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Poll: Are you satisfied with your income from translation/interpretation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:51
SITE STAFF
Dec 2, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you satisfied with your income from translation/interpretation?".

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:51
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
No Dec 2, 2009

Especially at this time of global economic crisis and the downgrading of rates from increasing agencies offering 0.02 or 0.03 cents per word plus CAT tool discounts.

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:51
Member (2008)
English to Italian
more would be better Dec 2, 2009

should I refuse it?

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Aradai Pardo Martínez  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:51
Swedish to Spanish
+ ...
Other Dec 2, 2009

Meaning "no yet", as I'm just getting started as a full-time freelance translator, but I didn't want to chose "no" because it sounds like it is a normal state and not a transition!

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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
other Dec 2, 2009

The value of a material object *may* go up, but the value of services *always* appears to go down.

As far as translators provide not goods, but services... At the final stage the Agency/ Client has both cash and your project then they often begin to draw inspiration for lame excuses.

Having my contract job I don't have a problem with the price at all. So, 'YES', I work for line as translator/ interpreter and really doubt that any local colleague can get even a half of my salary)

Yet when I was freelancing I either could get $1000 per an hour conference or get some job done and wait for almost a month to get paid... So, 'NO', I don't think that I got enough being a freelancer.


P.S. IMO the main problem about translators and interpreters is most of them are rather poor businessmen and managers.


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Satisfied Dec 2, 2009

I can cover my mortgage, utilities, school and other expenses... but of course, more would be better. I raised my rate last year and I am not accepting any low rates. I haven't lost any clients due to the crisis, so I can say that I am satisfied!

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Celine Gras  Identity Verified

Local time: 01:51
English to French
+ ...
Yes Dec 2, 2009

Penelope Ausejo wrote:

I can cover my mortgage, utilities, school and other expenses... but of course, more would be better. I raised my rate last year and I am not accepting any low rates. I haven't lost any clients due to the crisis, so I can say that I am satisfied!


I could have written this


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R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:51
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
A question of mentality Dec 2, 2009

When I consider the amount of hours I have to work during a heavy working week - let's say 70 to 80 hours, I whimsically consider what I could/used to earn doing a normal 9-5 job, plus the weekends off and the holiday pay and Christmas bonuses etc, and I think to myself... well, you get the gist.

But somehow, I kind of put up with it all because I like doing it and I like the people and the whole working at home concept and self-management lifestyle... the whole package. You know?


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:51
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No - I used to make more! Dec 2, 2009

Ten years ago I was not working as hard and making more money. I am really convinced that there is an overall gradual downward trend in rates, brought on by a globalized market, colleagues working for less because of the economy, and agencies wanting discounts for TM matches and "fuzzy matchesl.

Increasingly, when I bid on a job and quote my rates (which haven't increased since I joined ProZ in 2003), I am asked to settle for 3 to 5 cents a word. That's I was making in the 1960s!! And then the client wants discounts for matches and "fuzzy matches"!

Thankfully, I still have some clients that pay well, but they are doing less translation in general because of the economic crisis. The net effect has been fewer clients and lower income.


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Sarah Ferrara  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:51
Italian to English
Translators - business people Dec 2, 2009

[quote]DZiW wrote:




P.S. IMO the main problem about translators and interpreters is most of them are rather poor businessmen and managers.


Exactly! Freelance translators seem to be exceptionally poor at marketing their business, and often tend not to look at it as a business at all.

I think freelancers who are marketing savvy, and are able to attract direct clients, are the only ones who will be able to survive.

I have had another business running alongside my freelance translation business since 2003, and I realised recently that I am as guilty as anyone. I was moaning about being asked yet again to lower my rates due to the recession even though my clients say my work is excellent and my rates are already VERY reasonable, and I suddenly realised that I was not putting into practice all the marketing efforts I put into my other business. I was just relying on agencies sending work my way. I didn't even have a dedicated website even though I can easily build one (I sometimes do websites for my clients as part of my other business) and hadn't paid any attention to visibility in the search engines.

A few months ago I started to do this (quickly put up a website, starting doing some basic SEO etc) and am already seeing the results. Last week I had a translation/interpreting job with a direct client that paid around three times as much as I would have received from an agency.

If anyone is interested in joining me on this little venture (putting more effort into marketing), I have a newsletter at http://sarahferrara.com/newsletter.html , join up and I will be sending out some tips and tricks over the coming months as I continue this little experiment!


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just enough Dec 2, 2009

... to scrape by on this year, which has been really bad overall, with a drop of roughly 30% compared with previous years, so any more coming in is always welcome.
Last year was good and I made enough to afford a few extras (new digital TV for myself and one for the family too, a couple of holidays for them) over and above the usual bills, rent etc.
I agree with Muriel about the downward trend in rates, which is not so bad within the EU but still evident.


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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:51
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Other .. trade off Dec 2, 2009

My thoughts don't fit any of the options.

Yes, I'm satisified with my income - if not I can always take on more work which still seems to be available in the market at reasonable rates, maybe there is less to pick and chose from than in other years, but its still out there.

I'd be even more satisified I guess if I made the same money for working less hours. I guess that's still true for any profession, frelance or otherwise.

However, like Richard said, when I consider if I am satisfied freelancing I think about many things, not just the financial rewards.

If I considered only the bottom line I might well be doing something completely different.


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VeronicaMar  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 20:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
No for me Dec 2, 2009

I subscribed to a site that posts jobs for translators and writers and the average rate is 5 dollars an hour. Mine is 15, but I could lower it and work weekends and nights. All my bids are turned down with the same reason "bid too high".
I was thinking of unsubscribing because I thought this site is probably a "low rates-low quality" kind of thing. But I just saw 30 minutes ago an offer to edit a machine translated text for US 0.015 per word right here. I've worked on machine translated texts and they are a headache. I wonder who can live with rates like this.

I really don't want to lower my rates because it would mean that we are actually accepting to do a good quality job for little retribution. I studied for years and I think skills and quality cost.

I feel I'm loosing many jobs due to all the cheap translators who accept these kind of rates and promote this to go on and on. So for me it's a "No" because I know that I could be working a lot more. And I don't think my rates are high.


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You are so right! Dec 3, 2009

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

Ten years ago I was not working as hard and making more money. I am really convinced that there is an overall gradual downward trend in rates, brought on by a globalized market, colleagues working for less because of the economy, and agencies wanting discounts for TM matches and "fuzzy matchesl.



Overall dowgrading of this industry for freelancer such as myself in last 10 years is quite distressing.
Nonetheless, I am able to pay the mortgage, utilities, and other expenses, so I have to hung on until I can afford retirement.


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R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:51
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
get busy or get bust - just joking Dec 3, 2009

Whenever there's a financial crisis or an economic downturn there tends to be a general reshuffle which means that the stakes get higher. We need to work harder and sometimes take on 'shittier' jobs - that's life. There's no need to worry because as technology improves it will CREATE more work for us, not the opposite. It's just a question of adapting and staying positive! I'm not going ANYWHERE - and I mean that as positive encouragement to us all.

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