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Finnish to english etc., heavily underpaid, by around 50%
Thread poster: Hannele Marttila

Hannele Marttila  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
Member (2011)
Finnish to English
+ ...
Jul 6

Due to the fact that finnish does not have articles and preposition and has multiple compounds, translations paid on source word are very poorly rewarded. Payment should be based on number of characters, not on number of words. I can earn 50-60% more translating, for example, from danish to english than from finnish to english. Conversely, english to finnish is an ok gig... any views?

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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Just charge a different rate for Finnish Jul 6

All of the Finnish translators I work with (and I work with a lot!) charge either a much higher rate per source Finnish word, or they charge a more "usual" rate per target English word.

To be honest I find it a bit strange that you would charge the same amount per Finnish word as you would per Danish word. And charging per character seems like it would put off a lot of clients. You might end up confusing them or making them think they are being cheated or something, and then they choose another translator, even though the other translator is charging per word what would essentially work out to be the same price as your per-character quote. As a Finnish translation buyer myself, I would be put off by that kind of quote, but I'm very accustomed to hearing extremely high rates per source Finnish word and would never expect to get a quote anywhere near the prices I am offered for Danish work.

Just my thoughts, for what they're worth.


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:57
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
'Community rates' Jul 6

Angela Rimmer wrote:

All of the Finnish translators I work with (and I work with a lot!) charge either a much higher rate per source Finnish word, or they charge a more "usual" rate per target English word.

...

As a Finnish translation buyer myself, I would be put off by that kind of quote, but I'm very accustomed to hearing extremely high rates per source Finnish word and would never expect to get a quote anywhere near the prices I am offered for Danish work.


I have no direct experience with FI>EN and DA>EN, however, after reading your post I did a quick search and found the results quite interesting, since the ProZ community rates in those pairs are respectively €0.13 and €0.12 per word. On another platform, the rate distribution between the two pairs is also very similar, with the rates charged by the largest groups of translators in the two pairs (those living in the country where the language is spoken) being exactly the same (€0.13).


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Per-word rate should be a reflection of the average time taken Jul 6

I only ever translate from French to English so I don't have this problem.

But I charge a particular per-word rate because I know from experience that that will give me what I want/need to earn per hour. On occasions, normally for very straightforward and repetitive texts - where it's been in my interests not to charge a higher rate - I've charged less per word. On the other hand, whenever a regular client persuades me to translate a contract or anything else outside of my normal areas, I charge more per word because it will take me longer. So if I added another pair to my service offer, I certainly wouldn't necessarily apply the same word rate.

I would never offer a client a per-word rate for editing an unseen text, for the same reason.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:57
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
I know that problem myself Jul 6

When a new client asks for my word rate for Finnish source, I tell them that 1000 Finnish words will result in about 1350 German words, so my word rate is accordingly higher than for German source. But most of the time I don't hear from them anymore. When ever possible I quote a total sum based on the fact that in German the text volume will grow by 5-40 percent.

Many clients are unexperienced and have strange believes concerning word rates in any case.


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Hannele Marttila  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
Member (2011)
Finnish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My comments - Thank you all for replying Jul 6

Most agencies and clients believe a word is a word is a word.
Angela, yes I agree that charging for character does not work although this would sort the problem. Yes, the rate for fin to eng should be much higher than the otherway around or, e.g. dan to eng, but as Mirko pointa out, proz.com reported fees for example do not reflect this.
Here's an example (particularly legal and financial translations that have a lot of triple or quadruple compounds):

2000 fin to eng, result 3500 eng words, paid 2000 x 0.14, 280
3200 dan to eng, result 3500 eng words, paid 3200 x 0.14, 448.

Fin to eng, plus 50-60%, dan to eng, plus ca 10%

Hhhmmmmm


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
A few considerations Jul 6

To me, it seems obvious that the word rate must reflect the general medium length of the words in a particular language. You cannot use the same word rate for e.g. Finnish, German and French/English. At the end of the day, no doubt your income must be the same, whether you translate from Finnish or whatever other language.

Regarding charging by characters (or by line) maybe not everyone knows that in German speaking countries, this is still very common and years ago, it was the only way to charge for translations (of course in this case we are speaking of the target text).


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Simples Jul 6

Danish also has compounds and far fewer articles...

Why don't you just translate more from Danish if it pays more?

But otherwise I agree with Angela.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:57
French to English
Charge more Jul 6

The skill of translation requires the translation of ideas from one language into another. Work out what hourly rate you want to achieve and how many Finnish words that means and increase your rate accordingly.

I am familiar with the fact that it is (was?) not unusual in Germany to charge per character. I also came across this over 20 years ago in France too from time to time.

Good luck with adapting and adjusting your rate.


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
community rates are not relevant Jul 7

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Angela Rimmer wrote:

All of the Finnish translators I work with (and I work with a lot!) charge either a much higher rate per source Finnish word, or they charge a more "usual" rate per target English word.

...

As a Finnish translation buyer myself, I would be put off by that kind of quote, but I'm very accustomed to hearing extremely high rates per source Finnish word and would never expect to get a quote anywhere near the prices I am offered for Danish work.


