Inexperienced translator, been asked how much I charge for translation and copywriting
Thread poster: Lukeh17

Lukeh17  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:56
German to English
+ ...
Sep 29, 2017

Hello,

I'm in the middle of my MA in Translation Studies and close to finishing a course in Copywriting. I want to do marketing translation DE/ESP-ENG and I emailed an agency. They have replied asking how much I charge for translation and the same for copywriting. However, I'm still acquiring knowledge about marketing by reading books etc. so I wondered whether to start with general business texts until I am/feel specialised.

As being a student in both areas, I have very little experience, which I made clear in the email. Therefore, I don't know how much to charge?

I looked at the rates on here and German-English was between 0.8-0.11 cents (Euros) and Spanish-English was 0.7-0.10 cents for marketing and general business. I don't want to do it for free obviously but I guess, I'm a bit nervous about taking the plunge and actually doing it for real! How much would you recommend?

Also with copywriting, I guess it would depend on the task e.g. there will be a huge difference between creating a leaflet compared to a brochure in terms of hours spent on the task. Again I still don't know how much to charge for these jobs though.

I appreciate these types are questions are asked all the time but would appreciate any advice.

Thank you

Luke

[Edited at 2017-09-29 09:54 GMT]


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:56
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Upper end of the scale ... Sep 29, 2017

.... is what you should ask for. If you quote less, you will probably never be able to raise it. More importantly to this forum, very few people here will be egging you on to work as a cut-rate translator, because they don't want to be asked to "proofread" beginners' translations afterwards for peanuts. I suspect you may already have raised a few hackles with your inferences.

Considering you're still more or less on the fringes of employment, you should also think about how you're going to get into it "for real", as you say, what with all the nasty bits - signing up for German tax, social security and whatever else there is over there.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Don't get trapped into low rates Sep 29, 2017

Lukeh17 wrote:
I looked at the rates on here and German-English was between 0.8-0.11 cents (Euros) and Spanish-English was 0.7-0.10 cents for marketing. I don't want to do it for free obviously but I guess, I'm a bit nervous about taking the plunge and actually doing it for real! How much would you recommend?

Those sound sensible rates to me personally. I charge EUR 0.12 per source word for French to English marketing texts and I find that too high for most of the really big volume-driven agencies. That's fine with me as I never enjoy their production-line type of experience. The smaller, more specialised translation agencies, communications and marketing agencies, and direct clients are all happy with the rate - so I'm happy too.

Bear in mind that you're charging for the deliverable when you charge per word. If you don't feel capable of producing an adequate translation at the moment, it would be better to just practise for your own benefit, or perhaps contribute to cloud-based pro-bono sites such as TED, where others can edit your work (for better or worse). If you do feel confident about the end product, then take the job for a "normal" rate. You will actually end up with a lower hourly rate of pay than a more experienced translator, as you'll spend more time checking everything. You could also pay for a proofreader to start with. In either case, your rate per hour will increase automatically over time, without the need to impose a rate rise on a regular client - always a risky business.

The worst thing for a beginner is to feel they have to rush the work to earn enough to live on. That can start a downward spiral of quality complaints and a further lowering of rates due to not having a good reputation. You need time to do good translations, time to proofread them carefully, and - perhaps the most important - time to check on the clients before you accept the first job and time to check each and every job for content, instructions, potential file handling problems, etc. before you commit. Those tasks have an impact on both rate per word and delivery deadline, of course. Do check out the ProZ.com Scam Centre and the Wiki articles here on risk management, and always check with the Blue Board and similar places before taking on a new client.

Also with copywriting, I guess it would depend on the task e.g. there will be a huge difference between creating a leaflet compared to a brochure in terms of hours spent on the task. Again I still don't know how much to charge for these jobs though.

I'll leave that question for others to answer as it's not something I'll ever do. I often do extremely heavy editing, but faced with a blank sheet of paper absolutely nothing happens.


 

Lukeh17  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:56
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sep 29, 2017

Thanks Mervyn and Sheila for the comments and advice.

I think I will go with the rates that I found on here because I don't want to cut other translators out. In terms of general business or marketing, do you both think it would be better to do general business and wait until I'm fully specialised or bite the bullet and have a go? I feel stuck in the middle, as in it will be a good experience to do marketing translation early on but at the same time, do I feel ready to tackle it/am I specialised enough?

Thank you


 


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