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Poll: Do you alter your rates depending on the client's country of residence?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:51
SITE STAFF
Jan 23, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you alter your rates depending on the client's country of residence?".

This poll was originally submitted by Irene Doval Marcos. View the poll results »



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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:51
Member (2006)
German to English
No Jan 23, 2014

why should I?

So that companies where I am can assign jobs to them so that they pay me less, no way...

I must laugh at this because a few years ago, I received a job from a well known Chinese agency (payment was my normal rates) and the job came from a German government office in Berlin.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:51
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No thank you! Jan 23, 2014

However, I may alter my rates -- preferably upwardly -- depending on the difficulty of the project.

Consider the consequences if the majority of translation in the world was outsourced to the lowest bidders in India and China. We'd all be kissing our income goodbye and be working for a pittance.

No thank you to that, too!


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:51
German to English
I was thinking the other way around Jan 23, 2014

I certainly don't systematically adjust my rates according to my clients' countries of residence, although I might sometimes be somewhat more optimistic with my offers in the case of a Swiss potential client (and more cautious in the case of a German public-sector client whose business happens to be important to me for whatever reason).

However, I certainly do look for clients in countries that I perceive as better paying and easier to work with: Switzerland, Austria, and Germany (in that order). I make absolutely no effort to acquire British or US customers and haven't even translated the "new" (around 2-year-old) version of my website into English - and when I do, it will be for my German-speaking potential clients checking on my language skills and not for English-speaking clients living outside of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.

So I don't alter my rates, but my expectations about clients in specific countries being willing to pay my rates and being pleasant to work with certainly do influence how I look for clients.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jan 23, 2014

All my clients are based in Spain, as am I. I tend to settle for the same basic and reasonable rate for most of my clients. And I find that not obsessing about how to make more, more, more all the time keeps me happy.

[Edited at 2014-01-23 08:55 GMT]


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 15:51
Turkish to English
+ ...
Sometimes Jan 23, 2014

There is no way that clients from Turkey would or could pay my usual rates so, occasionally, when there is absolutely no work available from Western countries, I may do some work from Turkey at lower rates - although still for well above the abysmal level of remuneration prevalent on that market. It is surely preferable to earn a few peanuts rather than nothing.

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:51
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
I used to in consideration of their country's situation, but.... Jan 23, 2014

Consider the consequences if the majority of translation in the world was outsourced to the lowest bidders in India and China. We'd all be kissing our income goodbye and be working for a pittance.

No thank you to that, too! [/quote]



But I have learned what Julian just said. Today with the Internet, even clients in the more affluent countries will take advantage of our goodwill and it will backfire on all of us.

Besides, strictly speaking I would not make the necessary profit to run my business.

[Edited at 2014-01-23 09:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-01-23 09:12 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-01-23 09:12 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:51
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Jan 23, 2014

What I charge for a job depends on several factors: complexity, volume, urgency, source language of the text and other practical circumstances, but not on the client’s country of residence!

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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:51
English to Russian
+ ...
No Jan 23, 2014

Depending on the client - yes!
Depending on his country of residence - no!
Why should I?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:51
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I empower clients to alter the embedded financial costs Jan 23, 2014

I have kept my translation rate in my domestic currency (BRL) unchanged since July 1994.

Developments in IT have improved my productivity to the point of covering inflation so far, hence I could transfer these benefits to my clients.

For international clients, currency exchange rates make a difference, however I buffer them to certain limits, so I know that there is an uncalculated non-operational profit/loss there from fluctuations. I only change my international rates policy when there is some drastic and permanent change. This has happened twice over the past 5 years or so.

Therefore my translation rates are basically the same for all, and pretty stable.
On the other hand, the financial costs do vary sharply from one country to another.
So I let clients make a choice, basically from three rate options.

