Rates for English/Spanish technical translation
Thread poster: acoteron
acoteron
Local time: 03:28
English to Spanish
Oct 16, 2009

Does anybody have an idea of the going rates for technical and scientific translations (including patents) from English to Spanish. I am a freelance translator currently based in the UK
Many thanks


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Insufficient information Oct 17, 2009

Unfortunately the information you give about yourself seems a bit scarce to tell you what people in your same situation would charge. Are you certified in this combination? How many years of experience do you have as a full-time translator in general and in this field? Do you have a degree in translation or in the subjects to translate?

Here in Proz.com you have a possible indication of average rates, but we must take into account that these rates are merely statistical and based on the rates of the people who state their rates in their Proz.com profiles. Given the fact that many high-quality or very experienced translators here don't publish their rates, these you can see in the graph do not represent an accurate picture of the market in my opinion.

I would recommend that either you complete your profile or tell us more about you so that we can tell you what rate you can reasonably expect with your qualifications and experience.


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xxxL.G.F.  Identity Verified
Spain
English to Spanish
+ ...
Rates explanation Oct 17, 2009

Good evening,

I have just read all your comments regarding my controversial answer on this topic. That is why I have decided to update it.

I would like to inform you all it is what I had to suffer at the beginning of my professional career as translator. I was not intending to state the most appropiate rate for technical texts is EUR 0,04. No way!

The main aim of my answer was to critize the different ways agencies try to earn easy money with our hard job, and as conclusion, my message for outsourcers and freelancers between the lines was "rates should be higher and not lower".

Obviously, I have never offered such a rate, all the contrary. But, I have been offered this rate by agencies trying to negotiate.

Nowadays with crisis, we should be realistic and admit some translators agree.

On the other hand, I would like to mention your reactions have been quite strong and even against my criteria.

After having read all your comments, all of you were criticizing my opinion (opinion based on my experience.) Nevertheless, none of you have mentioned or suggested any rate per word or page we should apply for medical or technical texts. All of you have kept it in private at the moment. I encourage you all to say what your current rate is and, in this way, help each others.




[Edited at 2009-10-18 16:20 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sorry, ridiculous rate Oct 17, 2009

L.G.F. wrote:
3 If you are going to bid for a job post you should offer your best rate but keep in mind that most clients or agencies offer the following rate per word: EUR 0,04 or lower.

Yes, SOME agencies may offer this rate, which is completely ridiculous, but only a few people would be willing to work for that. It is probably the less experienced or the ones who have difficulty in A) delivering a quality translation or B) advertise their services well. The fact is that most agencies pay a lot more. Let's not give this rate as a normal rate, because it is not... at all!


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David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Double that! Oct 18, 2009

L.G.F. wrote:

3 If you are going to bid for a job post you should offer your best rate but keep in mind that most clients or agencies offer the following rate per word: EUR 0,04 or lower.



LGF: Are you seriously suggesting everyone quote what you see offered on this site? If you do not want to earn a decent wage yourself, fine, but to give other people such advice is really not fair, best to keep it to yourself.

acoteron: you cannot see the rates via Tomás' link if you are not a paying member. While I agree that many things come into play when setting rates, there is no reason to lowball the market to the degree suggested by LGF, which only serves to perpetrate an already difficult rate situation, especially in our language combination, and to continue to send the message to agencies and outsourcers that translators (especially to and from Spanish) are cheap and can be easily (ab)used to make a profit. Remember that the fields you mention are among the most difficult and highest paid (or should be).

Addendum:

L.G.F. wrote:

If you are going to work for an agency as a freelancer, it will inform you on the rate per word paid for the project, you can agree or disagree (if you disagree, that project will be assigned to other translator.)



Sorry, but this is bogus advice too... a freelancer sets his or her own rates, the agency can take it or leave it. You can negotiate rates, but if you let an agency dictate your rates as LGL suggests is the norm, you are no longer a freelancer, and at least here in the USA you can end up being considered an employee of the agency. Believe me, this is not something agencies want to happen.

[Edited at 2009-10-18 06:00 GMT]


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:28
English to German
+ ...
Think about it! Oct 18, 2009

L.G.F. wrote:
Regarding your question, rates for technical texts usually depend on your competencies.

That's right. However, rates do not depend on competencies only. Equally important are selling and marketing skills.

