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Percentage that translation agencies charge.
Thread poster: MuayThai
Mar 29, 2013

How much do they actually make by being an intermediary ? If a rate by which the translator goes is
$ 0,12 or $ 0,16 per word, how much will they put on the top, before handing in the material to their client ? Thank you in advance for the info.


 

RimasK
Lithuania
Local time: 01:24
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Percentage that translation agencies charge. Mar 29, 2013

Well, recently I have come to situation when translation agency offerd me a job. Asked about the price they sent me the sums they charge a client for differnt languages. At least for my language pair it appeared they take 220 percent more than they offered to me.
But it's business you do not have to accept such offers if you have enough clients yourself.icon_smile.gif


 

Romina Zaleski  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
PERCENTAGE Mar 29, 2013

Yes, he is right. If you can get your own clients, it is better. In the meantime, you can work with agencies in order to obtain more experience and practice, but if they offer very little money you should not invest your time in it. There are a lot agencies that pay very well.

 

MuayThai
TOPIC STARTER
Percentage Mar 30, 2013

RimasK wrote:

Well, recently I have come to situation when translation agency offerd me a job. Asked about the price they sent me the sums they charge a client for differnt languages. At least for my language pair it appeared they take 220 percent more than they offered to me.
But it's business you do not have to accept such offers if you have enough clients yourself.icon_smile.gif

Thank you both for the replies !
220 percent more - so they charge client 3,1 times of the initial service cost ? Not too bad, although I don't imagine how it is possible given the fierce competition between the agencies...
Translation is not mine main source of income Romina, I have only been translating for the clients, never for the agencies.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Should not be your concern Mar 30, 2013

In my opinion what should matter to every translator is what they charge themselves. We should really stop thinking about what agencies do, and should make sure we charge a rate that makes our profession sustainable.

 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:24
English to Czech
+ ...
Indeed Mar 30, 2013

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

In my opinion what should matter to every translator is what they charge themselves. We should really stop thinking about what agencies do, and should make sure we charge a rate that makes our profession sustainable.

Right! I don't care what an agency charges. The only thing I'm interested in is to get paid my rate.


 

MuayThai
TOPIC STARTER
percentage Mar 30, 2013

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

In my opinion what should matter to every translator is what they charge themselves. We should really stop thinking about what agencies do, and should make sure we charge a rate that makes our profession sustainable.

Right! I don't care what an agency charges. The only thing I'm interested in is to get paid my rate.


Perhaps it's even better to stop thinking altogether, thinking may distract one from a project )). Sounds a bit Orwellian to me, you're not the secret agency agents, are you guys ? ))
The reason why I'm interested is because as technology advances, the market changes also. It is so much different now, from what it used to be in 1980s and it will be even more different in 5 years. I guess many translators in many places used to charge much more 20-30 years ago and some of them thought that would last forever. I understand that many translators are introverts and don't like any changes but changes will happen, this is why I want to know the present state of affairs.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I clearly want to defend my profession Mar 30, 2013

MuayThai wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
In my opinion what should matter to every translator is what they charge themselves. We should really stop thinking about what agencies do, and should make sure we charge a rate that makes our profession sustainable.

Perhaps it's even better to stop thinking altogether, thinking may distract one from a project )). Sounds a bit Orwellian to me, you're not the secret agency agents, are you guys ? ))

Not Orwellian at all: the only sane way of managing our profession is to think of what we want to make out of it, and in order to do so we have to stop thinking of what end customers are willing to pay and the margin agencies want to make and must concentrate in what we think are sustainable rates.


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:24
English to Czech
+ ...
Sorry, but I just don't see... Mar 30, 2013

MuayThai wrote:

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

In my opinion what should matter to every translator is what they charge themselves. We should really stop thinking about what agencies do, and should make sure we charge a rate that makes our profession sustainable.

Right! I don't care what an agency charges. The only thing I'm interested in is to get paid my rate.


Perhaps it's even better to stop thinking altogether, thinking may distract one from a project )). Sounds a bit Orwellian to me, you're not the secret agency agents, are you guys ? ))
The reason why I'm interested is because as technology advances, the market changes also. It is so much different now, from what it used to be in 1980s and it will be even more different in 5 years. I guess many translators in many places used to charge much more 20-30 years ago and some of them thought that would last forever. I understand that many translators are introverts and don't like any changes but changes will happen, this is why I want to know the present state of affairs.

...how this relates to my rates. I have a mortgage to pay and a wife and two babies to feed and clothe. That's why the only thing I'm interested in is to get paid my rate and I really don't care how much an agency charges the client. That the agency's business, I mind mine.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It should depend on how much value they add Mar 30, 2013

Some people envision translation agencies as mere traders of translation services, i.e. buy them cheap and resell with a high markup.

Unfortunately they are often correct: there is an overwhelming number of agencies based on this premise at large, run by people who know little about translation. Quite frankly, if these folks could trade manure with a considerably higher margin, they'd switch without a wince.

Some agencies merely push files back-and-forth between clients and translators. One gentleman in India told me he makes 1/2 US cent on the word from doing it, and this enables him to afford a very pleasant lifestyle there.

Other agencies command a large and often complex network of vendors comprising not only translators, editors, and proofreaders, but also DTP operators, voice artists, multimedia experts, localizers, terminology experts, web designers, and others.

Another front is agencies that handle otherwise insurmountable translation volumes quickly by integrating a worldwide network of translators sharing TMs online.

