Poll: How often do you increase your rates?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:33
Apr 3, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How often do you increase your rates?".

This poll was originally submitted by Anne-Virginie Lerat. View the poll results »


Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:33
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
I set my rates on a project basis Apr 3, 2012

Just because I work with clients from different countries and always take local prices into account. While an UK based client, for example, is ready to work with my usual rates, Romanian clients work with very low rates. Sometimes I just avoid them for this reason. I have set however my general rates and try to stick to them, whenever possible.


Pompeo Lattanzi
Local time: 09:33
English to Italian
+ ...
Maybe the question should be... Apr 3, 2012

"Do you manage to increase your rates at all?".
The Internet does open more opportunities, but IMHO also the door to much competition that often cuts tariffs down to levels which are not possible for a professional.


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:33
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other ... Apr 3, 2012

Whenever I can -- which should have been one of the options.

Whatever price you put on your worth, the rates you can charge, unfortunately icon_frown.gif, are driven by the market. If the economy has been growing steadily say for the past 3 or 4 months, my customers can attempt to charge their clients higher rates and the client might feel more inclined to dig deeper into their pockets.
Then, hopefully, this will be reflected proportionately in higher outsourcing rates to yours truly. icon_biggrin.gif

My approach is one of flexibility -- to find a common ground with my customers so that we can both survive through rough times together. And, FYI, the market really has not recovered over here, in Japan, for past several years. Sigh...

There really is no point pricing yourself out of the market when you have a mortgage and daughter in Med School. icon_smile.gif

Happy translating!


Patricia Charnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:33
English to French
+ ...
other Apr 3, 2012

what my clients would agree depending on the type of clients, and depends sometimes on project, on what long term clients would accept too. many parameters.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 08:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Apr 3, 2012

I used to increase my rates every two/three years, but nowadays I quote on a per-project basis.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
When exchange rates so determine Apr 3, 2012

Skyrocketing inflation in Brazil ended in 1994. This graph shows how it was; please note that the Y-scale there is logarithmic, not linear. So my basic rate in BRL has been stable, unchanged since July 1994. Advances in IT were sufficient to cover the low inflation ever since.

While I pay all my bills in BRL, of course, I get paid by foreign clients in other currencies. Since my foreign language variant is EN-US, it makes sense to set my international rates in USD, and convert them into other currencies, e.g. EUR, GBP, as needed.

In 2009 the USD plummeted, from BRL 2.0 to 1.5. I held tight for that entire year, expecting it to recover. It didn't. So in Jan. 2010 I raised my international rate by 20%; IMO it was the most the market would bear. Lost a few clients, none of them really worth keeping; all the good ones understood my situation, and accepted promptly. Having moved to a higher level in the US translation prices gamut, I gradually acquired new clients. Fortunately, I had all the requirements to stay there.

Meanwhile interest rates in Brazil remain absurdly high, about 10% per month. This means that the time value of money here is higher than in most other places. So I set a firm policy to reject any job with payment terms longer than 30 calendar days, no exceptions allowed, ever. My standard payment term was set at two weeks (more than enough time for both outsourcer and end-client to check what I delivered, and to process payment twice). Clients paying in 30 days would be on what I named 'managed availability', i.e. faster paying clients would have priority over their jobs.

So it's a kind of balancing act... on one front keeping afloat in the economy where one lives, on another making domestic and foreign jobs equally worthwhile, and on a third front, remaining competitive in one's major markets overseas. I don't see how it is possible to balance these three things by simply 'increasing rates every so many months'; it's much more complex than that.

Regarding competition, I get the impression that few translators are aware of the time value of money, otherwise there would be almost no translation agencies left in at least three European countries, where the standard payment terms are usually far beyond the horizon.


Phillippa May Bennett
Local time: 08:33
Portuguese to English
Generally project by project... Apr 3, 2012

However, this varies too. For some agencies I haven't raised my rates for a long time, but with private clients I tend to set my rates according to the deadline/subject area/difficulty.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 3, 2012

My rates are basic standard for my area - 7 or 8 euro cents a word. This is not as cheap as it may appear, as my service does not include formatting or anything other than the basics (translating and revising the content). I don't even do acronyms unless they are defined by the author, or anything else that I consider a waste of time.

Quite often, I will work for 4 or 5 cents on a large volume job, or if I like the subject matter, or if the deadline is relaxed. Similarly, I might say to a friend " do you fancy translating 2000 words for 100 euros to help me meet this deadline" and pay them cash. I also do this for them. To me this is akin to borrowing a tenner until payday and has nothing to do with "market-busting", "dumping" or "driving rates down".

With agencies, it is always a struggle to get my basic rates out of them anyway, so I am trying to minimise the work I accept from them now, especially "proofing", which I find increasingly a pain the... neck. With my regular clients, for now I have resolved to keep my rates steady for as long as possible, given the general negative economic situation. It's nice to be niceicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2012-04-03 11:59 GMT]


Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 10:33
English to Russian
+ ...
Makes me grin Apr 3, 2012

Such rate-related polls always make me grin. Raising rates is not something one can do whenever he or she so wishes. It is up to the market.


Local time: 03:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
depending on domestic inflation and / or official devaluations Apr 3, 2012

depending on domestic inflation and / or official devaluations


Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same here Apr 3, 2012

Phillippa May Bennett wrote:

However, this varies too. For some agencies I haven't raised my rates for a long time, but with private clients I tend to set my rates according to the deadline/subject area/difficulty.

I agree. Most translation agencies are in the commoditization market of translation services, so they like to keep their rates "competitive."

As I am focused on gaining more private (ie, more profitable) customers, I set my rates according to the project's requirements.


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:33
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
not lately Apr 3, 2012

I did raise them to market level and am looking at raising it for some newer clients. My editing rates are the same. Euro rates are about the same because of the exchange between EUR and CAD.


darkokoporcic  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:33
Member (2005)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
If it was that simple ... Apr 3, 2012

... then the rate movement trends would point towards zero. Namely, if the translator's (or seller's) perception of the value of his work was the only measure, then that value would be extremely low. The "product" would be practically worthless to anyone else. Fortunately, this is (still) not the case.

In real life the rates are influenced by many internal and external factors including the productivity, quality, experience and technical equipment of the translator, competition in the market (country or language pair), currency, inflation rate, demand and supply etc. etc. High unemployment rate will definitely increase the supply while recession will reduce demand (however, a win-win situation is also possible at the other pole).

So, I really think that just thinking about increasing rates because of the inflation or rising needs of the translator is not a good perspective. One should rather try to improve his/her knowledge, raise productivity (spend less time for the same amount of work), know his/her clients better, increase marketing efforts etc. That will definitely bring more work and produce higher income than just raising prices periodically.


Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:33
English to Serbian
+ ...
True Apr 4, 2012

Alexander Kondorsky wrote:

Such rate-related polls always make me grin. Raising rates is not something one can do whenever he or she so wishes. It is up to the market.

Yup, quite true. Very often I get the offers where I'm already offered a price on take-it-or-leave-it basis, so I can either take it... or leave iticon_biggrin.gif


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