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Translator rates calculator

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JHosary  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 14:51
Arabic to Slovak
+ ...
Can't agree more. Nov 21, 2011

[quote]jferedo wrote:

Too many newcomers believe that they are translators (on the basis of speaking more than one language) and accept jobs for next to nothing.

Especially in my language combination. After the revolution in my country young people started to travel to English speaking country and after a year or so when they came back all of a sudden they became professional translators. Then a question emerges... How can a client or agency find out who is a real translator and who is just a speaker of foreign languge? I guess rate can be considered as one of the indicators. Professional translator will never accept lower than average rate.


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Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:51
Member
English to German
+ ...
I just recently stated that I charge 0.12 $ per word for the translation from English into German... Nov 21, 2011

...and was called "cheap" by a ProZ colleague. This was according to ProZ the average for my language combination. What shall I do now? I'm thinking of charging 0.20 $ per word...



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Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:51
Member
English to German
+ ...
Your standard rate is really EUR 0.02 per word? Nov 21, 2011

That's very low considering that you have a MD.



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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:51
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Average rate Nov 21, 2011

Marina Steinbach wrote:

I just recently stated that I charge 0.12 $ per word for the translation from English into German...

This was according to ProZ the average for my language combination.


You have more competitors at this price than at any other price. Something to think about.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some comments to an older reply Nov 21, 2011

Gabriela Hebin wrote:
Hello??? ON WHAT PLANET can you support yourself working 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, 48 weeks a year, if you're only good enough to produce 300 words an hour?


As Arianna had correctly surmised, the 3x3x3 formula relates not to the ideal situation but to the start-up situation. However, I recognise the flaw in the 3x3x3 formula, namely that it creates the impression that this is all that a translator needs to do to make a living.

I think the 3x3x3 formula should be used as an eye-opener for new translators about what they will earn initially, and not about what they should realistically expect at the end of their first year.

I would not recommend that a new translator aim for anything more than 300-400 words per hour, because new translators need to learn how to translate well before they can learn to translate fast. A new translator who focuses on speed too early will end up being a fast mediocre translator instead of a fast good translator.

I wonder what would be formula be for translators in their second year? At 400 words per hour, in a 9-hour day, a translator will do 3500 words per day, or 50 000 words per month. Assuming a nett/gross ratio of 2.5, the formula for people who want to use a simple formula to calculate their ideal per-word rate would be:

Take what you want to earn per month (after taxes), and divide it by 20 000.

I'm sure this post will create hate mail, but so what?


No, there is no hate mail, but I do think it would be nice to hear your opinion about what you think is a good formula for a new translator to calculate a fair rate.


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guyaneh20
Local time: 16:51
English to Armenian
+ ...
some countries charge by character Jan 6, 2012

Hey guys, sorry to say this but some countries do not even count by worked hour, since you might be able to do twice or 3 times more in an hour than someone else, actually they charge per page and for page they count 1800 characters without spaces or 2000 with spaces and they charge for a page of work. The other depends on how many pages a day someone can do.

[Edited at 2012-01-06 08:00 GMT]


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sambacats
Local time: 14:51
Living costs May 4, 2012

@apk12
Of course living costs are relevant to the translator, but taxes look only at the job/business-related costs, such as your PC, a part of your living area used as office (some percentage of your rent and heating and telephon costs), etcetera. Your food and furniture and possible luxury costs are supposed to come from your net salary, which you are trying to be profitable enough to sustain a living, and cannot be made to be job-related unless you make it a business meal, what I suspect you cannot do too often if you don't want to cause suspicion.

In any case, I think we should also look at the times we are in. It's crisis time! We have to lower our standards if we want to get a deal. Although I am used to getting deals paying 100-300 euro (giving workshops, not translating), you don't get such deals every day, and not at all anymore since the crisis. So, back to translating for less then, and I'll simply follow the guide lines. If it's minimally 0,09 per word, I can certainly manage. I would be more happy with 0,20 per word, but I can't predict the future. Hope for the best, for you all.

Ian


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:51
English to German
+ ...
Living costs May 4, 2012

sambacats wrote:

@apk12
Of course living costs are relevant to the translator, but taxes look only at the job/business-related costs, such as your PC, a part of your living area used as office (some percentage of your rent and heating and telephon costs), etcetera. Your food and furniture and possible luxury costs are supposed to come from your net salary


Yes, and how exactly does this relate to the connection living costs/rates? See, I personally cannot translate really well with just a "percentage" of heating costs and rent paid, can you? How about translating with a "percentage" of luch in your stomach? Unfortunately they all cost a hundred percent of what they unfortunately cost in our countries. There are not many translators working from under a bridge and I personnaly plan to offer my translations next year still from a place that I paid the full "percentage" of the rent for, so in my case (for my own rates) I will definitely take care to stick with the relation living costs/rates for my offers in future, too.




