory (if you are at all interested in that), they are probably looking for low rates. Not saying that others won't try or that there couldn't be any exceptions. But the likelihood ...


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:01
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Send those agencies a request for a quote Sep 25, 2015

as a prospective client and find out how much they bill their clients. Then you will know what to charge. Anything else is speculation.


Inspectress wrote:

Hi all,

I work in a niche language pair (English to Irish) as a freelance translator - I have another 'main' job so translation is a side earner for me, but it is something I really studied towards for a number of years.
I have recently received a couple of emails offering a rate of USD0.06 per word, and for other jobs it seems that if I quote over USD0.07 I won't get the gig. I recently agreed to a do an assignment for this rate of 0.07 purely because it was a large assignment and I needed the extra cash and I did it despite the deadline being incredibly tight and the document being of a quite technical nature.

I am just wondering if this rate is the reality on the ground for this and other language pairs?
I would have imagined that USD0.10 was the base rate.

Basically I am considering to just leave the industry as it isn't worth my while if this is going to be the going rate of pay, and on top of that to be expected to treat the assignments as urgent and operate in a very tight deadline for no extra monetary compensation.

I would love to hear what you guys have to say.


[Edited at 2015-09-25 15:13 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It probably isn't representative Sep 25, 2015

Inspectress wrote:
I have recently received a couple of emails offering a rate of USD0.06 per word, and for other jobs it seems that if I quote over USD0.07 I won't get the gig. I recently agreed to a do an assignment for this rate of 0.07 purely because it was a large assignment and I needed the extra cash and I did it despite the deadline being incredibly tight and the document being of a quite technical nature.

The problem for you here, on this site, is that you don't have any of the things that are going to bring you to the attention of the better jobs: paid membership, the "P" tag, KudoZ points, credentials, WWA, etc. What's happening is that the better jobs are being placed without you ever hearing of them. Those are the ones from direct clients or via specialised agencies, or at least those agencies who specialise in providing work for professional translators, accepting their rates in return for quality work.

The agencies who are offering peanuts often don't get their jobs from direct clients but rather act as intermediaries. A multinational "big name" agency lands the job, they sub-contract it to a smaller agency, who sub-contracts ..., until finally some PM runs around like a headless chicken until they find that one translator who's naïve or desperate enough to accept the now-crazy deadline and the peanuts that are left after all the others have taken their share.

That's not how any self-respecting career translator does business. And both are here on ProZ.com. It can be difficult starting out of course, but once you've been doing it for a while you start to build a solid client base and so become very much less reliant on finding jobs for the next day. I don't suppose you're having any luck building that base because you have so little availability (for work or marketing), so you remain at the mercy of these sharks. To be honest, freelance translation really isn't a suitable second job. It's something you need to dedicate yourself to, although when you're starting out it's always a good idea to have a part-time second job for a few months, to bring in a bit of steady income.


 

Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:01
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Assumption Sep 25, 2015

I do not live in Brazil. I too live in an expensive European country!! As you can see quite clearly.....

[Edited at 2015-09-25 16:15 GMT]


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:01
English to German
+ ...
Proz.com community rates Sep 25, 2015

Inspectress wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

According to the community rates it should be standard €0.12/wd and minimum €0.09/wd (http://search.proz.com/employers/rates)...


That rate makes more sense for sure but when asked to by an agency and whenever I have quoted even 0.10 or as low as 0.09 I never hear back, with one agency who contacted me insisting on 0.06 which I of course refused.

I do wonder if there are other translators who have set the bar this low. I wonder how these community rates are determined?


Determined by agencies and translators who decide to display their minimum, standard and hourly rates on their profile page. I think the calculated averages don't include those rates that are hidden from view on profile pages.

FYI:
See top of that page:

http://search.proz.com/?sp=pfe/rates


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Sep 25, 2015

English to Irish is an unusual pair because presumably most of it is done for Irish government bodies required by law to produce documents in both languages. That may force prices down, though the rates you're quoting are very low indeed. Maybe you should bypass the agencies and go straight to the end customer.

Also, it's easy to assume that market rates are low just because one or two customers say you're too expensive. Is this happening again and again, or just occasionally?

And you say some of the work is for EU institutions. Again, you can tender to them direct, though it's a hideously complicated process.

[Edited at 2015-09-25 16:48 GMT]


 
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