Translation rate - language pair: English-Russian
Thread poster: Pavel Grebenkov

Pavel Grebenkov
Canada
Local time: 12:28
English to Russian
+ ...
Oct 18, 2016

Hi,

I'm not a full-time translator and all of the translation work I've done so far has come from clients who get referred to me by word of mouth. My day job is teaching ESL at a private language school, and my translation work is something I do on the side in my spare time.

Lately, however, I have been toying with the idea of finding an agency to work with. My prime concern at this point is to decide on a payment rate per word that would be fair, considering my rather amateurish experience and qualifications. My language pair is English-Russian.

I realize there are many determining factors involved (e.g. text complexity, area..etc), but I would just like to keep things simple for now and get a high-level, general picture of what would be a reasonable rate. So, if I'm being offered a rate of .08 $ per word, would that be something worth consideriing?


Thanks a lot!

[Edited at 2016-10-19 16:58 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:28
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Are you going to deliver amateurish work? Oct 20, 2016

Pavel Grebenkov wrote:
My prime concern at this point is to decide on a payment rate per word that would be fair, considering my rather amateurish experience and qualifications. My language pair is English-Russian.

http://search.proz.com/employers/rates gives a set of rates derived statistically from our profiles. In some pairs they are apparently not useful, in others they are.

Yes, rates do vary somewhat as a text that demands very specialised knowledge should be done only by a very experienced and specialised translator - who will no doubt charge more than a generalist. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that a beginner should charge rock-bottom prices. You may have experience as an amateur, but are you - as a professional translator - going to deliver amateurish work? I do hope not! If you're going to deliver quality, you should get paid the going rate. Your income per hour will be the one that's low. I remember timing my first-ever pro translation: by the time I dared to press the "send" button, I'd managed to process just 150 wph. I needed to do a lot more research, checking and rechecking my work, than I do now. The agency paid a reasonable rate and didn't complain about the quality, but I didn't get paid a lot of money for my time.


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Pavel Grebenkov
Canada
Local time: 12:28
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No, of course not! Oct 20, 2016

Thanks Sheila for your reply!

I'm sure you understood the sense in which I used the word "amateurish". It's the same difference as between a full-time professionally trained concert pianist and a pianno player with a day-time job who plays gigs once in a while. I do recognize that I'm not a professional translator, not in terms of my formal education, nor with regards to the years of experience, and certainly not with respect to knowing the ins and outs of the industry. I know I'm not there yet! I think it's a heathly way to start...with a little bit of self-awareness.

Having said this, I completely agree with you that quality work deserves quality pay, no matter the credentials of the author. But, as you noted in your descriptin of your first prof. translation job, having experience does make a difference in how effecient you are in your work, which bears directly on what your payment rate is actually worth. I know I'll have to ride the learning curve, and most likely there's going to be some splashing and thrashing along the way. What I don't want is to realise at some point that I'm getting paid a rate that is not even worth the effort. (There are non-material gains, of course...but that's a different issue altogether, I think). And I think this resonates with your statement that: "don't fall into the trap of thinking that a beginner should charge rock-bottom prices." I agree!

That also, however, implies that I must make a decision as to what would be an acceptable rate. For that I need information. That's why it's good to chat with professionals such as yourself. Thanks, Sheila!


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Translation rate - language pair: English-Russian

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