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If you don't know what your pricing should be - look at the pricing of one of the big agencies
Thread poster: Tanja Tilch

Tanja Tilch  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:43
English to German
+ ...
Feb 21

Hi all,

Here you can get a glance at the pricing scale of one of the big agencies:

https://ondemand.lionbridge.com/
(then click on the squares for the various categories, e.g. document translation)
For 12-hour turnaround times, for example, the pricing is USD 0.50 per word.

This may give you an idea about what you should charge yourself as a freelancer.icon_wink.gif

Best,

Tanja


Josephine Cassar
Abdalla Monsef
Vadim Kadyrov
Carolina Finley
GAELLE ANNE FOUERE
Luiza Kipper
Yvonne Gallagher
 

Chris P.
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:43
German to English
Good tip.... Feb 21

and thanks for posting it.
Seems like all traditional documents are going for no less than 30 cents/word.


 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:43
German to English
+ ...
What I see Feb 21

This particular company does not charge the same way that I do. For example, they have a "within x days" type of charge. They might use several translators, and need to coordinate the teamwork - that is not within my working reality. Their base rate of $0.20 or $0.22/word is close to my own of $0.18 minimum. My feedback came from people working in companies that order translations.

Why do you recommend looking at what big agencies, in particular, charge?icon_smile.gif


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:43
German to English
Large companies have more complex cost structures Feb 21

High prices to customers don't necessarily mean greater profit margins. Large companies have salaried employees who handle bookkeeping (including accounts payable/receivable), sales, technical support and project management, not to mention other expenses like rent, insurance, utilities, advertising, employee benefits and taxes. Net profit per word sold for the industry giants is quite low, but they make it up in volume.

To be honest, I really don't care what agencies charge their customers as long as I get paid my expected rate.


Dan Lucas
Jorge Payan
IrinaN
John Fossey
Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Vanda Nissen
Ester Vidal
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 21:43
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Not all agencies are equal Feb 22

I work with a couple of Japanese agencies and their rates are only a hair above mine. Sometimes below.

 

Chris Schröder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
They must be hugely inefficient then! Feb 22

Kevin Fulton wrote:
Large companies have salaried employees who handle bookkeeping (including accounts payable/receivable), sales, technical support and project management, not to mention other expenses like rent, insurance, utilities, advertising, employee benefits and taxes.

Unlike small ones?

Net profit per word sold for the industry giants is quite low

If their budget service is 30 cents a word, that speaks volumes!

To be honest, I really don't care what agencies charge their customers as long as I get paid my expected rate.

Agree


Christine Andersen
DZiW
Tanja Oresnik
123Translations
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:43
Member
English to French
Costs Feb 22

It is good for beginners to have an idea about end-user (consumer) prices, but also a realistic vision about what they're getting into as self-employed, independent, do-it-yourself, self-made professional translators.

About large companies having large expenses, as opposed to us translators, I did a brutal and very raw review of my own business costs (percentages of gross yearly income):

Accounting (outsourced): 2%
Utilities: 2.5%
Employee benefits (me): 7.5% for employer-paid holiday (read: loss of income)
10% retirement (private)
Workplace "rent" : 5% (based on the area used exclusively for work and the price I bought my place)
Heathcare/social security: 7.5%
Insurances : 2%
Investments: 1-2%
Advertising/marketing: below 1%
Stationary, travel and other expenses: 2%
Employees on minimum wage: 25% (me only: ready to do extra unpaid hours, never complaining that they work too much for too little money, takes holiday when the boss (me) says so)

Total: about 65% of my gross income is spent in costs.
I also pay 10% on my gross income in income tax.

I dispatch what's left to shareholders (yours truly, on minimum wage above) for them to buy beach houses and skidoos for their private use.

Strangely - and logicial - enough, it confirms that 50% of my gross income ends up in my pocket, the remainder is paid for the privilege of having a job (while planning for the future, in order not to be supported by your children when you can no longer work!).

Philippe

[Edited at 2019-02-22 10:05 GMT]


Tanja Oresnik
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Christine Andersen
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
win × win Feb 22

As far as I work with local direct clients, my usual rate is $0.35+/w, because they can afford it and conciser it worthy--also I work as an interpreter and win grants too.

I know several one-man agencies, yet the real question is not about middlemen's costs or added values, but: Why can't a translator fairly charge end clients?

Gradually it boils down to an unpleasant answer to a simple question:
What will really change without agencies?


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:43
German to English
My point: markup is not the same as profit Feb 22

Apparently I didn't express myself clearly enough.
How an agency (or translator) prices a product is dependent on a number of factors, cost structure being one of them. Complex organizations have more employees to be paid who do not necessarily contribute directly to the bottom line. If an agency (or a supermarket, for that matter) sells its product for twice its cost, this does not mean 100% profit. An agency making one cent/word on 400 million words will still manage to turn a tidy profit which is why hedge funds are buying up agencies.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 15:43
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Lucky you Feb 22

Philippe Etienne wrote:

It is good for beginners to have an idea about end-user (consumer) prices, but also a realistic vision about what they're getting into as self-employed, independent, do-it-yourself, self-made professional translators.