I have no direct experience with FI>EN and DA>EN, however, after reading your post I did a quick search and found the results quite interesting, since the ProZ community rates in those pairs are respectively €0.13 and €0.12 per word. On another platform, the rate distribution between the two pairs is also very similar, with the rates charged by the largest groups of translators in the two pairs (those living in the country where the language is spoken) being exactly the same (€0.13).


Most of the time, community rates are meaningless. Community rates are the rates the translators wish they had.
On PROZ, if a translator indicates a range like 0.06-0.12, the rate taken into account to calculate the community rate will be 0.12. But I guess the actual rate the translator usually gets is 0.06...Just a guess...

Community rates are a complete mystery to me: for instance, are rates for GER>FR and SPANISH>FR the same (0.12) as the PROZ community rates suggest? I simply doubt it because most of the Spanish into French SEASONED AND really bilingual translators accept rates as low as 0.05-0.06

One more example: let's have a look at community rates for HINDI



Hindi $0.10/wd $0.08/wd $33.33/hr $24.08/hr 11
Hindi to Bengali $0.08/wd $0.09/wd $22.19/hr $17.75/hr 19
Hindi to English $0.10/wd $0.08/wd $34.01/hr $25.38/hr 612
Hindi to French $0.10/wd $0.07/wd $33.36/hr $29.80/hr 20
Hindi to German $0.07/wd $0.05/wd $29.50/hr $21.10/hr 12
Hindi to Gujarati $0.08/wd $0.06/wd $26.65/hr $19.35/hr 21
Hindi to Marathi $0.08/wd $0.08/wd $33.38/hr $25.71/hr 15
Hindi to Nepali $0.10/wd $0.06/wd $21.64/hr $13.33/hr 13
Hindi to Panjabi $0.08/wd $0.06/wd $30.52/hr $24.16/hr 23
Hindi to Russian $0.12/wd $0.07/wd $35.44/hr $27.40/hr 15
Hindi to Telugu $0.09/wd $0.06/wd $38.04/hr $26.15/hr 11
Hindi to Urdu $0.09/wd $0.06/wd $34.19/hr $24.47/hr 15

I wonder why Indian translators regularly complain on the forum about low rates
(1-1.5 rupees per word)!

Community rates are a wild dream.


[Modifié le 2017-07-07 08:01 GMT]


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:57
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
You might find my recent article interesting Jul 7

Tried to insert a link, doesn't work for some reason - it's called "Let's count 2 - converting rates" and you will find it under "Articles". The difference between lenght of text and number of words per page in various languages, and impact thereof on rate calculation is discussed there (among other).

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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
On community rates Jul 7

David GAY wrote:

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Angela Rimmer wrote:

All of the Finnish translators I work with (and I work with a lot!) charge either a much higher rate per source Finnish word, or they charge a more "usual" rate per target English word.

...

As a Finnish translation buyer myself ... I'm very accustomed to hearing extremely high rates per source Finnish word and would never expect to get a quote anywhere near the prices I am offered for Danish work.


I have no direct experience with FI>EN and DA>EN, however, after reading your post I did a quick search and found the results quite interesting, since the ProZ community rates in those pairs are respectively €0.13 and €0.12 per word. On another platform, the rate distribution between the two pairs is also very similar, with the rates charged by the largest groups of translators in the two pairs (those living in the country where the language is spoken) being exactly the same (€0.13).


Most of the time, community rates are meaningless.


I agree, I generally don't give much stock to community rates. For my own main language pair the community rates on ProZ are really quite low, although I do know translators who charge within the range given. Outside of community rate, for DA I have seen quotes ranging from EUR 0.09 to EUR 0.14 (I suppose that would reflect the community rate), but for FI I have worked with translators charging anywhere from EUR 0.14 to EUR 0.20. With some translators I have other arrangements because the work is regular, easy and quick, but special agreements notwithstanding, those are the sorts of rates I have generally seen when perusing the market for DA/FI into EN, and that is the sort of difference I would expect to see between the two language pairs. But I suppose everyone's experience is different.


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:57
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
I agree, but not "irrelevant" Jul 7

David GAY wrote:

Most of the time, community rates are meaningless. Community rates are the rates the translators wish they had.
On PROZ, if a translator indicates a range like 0.06-0.12, the rate taken into account to calculate the community rate will be 0.12. But I guess the actual rate the translator usually gets is 0.06...Just a guess...


As per subject, I agree they are "meaningless" (actually, I would say 'unreliable'), as in 'not reflecting the real rates every (or most) translator(s) is(/are) working at', but I believe they aren't "irrelevant" in this specific case. On the contrary, if, as you say, they are "the rates the translators wish they had", and if "the rate taken into account to calculate the community rate" (the "standard" one?) is the one at the upper limit, then it should still reflect, and in excess on top of that, the difference in rates between pairs. In other words, if the common sentiment held by those who work in that pair is that FI-EN should be paid much more than DA-EN, and if community rates are nothing but the 'wishful thinking' of those who work in those pairs, as you're saying, then FI-EN should still reflect this (compared to DA-EN), and then some, while it doesn't, so that doesn't seem to add up.