There are still agencies that focus on delivering flawless human translation by implementing and running quality assurance and control cycles throughout the entire process.

There are other types as well, and quite often an agency will encompass a mix of the aforementioned fronts.


Bottom line is that the translator should care about how much his or her work is actually worth, and not the value the agency is delivering on top of it.

I have skipped the agency's tasks in marketing their services, finding adequate translators, checking their translators' competence in each specialty, negotiating their availability and ability to meet deadlines, checking their clients' credit, managing the entire financial operation, CRM, VRM, etc. - as these should be a 'must have' in every translation agency, and, of course, have their costs too.

From the end-client's stance, I've tried to offer parameters for choosing between a freelance translator and a translation agency on this page. As you'll see, the decision should focus on value, not cost.

Problems come up when an agency decides to add no value to the translator's work, and convert what the added value should cost into sheer profit. On the other extreme, problems also come up when end-clients choose to hire a freelance translator, and demand that they do all the typical agency value-adding work at no charge.


In fact, some agencies are candid enough to tell me, "We can't pay you X, because we charge our end-clients Y, which is less than (or equal to) that". I immediately know they are file-pushers looking for some translator who delivers some quality level beneath mine. If Y is significantly less than X, I wonder whether they'll be using machine translation to increase their profits. Deep inside, I wait for the day these guys will switch from translation agenting to trading manure, for higher profits.


 

RimasK
Lithuania
Local time: 01:24
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Percentage that translation agencies charge. Mar 30, 2013

It is qiute fair the agency takes their own fair for the translation from the client,as they are client -providers to us, but I have faced with such an example when translation agency requires to provide TM of the translation performed and some time later they send you a few sentences to translate related to the same text. So they use your translation memory in order to take the money and you do only the part which their translation memory could not perform and get paid for those few sentences. Try to guess of the quality of such a translation, especially when translation agency is not familiar with the language into which the translation is being performed. You receive, let's say, 10 Euros instead of 2-5 hundred. That's what I think is not quite fair.

 

Audra deFalco (X)
United States
Local time: 18:24
Italian to English
+ ...
The way I see it Mar 30, 2013

Personally, as long as I am able to get the rate that I ask for I don't mind how much or how little an agency makes. I tend to try not to deal with those agencies who do little more than pass on a client to me and so I'm usually happy and they are usually happy too.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:24
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Couldn't say it better... Mar 30, 2013

sognatrice wrote:

Personally, as long as I am able to get the rate that I ask for I don't mind how much or how little an agency makes. I tend to try not to deal with those agencies who do little more than pass on a client to me and so I'm usually happy and they are usually happy too.


I suppose translation agencies are as varied as freelance translators are…


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:54
English to Hindi
+ ...
It is important to know this in order to know what rate you can ask... Mar 31, 2013

sognatrice wrote:

Personally, as long as I am able to get the rate that I ask for I don't mind how much or how little an agency makes. I tend to try not to deal with those agencies who do little more than pass on a client to me and so I'm usually happy and they are usually happy too.


This is a very interesting question that the topic poster has asked. Most of us have great difficulty in assessing what the market can take while deciding on our rates. We either end up quoting way below what the market can take, or way above what would make the existence of agencies economical.

One way to arrive at your rates is to calculate your expenses (house rent, mortgage, insurance, taxes, software purchases, holidays, children's education, pension fund, etc., etc.) and fix your rate based on that.

The problem here is that these expenses vary from country to country with the result that you can arrive at wildly varying rates for the same language pair and agencies can always pick up a cheaper translator from a less expensive country.

Now, if one the other hand, we know how much agencies actually charge their clients, then that will give us a fair idea to base our own pricing strategies and all translators can arrive at a more or less similar pricing based on what the market will take. This will work to the advantage of translators as no translator rationally would want to sell himself cheaply, wherever he may be living, low income country or high income country. I don't think a translator in a low income/low cost country like India or China would have any major qualms with getting paid three or four times what he currently charges.

Of course, we will have to allow for the very specific and useful services that agencies provide that we as freelancers can't (which have been lucidly explained by Jose in his post) but even after discounting for these services, the agencies do make a substantial profit, otherwise they won't be in the business at all. So knowing what agencies make out of our labour is a vital information for translators. It would be foolish to discount the importance of such information as it can make our own pricing strategies less of a guessing game and more a case of informed choice based on solid information.

I would look forward to seeing in this thread the responses of those translators who have worked for agencies and therefore would have first-hand knowledge of the pricing policies of agencies.

[2013-03-31 05:13 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:24
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Ask for quotes, if you are interested Mar 31, 2013


I would look forward to seeing in this thread the responses of those translators who have worked for agencies and therefore would have first-hand knowledge of the pricing policies of agencies.

I am not sure why freelancers working for agencies would have "first-hand" knowledge of pricing policies of those agencies.
I work for many different agencies in various countries, and frankly, I don't know how much they charge their end clients. Often I don't even know who the end client is. I apply the same pricing to all of the agencies I work with.

But I guess if I wanted to know an agency's pricing toward its clients, I would look it up on their website (if they disclose prices) or perhaps ask for a quote.
This is something the topic starter could do, too. Contact some agencies in the country or specialization you are interested in, and ask for a quote for translating some materials that you would typically translate. Then you have your answer. (Except, that agencies may have different pricing methods depending on where their client is located and what type of service they need. And maybe a whole bunch of other factors.)


 
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