Trend? Normal rates only apply to short projects, and all ongoing "volume" projects have low rates?
Thread poster: mercuryseeker
United States
Apr 28

For the past few years I have been seeing the following trends going on in the translation industry, and I would like to know, is this just what I am personally seeing, or is everyone seeing these same trends? Please let me know if you are seeing the same things.

There are several aspects to what I am seeing.

1. It is still possible to get work at good rates, namely appropriate rates that you feel good to work for, and are happy to work for that rate. However, what I have seen is that this is tending to be for temporary projects that are random and not necessarily ongoing... some good clients still pay good rates, but you never know when they will show up with this good paid work, or it may be a low number of hours per week that you can secure work for these good, appropriate rates. Also, what I am seeing is that the majority of clients will reject these appropriate rates in favor for getting some cheap translation elsewhere for a rate to which I would never agree. So getting more work at the "good" rates seems like a difficult thing in the present climate.

2. Almost all ongoing projects with regular work want significant discounts, aka they want you to work for 2/3 or 1/2 of the "good, appropriate rates" above (or even less, which is not to even be considered), and if you reject that they won't hire you. Most of this work is for large corporate clients. So basically to get the ongoing work, you have to agree to a rate that makes you feel exploited, and spend the majority of your time doing the low-paid work, because you can't count on there being enough good-rate work to be available so that you can make a decent living. This also applies to jobs that may have a decent rate but the amount of work involved makes the hourly rate end up being too low.

So basically what I'm seeing here is that it seems like you can't expect to get paid a good rate for all your work? And that the only way to survive is to work these low-paid jobs? I don't want it to be this way but I'm starting to wonder if everyone is surviving using this method nowadays, and this is just what you have to do to survive, instead of holding out hope that you will get 40 hrs of work a week for the good rates. And I'm saying this as a person who has been freelancing in this industry for a long time. I have consistently rejected accepting low rates since I began in this business in order to not degrade the price structure, and it galls me to accept work at these rates, and I want to say no to every single one of them (and still have said no to the majority of them). But, I also have to survive.

I would be interested to hear your comments about whether you are seeing this same trend, and whether this is just what people have to do now if you are a translator.

[Edited at 2017-04-29 07:07 GMT]

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Trend? Normal rates only apply to short projects, and all ongoing "volume" projects have low rates?

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