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Please help build wiki article: "Determining your rates and fees as a translator"
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:55
SITE FOUNDER
Mar 15, 2010

Hi all,

Those of you who follow the forums regularly know that while a considerable amount of knowledge is stored up in the ProZ.com forums, accessing it is not so easy, in part because of the limitations of the search feature, but also in part because of the nature of discussion forums, where useful information tends to be broken up among multiple posts. The point is, it is not as easy as it could be to get information out of the forums, and repeat postings on frequent themes, for example, are one issue that results.

A community wiki was suggested as a potential solution, and a wiki editable by all was created earlier this year. I am optimistic about the potential for this, but so far, it has not been used much.

At this point, in the interest of stimulating greater use of the wiki (or failing that, to get some feedback on what about it needs to be improved), I would like to invite willing parties to turn their attention to an article I have created on the topic of "Determining your rates and fees as a translator". I invite you to read it and contribute anything useful you have to add:

"Determining your rates and fees as a translator"

(This article links to another article entitled "Approaches used in determining payment for translation projects". Please feel free to add / edit that one, too!)

For those not familiar with wikis, the basic idea is that everyone can add or edit what was written previously, and through the continuous process that results, a useful article may result. It is normal for people to hesitate to jump in at first, but bear in mind that a record is kept of changes and who has made them, and it is possible to roll back changes. Also, if you make a spelling mistake, it is likely that someone else will correct it... so don't be afraid to get right in there and start typing.

If that is not enough reassurance, please go see my poorly-written article on rates, in which I have included many misstatements and errors for you to fix.

When you visit, please let me know if you have any technical problems, or encounter anything that would give you pause in contributing. Clearly, the wiki is not welcoming enough in its current form, so we hope to improve it based on your feedback. Thanks!


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:55
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Example of types of information that could be added Mar 15, 2010

In an effort to stimulate contributions, here are some examples of the type of thing that could be added:

1) In the article link to above, one of the sections I created is entitled "Rates data". If you are logged in when viewing the article, you will see to the right of that section heading the word "[edit]". You could, for example, click that and enter a link to the results of a pricing survey performed by an industry association.

There is a certain style of formatting used in wikis. To enter a link in the one that we use (the same software used by wikipedia), you would enter it like this:

[http://www.proz.com ProZ.com - a site for translators] (where the first block of text within the brackets is the URL of the link, and the rest of what you put in the brackets is the (clickable) text that should be visible in the link.)

2) You will notice that the section on "Minimum fees" is also empty. What a willing contributor could do there is take the liberty of writing the "authoritative" commentary on this issue, striving to present relevant facts from as neutral a point of view as possible. ("Many translators charge a certain minimum fee..." would be a fact-based approach, whereas "All translators should charge a minimum fee..." would not be.) Rest assured that others will be ready to jump in to "neutralize" anything too opinionated!

Just to give you the idea. I know many people here are experienced with wikipedia, etc.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:55
Swedish to English
+ ...
"Most translators do what they do, first and foremost, because they love it" Mar 15, 2010

I love discussing any aspect of linguistics and cross cultural differences as well as debating which specific term would be most appropriate in any given situation. I also love they way I can make words look, as well as sound, in any given situation. I also feel very strongly about any kind of linguistic/cultural issues.

But I do most definitely not do what I do, because I "love it". Translation is something I do for a living and I know I'm very good at transferring the meaning, linguistic and cultural, from one language to the other.

I assume the person who wrote the statement quoted in the heading above is not a translator and just tried to indicate the commitment translators invest in their translation.

Only, it's more likely to be read by potential clients as "I love what I do so please abuse my dedication".

Love is rarely the reason anyone chooses an occupation.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:55
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Please change it! Mar 15, 2010

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

"Most translators do what they do, first and foremost, because they love it"

... I do most definitely not do what I do, because I "love it". Translation is something I do for a living and I know I'm very good at transferring the meaning, linguistic and cultural, from one language to the other.

I assume the person who wrote the statement quoted in the heading above is not a translator and just tried to indicate the commitment translators invest in their translation.

Only, it's more likely to be read by potential clients as "I love what I do so please abuse my dedication".

I was a translator and I wrote it. My intent was to say "It is great that we love what we do..." -- and surveys like this one seem to back that as a common sentiment -- "... but we have to think like businesspeople, too."