1 If you are going to work for an agency as a freelancer, it will inform you on the rate per word paid for the project, you can agree or disagree.

That's not right. The rate is set by the translator. The agency can accept or decline it.

2 If one potencial client contacts you directly for a project, you can give your own rates

This is in contradiction to what you say in 1.

3 If you are going to bid for a job post you should offer your best rate

No, I do not offer my best rate, I suggest my rate(s) for a specific project. The client (agency or direct client) can accept or decline my rate(s) or negociate.

but keep in mind that most clients or agencies offer the following rate per word: EUR 0,04 or lower.

This is a ridiculous suggestion, and it is very "dangerous" to suggest a rate that absolutely does not reflect reality in the translation industry. If €0.04 is your reality I strongly recommend to at least double your rates and look for other clients. Even a student would charge much more.

From my point of view, I think translators should be paid more money per word

Translators are not paid. If they *are paid*, they are employees and not freelancers.

rates should be standardized.

"standardized"? No thanks. I run a business.

Rates cannot be lower any more.

Oh yes, in some parts of the world they can.
But all professional translators I know charge a minimum rate of €0.10 per word.


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rates in Andalusia Oct 18, 2009

Oh yes, these are about the going rates in Andalusia. Tomás surely you must know this, this reality could hardly have escaped you.

But the asker is based in the UK, so these rates don't apply. For agencies, if you have technical qualifications you can charge more than a translator who has translating experience alone in the area, and if its a direct client I'd go for about 12-13 pence a word, or whatever you feel comfortable with.


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:28
Italian to English
Translation in the UK Oct 18, 2009

Will posters please bear in mind the title of this forum.

I appreciate that rates may be an international rather than a national issue but general discussions about rates should be aired in the Money Matters or Business Issues forums.

Thanks for your cooperation.


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David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
I said "double that" Oct 18, 2009

L.G.F. wrote:

I would like to inform you all it is what I had to suffer at the beginning of my professional career as translator. I was not intending to state the most appropiate rate for technical texts is EUR 0,04. No way!



[Edited at 2009-10-18 16:20 GMT]


That is not the impression your original post gave, on the contrary, it seemed to suggest that EUR 0,04 was normal.


Obviously, I have never offered such a rate, all the contrary. But, I have been offered this rate by agencies trying to negotiate.


Glad to hear it, really...


On the other hand, I would like to mention your reactions have been quite strong and even against my criteria.


In my opinion, the advice you offered (now gone) was simply damaging to the person that asked for it and anyone else who might have read it.


Nevertheless, none of you have mentioned or suggested any rate per word or page we should apply for medical or technical texts.


I said "double that," meaning EUR 0,08, which is about .12 USD, at today's exchange rate. I would not say this is "standard" or "normal" (I don't remember the words you used), I do understand, as Tomás mentioned, there many factor enter into this, including variations between markets, clients involved, subject matter expertise, and the like; this is simply a baseline that says "I will not be abused by the system", "I will not willfully undercut the market," and "I sell a good product at a fair price," which is the underlying assumption about the work of a professional.

[Edited at 2009-10-18 18:41 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:28
French to German
+ ...
OT - careful about "accepting rates" Oct 18, 2009

David Russi wrote:

Sorry, but this is bogus advice too... a freelancer sets his or her own rates, the agency can take it or leave it. You can negotiate rates, but if you let an agency dictate your rates as LGL suggests is the norm, you are no longer a freelancer, and at least here in the USA you can end up being considered an employee of the agency. Believe me, this is not something agencies want to happen.
(my emphasis)
Be very careful about the idea of "accepting the rates set by the agencies", acoteron. The risk mentioned by David also exists in France, and I fail to see why UK authorities and/or official bodies should be more liberal when it comes to define what a freelancer is. In any case, not a person who says Yes, Sir! and Amen to every proposal/request/demand expressed by their business partners (note the vocabulary!) - an attitude which would make them entering a relationship of subordination, akin or equivalent to the one of an employee... with all the fiscal and legal consequences of this status!

[Edited at 2009-10-18 18:45 GMT]


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acoteron
Local time: 03:28
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your comments Oct 18, 2009

Thank you all for your comments, which I have found very useful.



[Edited at 2009-10-18 22:42 GMT]


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