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How do you increase your rates when your government increases your taxes?
Thread poster: Sorana_M.
Sorana_M.
Romania
Local time: 09:01
English to Romanian
+ ...
Sep 7, 2016

My government is currently analyzing a proposition aiming to increase my health fund contribution from 5.5% to 8.9% and my pension fund contribution from a minimum of 10.5% to a minimum of 21.7%.

The truth about the rates offered for my language combinations has already been discussed (0.03 EUR/sw is considered fair, nobody cares about the community rates).

Will my clients flee if I explain this to them? I should triple my rates given the circumstances.

[Edited at 2016-09-07 09:08 GMT]


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Siegchen
Romania
Local time: 09:01
German to Romanian
+ ...
Change the client pool Sep 8, 2016

I focus on (external) clients who offer a decent rate per source word so I can live, not survive. I have 3 children I need to raise properly. Clients don't need to know my financial situation. I simply send CVs till I receive well paid work. Yes, the process is long, but it is the only way out.

PS: 0,03 euro/sw schould be the lowest rate in your pair.


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Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:01
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Great attitude Sep 8, 2016

Siegchen wrote:
Clients don't need to know my financial situation. I simply send CVs till I receive well paid work. Yes, the process is long, but it is the only way out.


Most importantly, I don't think most clients (at least ones who don't know who you are) CARE about your financial situation.

I don't think that's clients being inhumane. Rather, that's business reality. If your client tells you they've got a family to feed (and list 15 million other similar reasons), would you immediately offer them a discount? Chances are, you'll only offer a discount if the reason sits with you well, or to build relationship.

The economy is dwindling in most sectors, anyhow. We are facing downturns in the job market and many other areas - there's no denying that. That being said I truly am an advocate of "trying hard to get what you wish for". I truly believe if you work hard enough, it will pay off, even if the results are not immediate.

Good luck to all of us.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I sympathise with your problme, Sorana Sep 8, 2016

Siegchen wrote:
Clients don't need to know my financial situation. I simply send CVs till I receive well paid work. Yes, the process is long, but it is the only way out.

This is the way to go. No, probably your current clients won't accept a tripling of your rates, whatever the reason. In that rate range they are looking only at getting the cheapest possible translation, so why stay with you? But you could triple your rates and then find new clients willing to pay them. Of course, you need to live so maybe the best process for you would be:
1) Raise your rate (maybe less than triple!) for those clients who are not the easiest to deal with in one way or another; some will no doubt refuse so you'll have some time to spare for sending targeted proposals at your desired rate to agencies and direct clients; keep your better clients at the current rate for the time being to ensure continued income.
2) When you have at least one well-paying client, raise your rate somewhat for most others (maybe just keeping your very best client on the old rate); again, spend spare time contacting new clients.
3) Once a substantial amount of your income is at your desired rate, then all old clients must pay more or find someone else.

It might take a while to get to step 3, maybe 18 months or so, and it might take some investment in marketing training and tools/subscriptions/materials, but the goal should be reachable as long as you're offering a quality package to clients who value quality. Investment is something that many freelance translators overlook, but sensible investments of your time and money in your profession almost always pay off in one way or another.


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Sorana_M.
Romania
Local time: 09:01
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Point missed? Sep 8, 2016

I'm not talking about discounts or dwindling rates or even sending CVs and cover letters, filling in forms, creating profiles, completing tests and God knows what else.

I'm at 0.05 USD/sw, 0.03 EUR/sw respectively after 3,000 or more attempts at the abovementioned.

If that choking proposition gets accepted, how do I convince my clients that 0.05/0.03 is no longer valid for me?

LE: Thank you, Sheila.

[Edited at 2016-09-08 14:39 GMT]


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:01
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...


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What is the going rate? Sep 8, 2016

Siegchen wrote:

I focus on (external) clients who offer a decent rate per source word so I can live, not survive. I have 3 children I need to raise properly. Clients don't need to know my financial situation. I simply send CVs till I receive well paid work. Yes, the process is long, but it is.