  • My stated rate considers payment via PayPal within two weeks from delivery.
    As PayPal explicitly forbid "sellers" (it's eBay-based and owned) to surcharge "buyers" for the fees deducted from the payee upon receiving, that's the only option for a price statement. PayPal cannot prevent me from giving discounts to anyone I wish as long as we won't be using their system.
    In Brazil PayPal deducts 6.5% in fees + 3.5% in openly stated lower-than-market exchange rates.

  • If the client keeps the 2-wk term, but avoids PayPal (e.g. by using a bank transfer), I give them a 10% discount.
    Obviously, my stated rate includes the PayPal cost, so I'm glad to spare my valued clients from that expense.
    Of course, for small amounts the bank transfer fees may exceed those 10%, so we use common sense to decide.

  • If the client waives deferred payment, and is willing to pay COD, I give them a discount on account of high Brazilian interest rates, close to 10%/month.
    Keeping translation and financial costs apart is fair.
    If a client wanted me to fly to New York to receive payment in cash, both the air fare and my time aloft would be part of my financial cost.
    If they want deferred payment, that's tantamount to me granting them a loan for the corresponding term, so they should pay its financial cost at my local interest rates, which in my specific case, are not so negiligible. That's why they get a discount for not having taken that loan.

    Bottom line is that my translation rate remains unchanged, however the client has a choice on how much they are willing to spend on the merely financial costs of getting me paid.

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  • Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
    United States
    Local time: 08:51
    Member (2006)
    Portuguese to English
    + ...
    Precisely Jan 23, 2014

    Michael Harris wrote:

    why should I?



    My rates are based on what I must make to meet my financial obligations.
    I keep them as low as feasible, as it is, to be competitive.
    I don't go about reducing them further for arbitrary reasons.
    Regardless of where the client is located, I'm still in the same place, and still must pay the same rent and utilities, etc.
    My expenses don't change according to the client's location.
    That's just silly.

    [Edited at 2014-01-23 16:31 GMT]


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    Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
    Local time: 08:51
    English to Spanish
    + ...
    Alter rates? Why? Jan 23, 2014

    First, let's use proper verbs and collocations. Rates for professional services may be modified or changed if we are talking about raising them or lowering them.

    The verb alter implies tampering of some sort. Shall we grab a Roget's Thesaurus for clarification?

    Back to the poll: what relevance does the client's country of residence in my decision to structure my professional fees? What is the rationale for that?

    We have discussed wire transfer fees, for example, which can be split 50/50 between the client and the translator. But, raising or lowering fees out of consideration for the client's country of residence? That's not a business case, and geography is not a business reason to structure fees.

    Some institutions do something like that: they charge one level of tuition to residents while they charge another level (about 200% or 300% higher) of tuition to foreigners. Many universities do that.


    [Edited at 2014-01-23 16:31 GMT]


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    José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
    Brazil
    Local time: 10:51
    English to Portuguese
    + ...
    This has a reason Jan 23, 2014

    Mario Chavez wrote:

    Some institutions do something like that: they charge one level of tuition to residents while they charge another level (about 200% or 300% higher) of tuition to foreigners. Many universities do that.


    In some way or another, the locals' families/ancestry have contributed with taxes or otherwise over the years to build those institutions and/or the environment - both physical and cultural - that surrounds them. If the foreigners are coming to study there, it is because the locals have created something worth traveling that distance.

    However translation has nothing of the kind.


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    Chris S  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Member (2011)
    Swedish to English
    + ...
    Yes Jan 23, 2014

    In general, we charge as much as we feel we can get away with

    Norwegians are willing to pay more than Swedes

    Simples


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    Chris S  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Member (2011)
    Swedish to English
    + ...
    @Mario Jan 23, 2014

    Mario Chavez wrote:

    First, let's use proper verbs and collocations. Rates for professional services may be modified or changed if we are talking about raising them or lowering them.

    The verb alter implies tampering of some sort. Shall we grab a Roget's Thesaurus for clarification?




    ???


    Alter = change = raise or lower in this case


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