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Poll: Do you think that rates are becoming a tougher issue than they were in the past?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 04:59
Dec 1, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think that rates are becoming a tougher issue than they were in the past?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:59
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Absolutely Dec 1, 2014

There has been a recent downward push. I have experienced it first-hand and so have several of my colleagues.


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Depends Dec 1, 2014

Direct customers still prioritise quality over price, but agency rates are definitely lower


Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...

tougher by the hour.... Dec 1, 2014

The rates issue with agencies is getting harder to deal with, besides the late payments or non-payments. Even some agencies that used to be "reputable" are getting cheap and phoney.

[Edited at 2014-12-01 13:29 GMT]


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:59
Member (2006)
German to English
No Dec 1, 2014

I must admit that I find my rates are stable and am happy about it.

And I tend not to work with direct customers anymore as they seem to be getting more and more a pain in the neck with wanting everything straight away whereas with agencies, I have a heck of a lot more flexibility - my experience.


Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Depends on the language combination Dec 1, 2014

I've found that over the past 3-4 years, constant haggling over rates into Scandinavian languages has become less of an issues. I have increased my rates and few, even among new clients, have had anything to object.


Wouter van Kampen
Local time: 18:59
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
I have increased my rates Dec 1, 2014

It doesn't need to be troublesome. Increase your rates and say NO to brokers. It's really that simple. Brokers are usually redundant in-betweens. The result will be earnings just as before, with less hassle and more time for your family and friends.


Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:59
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well... Dec 1, 2014

I told youicon_smile.gif

Do you still think this is not related to MT? It was very sad to see that only a Brazilian colleague, out of hundreds or thousands reading a thread, detected that problem.


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:59
Member (2008)
English to Italian
Yes Dec 1, 2014

and the reasons are the following, in my opinion:
1) new translators who not only accept low rates, but also offer their service for an extremely low rate
2) MT has led a lot of people to think that the translation is an easy task and that no human beings are necessary, or at least they can just check the final work (which is obviously well done in their opinion)
3) the usual stupid things that we hear about translators (if you know a language you can translate, you studied a foreign language when you were 12 and you went on holiday abroad = you are a translator)....
4) global crisis: as in many other fields, we are "gently asked" to change our rates and payment terms due to the crisis....


Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:59
English to Russian
+ ...
from time to time Dec 1, 2014

Translation rates become a tougher issue from time to time, like any other rates


William Pawlowsky  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
Ukrainian to English
+ ...
Definitely lower... Dec 1, 2014

Having lived and worked in Ukraine for nearly ten years, I had no problem getting very good rates as a native speaker of English. Often tackling a number of projects at a time that were both long term and short term.

Moving back to Canada where translation of language pairs of RU => EN and UA => EN are not as common I had have felt quite a difference in what I can charge. In addition, with a new generation of young professionals developing in that part of the world, they often bypass translators who command a high price, and opt for those who are willing to sometimes what is 1/4 of what they could be getting. I've worked with publishers that Economist quality English paying 1/4 of what it was worth. I sent them a clear message, given their pay scale, that I will not not work for the rates they are paying for the value they wish to receive in return.

I have dealt and still deal with intermediaries, they are the vultures of the industry and unfortunately I have had to edit garbage that some of the "translators" they hire. Many times I have pointed to their PM's that I'm getting some type of garbage from MT - clearly many of their PM's are extremely incompetent - and this bothers me because I'm a little too soft. I love to please my customers, but I can't create miracles.

When living in Kyiv, there was a group of native speakers who agreed up a rate, it helped us find the right balance. With MT and with a lot of people who work for free, it has driven prices down as well as the quality.

My first profession is that of Information Specialist/Librarian and sorry when people talk about research and feel they can pay me less than $40.00 an hour for what I provide them I am insulted.

Cheerz and my two cents,



Sonya Gerisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
Member (2004)
German to English
Not if you are good and reliable Dec 1, 2014

At least not in German to English. There will always be those that low-ball with rates. But I have found that if you are really good and reliable, the rates are not really too much of an issue. Just my experience, but you do have to be very good and very reliable and keep up with technology and you have to be a bit competitive with rates but not down in the gutter with rates. My rates are not going up every year necessarily but they aren't going down either.


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:59
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It's obvious all over, Dec 2, 2014

But it's the good old supply and demand issue. Many agencies are offering low rates and hiring beginners and "who cares about quality". In order for this to be true, many clients are accepting low quality for lower prices and delivering their products with low quality translations (e.g. Chinese manufacturers and their beautiful user's manuals).

As customers, we buy these products and decipher the Chingish manuals, and don't complain about the quality of the manual, as long as the quality of the main product is fine. We watch movies (ouside the USA) with terrible subtitles, and we don't complain and keep watching them, of course, and try to decipher the meaning, or lose half the fun of the dialogues.

More and more translators (many unprepaired) enter the market every day, and accept rates of 1/5 of the regular price of the pros.

The real pros refuse all jobs with low rates. I even reply e-mails criticizing the "dumping" attitude.

What we do is to look for serious agencies and clients who do care about quality, and build our portfolio with these agencies and clients. The other agencies and clients, who think money is more important than quality, are another market, not ours. We are not part of that maket. We abominate it. Let them dig their own grave.



Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:59
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Recent examples of the trend Dec 2, 2014

1. I worked steadily for 4 years for a certain organization and over that time they *raised* my rate twice without my asking, each time by US$ .01 a word. It was an excellent rate. Suddenly the flow stopped. I asked what had happened and was told that a new "bean counter" had decided to use translators that charge lower rates. I dropped my rate by $.02 (back to my starting rate 4 years earlier) and now continue to receive occasional jobs but nothing like the flow I had before. If I still want to work for them, I will have to lower my rate further and I am considering it. The rate would still be very good, so I wouldn't be selling myself to the Devil or anything like that.

2. A colleague of mine told me that two agencies have written to her in the past year informing her that she will have to reduce the rate she has been receiving for several years if she wants to continue working for them.

I definitely see that there is increasing resistance to pay the high rates that were being paid until recently. There may be less pressure in the middle range.


cquest  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:59
English to Polish
+ ...
Apparently Dec 2, 2014

Since I updated my rates to a local minimum about two years ago I have not been awarded any projects from new international customers.
I am fine doing lots of jobs for Polish customers but here a pressure on rates has been visible as well.

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Poll: Do you think that rates are becoming a tougher issue than they were in the past?

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