Markup of services?
Thread poster: Giovanna Butera

Giovanna Butera
United States
Oct 31, 2015

Good evening everybody, I am a student in T&I.
I am in search of help for an assignment for my class.
I have been asked to obtein 3 samples of service markup.
Can anybody here tell me what their markup percentage is?
Thank you very much for your help.


Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:25
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
since most of the people here are end-point translator... Nov 2, 2015

We don't but a service and resell it

we are the people that actually translate it..
In the rare cases we outsource something to another translator we normally give them the full fee, or perhaps we keep 10-15% for a final proofing...

However translation agencies mark up the price with 60-100%
so on average if we charge 0.10 per word , the agency will sell it between 0.16 and 0.20

Smaller agencies (that may be even in between the above agency and the translator)
take it from 0.10 to 0.12 - 0.14 perhaps..

So I'm afraid you're looking in the wrong place



Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:25
English to French
+ ...
"sample of service markup"?? Really? Nov 2, 2015

What exactly is a "sample of service" anyway?

And, like Edward wrote, since markup applies to a resale, you are asking the wrong crowd. Translators are service providers, nothing to re-sell here.

[quote]Giovanna Butera wrote:

I have been asked to obtein 3 samples of service markup.


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:25
German to English
Composition of markup Nov 2, 2015

While agree with my colleagues that translators are probably not the best source of information regarding "markup", perhaps I can share some insights acquired during the time I've been translating.

A full-service agency with a large clientele does more than act only as an intermediary between an end client and a translator; that is, there's more to it than just paper-pushing. In addition to in-house project managers who handle the document workflow, there are also editors (including proofreaders, etc.) – frequently freelancers – who review the translation, desktop publishing operators (either in-house or freelance) and other personnel who handle documents. All of these services have to be paid for, and are frequently charged to the customer in the per-word price (that is, some of these services are itemized). There are also organizational expenses to be covered: accountants, sales force (account managers), general secretarial help, including vendor management (i.e. managing/recruiting freelancers and other service providers). Office overhead is another factor in the markup: software, cost of Internet (including e-mail, web hosting, website creation), rent, telephones, other utilities, such as electricity and heat, general office expenses such as maintaining office equipment, office supplies. Whatever is left over after all these (and other) expenses is the owner's profit, which is also included in the "markup".

If, for example, an agency pays a translator 10 cents per word, but charges the end client 20 cents per word (or more), the difference doesn't necessarily all go into the agency owner's pocket.


TranslateThis  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
one recent example Nov 2, 2015

Small translation (one page)
Translator: $35
Proofreader: $15
Minimum fee charged by the translation agency: $150


Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:25
English to French
+ ...
Sample? Nov 3, 2015

I'm still troubled by the use of the word "sample" in the assignment. That word is quite different from what has been discussed here, which are "examples" of markup.

This being (reportedly) an assignment from a translation class, one might expect words to be carefully chosen.

I wonder whether some context may be missing.


Giovanna Butera
United States
Thank you Nov 6, 2015

Thank you everybody for your help


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