How do you decide your discounted rate?
Thread poster: Harija Riza Khamal

Harija Riza Khamal  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:10
Member (2014)
English to Tagalog
Jan 12

Hello everyone,

How much do you charge? How low would you go in discounting your rates? What are the factors for you to cut your rate? Is there anyone here with a 50% upfront payment before beginning a project or that's unknown in the translation industry? Do you just agree to the terms of your client or as a business, you say your terms too -- I wanna be paid, full or partial, upfront. How long do you wait for your payment? What's the easiest way to receive your fee if your client
... See more
Hello everyone,

How much do you charge? How low would you go in discounting your rates? What are the factors for you to cut your rate? Is there anyone here with a 50% upfront payment before beginning a project or that's unknown in the translation industry? Do you just agree to the terms of your client or as a business, you say your terms too -- I wanna be paid, full or partial, upfront. How long do you wait for your payment? What's the easiest way to receive your fee if your client is from another country?

My rate is at .15/word, although the highest I got paid was .10/word many years ago.

So this week, I was approached with a .03/word (US$), and according to the client, this is a long term project with possibly million words. I find the offer waaaaaaaaaaaaay too low

What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Anyway, I am confident in my translation capability but I always get offered peanuts rate (from the outsourcers who found me here), to which I refuse the project often, or I just do it voluntarily, especially if the material is short to which really easy for me to do -- because waiting for the payment of $20 takes 6 months, lol. I remember, one time, because of the intricacy of getting the payment, I donated my fee to someone in the outsourcer's country.

I look forward to your guidance, thank you.
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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:10
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Discounts Jan 12

Right upfront, a "long-term collaboration" is no reason at all to grant a discount. The result would be that you might end up spending most of your time for that client (if other projects then materialize) only to struggle to make ends meet.

Three US cents are neither a rate nor an offer, but plain ridiculous. If I was in your shoes, I'd simply thank that company for their offer, which I, unfortunately, will have to reject on the grounds that I simply can't afford to work at that ra
... See more
Right upfront, a "long-term collaboration" is no reason at all to grant a discount. The result would be that you might end up spending most of your time for that client (if other projects then materialize) only to struggle to make ends meet.

Three US cents are neither a rate nor an offer, but plain ridiculous. If I was in your shoes, I'd simply thank that company for their offer, which I, unfortunately, will have to reject on the grounds that I simply can't afford to work at that rate. Click send, then delete their email.

The due dates of payments do vary, however, more than 30 days, especially with clients from Europe, is unacceptable. After all, you're a translator, not a bank (I assume ). And even if you were a bank, you would definitely charge interest for that loan.

It is upon us, the translators, who need to fight dumping rates. After all, the customers can't be blamed for wanting to get top notch translations for crumbs.

[Edited at 2020-01-12 13:39 GMT]
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Harija Riza Khamal
Christophe Delaunay
Teresa Borges
Colette Magalowski
Laura Kingdon
Tanja Oresnik
Philip Lees
 

Harija Riza Khamal  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:10
Member (2014)
English to Tagalog
TOPIC STARTER
I totally agree to this. Thank you. Jan 12

Thayenga wrote:

Right upfront, a "long-term collaboration" is no reason at all to grant a discount. The result would be that you might end up spending most of your time for that client (if other projects then materialize) only to struggle to make ends meet.

Three US cents are neither a rate nor an offer, but plain ridiculous. If I was in your shoes, I'd simply thank that company for their offer, which I, unfortunately, will have to reject on the grounds that I simply can't afford to work at that rate. Click send, then delete their email.

The due dates of payments do vary, however, more than 30 days, especially with clients from Europe, is unacceptable. After all, you're a translator, not a bank (I assume ). And even if you were a bank, you would definitely charge interest for that loan.

It is upon us, the translators, who need to fight dumping rates. After all, the customers can't be blamed for wanting to get top notch translations for crumbs.

[Edited at 2020-01-12 12:41 GMT]


Tina Vonhof
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:10
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Run your business your way Jan 12

Thayenga wrote:
It is upon us, the translators, who need to fight dumping rates. After all, the customers can't be blamed for wanting to get top notch translations for crumbs

I couldn't agree more. Further, it's up to us to run our businesses profitably and in a way that will help them thrive. So we don't just want instant profit; we want happy clients who will return and recommend us to others.

We can't set your rate for you, Harija, but I contend that it isnt .15 if you never get paid that. Perhaps it would be better to set a more realistic rate and then stick to it. Doing commercial translations for free does nothing but harm to us all, but there are instances where you may want to negotiate lower rates because it's economically viable: for repetitive texts, for longer texts with particularly relaxed deadlines, maybe for fast payment, etc.

I would never personally ask an established business to pay in advance. Businesses in my area of the world (Europe) have always paid other businesses "on account". But I rarely accept more than a 30-day wait and I'm happy to report that in 20+ years as a freelancer no job has ever been unpaid, apart from two bankruptcies and one €12.50 invoice I preferred to write off. I have had to sue one and been just short of it on another few occasions, but I don't think that's too bad in such a long time. Consumers, OTOH, are used to paying in advance.