Does EN-RO or vice versa pays as much as, for example NO-EN or SW-EN (or vice versa)?

There is a market where outsources are looking at the cost of living in certain countries. Unfair, I agree, but unfortunately reality.

[Edited at 2016-09-08 21:12 GMT]


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Sorana_M.
Romania
Local time: 09:01
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cost of living, damn it Sep 9, 2016

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

There is a market where outsources are looking at the cost of living in certain countries. Unfair, I agree, but unfortunately reality.

[Edited at 2016-09-08 21:12 GMT]


I have proven this reality in a previous thread of mine, it made me sick to the stomach to discover it. The minimum net wage here equals 207.74 EUR, which would cause you to starve to death if you attempted to live independently based on it.


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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:01
German to English
Listen to Sheila Sep 9, 2016

Sheila gave great advice.

I just wanted to add my personal experience. I have been working with one client for 9 years now - they were one of my very first clients. Over time I grew more experienced, added qualifications, etc., and got new clients at higher rates. There came a time when I realized that I needed to raise my rates for that long-time client. I raised them by about 40% (!) to bring them up to about the same level as my other clients (I would have needed to raise the prices by 50% to hit my current starting offer for new clients, but I figured 40% would be still be ok for me and might be more palatable to them than 50%).
However, I did so with the full knowledge that I might lose them. They made up about 10% of my freelance income, so a significant amount but not so much that I couldn't survive without it. In my e-mail, I told them how much I enjoyed working with them but that I hadn't raised my rates in over 7 years (at the time) and it was time. I told them I would understand if they decided to look for someone else but sincerely hoped we could continue working together.

They didn't bat an eye, and now they continue to be a great client to work with at rates that are almost the same as my newer clients.

The moral of the story is that it is possible to raise your rates significantly, but you have to be prepared to lose the client, and I think it will likely only work for clients with whom you have an excellent history.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 08:01
English to Croatian
+ ...
Typical scenario. Sep 9, 2016

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

They didn't bat an eye, and now they continue to be a great client to work with at rates that are almost the same as my newer clients.



I would like to add that strategies that work for German to English pair will not necessary work for Romanian. Typical scenario in a sense that we keep giving generic pieces of advice on the fora for all language pairs.

As for the OP: You shouldn't have worked for 0.03 in the first place, regardless of your taxes, low cost country or anything else. Either you or your colleagues. Now that you all did work for these rates indeed and dragged them down to the rock bottom, you have to take responsibility for this and suffer the consequences. I have no tips to share, it's been your own choice.

I personally would never work for those rates, there are always other kinds of jobs where you can earn more than that (can even be a cleaner - will earn more or the same, without having to have your head stuck to the computer screen all day long in one position).

[Edited at 2016-09-09 07:35 GMT]


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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:01
German to English
No generalization claim Sep 9, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

They didn't bat an eye, and now they continue to be a great client to work with at rates that are almost the same as my newer clients.



I would like to add that strategies that work for German to English pair will not necessary work for Romanian. Typical scenario in a sense that we keep giving generic pieces of advice on the fora for all language pairs.
[Edited at 2016-09-09 07:35 GMT]


The strategy is also unlikely to work for most German to English relationships. If you read the rest of my post, I said you have to be prepared to lose the client and it would probably only work with clients you have had excellent long-term relationships with.

I don't think the anecdote I told was specific to DE>EN but specific to a certain kind of client relationship, and you can have that in any language pair. I also think it would be strange if only those people would respond to posts who work in the same pair as the original poster - in some cases that makes sense (like: what are normal rates in my pair? or what area of specialization is in high demand in my pair?), but I don't believe that is one of those posts.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 08:01
English to Croatian
+ ...
Agree, however... Sep 9, 2016

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

They didn't bat an eye, and now they continue to be a great client to work with at rates that are almost the same as my newer clients.



