how much to charge for 4 hour conference gig?
Thread poster: Denis Zavyalov

Denis Zavyalov  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:29
English to Russian
+ ...
Sep 14, 2005

I have been offered to do a 4 hour conference (consecutive) interpreting job (Chinese-Russian-English), but I do not know what the ongoing prices are for this type of services. Can anyone help? How much per hour is normal in this case?


Victor Potapov
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:29
English to Russian
+ ...
It all depends - pls see list of follow-up questions Sep 14, 2005

Well... it is basically a free-market agreement between you and the client - so charge whatever you're worth - and be ready to answer the universal client-to-vendor question: "And why is the price so high?"icon_smile.gif

One general comment before going into specifics - you can charge by the hour, or for the half day, or for the full day (it is unlikely you will find additional interpreting assignments to cover the rest of the day).

You should also take into account that it will take you more than 4 hours to do this job: consider travel time, preparation (I hope you have copies of documents - conference presentations etc.), invoicing, chasing payments... hopefully you will be paid fast - but practice shows this is not always the case.

So 4 hours of work is actually much more than 4 hours!

Your profile indicates you charge 0.01 US dollar (that's one cent) per word of text and 10 to 25 dollars per hour.

Probably in China (I assume that from your rates) this is the going rate due to low costs of living etc. - but still this sounds as way too low for me, coming from such notoriously high-wage country as Russiaicon_smile.gif)

I can say that in any country rates vary tremendously - as is the case for all services.

In Moscow you can find students who will do a day's worth of consecutive interpreting for 50 to 100 bucks (or euros, as this currency is gaining popularity here). Of course, you get what you pay for and these people do not do any client development work on their own - they are "price takers". On the other hand, there are
seasoned pros with a stable pool of direct clients charging 100 to 150 to 200 USD (or, again euros) per hour of work - and that includes preparation time and travel time (at 1/2 rate) as well, believe it or not!

So the gap is at least tenfold and it is difficult to anwer your question without knowing:

1) what's the going rate in your area; where are you located? where is the conference? where is your client located?

2) are you above market, below or at market rates;

3) how badly the client needs your services - is this client a translation agency (with lots of other interpreters)? in this case you cannot negotiate with them unless you are truly special and unique. If they are a direct client their negotiation leverage is lower, they will agree to increasing the price with more ease (but in case of Chinese or Russian companies - personally, I doubt that).

4) if you charge above-market rates - can you justify that?

5) how desperately you need this job - are you ready to work for less - but get some money in the end?

6) is your client reliable - are you sure you will get from them
what they offer you now - and that you will get it WHEN they promise they will pay?

7) What is the tax situation? Does the client have to withhold any taxes like personal income tax? What's the rate of that? will they pay you $X less income tax - or will they gross it up (pay you $XY where XY - applicable tax = the agreed $X?)

Answer these questions and you will more or less see for yourself how much to charge.

Good luck!
zavdenis wrote:

I have been offered to do a 4 hour conference (consecutive) interpreting job (Chinese-Russian-English), but I do not know what the ongoing prices are for this type of services. Can anyone help? How much per hour is normal in this case?


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