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what to charge for short translation jobs
Thread poster: Luke Mersh

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:37
Spanish to English
Oct 29, 2015

Dear colleagues.

How do you determine what fee to charge for short translation jobs.?

I look forward to receiving your comments and advice.
regards


 

VicYas  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:37
Russian to English
+ ...
It depends on the subject Oct 29, 2015

I would never take a very small job requiring a lot of work, even at my standard rates (for example, list of abbreviations or a complicated legal document of 200 words), except for my permanent customers.
In all other cases, I would charge my standard rate.

[Edited at 2015-10-29 11:51 GMT]


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:37
Chinese to English
25 USD plus exceptions Oct 29, 2015

Luke Mersh wrote:

Dear colleagues.

How do you determine what fee to charge for short translation jobs.?

I look forward to receiving your comments and advice.
regards


I would tell your clients you have a flat minimum fee you use for short jobs under a certain word count (200 or 250 words--this really depends on what makes sense with your usual fee). Mine is 25 USD. You also may want to explain that this fee is for certain kinds of minimum jobs only (no formatting required, non-technical, not a list of obscure terms, etc.), and that you reserve the right to charge a higher price for documents that will require more time on your part.

I know some others' minimum fees are higher than 25 USD, but my reasoning is that I don't want to scare away clients who have a job that really will only take 20 or 30 minutes to complete. On the other hand, I'm sure you've already found that some 'minimum' jobs take far longer than you'd think to complete. My personal albatross are graduation certificates, which seem to take at least twice as long as I initially think.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You need a minimum charge Oct 29, 2015

No business will should invoice for a few cents, or even just a few euros/dollars. The invoicing process itself takes some time, as does the bookkeeping associated with that invoice and of course there's always the worry that you'll have to spend yet more time chasing payment. So it is simply uneconomic.

What should that minimum be? Up to you to choose. I think quite a few of us think that the smallest job should bring in the equivalent of an hour's income, even if we spend less time on the job. In my case, that's EUR 30. From time to time I waive it, reducing it to a half-hour. But only if I feel that there's a good business or personal reason for doing so.

I personally also have a second smaller minimum charge, for a small job done for a regular client. Some of them give me many jobs throughout the month, some fairly large, others really quite small. If the paperwork can be kept to a minimum, i.e. just a single exchange of emails with a single Word file attached, then my own systems can handle the admin very efficiently. At the end of the month I simply transfer the one-line entries from my Excel spreadsheet to the invoice. Of course, the invoice must total EUR 30 at least, but each individual line can be for as little as EUR 7.50, representing 15 minutes' work. This prevents regular clients looking elsewhere because I'm effectively be overcharging on everything but larger jobs.


 

Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:37
Member (2015)
German to English
A minimum charge absolutely Oct 29, 2015

My minimum fee is for half-an-hours work, which generally covers most small jobs.

It can, of course, backfire but you can mainly get an idea of what you are getting yourself into by looking closely at the document beforehand.

Never accept a job unseen. Always give a tentative quote with the right to amend after viewing the document.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:37
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This is what works for me: Oct 29, 2015

Whether it's 5 words or 100:

Private individuals (not companies): $100.00
New companies (or companies that only send small jobs): $75.00 - $100.00
Standard minimum for companies (that also send me other non-minimum jobs): $50.00
Companies that pay quickly and send lots of non-minimum jobs: $35.00
Minimum for small follow-up jobs to a large project I translated: $20.00

Never work for free:
http://www.salon.com/2015/10/28/wil_wheaton_is_right_stop_expecting_artists_to_work_for_free_or_worse_exposure/

[Edited at 2015-10-29 14:18 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Minimum charge Oct 29, 2015

I agree with the others - a minimum charge should be applied. I would not turn up my nose at small, seemingly insignificant jobs; they could lead to large, significant jobs!

 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:37
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Minimum fee Oct 29, 2015

I charge USD 35.00 domestic and USD 100.00 outside of the US. Regular clients of mine get their small jobs done for free.

 

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:37
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
thank you Oct 29, 2015

Dear colleagues.
Many thanks for all your comments and advice.
I now have a better idea of where to start.
If you have any other comments or suggestions then please post them too.


 

Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:37
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What Sheila said Oct 30, 2015

basically, but not as a fixed rule.

New client that wants a 200 words power of attorney translated: around €50 and advance payment.

Long-term client that sends a few thousand words every month: one invoice at the end of the month on a per word basis.

Sometimes a long-term client goes almost quiet for a few months and just sends a few hundred words each month. What to do with this one? Obviously this clients expects to be charged as in the old days.

Another common situation is that of a new agency that is promising tons of jobs but for the time being is just sending crappy little things. Again they expect you to accept their promises and invoice them on a per word basis. Will they keep up their promises?


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:37
Member (2014)
English to German
Minimum charge Oct 30, 2015

1 hour is my minimum however:

I don't apply it to first jobs from new customers
I offer monthly accounts with a minimum entry of 5 Euro

But I do have to be quite firm on that, some agencies always push I feel - expecting to be charged for 23 words only, asking for translation of individual phrases in a text and then expecting to be charged for only these words (while I have to read the whole text to make sense of it), no payment for 100% matches, could you do us a favour and just translate this sentence ...

And that's just the last 2 weeks!icon_smile.gif


 

Stepan Konev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:37
English to Russian
$0.5 Oct 30, 2015

In my practice, I have a client who deals with localization. Usually they give me a big piece of translation first and then they send me what I call 'aftermath translations' – little fractions that may include 12 to 48 words. Because their major assignments are worthy of that, I accept their minor requests for normal rate. If it is 2 dollars, then ok, it's 2 dollars. If it is 0.3 dollars, then ok, it is 0.3 dollars. And so on.
In fact, I don't even mind if they did not pay for such aftermath fractions at all, but they insist.
However this only applies to one particular (strategically important) client.

So... it may depend...

[Edited at 2015-10-30 20:27 GMT]


 

clairemcn
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:37
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
Minimum charge Nov 1, 2015

I have a minimum charge because you still have to do all the admin relating to the job (creating invoices, e-mailing back and forth). I do sometimes make exceptions for very regular clients.

 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:37
Member (2014)
English to German
Yes, Nov 1, 2015

but for very regular clients I send a monthly invoice and I just add small jobs (minimum Euro 5) to the invoice, or I add 'Euro 0' - so that they know they got a freebieicon_smile.gif

 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Let me be original Nov 2, 2015

Minimum rate!

 
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