I would like to add that strategies that work for German to English pair will not necessary work for Romanian. Typical scenario in a sense that we keep giving generic pieces of advice on the fora for all language pairs.
[Edited at 2016-09-09 07:35 GMT]


The strategy is also unlikely to work for most German to English relationships. If you read the rest of my post, I said you have to be prepared to lose the client and it would probably only work with clients you have had excellent long-term relationships with.

I don't think the anecdote I told was specific to DE>EN but specific to a certain kind of client relationship, and you can have that in any language pair. I also think it would be strange if only those people would respond to posts who work in the same pair as the original poster - in some cases that makes sense (like: what are normal rates in my pair? or what area of specialization is in high demand in my pair?), but I don't believe that is one of those posts.


I have heard about similar outcomes to yours on the fora before, always from people having German in their language combo.

I can also report my own experience to the OP: I have tried raising my rates with 5-10 different clients, and it never worked. I would even get a clear explanation from the client why it didn't work: because they have an army of people in my language pair offering their service at 0.03 (allegedly certified and qualified people).

The only time negotiating rates up worked, was with direct clients. But I don't think we are discussing them in this thread.


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Sorana_M.
Romania
Local time: 09:01
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cleaner??? Hardly. Sep 9, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

...there are always other kinds of jobs where you can earn more than that (can even be a cleaner - will earn more or the same, without having to have your head stuck to the computer screen all day long in one position).


If only my replies got approved sooner...

Not really. As a freelance translator, you can always choose whether to work part time or full time. As a cleaner, I don't think so. Earn more or the same? Sure, if I migrated to the UK or Italy just to work as a cleaner.

I have recently browsed several job offers where I'm located at this time. Haven't found any cleaner vacations, but there are several shop assistant vacations, and a shop assistant is someone who basically displays the merchandise in a shop and sells it. Full time positions, or even more than full time (meaning Saturdays and Sundays, too), wages between 1,000 and 1,500 lei/month, which means between 224.58 EUR and 336.88 EUR/month - net.

As for the legal proposition, it seems that the initiator got upset over the media disclosing the details far too soon and now the Finance Minister is denying its content. People have already started to protest against it.

It is a time of economic and financial instability in my country, as Parliamentary elections will be held at the end of the year, so each party is trying to draw voters close by initiating law projects and submitting propositions targeting the vulnerable categories - children and pensioners in the first place, regardless of the havoc they cause.

I do not know how this will end for me, but I have decided not to wait for them to make up their mind and finally close down my business, I have been thinking this over for quite some time now, but ended up giving in to emotional influences. They implemented the first modification affecting my business on January 1st, 2016, so the seed of doubt had already been planted.

I will be filing my close down request on Monday.

Good luck to you all, I'm so fed up with fighting the system.



[Edited at 2016-09-09 08:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-09-09 08:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-09-09 09:48 GMT]


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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:01
German to English
Interesting observation Sep 9, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

They didn't bat an eye, and now they continue to be a great client to work with at rates that are almost the same as my newer clients.



I would like to add that strategies that work for German to English pair will not necessary work for Romanian. Typical scenario in a sense that we keep giving generic pieces of advice on the fora for all language pairs.
[Edited at 2016-09-09 07:35 GMT]


The strategy is also unlikely to work for most German to English relationships. If you read the rest of my post, I said you have to be prepared to lose the client and it would probably only work with clients you have had excellent long-term relationships with.

I don't think the anecdote I told was specific to DE>EN but specific to a certain kind of client relationship, and you can have that in any language pair. I also think it would be strange if only those people would respond to posts who work in the same pair as the original poster - in some cases that makes sense (like: what are normal rates in my pair? or what area of specialization is in high demand in my pair?), but I don't believe that is one of those posts.


I have heard about similar outcomes to yours on the fora before, always from people having German in their language combo.

