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Poll: Are you planning to raise your rates in 2011?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 10:02
SITE STAFF
Dec 10, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you planning to raise your rates in 2011?".

This poll was originally submitted by Regina Calcagno. View the poll results »



 

Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:02
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
+ ...
Yes -->> Definitely Dec 10, 2010

After 2 crisis years I will be raising my rates. Definitely (Kesinlikle!)


Saludos desde Estambul
İstanbul'dan selamlar

[Edited at 2010-12-10 11:07 GMT]


 

Vibeke Degn-P  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 19:02
Member (2010)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Scary Dec 10, 2010

It is scary so see so many answer "no" to the question about rasing rates. Keeping present rate will result in a pay cut next year.
Over the last twelve months (in Norway) the retail price index is 2 points. That means "everything" is more expencive today than on dec. 10 2009. So if I don't raise my rates, effectively my purchasing power will fall. (Or I can work even more to maintain my present purchasing power. Like I'm not working enough now?)
It's not easy raising rates, of course not, but it's usually easier to take babysteps every year than try to make huge jumps every fifth year or so.
Vibeke


 

Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:02
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Other Dec 10, 2010

I already decided to raise my rates this year, but so far far I implemented this only with a very few customers. So 2011 will be about implementing the new rates.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:02
Member (2006)
German to English
Maybe / depends Dec 10, 2010

depends on the customer / situation. I have already raised some rates this year so why should I do it next year as well?
Sometimes I prefer to have "normal customer" with average rates that pay quickly than to have higher rates and it takes ages to get your money - all depends


 

xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 19:02
English to French
+ ...
Other Dec 10, 2010

Never for all clients at the same time...

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:02
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm emboldened! Dec 10, 2010

I have a new customer that pays better than I ever dreamed. This will enable me to turn down jobs at rates I was willing to accept in 2010.

 

Joanna Hald  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:02
Danish to Polish
+ ...
New VAT Dec 10, 2010

We get a new VAT tax in Poland from the 1. January. Instead of 22% - 23%. It's natural that my rates will get up - both for end user and the translation agencies I work for. Thats life.

 

Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:02
English to French
+ ...
For the new ones, yes :-) Dec 10, 2010

Hi,
Yes, I'll raise my rates for the new ones I'll get in 2011- but I'll be the only one who will be aware of this facticon_biggrin.gif.

For the oldest ones, it is more complicated. It will depend on the nature of both the relationship and the job types, and more specifically on their respective promptness in paying.
The fastest they pay, the more stable my rates will stay for them (next yearicon_smile.gif )

Catherine


 

Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:02
English to French
+ ...
Artificial increase Dec 10, 2010

Joanna Hald wrote:

We get a new VAT tax in Poland from the 1. January. Instead of 22% - 23%. It's natural that my rates will get up - both for end user and the translation agencies I work for. Thats life.


Hi Joanna,
But this increase will be only artificial and will be of no profit for you. This extra money will not go into your pocket, only in the State's one.

If you want to raise your rates AND the amount of your income, it is on the rate before VAT that you must push.

Your clients do not mind at all the VAT amount, as they can deduct it.

Good luck
Catherine

[Edited at 2010-12-10 10:54 GMT]


 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 20:02
English to Russian
+ ...
proper wording of rate-related questions Dec 10, 2010

In my opinion, it is more correct to formulate rate-related questions like: Do you think it will be possible for you to raise your rates in 2011?

Everyone wants to be paid higher, but the opportunity to raise rates depends on the market. Sometimes we have no choice but to reduce rates, like it happened last year.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Can you believe that I might lower them (in USD)? Dec 10, 2010

Living in Brazil means that I pay most (not all - e.g. Proz membership is in USD) of my bills in BRL. Looking back, my domestic rates in BRL have been stable since 1994. How come? Advances in computer technology increased my efficiency enough to cover local inflation, so I could extend this benefit to my clients. They have been paying the same rates since then, yet often getting better output and faster service.

Translation rates are a balancing act, and the variables are often more numerous than they seem at first sight.

The first equation to balance is availability x demand.

A good translator with low rates will face two problems. One will be excessive demand from clients wanting as much work done as they can at bargain prices. The other will be having to work more hours than normally to earn enough to make ends meet. Their rate must be low enough to get all the normal working hours in a month 'sold', yet high enough to ensure that working these hours will produce an adequate income for a standard lifestyle in their economy.

A bad translator with high rates will be often out of work. They'll seldom - or never - get repeat business, especially as free online machine translation gets closer and closer to the overall quality they deliver.

The second equation is to balance normal and special work.

Many translators have two (or more) levels of work, and there must be a balance between the corresponding rates. One case is when a translator has different rates for "technical" translations and plain stuff. Individual situations may vary considerably, so I'll illustrate with my example.

Statutory rates apply to sworn/certified translations in Brazil, which may only be done by government-accredited translators. However government often takes a long time to adjust these rates. As a certified colleague put it just before the last adjustment in Sep. '08, "If porn material publishers knew our (low) mandatory rates, they'd have all their X-rated material sworn-translated, with the national coat of arms, and all the pomp and circumstance. Preposterous, ins't it?

So I have to keep my "normal" rates below the gov't-set sworn translations rates.