Anyway, it was a bad way to start the article, I felt it at the time and you have confirmed it. It is a wiki, so rather than knock it, or in addition to knocking it, please overwrite it with something better!


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:55
Swedish to English
+ ...
Will try to Mar 16, 2010

Henry D wrote:


It is a wiki, so rather than knock it, or in addition to knocking it, please overwrite it with something better!


But not tonight.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:55
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Madeleine Mar 16, 2010

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

Will try to

But not tonight.

Thank you.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:55
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Another way to think of the wiki: "education" from experienced translators to others / clients Mar 16, 2010

One way to think of this wiki project is this: One often hears more experienced translators regretting the fact that there are newbie colleagues who do not know how to approach setting their rates. "Education is what is needed," many have rightly observed. A wiki, and this article, provide a potential means for experienced colleagues to deliver a bit of that education to less experienced translators. If we produce a quality article on the topic, we would not only have a useful article that could be made accessible to those preparing to quote on jobs (for example), we would also have established an efficient channel of communication between experienced translators (those who contribute, anyway) and others.

A similar article could be written for clients, and made available to them at the time of posting or searching. What would you like clients to know before they contact you? By investing the time it would take to post to this forum, you could help contribute an enduring message to translation clients.

Please, folks, considering taking a few moments right now, or when you can, to help address the important question of how to set one's rates as a translator. I do not believe that the vision and cooperation necessary for a project of this nature (a wiki) are beyond the professionals in this group.


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Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 10:55
English to French
+ ...
Well, at least we like it.. Mar 16, 2010

As a reply to Madeleine:

Well, love might not be the appropriate term, but at least we can say that most translators /like/ their job.
There are better-paying occupations, and for people who are after fame or social recognition it's not much better than being a researcher.
The freedom associated with the job is considerable, and you can add this to the list of aspects that translators "like" (or "love") about it.
Also, words have to be chosen carefully ("choisis avec amour", one could say, which applies just as well to cherry-picking) and this process is always visible in the end result.

Put another way, translators (and agencies) who do dislike their job produce drab translations that no one will like reading either.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:55
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Samuel, for adding to the article Mar 16, 2010

Thank you, Samuel Murray, for adding to the article. I like the changes you have made, for example, the way you express quoting methodology in "per-unit" terms.

Anyone care to write the section on minimum fees? A recent forum thread -- http://www.proz.com/topic/160309 -- addressed the issue...


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:55
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Rosa! Mar 16, 2010

Thanks for contributing, Rosa!

For those not familiar with wikis, you can see who has made what contributions by clicking on the "history" tab...


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:55
Swedish to English
+ ...
A tiny edit to start Mar 16, 2010

"Most translators do what they do, first and foremost, because they love words. How they sound, look and smell; how a certain choice of word might affect the reader.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:55
Italian to English
+ ...
Irrelevant Mar 16, 2010

Michael Mestre wrote:

As a reply to Madeleine:

Well, love might not be the appropriate term, but at least we can say that most translators /like/ their job.


With respect to the wiki article on determing rates, my personal opinion is that it's completely irrelevant whether we like our job or not.

I'll also have a look at the Wiki tomorrow: it's getting a bit late now.

[Edited at 2010-03-16 22:26 GMT]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hi Henry Mar 17, 2010

This is an old field of research, but I think I've pegged certain upper limits in this article: http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/2252/

Admittedly, this dates back to the era of time-and-motion studies in the raw (I have this data from 1984 thereabouts) and does not take translation memories into account.

Should translation memories be accounted for, my experience is that the 1/3 and 2/3 ratios for 100% and fuzzy matches just about covers the bill. This would be because TUs may have to be expanded or adjusted. At any rate, it is also possible that a total re-reading in the final stage would be called for.


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:25
German to English
Suggestion Mar 17, 2010

I would like to suggest a separate forum for the wiki. That way whenever anyone starts a new article or topic (apart from the one on rates you've already started), they can announce it in the forum and people can contribute. Any discussion on that particular article or topic can also be conducted in the forum.

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:55
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Excellent idea, Niraja Mar 17, 2010

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:

I would like to suggest a separate forum for the wiki. That way whenever anyone starts a new article or topic (apart from the one on rates you've already started), they can announce it in the forum and people can contribute. Any discussion on that particular article or topic can also be conducted in the forum.

Great suggestion! I will discuss it with Jared.


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