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Getting your prices right

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Dr. Tilmann Kleinau  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:11
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Everything gets more expensive... Mar 5, 2014

...but a client of mine who keeps me busy 70 per cent of the year is not willing to pay me a cent more than 7 years ago when our collaboration began. They say they are sorry but if I want more, they are obliged to give their books to someone else who demands less. What can I do? I don´t want to lose them, working for them is really pleasant and fun, but I think it would be normal to get more after some years, so why accept the same low rate per page for the next years, too? It would be nice if you could give me an advice now or in the webinar, Gwenydd. TIA, Tilmann

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Gwenydd Jones  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:11
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Now there is an interesting question... Mar 5, 2014

...and I'd like to have a little think on it. We can definitely bring this up in the webinar. Thanks very much for sharing this problem. If anyone else has a specific pricing issue they'd like to discuss, then I'd love to hear it.

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Inna Sarkizova
Bulgaria
Local time: 22:11
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
some languages are paid better than others Mar 5, 2014

Thank you for asking for any specific pricing issues as I have one too I am Bulgarian translator working from France. And what I realize is rates for Bulgarian translation are quite different from English into French translation rates for example. As I want to translate into Bulgarian either I have to apply low rates for agencies, either they don't contact me as my rates are high. So I am confronted to different country standards and payments. I would be really interested in attending your webinar and learn new tips for getting my prices right. Inna

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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:11
English to German
+ ...
Finding the right clients is what we need to do Mar 5, 2014

Inna Boycheva wrote:

Thank you for asking for any specific pricing issues as I have one too I am Bulgarian translator working from France. And what I realize is rates for Bulgarian translation are quite different from English into French translation rates for example. As I want to translate into Bulgarian either I have to apply low rates for agencies, either they don't contact me as my rates are high. So I am confronted to different country standards and payments. I would be really interested in attending your webinar and learn new tips for getting my prices right. Inna


Inna, I think that we should not try to adapt our prices to certain agencies' demands but need to find better ways of finding those clients who are willing to pay professional rates and are willing to accept rate increases (even into Bulgarian) - this is becoming more and more important because there are more and more agencies out there undercutting to a degree that's absolutely shocking. Direct contact and translator collaborations are more important than ever. My opinion.

B


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:11
English to German
+ ...
Letting go Mar 5, 2014

Dr. Tilmann Kleinau wrote:

...but a client of mine who keeps me busy 70 per cent of the year is not willing to pay me a cent more than 7 years ago when our collaboration began. They say they are sorry but if I want more, they are obliged to give their books to someone else who demands less. What can I do? I don´t want to lose them, working for them is really pleasant and fun, but I think it would be normal to get more after some years, so why accept the same low rate per page for the next years, too? It would be nice if you could give me an advice now or in the webinar, Gwenydd. TIA, Tilmann


I have had similar issues before and eventually I just had to say no. I felt like losing all self-respect if I continued on. I did try to explain to one of these clients, a nice guy, that I just couldn't do the same job for this rate anymore and that in return for the increase, he would continue to receive the great quality I am able to provide which, by the way, he did request and expect. He didn't budge. Neither did I. I let go.
Although we split about 2 years ago, I haven't heard from him since. Goes to show that he's getting what he wants from someone else for cheaper. But where does this end? I am not willing to work for the same rate my whole life, especially if it is defined by someone else. Next step is that they ask to reduce the rate.

B


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Châu Nguyễn  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 02:11
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Calculating rate in different ways Mar 20, 2014

I have encountered many difficult situation when I met client who want to calculate the rate differently. The most common method is to calculate by source words, but some times clients also want the work to be calculated by minute and hour (a bit specific for the subtitling and transcription). So it would be interesting to know if there is a formula to calculate our rate per minute or per hour. And also for interpretation, what should usually be covered by the client? How to calculate accurately the rate per day or per hour?

Thank you,

[Edited at 2014-03-20 01:59 GMT]


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Petra Johansson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:11
Member
English to Swedish
+ ...
The question about rates is a never-ending very tiresome story Mar 20, 2014

of time spent on discussions that should not even occur...

Who wants to buy a Ferrari doesn't go to the car dealer trying to negotiate so that he can get for the same price as a Fiat yet asking to have it delivered faster than normal and coming with lots of extras...........

Lately more and more new, potential, clients try both reduce the rates and at the same time to ask for more service to be included (e.g. asking a much lower hourly rate for editing AND to define themselves how much will be needed for that edit......suggesting a much lower number of hours than the minimum needed for editing a quality translation, even though those low-cost-agencies often provide poor quality translations)...... It is very time-consuming to even answer these requests, explaining why they are unacceptable. I also feel offended and sometimes overwhelmed by hopelessness. It is really essential that translators work together to defend acceptable rates, or even better, to raise our rates as well as our quality standards.

I also have the problem with an "old" client for whom I work for the same rates I had 9 years ago... I discussed raising my rate with them 6 years ago, they were not against it but said that with the crisis I might get less work from them if my rates were higher. So I did not raise my rates.. It is a very big company and they have many Swedish linguists and I have understood that at the time my rates were rather in the middle, yet there were no big differences. Lately I have noticed that the new Swedish linguists have much lower rates....
Obviously living in the euro-zone and invoicing in dollar is one problem too, that one cannot make the client pay for.
However, weather living in an expensive country or somewhere where living costs are extremely low, translators who offer the same service with the same quality should charge equally.

I´m looking forward to this webinar a lot!!!!


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Gwenydd Jones  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:11
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Keep your thoughts coming... Mar 21, 2014

Thank you to everyone who's shared their price issues so far. Do keep your thoughts and questions coming. We will try to cover as much ground as possible in the webinar and I also plan to approach some of these problems through my blog. Looking forward to Tuesday!

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Interestingly... Mar 21, 2014

Dr. Tilmann Kleinau wrote:

Everything gets more expensive ...but a client of mine who keeps me busy 70 per cent of the year is not willing to pay me a cent more than 7 years ago when our collaboration began.


My plain translation rate in my local currency is exactly the same since July 1994. That's when Brazil changed its currency for the last time, putting an end to decades of skyrocketing inflation.

How is that possible?

If I'm not mistaken, in 1994 I was moving from a 386DX-40 MHz computer with 4 MB RAM to a 486DX-40 MHz computer with 8 MB RAM. Connectivity with clients was done on wheels; I'd take 360 KB to 1.44 MB floppy disks or hard copy to my clients personally. No Internet; the BBS came up one year later.

My current computer's processor is almost 100x faster, and has almost 1,000x that much RAM. I transfer GB-sized files back and forth with my clients at two-digit MBPS speed over the web. I don't see/visit my clients; some of them, with whom I've been working for years, we've never seen each other, though the distance between us could be covered simply walking. Many other clients are several time zones away.

My first laser printer cost US$ 7,000, my first scanner cost $800, and my first fax machine cost $700. In the next few weeks I'll be buying a multifunctional contrivance that includes all three (plus a copier that doesn't require computer intervention) for $500.

That's hardware. In 1994, spellcheckers were kinda lame, and user-level CAT tools did not exist. Most of the translation work was done by looking at printouts and typing, while consulting a large collection of reference books.

So we have amazing productivity gains from technology, while its costs have been going down. I'm not saying professional translators should bow to bottom-feeders in any way; machine translation will eventually take care of them. However we have good chances to earn more by producing much more and faster with less efort.


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