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How much can I increase my rate for urgent translation jobs from agencies with a short deadline
Thread poster: Teresa Woischiski

Teresa Woischiski  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:42
Member (Jul 2017)
English to German
+ ...
Jul 27, 2016

Good morning everyone,

I get a lot of jobs from my agencies lately, which require delivery after half a day or day and is a lot of work. How much can I higher my rate for those jobs? What is the norm? Is 3 cent/source word as raise too much? That would be, let's say, 11 cent, if my normal rate with them is 8 cent/word.

Thanks a lot,

Teresa


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
0.11 is still cheap! Jul 27, 2016

Just my opinion, but isn't 0.11 still a cheap rate?

I have a range of 5 cents, from cheapest for verbatim or survey responses, to most expensive technical documents, or handwritten, or urgent tasks.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:42
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A flat fee Jul 27, 2016

Hi Teresa,

raising your rate, actually charging an urgent delivery fee, per word could easily result in such a high invoice per project that the agencies might refuse to send you any future projects.

You could contact them to inform them that you will charge an urgency fee of, let's say, 10 - 20 or even 30% of the total amount. But do announce it.

Best,
Thayenga


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 19:42
English to Croatian
+ ...
Currency. Jul 27, 2016

DJHartmann wrote:

Just my opinion, but isn't 0.11 still a cheap rate?

I have a range of 5 cents, from cheapest for verbatim or survey responses, to most expensive technical documents, or handwritten, or urgent tasks.



I agree that this is not a high rate, but she is talking in euros and you are talking in - aussy dollars?

OP, I agree with Thayenga that you may try an urgency fee on the total sum, and that once you try this, there is a possibility you will just be replaced by another translator, unfortunately. Each time I tried this it didn't work, but perhaps it may be different in your language pair. It worked with direct clients though, and generally my own terms are much easier to apply with direct customers.


[Edited at 2016-07-27 06:17 GMT]


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:42
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Did you consider $0.11 a good rate or a cheap rate? Jul 27, 2016

DJHartmann wrote:

Just my opinion, but isn't 0.11 still a cheap rate?

I have a range of 5 cents, from cheapest for verbatim or survey responses, to most expensive technical documents, or handwritten, or urgent tasks.



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Teresa Woischiski  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:42
Member (Jul 2017)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot Jul 27, 2016

Thanks a lot everyone! I will think about it now and then see how or if I do it.
Yes, we are talking about German Euro.

Have a nice day,

Teresa


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 19:42
English to Croatian
+ ...
Direct clients. Jul 27, 2016

Actually, quite a number of my direct clients asked me beforehand: do you charge urgency fee?

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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:42
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Rush fees Jul 27, 2016

A number of Asian agencies expect rush work done without a rush fee. This is their business model.

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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Circumstances Jul 27, 2016

My answer is: It depends on the individual circumstances -- and, yes.

If you are sitting around with little or nothing to do (or a very loosely organized schedule), it may not be appropriate for you to charge "extra" for a request to translate (for example) 700 words some time in the next 4 hours. How you choose to proceed will depend on your relationship with the particular client, whether you will be or feel "rushed" to "squeeze in" the work, and whether it would be worth it for you (both financially and mentally) to accept the project.

However, IMHO the situation is more clear-cut if you have already arranged your schedule to accommodate other projects for the next 24-48 hours, and saying yes to the new inquiry/request would mean rearranging your schedule -- the situation most definitely changes if accepting the new project would mean completing it or other work into your "overtime" hours.

I do charge surcharges - 50-100% over my regular rate if I have to work overtime - but as others have pointed out, this often often causes me to "lose" the project and sometimes those clients don't contact me as often for other requests.

In my view, that's fine, because I have no desire to feel constantly pressured in my work and not get compensated accordingly - especially for small projects where the actual remuneration may end up being nominal. If I happen to discourage a few clients along the way from treating me like I am just waiting for them to drop projects in my lap so that I can pounce on them like a starved animal, that's also fine with me.


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
"A lot of work" Jul 27, 2016

I note your choice of words "a lot of work" and I just want to reiterate that I ALWAYS charge higher rates for any projects that require me to work beyond my normal office hours -- and that calculation may depend on my other work, not just the volume of the project offered.

For example, let's say I'm willing to accept 2,200 source words for a typical business day.

1) If the client contacts me at 2pm about a 2,200-word project due at 10am the next day - by the time the project is confirmed, there will only be 2-3 hours left in my business day, and 1 hour the next day to finalize everything - that is not the 8-hour+ business day I require, so I charge a higher rate.
2) If the client contacts me at 9am about a 2,200-word project due at 9am the next day and I would normally have enough time BUT in this case I have other work scheduled for the day - I will have to work overtime to complete both projects - so I charge a higher rate.
3) If the client contacts me at 9am about a 3,500-word project due at 9am the next day, that is a higher volume than I typically accept for a normal business day, so I charge a higher rate.