I also mentioned the rates reported on another translators' platform (or should I say "THE other"?), and there, the average rate reported by the largest sample of translators in both pairs (around 130 in both cases) is the same. However, the representation given there is IMO much more interesting, as it also offers a geographical and per rate-band breakdown.

E.g.

Considering the two extremes (rates in $):

FI>EN
0.23 from 4 translators in Canada
(0.13 from 122 translators in Finland, 30 in the UK and 22 in the US)
0.05 from 4 translators in Estonia

DA>EN
0.15 from 7 translators in Canada
(0.13 from 128 translators in Denmark, 0.12 from 61 in the US and 0.11 from 55 in the UK)
0.08 from 6 translators in India

Statistically irrelevant, but IMO interesting nonetheless.

Also, David, please note that, according to the definition given by ProZ itself, community rates are "the average rates reported by ProZ.com's community of freelance translators and translation companies". This muddles things even more (and should push averages even higher, if anything), but that's how it is...


Community rates are a complete mystery to me: for instance, are rates for GER>FR and SPANISH>FR the same (0.12) as the PROZ community rates suggest? I simply doubt it because most of the Spanish into French SEASONED AND really bilingual translators accept rates as low as 0.05-0.06


OK, but the "minimum rate" mentioned for ES>FR is 0.07, and considering that, as I was saying above, averages supposedly also take into account the rates charged by agencies... (however 5/6 cents is quite crazy, IMHO)

However, I completely subscribe to your "community rates are a complete mystery to me", and IMHO ProZ definitely isn't doing anything to make that feature more transparent, realistic and, well... useful (even the "Field of expertise" option doesn't seem to do much...). Looking at the sample size for FI-EN and DA-EN, it's exactly the same (485). That's weird...


One more example: let's have a look at community rates for HINDI


Hindi $0.10/wd $0.08/wd $33.33/hr $24.08/hr 11
Hindi to Bengali $0.08/wd $0.09/wd $22.19/hr $17.75/hr 19
Hindi to English $0.10/wd $0.08/wd $34.01/hr $25.38/hr 612
Hindi to French $0.10/wd $0.07/wd $33.36/hr $29.80/hr 20
Hindi to German $0.07/wd $0.05/wd $29.50/hr $21.10/hr 12
Hindi to Gujarati $0.08/wd $0.06/wd $26.65/hr $19.35/hr 21
Hindi to Marathi $0.08/wd $0.08/wd $33.38/hr $25.71/hr 15
Hindi to Nepali $0.10/wd $0.06/wd $21.64/hr $13.33/hr 13
Hindi to Panjabi $0.08/wd $0.06/wd $30.52/hr $24.16/hr 23
Hindi to Russian $0.12/wd $0.07/wd $35.44/hr $27.40/hr 15
Hindi to Telugu $0.09/wd $0.06/wd $38.04/hr $26.15/hr 11
Hindi to Urdu $0.09/wd $0.06/wd $34.19/hr $24.47/hr 15

I wonder why Indian translators regularly complain on the forum about low rates
(1-1.5 rupees per word)!


Look at the size of those samples, David. They are statistically irrelevant (with HI>DE being particularly baffling), save perhaps for HI>EN. The rates reported for EN>HI are the same, with an even bigger sample (846). But even so, if we were to apply the same reasoning to the pairs this thread is about, we would come to the same conclusions I was talking about in the first part of this post... That is to say, they should be much higher... otherwise we should come to the conclusion that the 'average' FI>EN translator aspires to €0.13 per word, while actually getting what? €0.06 or less?

And in the end, even if those rates were totally accurate (and only concerned translators), they would still be just simple averages, not taking into account the experience/reliability/trustworthiness/etc. of those reporting them.

Again, "a complete mystery"...



Edited rates

[Edited at 2017-07-07 12:56 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Leonard Nimoy turning in his grave Jul 7

Christel Zipfel wrote:

To me, it seems obvious that the word rate must reflect the general medium length of the words in a particular language. You cannot use the same word rate for e.g. Finnish, German and French/English. At the end of the day, no doubt your income must be the same, whether you translate from Finnish or whatever other language.


I agree, but ProZ has taught me that most translators have only the most tenuous grasp of logic and severely limited business sense.

Hence all those on here who charge different hourly rates for different languages - wtf?


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
Supply and demand Jul 7

Chris S wrote:

Christel Zipfel wrote:

To me, it seems obvious that the word rate must reflect the general medium length of the words in a particular language. You cannot use the same word rate for e.g. Finnish, German and French/English. At the end of the day, no doubt your income must be the same, whether you translate from Finnish or whatever other language.


I agree, but ProZ has taught me that most translators have only the most tenuous grasp of logic and severely limited business sense.

Hence all those on here who charge different hourly rates for different languages - wtf?

The supply and demand is not the same for each pair (by far)...

[Modifié le 2017-07-07 11:31 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-07 11:49 GMT]


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Finnish to english etc., heavily underpaid, by around 50%

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