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Do you charge extra for urgent translation jobs?
Thread poster: Laura Diez

Laura Diez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:00
Member (2013)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 12, 2007

Dear colleagues,

I have recently started as a freelance translator and I've seen that agencies charge something like 40 % extra for urgent translation jobs.

I would like to know if freelance translators do the same and how short the deadline has to be for the job to be considered urgent.

Thank you in advance for your answers!


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erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:00
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
I don't do it. Jun 12, 2007

Almost all the jobs I get are urgent, or at least very many of them.

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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:00
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Yep, sometime I do Jun 12, 2007

It all depends on the relation with the client, is it something big and important, do I have to drop other work for it, work evenings / nights / weekends?
Do I suspect the client is also charging the original user extra?
All reasons to charge them extra too. (often in the form of a fixed price fee (I do not change a surcharge per word, but a fixed price for the whole job, to "mask" the additional charges)

Certainly usefull for new clients with urgent jobs
(with existing clients, it's often part of the territory)

Ed


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Iffat Chowdhury  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 15:00
Member (2009)
English to Bengali
+ ...
It depends on relation Jun 12, 2007

Charging extra amount depends on your relation with the client. My regular client sometimes sends me small job and wants it back in an hour and sometimes he sends large volume of work, say 10k in 3 days, but before sending such a work on urgent basis, he first discusses and sometimes alerts me one week ago so that I am ready for the job.

I do not charge extra money for small job from my regular client, however, the client himself sometimes pays extra for large work when he feels it is necessary.

But for any new or irregular client, I always charge 20 to 40% extra depending on the nature of the job.


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:00
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
20 - 50% Jun 12, 2007

I charge 20 to 50% more, depending on the project, for jobs that require to translate more than about 2500 words a day, or that would require all or most of the job to be done during a weekend or holiday.

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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:00
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
50% more for rush on weekends Jun 12, 2007

Of course, at the very beginning I was too shy to ask for this. Instead I only increased my normal rate by around 2 cents. But the more work I got, the more I was psychologically ready for the client to refuse my rates.

Not once have they said no, because they know that I will give them quality, and that I am spending my weekend on them while they're at home with their families.
In some way, they know that the extra 50% will ensure them no worries when they get back to the office on Monday! For some people, having no worries is definitely worth paying for.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:00
Italian to English
+ ...
No Jun 12, 2007

Although occasionally I'm offered more!

I don't charge more because either I'm happy to work at the weekend (rarely), or I'm not (usually). And if I'm not, being paid more for it won't make me change my mind. I only work weekends for my best clients, too - unknown agencies ringing up at 5 o'clock on a Friday afternoon get an automatic "sorry, but no".

For urgent jobs during the week, again, either I can fit it in, or I can't. My days of working until midnight to get something finished are over - if I can't do it comfortably, I'll say no. If I can, then my normal rate is fine.


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 05:00
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Absolutely! Jun 12, 2007

If I'm going to have to work more than 8 hours a day or more than 5 consecutive days (meaning, no weekends or days off), I charge 1/3 to 1/2 more. I also charge more for technical texts (anything that requires a lot of research).

And, I charge difficult clients more. If they were a pain to deal with last time, and they come back for more, I charge them more. If they're willing to pay it, I put up with the hassle. If not, I'll never miss them.

Fortunately, I've had very few difficult clients. Most of them have been an absolute delight, I'm glad to say! But I do get lots of rush and/or technical work, and so far all those clients have understood and been willing to pay extra.

A piece of advice: Be neither arrogant nor apologetic when you tell them about the increased rate. Decide on what your policy for increased rates is going to be, and stick to it consistently. Simply tell them what you charge and why.

Some would say not to tell why, i.e., not to say "I usually charge x but this job will be x + 40% because I will have to work overtime to meet your deadline." However, I once told that to a client and she negotiated an extension with her clients. I had more time to do the job--and she still paid me more than my base rate!

Good luck.