I can also report my own experience to the OP: I have tried raising my rates with 5-10 different clients, and it never worked. I would even get a clear explanation from the client why it didn't work: because they have an army of people in my language pair offering their service at 0.03 (allegedly certified and qualified people).

The only time negotiating rates up worked, was with direct clients. But I don't think we are discussing them in this thread.


That's an interesting observation about those involved with German being able to raise rates easier than others. To be clear, I was also talking about a direct client and assume (hope?) the OP also has a few of them.

It would be an interesting but separate post to ask people who have attempted to raise rates signficantly with clients in the past whether it worked and also ask which language pair and whether they were direct clients or agencies. I'm guessing you're much more likely to have success with direct clients, but I wouldn't think it would be *that* highly correlated to the language pair. If it is, that would raise further questions about possible cultural differences, I think!


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 08:01
English to Croatian
+ ...
Trends in the language pair, not the language pair itself. Sep 9, 2016

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

They didn't bat an eye, and now they continue to be a great client to work with at rates that are almost the same as my newer clients.



I would like to add that strategies that work for German to English pair will not necessary work for Romanian. Typical scenario in a sense that we keep giving generic pieces of advice on the fora for all language pairs.
[Edited at 2016-09-09 07:35 GMT]


The strategy is also unlikely to work for most German to English relationships. If you read the rest of my post, I said you have to be prepared to lose the client and it would probably only work with clients you have had excellent long-term relationships with.

I don't think the anecdote I told was specific to DE>EN but specific to a certain kind of client relationship, and you can have that in any language pair. I also think it would be strange if only those people would respond to posts who work in the same pair as the original poster - in some cases that makes sense (like: what are normal rates in my pair? or what area of specialization is in high demand in my pair?), but I don't believe that is one of those posts.


I have heard about similar outcomes to yours on the fora before, always from people having German in their language combo.

I can also report my own experience to the OP: I have tried raising my rates with 5-10 different clients, and it never worked. I would even get a clear explanation from the client why it didn't work: because they have an army of people in my language pair offering their service at 0.03 (allegedly certified and qualified people).

The only time negotiating rates up worked, was with direct clients. But I don't think we are discussing them in this thread.


That's an interesting observation about those involved with German being able to raise rates easier than others. To be clear, I was also talking about a direct client and assume (hope?) the OP also has a few of them.

It would be an interesting but separate post to ask people who have attempted to raise rates signficantly with clients in the past whether it worked and also ask which language pair and whether they were direct clients or agencies. I'm guessing you're much more likely to have success with direct clients, but I wouldn't think it would be *that* highly correlated to the language pair. If it is, that would raise further questions about possible cultural differences, I think!


There seem to be trends of amount of people willing to work for rock bottom rates in each language pair (the reasons behind this may be related to mentality, costs of living, unemployment rate, etc - now this is a separate topic).

I just happened to notice they had German in their language pair (may have been a coincidence?).

Just yesterday, a local client ordered interpreting service from me (direct client). I proposed my rate, but the client said - no, I will give you XY (the client proposed a rate higher than mine, and mine was not a low rate!). I was thinking - why has this happened? Very simple answer - this client wants me to do my best at the conference, so they are offering an incentive. Rather than an agency or intermediary that just has their own margin in mind and nothing else, then keeps dragging the rate down.


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TalTranslations
United Kingdom
English to Hebrew
Why triple your rates? Sep 9, 2016

Sorana_M. wrote:

.... from 5.5% to 8.9% and my pension fund contribution from a minimum of 10.5% to a minimum of 21.7%.

.... I should triple my rates given the circumstances.



Hi Sorana,
I don't understand why you should Triple your rates if the total contribution will be about 30% instead of 16%.
If you raise your 0.03 euro rate to 0.035, your nett income will be about the same.

Most clients wouldn't have any problem with a raise of 0.03 to 0.035 eurocent.

Good luck.


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