I apply this process because I want to work with professional clients who respect my time and my work, and who understand that if I am doing "extra work" or working overtime or on weekends, I expect to be compensated accordingly. There are plenty out there who do not understand this, and I don't mind if my process discourages them from working with me - but you will have to make up your own mind about this risk and proceed accordingly.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 00:12
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
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Follow your gut feeling Jul 27, 2016

There is no rule that you can follow in such matters. Your best guide would be your gut feeling. You should aim to maximise the benefits that any situation presents. If a client is hard-pressed and you are in a position to take advantage, there is nothing wrong in benefitting from his discomfiture. At the same time, you can also choose to be kind to him and help him out of his difficulty without applying any additional penalty on him, provided you don't yourself have to go through too much hardship in doing this. This may seem a free service to the client, but many clients will remember such kindness and reward you with a repeat job. At the same time, many might not, too, and take it as a routine thing that you are bound to do.

So it all depends on your reading of the situation, your relationship with your client, your own capacity to provide additional help, and your willingness to do so.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:42
Member (2007)
English
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"Discounts and surcharges may apply" Jul 27, 2016

My clients get told that at the outset. If they are reasonable with their deadlines 90% of the time then I'll happily waive rush fees. If they then come up with a whole wave of "immediate" jobs I warn them that I'll have to add a surcharge in future. This is justifiable when to meet their deadline you either have to eat into your down-time (hurried or skipped lunch, skipped coffee breaks, working earlier/later than normal...) or their job has to jump over others in the queue that have more flexible deadlines but that really need doing first.

I sometimes charge around 25%, sometimes 50%. Sometimes I simply say "Sorry, that's impossible for me. The earliest I can deliver is XYZ with a 50% surcharge, or ABC at my normal rate.". This is for when I'm up to my ears in work and other deadlines are looming. I usually hope they'll go away on this occasion and hate it when they accept the surcharge. Unfortunately that's what regular clients usually do. It's good that I get to keep them but bad for my stress levels. Happily though, a lot of the time they find the job isn't actually that urgent and it can wait until I can get round to it. And fortunately, poor clients who are totally disorganised and have made rash promises to their clients or publishers etc generally disappear at that point.


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Teresa Woischiski  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:42
Member (Jul 2017)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I see Jul 27, 2016

Thanks so much again for everyone. It is easier for me with private clients, as they somehow respect you more and are more up for paying "urgent delivery fees", or as some of you say, disappear, also good, as they do not appreciate your work.
Regarding agencies I am a bit scared now to announce that I would higher my rate for urgent deadlines, to be honest. I am quite new in the business and cannot afford to lose clients, especially agencies at that time of my career.

But: I cannot work that fast yet and basically therefore cannot take on a lot of urgent translations because it is still hard for me to cope with the urgent deadline matter as it causes stress and fear to not deliver right because of the time rush. Also a pity. So if I in that case would get paid more, at least this would be a reward for taking on extra hours. Otherwise it just does not feel right.

[Edited at 2016-07-27 08:41 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-07-27 08:42 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Try not to be scared Jul 27, 2016

Teresa Woischiski wrote:
Regarding agencies I am a bit scared now to announce that I would higher my rate for urgent deadlines, to be honest. I am quite new in the business and cannot afford to lose clients, especially agencies at that time of my career.

But: I cannot work that fast yet and basically therefore cannot take on a lot of urgent translations because it is still hard for me to cope with the urgent deadline matter as it causes stress and fear to not deliver right because of the time rush.

I can understand the fear of not delivering on time, and there's also the fear of the quality of your work dropping if you're overloaded. Those are real, well grounded fears that cause a lot of stress, as you say. Only you know how much stress you can cope with. I'm sure most if not all of us would say that a little is a good thing; but we all have limits, so you need to find out when to say "Stop!" to clients, in as diplomatic a way as possible.

You do need to work on overcoming your general fear of working with agencies, though. Many will take advantage of it unmercifully. Even slight timidity can be used as an invitation to them to start playing the role of boss, and the worst will take that a step further to become slave-drivers - and slaves can be given just enough to keep them alive. You may lose the worst ones if you start putting your foot down and being firm with them, but the better ones will actually respect you more for it. You don't have to become an awkward service supplier, just a "professional" one. Remember, you're a business owner (albeit a very small business) and you're doing business with another business, normally through one of their employees. It's actually an equal relationship, a collaboration, even if the playing-field is slightly tilted in their direction. You may not be in a position to throw your weight around, but you can - and should - demand their respect as an intellectual service supplier.

Sorry - that sounds a bit like a sermon. I think I'm showing my age.

[Edited at 2016-07-27 09:32 GMT]


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:42
Russian to English
+ ...
150-200% of regular rate. Jul 27, 2016

This is customary. For anything that does not give you an extra day after the work is completed. For checking, and things, billing.

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