Jane


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Alp Berker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:00
Turkish to English
+ ...
Not Normally Jun 12, 2007

I get a good number of rush jobs, and I generally don't charge extra, but on several occasions the customer either paid more than the usual rate or made sure to pay immediately (within 48 hours). Unless I am swamped or unavailable immediately, I generally don't turn down the rush jobs since they lead to repeat work. I can adjust my rates accordingly based on repeat work at my leisure later.

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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 04:00
English to Russian
+ ...
That depends Jun 12, 2007

And opinions here vary greatly.

I would definitely try to charge more to the same client who would keep me busy for the entire week and want more over the weekend with the deadline non-negotiable.

Otherwise, as a freelancer I lost sense of official calendar years ago, I'm known to ask questions like "what day is is today?" or "oh, is it a holiday? Damn, I'm driving to the bank..." every other day and it could be that I have been goofing-off for the whole week or so before the weekend, likely by my own choice. The clients have a right to presume that a freelancer works whenever the work is there and disagree to pay extra. By all means, every freelancer has a right to object:-). You can try any time but your persistence should be directly proportionate to the strength of your position on the market.

I honestly think that for a freelancer arguments like "I have a family that relaxes over the weekend and I want to join them" do not stand any ground from the legal/business standpoint. This is strictly personal and as a PM I would simply answer politely "I respect your proirities and I shall leave you to your family till next time" and add to myself "This is not my problem, dude. You claim to be a freelancer".

Boy, I better run for a shelter:-)


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:00
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I seldomly do. Jun 12, 2007

If my clients have a rush job and I have time for it, I'll gladly do it for my regular fee.

I consider it as part of the service I offer. That said, as a rule I don't do a rush job for a new client. I wait until we have an established relationship. Many new clients, however, understand my reasonling and offer payment before the job is started or a downpayment.

Other clients offer to pay for a rush fee, but I almost always turn it down. These are good clients and this goodwill creates business.

I guess that everyone has their own vision on it. Some charge extra and some don't.

Lucinda


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Melzie
Local time: 11:00
French to English
+ ...
yes, and how Jun 12, 2007

20%, they usually either accept or give me a longer turnaround time. At least I know why I'm still up at 2 a.m.!

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Mutarjim97
United States
Local time: 05:00
French to Arabic
+ ...
Irene's Comments Hilarious Jun 12, 2007

Irene basically touched upon major trends in a freelancer's life. But it is a good and funny point she made.

If you guys have been around for long in this business, clients normally expect from a freelancer more than honoring the standards of quality. Competition in the West runs with light speed and so should freelancers.

I personally almost always charge extra for the normally rush jobs and the client agrees at over 95% of the times. Sometime it does not make sense to charge it for minimum jobs that can be done in less the time assigned or just that.

It all depends on your relationship with the client and how respectable they are to you as an asset not just a replaceable bilingual number that they brag about to the end client.

Good luck


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:00
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Absolutely II Jun 12, 2007

Apart from the fact that all jobs are rush jobs in a way, as soon as the market becomes a seller's market deadlines seem to become elastic.

I am usually not inclined to do rush jobs, but a rush job in general is definitely worth a surcharge. I normally negotiate a better deadline though. And as soon as your clients start asking: "when would you have time to do the translation?" you know it's a seller's market.

But if a deadline extension is not possible - oh well, why should you be the one suffering other peoples' bad planning?


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
As long as we talk about direct customers... Jun 12, 2007

... it depends on the relationship and occasionally (!!) I could do a rush job - but never on the weekend or holidays - at my normal price, if this does not become a rule, though! If it does, I think the customer needs to be politely "educated" and he will soon learn if it comes to pay more.:-)

As far as agencies are concerned, I nearly always charge extra. Are you guys that don't aware that any agency charges extra fees for anything, so why should I work in a hurry, or on weekends or holidays, at my normal fee? I do have a commercial relationship with them, not an amicable one, and so I don't really see any reason.


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