The third equation involves domestic vs. international rates.

Translation became the most ubiquitous profession in the world. If I moved from Sao Paulo to Timbuktu, and the latter had equivalent Internet services, I could go on serving the same market in the same language pair for the same rates.

Unless a translator manages to cater exclusively to either the domestic or the international market, there must be some consistency between their corresponding rates in different currencies. After all, they will be selling their same limited time, so the price should be about the same, in view of the first equation. So international economy becomes a variable too. I had this experience myself.

As I work into EN-US, it makes sense to set my international rate in USD, and not GBP or EUR. Mr. Obama adopted the strategy of lowering the USD exchange rate to make American products pricewise more attractive worldwide, in an attempt to mitigate the US economy crisis. This, in early 2009, made the USD 20% cheaper in BRL (see my introductory phrase above). The bottom line for me was that in every job I took from a client outside Brazil, I was making 20% less than otherwise. I endured the loss throughout 2009, and, as the situation still prevailed in Jan. 2010, I increased my rates in USD by 20%, to balance them with my rates in BRL.


And now comes the balancing act, involving all three equations above.

The first equation is covered. My clients think I deliver good or excellent value for my rates in BRL, so that's an adequate starting point. I don't spend weeks gig-hunting, yet I don't burn gallons of midnight oil.

The second equation considers a likelihood of the BR government raising the rates for sworn translations (a sort of implicit ceiling for me) by 10%.

Finally the third equation involves international economy and trade. Brazil will change president next month. The country's exports have been suffering because of the high BRL exchange rate relative to the USD. Apparently the USA has problems of their own that would justify restoring the USD exchange rate balance to the pre-crisis level.

So, if - and only if - Brazilian government (actually the Sao Paulo state) raises the sworn translation mandatory rates by 10%, I might adjust my standard translation domestic rates in BRL by the same 10%. If this happens and the USD/BRL exchange rate recovers those 20%, it will be quite sensible to lower my international rates in USD by 10%. (If only the latter happens, I'll lower them by 20%, back to what they were in Dec. 2009.)


Therefore it's not such a simple decision to change rates. IMHO a translator should raise rates if their demand is too high for them to handle, i.e. if they have to turn down too many jobs for lack of time to do them. On the other hand, it's sane to lower their rates if they spend weeks trying to find a job. It's the old supply/demand equation.

However it's not such a simple three-laws system. There are many other variables to consider, different for each translator's individual setting. I'll quote a couple of examples from my personal case, each translator should check their own.

Payment methods - I've seen a recent (i.e. in the last couple of months) trend in the most popular international payment methods used by translators to lower their fees, possibly competing against each other.

Interest rates in Brazil are quite high, as a way to attract foreign investments. Let's use our bank overdraft interest rates as a yardstick. They are usually the highest, because the bank never know when they'll have that 'loan' back to invest the funds elsewhere, so they cannot plan to do it. They are now around 8%, per month, with an expected trend to rise up to almost 10%. This situation gives a new dimension to payment terms.


So, setting rates is not such a simple process, and there is a lot more to consider than just the language pair averages published by Proz, based on information that is not reliably updated by translators from time to time. To do it, each translator must survey all the variables at play, and find their balance.


 

Joanna Hald  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:02
Danish to Polish
+ ...
New VAT Dec 10, 2010

I understand Cathrine, I wish I could rise my rates, but when the end customer must pay more VAT from 1.01 it's tricky to rise the base rate. It was my plan, but now? I feel I must wait a little, maybe 1/2 year ,especialy because end customers in my pair are not only big companies, who are deducting VAT, but also simple people - and they don't try to negotiate price (as the big ones do) - they resign.



Catherine GUILLIAUMET wrote:

Joanna Hald wrote:

We get a new VAT tax in Poland from the 1. January. Instead of 22% - 23%. It's natural that my rates will get up - both for end user and the translation agencies I work for. Thats life.


Hi Joanna,
But this increase will be only artificial and will be of no profit for you. This extra money will not go into your pocket, only in the State's one.

If you want to raise your rates AND the amount of your income, it is on the rate before VAT that you must push.

Your clients do not mind at all the VAT amount, as they can deduce it.

Good luck
Catherine


 

Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:02
English to French
+ ...
A raise for companies, and stability for simple clients Dec 10, 2010

Joanna Hald wrote:

I understand Cathrine, I wish I could rise my rates, but when the end customer must pay more VAT from 1.01 it's tricky to rise the base rate. It was my plan, but now? I feel I must wait a little, maybe 1/2 year ,especialy because end customers in my pair are not only big companies, who are deducting VAT, but also simple people - and they don't try to negotiate price (as the big ones do) - they resign.





I see.
So, maybe you should raise your rates for companies - which deduct VAT - immediately, and, yes, postpone this raise for six months afa simple clients are concerned.
It could be a viable solution.

Catherine

[Edited at 2010-12-10 11:02 GMT]


 

Amal Al-Arfaj
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 20:02
Member (2005)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Same here but I voted Yes Dec 10, 2010

Sophie Dzhygir wrote:

I already decided to raise my rates this year, but so far far I implemented this only with a very few customers. So 2011 will be about implementing the new rates.


 
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