Poll: Would you pay a translator the same rate you charge for a very large text for your private affairs?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 19:07
SITE STAFF
Jun 5

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you pay a translator the same rate you charge for a very large text for your private affairs?".

This poll was originally submitted by Alexandra Villeminey. View the poll results »



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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, and more if needed… Jun 5

It depends on the text difficulty and urgency. Within reason, I’ll pay what is needed for quality.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:07
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes and no Jun 5

I have paid regular professional rates to colleagues on several occasions, but not for a "very large text" -- they were technical articles and book chapters.

While I have been paid my regular rate for the translation of technical books for international organizations, this practice does not usually apply to popular books and works of art, where the contract typically includes royalties and name recognition for the translator. In this tradition, I am currently paying less for the translation of my memoir (www.findingmyinvinciblesummer.info) into Portuguese and Spanish.

I am ashamed to admit that back in the 1970s I accepted to translate an 800-page book for $400 plus royalties and name recognition.


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Murad AWAD  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:07
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
+ ...

MODERATOR
Would you pay a translator the same rate you charge for a very large text for your private affairs? Jun 5

I Think that this is one of the best questions being asked in this part of Proz.com

Please to be honest when you answer this question.


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:07
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Not sure I understand the point of the question Jun 5

By private affairs, you mean not professional?

I'd pay a professional rate for a job in a professional context, i.e. re-sold to a client of mine for instance, or to have my own website translated or so.

But in private affairs? I can't even figure out how I would need a very large text translated in a private context. Sometimes I need short certificates translated and certified, in this case I pay the rate asked by the certified translator, which is always quite high, but no choice here. But larger texts? No idea.

Well, let's imagine it happens: in this case, no, I probably wouldn't be able to pay my own rate. That's because my rate is not intended for private persons, but for companies. In other words: I work only on the B2B market.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Depends Jun 5

If I needed quality, I'd have to find a way of paying for it.

If I didn't, I'd use my inside knowledge of the translation business to screw the lowest possible price out of a third-rate translator on here to edit whatever shite Google Translate comes up with (giving them a stupidly tight deadline that forces them to work nights and weekends just because they all seem to encourage that) and then pay another third-rate translator on here half their $5 minimum charge to spend five minutes finding enough mistakes for me to withhold most of the money from the first one.

I really should start up a translation agency.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In fact, I DO pay, if I got this question right Jun 5

I only translate EN-PT, both ways. I speak IT+FR+ES, but don't translate them professionally. I cover the entire subtitling process, at its max from a VHS tape into a fully-authored interactive DVD... or any part of the process.

Now and then a client - usually a translation agency - requests multilingual video subtitling from me, e.g. a video in EN to be subtitled in PT+FR+ES (one at a time, of course).

I have carefully selected partners, fellow translators, who work into these languages - the ones I speak but don't translate - and deliver high quality subtitles. They reckon they aren't very accurate in time-spotting, and the ones who do it couldn't care less about burning subs onto the video.

I make it a point to pay them exactly the same as I charge in my pair, though I know the ES crew is usually cheaper. I also refrain from charging anything on top of what I pay them, e.g. agenting/finder/PM'ing fees, because this might render the agency's total price uncompetitive.

I offer the client the option to hire them directly, and I'll still direct and supervise their work at no cost additional to my work, viz. translating in my pair, and doing the final steps in theirs, but no client so far has has taken it. They want ME accountable for the entire job. In this case, I demand they pay - in advance - the total amount I'll be paying to my outsourcees.

If the end-client changes their mind while the project is under way, I'll be able to pay all my partners, regardless, for whatever they've done so far, so they'll be available for me whenever I need them. Whatever I may have done to that point will be a matter of negotiating with my client, the in-between. As I explain to the agency, I'm not making any money on the pass-thru billing, in order to keep them competitive, so I can't build a fund to cover the risk of such liabilities. So far, all have agreed with this rationale, and up-fronted the funds immediately.

I have a similar procedure with translation + DTP projects, when my translating partners don't do DTP.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:07
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
:D Jun 5

Chris S wrote:

If I didn't, I'd use my inside knowledge of the translation business to screw the lowest possible price out of a third-rate translator on here to edit whatever shite Google Translate comes up with (giving them a stupidly tight deadline that forces them to work nights and weekends just because they all seem to encourage that) and then pay another third-rate translator on here half their $5 minimum charge to spend five minutes finding enough mistakes for me to withhold most of the money from the first one.

I really should start up a translation agency.


And you'd be making big profits.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, and more if need be Jun 5

For year now I've given up trying to cut corners and do things on the cheap. If I get any fines, for example for traffic offences, I pay them as quickly as possible to take advantage of any discounts allowed. But as far as anything else is concerned, I'm prepared to pay the going rate. I'm currently considering writing off a discrepancy of roughly €300 between the income tax I have billed to clients and what they have actually paid to the tax agency, simply to avoid having to go through all my haphazard accounting to find out which of my fourteen clients has defaulted on last year's tax and go through the rigmarole of notifying them about it, querying the figures and squaring it all up.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Other: no Jun 5

Unless the other translator is a close friend and colleague of mine, and we have collaborated before, I see no reason to pay the same rate I charge. By outsourcing a large-text project to a fellow colleague, availability, not friendship, is priority, but I'm still held responsible by my client if anything is amiss.

So, no. I don't run a charity organization.


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Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:07
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
What about for private affairs? Jun 6

Mario Chavez wrote:

Unless the other translator is a close friend and colleague of mine, and we have collaborated before, I see no reason to pay the same rate I charge. By outsourcing a large-text project to a fellow colleague, availability, not friendship, is priority, but I'm still held responsible by my client if anything is amiss.

So, no. I don't run a charity organization.


I believe the question is: as an end client (rather than an outsourcer), when significant investment is involved (ie. on a large project), would you pay the same rate for translation that you charge?

Eg. if you needed to translate your website, your statutes, your brochures, your personal documentation, various long and complicated contracts, and a couple of long tenders all at the same time, would you pay your translator the same rate you charge?

Do you feel like your clients are being charitable by paying you your standard rate?

Also, if you are charging for outsourcing, do you not add that amount to the rate your translator charges? Or do you prefer to make money by exploiting your colleagues and distorting industry rates?


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 04:07
Member (2005)
English to German
@Mario Jun 6

The way I understand this question, it doesn't refer to outsourcing, but to texts you want for yourself.

I find this very hard to answer, because I would never write the kind of texts I translate - I just don't need any IT marcom, I have no IT solutions to sell, and even if I needed any, I wouldn't need translations in my own language pair.

So if I did write a text, let's say about the history and culture of my neighbourhood, and decided to have it translated into the languages of recent immigrants to help them understand the crazy bunch we are here - then I would pay the going rate for history/culture translators plus proofreaders into whatever languages I wished to acquire. This might or might not be similar to my own rate for my own subject area.

I would very definitely try to get translators by recommendation, or with an impressive LWA, and to find out what pay they consider a good solid average.

ETA: Georgie, jinx!

[Edited at 2017-06-06 06:44 GMT]


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