About large companies having large expenses, as opposed to us translators, I did a brutal and very raw review of my own business costs (percentages of gross yearly income):

Accounting (outsourced): 2%
Utilities: 2.5%
Employee benefits (me): 7.5% for employer-paid holiday (read: loss of income)
10% retirement (private)
Workplace "rent" : 5% (based on the area used exclusively for work and the price I bought my place)
Heathcare/social security: 7.5%
Insurances : 2%
Investments: 1-2%
Advertising/marketing: below 1%
Stationary, travel and other expenses: 2%
Employees on minimum wage: 25% (me only: ready to do extra unpaid hours, never complaining that they work too much for too little money, takes holiday when the boss (me) says so)

Total: about 65% of my gross income is spent in costs.
I also pay 10% on my gross income in income tax.

I dispatch what's left to shareholders (yours truly, on minimum wage above) for them to buy beach houses and skidoos for their private use.

Strangely - and logicial - enough, it confirms that 50% of my gross income ends up in my pocket, the remainder is paid for the privilege of having a job (while planning for the future, in order not to be supported by your children when you can no longer work!).

Philippe

[Edited at 2019-02-22 10:05 GMT]


My income tax is at least 30 % at my level of income, and if I were not on pension already I would have to pay at least 25 % insurance including health care. So we here in Scandinavia have to get by with less than half of our gross turnaround. If you manage with 25 percent you must make a lot of money.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:43
French to English
Must compare like with like Feb 23

It is only helpful to compare like with like. Therefore, the reality of any comparison can only be helpful if comparing
- two agencies
- two self-employed individuals
- two agencies or two self-employed individuals working:
* in the same country
* with the same legal set-up
* working in the same language pair
* working in the same field
* with the same level of skill and experience
* with the same level of sales (money received from clients)
* with the same level of income (money available once all charges, taxes (professional and private) have been deducted
* with the same personal status (age, marital status, family set-up, etc.).
All of the above, and more, influence what can be charged (sales) and what level of "income" (amount left over once everything has been deducted) will be available.

Conclusion:
- as these criteria are never identical for an agency and for a freelancer, they cannot and should not be compared;
- the amount agency A pays its freelancers is not the amount it charges its clients;
- using the amount agency A pays its freelancers is of no use in assisting freelancers seeking to determine how much to charge their clients.

[Edited at 2019-02-23 12:36 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Kevin Fulton
Colleen Roach, PhD
Christine Andersen
Diana Coada
Eva Stoppa
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
irrelevant Feb 23

As Tanja mentioned, it's just about

          $0.5       $0.05
End client ==> Agency ==> Translator

- versus -

          $0.5
End client ==> Translator

meaning
Why can't a translator fairly charge end clients?


For instance, my usual rate is $.35+/w for general translation, whereas legal/contract/grant translation is $.50+/w, why?)

[Edited at 2019-02-24 13:37 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:43
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Don't compete on price only Feb 23

Many clients have only vague ideas about what makes a good translation. They may not all want to be able to identify an equivalent for every source word in the target language, but it may be difficult for them to see what they are getting, if they don't understand the source language. It is important to be able to explain to clients what they get for their money, and why they should choose you, not just the cheapest translator available.

If a big agency has a ´one rate for any job´ policy, then you should probably not take their rates as an indication of what you should be charging, no matter how they work it out.

There is a very basic rate calculator here
https://www.proz.com/?sp=rate_calc

There may be some help here:
https://search.proz.com/employers/rates

As others have suggested, you need to calculate how much you need to earn, how much of your time you spend actually translating when you are fully booked, and how many words you can translate in that time.
It is perfectly reasonable to ask for different rates for different subject fields and different types of translation.

If I wanted to compare my rates with an agency, I would look at one of the smaller ones that specialised in a subject area I work in. I work with smaller agencies, because they match translators with jobs, and they concentrate on delivering quality, not just keeping prices down.


Kevin Fulton
Teresa Borges
Eva Stoppa
 

Chris Schröder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
But it is a valid comparison Feb 23

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:
as these criteria are never identical for an agency and for a freelancer, they cannot and should not be compared

If an agency charges 30 cents a word for its budget service and periodically asks translators it pays 6 cents a word for a profit contribution, you know they’re taking the piss!


DZiW
Mirko Mainardi
Tanja Oresnik
Philippe Etienne
Yvonne Gallagher
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:43
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not a good example Feb 25

I don't think that particular agency can be taken to be representative of anything.

Wilsonn Perez Reyes
Andy Watkinson
Ricki Farn
David Brown
Sonia Hill
 
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