Getting Established: Reasonable Rates for DE-EN with Swiss Agencies
Thread poster: Erick Peterson

Erick Peterson
Germany
Local time: 11:03
German to English
+ ...
Aug 13

Hi Community-

I've been in-house for some time and am now striking out on my own. Here in Germany so far, I've found that most agencies aren't wanting to go above 0.10 EUR per word.

For my language pair (DE-EN / sometimes EN-DE), I'm also looking in Switzerland. Because rates can be so much higher there (up to 400%!), what would be considered a solid price to ask from agencies there? I don't want to go too high, but don't want to miss out...

Per word or per
... See more
Hi Community-

I've been in-house for some time and am now striking out on my own. Here in Germany so far, I've found that most agencies aren't wanting to go above 0.10 EUR per word.

For my language pair (DE-EN / sometimes EN-DE), I'm also looking in Switzerland. Because rates can be so much higher there (up to 400%!), what would be considered a solid price to ask from agencies there? I don't want to go too high, but don't want to miss out...

Per word or per line, euro or CHF - I'd be grateful for any feedback. I have researched but hope for up-to-date figures.

Thanks!
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A. & S. Witte
Germany
Local time: 11:03
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
The same as their respective German counterparts Aug 13

Hi Erick,

I agree that agencies' end customer sales prices within Switzerland are 50 to 400% higher than those of German agencies.

However, Swiss agencies on occasion also need to sell to non-Swiss customers where financial fire power is mediocre. Also, they are not obliged to pass on their edge in obtaining very high sales prices over agencies of other countries like Germany or Austria to the actual service providers, which is the translators (the cost of living, wage
... See more
Hi Erick,

I agree that agencies' end customer sales prices within Switzerland are 50 to 400% higher than those of German agencies.

However, Swiss agencies on occasion also need to sell to non-Swiss customers where financial fire power is mediocre. Also, they are not obliged to pass on their edge in obtaining very high sales prices over agencies of other countries like Germany or Austria to the actual service providers, which is the translators (the cost of living, wage costs (!), rents/property loan costs and ancillary costs of renting/financing property/building a little house being much higher there, where a Schnitzel is € 20, than here, where it is some € 8.50 or so).

In our experience, Swiss agencies do not pay better rates than German agencies, which pay rates that enable a translator to live in Germany, even if not well.

As regards the subject line of this post, there are also different market segments within the Swiss agency market, just as there are among German agencies. So we have seen over time that there are also quite a few translator-orientated German agencies with a sound standing in the industry, proper operations and a respectful clientele/customer base, which ###aim### to pay fair rates by the generally somewhat lower standards of income of Germany, compared to Switzerland.

Cheers,

Sebastian Witte

[Edited at 2019-08-13 15:28 GMT]
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Erick Peterson
Germany
Local time: 11:03
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Aug 13

Thank you, Sebastian! That's very helpful.

If anyone else cares to share, I'd be grateful of course.


 

Kristina Cosumano  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:03
Member (2015)
German to English
I work for two Swiss agencies... Aug 14

...and their prices are no higher than those of German agencies.
In fact, last week I received an email from the head of one of them saying that intense price pressure in tenders was forcing them to reconfigure their rates. He mentioned that translation into English was being hit especially hard, and that they were doing everything possible to continue paying a decent rate, but that they couldn't ignore the current situation.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 10:03
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Erick Aug 14

In over 40 years working as a translator I can’t remember ever changing (increasing or decreasing) my rates because of the client’s country. May rates are my rates and what I charge for a job depends on several factors: subject matter, complexity, volume, urgency, source language of the text and other practical circumstances, but not on the client’s country!

Vera Schoen
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:03
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My contribution, FWIW Aug 14

I haven't worked with a Germany-based client for some years. However, I'm translating a lot currently for a French-speaking Swiss client. It isn't a translation agency but it is an intermediary rather than an end-client. They're quite happy with my rate of EUR 0.12 per word. No obligatory CAT grid discounts, although I do offer a small discount for good matches nowadays as a client loyalty incentive. I think he might think my rate is a bit low as he never quibbles about rush rates of EUR 0.15 o... See more
I haven't worked with a Germany-based client for some years. However, I'm translating a lot currently for a French-speaking Swiss client. It isn't a translation agency but it is an intermediary rather than an end-client. They're quite happy with my rate of EUR 0.12 per word. No obligatory CAT grid discounts, although I do offer a small discount for good matches nowadays as a client loyalty incentive. I think he might think my rate is a bit low as he never quibbles about rush rates of EUR 0.15 or even EUR 0.18. But like Teresa, I base my prices on what I need to earn, rather than where the client lives. I suppose I should "make a killing" but it just isn't my way.Collapse


 

Erick Peterson
Germany
Local time: 11:03
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reply / Thanks Aug 14

Thank you Kristina, Teresa, Sheila-

Your answers are very helpful. Mostly I felt that agencies aren't able to pay what I feel my work is worth (0.12 is my absolute minimum happy rate), so I hoped to compensate somehow. I've also seen the other end of the exchange rate stick, so to speak.

Just to close this thread with a related question: Broadly, how do people feel that the overall market is these days? I've heard it's being flooded with low-budget offers on the one ha
... See more
Thank you Kristina, Teresa, Sheila-

Your answers are very helpful. Mostly I felt that agencies aren't able to pay what I feel my work is worth (0.12 is my absolute minimum happy rate), so I hoped to compensate somehow. I've also seen the other end of the exchange rate stick, so to speak.

Just to close this thread with a related question: Broadly, how do people feel that the overall market is these days? I've heard it's being flooded with low-budget offers on the one hand, and also I've heard of explosive demand on the other. I haven't worked freelance in years, so I'd be happy for some impressions.

Thanks in advance (again)!
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Getting Established: Reasonable Rates for DE-EN with Swiss Agencies

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