Tina Vonhof
 

Harija Riza Khamal  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:10
Member (2014)
English to Tagalog
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for this guidance. I did negotiate my rate for .10/word and refused .03/word. Jan 12

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Thayenga wrote:
It is upon us, the translators, who need to fight dumping rates. After all, the customers can't be blamed for wanting to get top notch translations for crumbs

I couldn't agree more. Further, it's up to us to run our businesses profitably and in a way that will help them thrive. So we don't just want instant profit; we want happy clients who will return and recommend us to others.

We can't set your rate for you, Harija, but I contend that it isnt .15 if you never get paid that. Perhaps it would be better to set a more realistic rate and then stick to it. Doing commercial translations for free does nothing but harm to us all, but there are instances where you may want to negotiate lower rates because it's economically viable: for repetitive texts, for longer texts with particularly relaxed deadlines, maybe for fast payment, etc.

I would never personally ask an established business to pay in advance. Businesses in my area of the world (Europe) have always paid other businesses "on account". But I rarely accept more than a 30-day wait and I'm happy to report that in 20+ years as a freelancer no job has ever been unpaid, apart from two bankruptcies and one €12.50 invoice I preferred to write off. I have had to sue one and been just short of it on another few occasions, but I don't think that's too bad in such a long time. Consumers, OTOH, are used to paying in advance.


Edward Potter
 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:10
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good job negotiating Jan 12

You did a good job by stating your selling price despite the discrepancy of the buying price. On the stock market it is called "the spread". The spread is constantly changing and depends on different factors. If the numbers don't come together then there is no sale, which seems to be your case here. You can either try negotiating more, or simply move on.

It is a numbers game. You should be trying to get as many offers as possible. Good luck....
See more
You did a good job by stating your selling price despite the discrepancy of the buying price. On the stock market it is called "the spread". The spread is constantly changing and depends on different factors. If the numbers don't come together then there is no sale, which seems to be your case here. You can either try negotiating more, or simply move on.

It is a numbers game. You should be trying to get as many offers as possible. Good luck.
Collapse


 

Harija Riza Khamal  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:10
Member (2014)
English to Tagalog
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Edward. Yes, I will move on. :-) Jan 12

Edward Potter wrote:

You did a good job by stating your selling price despite the discrepancy of the buying price. On the stock market it is called "the spread". The spread is constantly changing and depends on different factors. If the numbers don't come together then there is no sale, which seems to be your case here. You can either try negotiating more, or simply move on.

It is a numbers game. You should be trying to get as many offers as possible. Good luck.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
precedent Jan 13

Harija Riza Khamal wrote:

Hello everyone,

How much do you charge? How low would you go in discounting your rates? What are the factors for you to cut your rate? Is there anyone here with a 50% upfront payment before beginning a project or that's unknown in the translation industry? Do you just agree to the terms of your client or as a business, you say your terms too -- I wanna be paid, full or partial, upfront. How long do you wait for your payment? What's the easiest way to receive your fee if your client is from another country?

My rate is at .15/word, although the highest I got paid was .10/word many years ago.

So this week, I was approached with a .03/word (US$), and according to the client, this is a long term project with possibly million words. I find the offer waaaaaaaaaaaaay too low

What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Anyway, I am confident in my translation capability but I always get offered peanuts rate (from the outsourcers who found me here), to which I refuse the project often, or I just do it voluntarily, especially if the material is short to which really easy for me to do -- because waiting for the payment of $20 takes 6 months, lol. I remember, one time, because of the intricacy of getting the payment, I donated my fee to someone in the outsourcer's country.

I look forward to your guidance, thank you.


I never give a discounted rate. I always apply my standard rate and then, on a case by case basis, I *might* offer a discount on the total cost of a particular job. But my rate stays the same.

If you discount your rate, you'll find that people expect the same discounted rate the next time - so you'll never get back to where you should be.

Never be fooled by those promises of "long-term, million words" future projects; not only because they never materialise, but because those who offer them are tricksters trying to seduce you into doing more work for less moneyl

Keep your rate as high as you think it should be, in relation to the general rates in the market. If that means you lose some jobs, OK you lose some jobs. The same day you say "no" to a badly-paying job, you may get another good-paying job.


Philip Lees
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:10
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
An important distinction Jan 13

Tom in London wrote:
I never give a discounted rate. I always apply my standard rate and then, on a case by case basis, I *might* offer a discount on the total cost of a particular job. But my rate stays the same.

If you discount your rate, you'll find that people expect the same discounted rate the next time - so you'll never get back to where you should be.

Yes, the invoice total might end up identical, but the calculation is important and needs to be there in black and white for both you and the client. Always quote your rate for the job on one line, and then apply any discount and/or surcharge.


Tom in London
 


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