Are my rates too high?
Thread poster: Alexandros Theodotou

Alexandros Theodotou  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:26
Member (Apr 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
May 24

Hi all,

I just started freelancing a month ago, and I was wondering if the rates I try charge are too high to be considered for projects,
since my experience is limited.

I'm wondering how far experience influences the rate I should charge.

I currently state that my preferred rates are as follows. I took them from the average ProZ statistics and lowered them a little.
Note that I don't have any translator-related qualifications, just language skills.
Japanese > English 0.05 EUR per character
Greek > English 0.09 EUR per word
English/Greek proofreading 0.03 EUR per word
English transcription 1.25 EUR per audio minute

This could be subjective, but are my rates low, high or just about okay for a beginner?

Should I keep my rates lower when I'm a newbie, and slowly increase them as I get more experienced?

Any suggestions from experienced freelancers are appreciated.

Thanks,
Alex

[Edited at 2018-05-24 14:53 GMT]


 

Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:26
Member (2011)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Bad start May 24


Japanese > English 0.05 EUR per character
Greek > English 0.09 EUR per word


As we say in French, "cherchez l'erreur!". Any reasonable reason why you charge more for Greek than for Japanese???

English transcription 1.25 EUR per audio minute.

Do some transcriptions, just for fun. Anything. Then do your maths and see if 1.25€ is a good deal.


Should I keep my rates lower when I'm a newbie, and slowly increase them as I get more experienced?


As it's been said many times, if you start too low, you won't be able to increase your rate so easily. Or is there a good reason (again) for you to start so low? Do you think the quality of your translations is going to be that bad?

Let's see what other colleagues say...


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Reply May 24

Christophe Delaunay wrote:
Alexandros Theodotou wrote:
Japanese > English 0.05 EUR per character
Greek > English 0.09 EUR per word

Any reasonable reason why you charge more for Greek than for Japanese?

Actually, Christophe, it looks like she's charging 1c per word more for Japanese.

English transcription 1.25 EUR per audio minute.

Do some transcriptions, just for fun. Anything. Then do your maths and see if 1.25€ is a good deal.

Alexandros, if you charge €1.25 per minute of audio, you'll earn like €10 per hour. It takes 6-8 minutes to transcribe 1 minute of audio.

Should I keep my rates lower when I'm a newbie, and slowly increase them as I get more experienced?

If you start too low, you won't be able to increase your rate so easily.

I agree. There is no such thing as slowly raising your rate. Rate increases are sudden and always an unpleasant surprise for your clients. A beginner should charge at least 10-20% higher than the ProZ.com average rate.


 

Alexandros Theodotou  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:26
Member (Apr 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 24

Thanks for the feedback.




Japanese > English 0.05 EUR per character
Greek > English 0.09 EUR per word


As we say in French, "cherchez l'erreur!". Any reasonable reason why you charge more for Greek than for Japanese???

Please correct me if I'm wrong. The rates look pretty similar to me, in Japanese a word is on average two characters.
Although I could charge more for Greek since I am native.


English transcription 1.25 EUR per audio minute.


Do some transcriptions, just for fun. Anything. Then do your maths and see if 1.25€ is a good deal.

Fair enough.


As it's been said many times, if you start too low, you won't be able to increase your rate so easily. Or is there a good reason (again) for you to start so low? Do you think the quality of your translations is going to be that bad?

I see. So according this I should be charging whatever I think my skills are worth, regardless of my past translation experience or qualifications.


 

Alexandros Theodotou  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:26
Member (Apr 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 24

Thank you Samuel, I might have to increase my rates when reaching new clients.
10 euro per hour does sound pretty low.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:26
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
If May 24

you were living in a country where you could comfortably live an entire month on maybe € 200, then there would be nothing wrong with charging bottom rates. But Japan doesn't seem to be one of the countries.

Gradually increasing your rates can easily result in the loss of customers who then turn to cheaper LSP's for their translation demands. This is aside from the fact that you might end up working 20 hours a day just to make ends meet - which is something hardly anybody can endure for more than a few days or weeks, at best.

You have to do your math, consisting of how much money you need to lead a decent or perhaps good life, save money for any eventualities, cover your social security bills, and all other things you might need or want to have. Divide that amount by the hours you can work during a day, and you have your rate, both per word and per audio minute.

If you must generate income immediately, and, perhaps, don't have any or few customers at the moment, then you could accept lower paying rates, but make a mental note to look for better paying clients as soon as you have more experience - which you can gain, if you like, through work for NGO's.

Please keep in mind that the translation industry is (to my knowledge) pretty much the only industry with decreasing pay... provided you permit this.

[Edited at 2018-05-24 16:30 GMT]


 

Alexandros Theodotou  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:26
Member (Apr 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 24

Thayenga, thank you for this valuable information.

[Edited at 2018-05-24 16:47 GMT]


 

Lian Pang  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:26
Member (Mar 2018)
English to Chinese
+ ...
general consideration May 24

Like Thayenga has said, you need to do the math. Read some reports about the current translation market in your working language pair. Calculate your hard expenses, housing, food, clothes, and costs to develop yourself, like taking CPD courses, buying better softwares ...

You mentioned that you are new to the industry. Do you have any solid offers, accreditations, translation-related education, or experience ? You need to take into account the quality of your translations and your competence.

I am not gonna lie. When I started out as a freelancer, I have worked for ridiculously low rate ( I have lost those low-rate clients) . I've also done a bunch of voluntary work to gain experience.

Anyway, persevere ! Give your business some time to grow. But proceed with caution when it comes to pricing.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:26
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Too low May 24

Alexandros Theodotou wrote:
Japanese > English 0.05 EUR per character

It depends what skills you have, but I would charge a minimum of 0.09 eur per character. 1,000 characters would therefore be 90 euro, which would convert to maybe 450 English words, so the per-word rate would be 90/450 = around 0.20 eur.

But you may have to start low and work your way up until you are "discovered".

Dan


 

Alexandros Theodotou  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:26
Member (Apr 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 25

Thank you all for your replies. I'll take everything into consideration.

 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:26
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes May 26

is my answer to your question.

You are presumably finding it hard to get work, or you wouldn't be asking. So lower your rates.
Forget those urging you to charge more, they are simply interested in establishing a cartel and keeping starters like you out of what they jealously think is their rightful business.

Rates might be going down, but income isn't because all the software, online resources and machine translation are speeding up translation to an easy 500 words an hour.... unless you're one of the few old fogeys who must still sit in a dusty attic somewhere with a typewriter! Many of these also have lots of free time (I wonder why) to muse here about the collapse of their industry, hobby translators, bottom feeders, etc. etc., my advice is to ignore it, unless you want to price yourself out of the market.

Reduce your rates a couple of cents, get some work and experience, then take it from there.


 

Alexandros Theodotou  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:26
Member (Apr 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 26


Reduce your rates a couple of cents, get some work and experience, then take it from there.

Makes sense to me.


 

Andrew Kopanskii
Moldova
Local time: 00:26
Member (May 2018)
English to Russian
+ ...
Shame? May 26

Correct me if I am wrong/ J To Eng 0.05 per character not per word. I think he meant hieroglyph. Correct me if i am wrong 2: Japanese word may contain more than one hieroglyph.

[Edited at 2018-05-27 00:44 GMT]


 


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