[Edited at 2012-05-04 20:14 GMT]


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hsnava
Canada
Local time: 08:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
300 words per hour, 3 hours a day, 3 days a week... really? Nov 20, 2012

Gabriela Hebin wrote:


REALITY CHECK: 1000 words per day is NOT a professional rate of production! All of the translators who I work with can produce a minimum of 4000 words per day, some of them up to 8000, so let's get real here. Step it up.



Hi everyone,

Although this post is not recent, I would still like to comment. I think 8000 words per day is a crazy number. I worked at a translation agency for about three years and there are only a handful of translators who would accept that volume. In fact, I think I have never even dared to ask a translator to do 8000 words in one day. As far as I'm concerned, it's not possible or I would seriously doubt of the quality of such translation.

A production matrix I would say in any translation agency is 1500 to 2000 words per day, depending on the language of course. I have seen super fast translators do 3000, even 4000 words per day, but I have never seen 8000 words in a day. I'm talking about English, French, Spanish, German. The demand for a freelancer is usually higher than for an agency translator. In-house translators are booked at 300 words per hour, believe it or not. But of course they are salaried employees with all benefits. On the other hand, if the agency would think they can translate faster without hurting quality, I would think they would change this, no question about it! After all agencies are all about making the most possible profit and the translators are usually very well paid (at least in Canada they are).

Anyway, for me, a translator myself, 2000 - 3000 words per day it's the most I would dare to translate if I want to produce a good quality text, depending on the type of content. So I guess, I would have to base my rate according to that number.


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Erick Andrello Nietto  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
I just recently stated that I charge 0.12 $ per word for the translation from English into German... Nov 22, 2012

Marina Steinbach wrote:

...and was called "cheap" by a ProZ colleague. This was according to ProZ the average for my language combination. What shall I do now? I'm thinking of charging 0.20 $ per word...



I don't know what to say... every single ad I see on this website involves working for USD 0,04 /word or even less... And something tells me that these clients will look for translators somewhere else, in case we do not offer them these poor rates on proz.com.... Someone has to do something about it.



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Hennadiy Klapanov
Local time: 15:51
English to Russian
+ ...
8000 wpd is possible... Dec 15, 2012

provided the "translator" is a skilled user of such CATs as machine translation systems (MT), but not TMs.
Although, there was a funny case. It was several years ago when a manager from an agency I worked with asked me to translate, say, 15 pages a day. I was very surprised and told her it was unreal. She argued she had several translators who work out 35 pages a day! When I replied that only MT users can achieve that high capacities, she answered somewhat... But my wife guessed she was offended with my words. I think my wife was right because that conversation was the last deal with that agency.


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Michael Chirichigno  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:51
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
8000 wpd is possible... Jan 9, 2013

Hennadiy Klapanov wrote:

provided the "translator" is a skilled user of such CATs as machine translation systems (MT), but not TMs.
Although, there was a funny case. It was several years ago when a manager from an agency I worked with asked me to translate, say, 15 pages a day. I was very surprised and told her it was unreal. She argued she had several translators who work out 35 pages a day! When I replied that only MT users can achieve that high capacities, she answered somewhat... But my wife guessed she was offended with my words. I think my wife was right because that conversation was the last deal with that agency.


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Marek Urban  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:51
English to Polish
+ ...
Lel us establish a Trade Union Jan 22, 2013

You all are right. The discussion touches the basics of social and economic system philosophy, the basic principles of economic doctrines.
We cannot change the free market rules overnight. However, as we have witnessed in the past, in certain circumstances of exploitation there are some, acceptable instruments of reaction. These are trade unions - very capitalistic invention. Why don’t we have our Trade Union of Translators (TUT), so powerful tool in some countries, able to rise or put down governments?
Exploitation is not a new invention. Equally, the defending tools are long-known.
Trade union is the most just reaction to globalization attempts in any industry. To put action behind words, as a first step I suggest making a list of supporters. If the support is proved to be substantial, then we can arrange a conference, choose authorities, set membership fee and there we go. To facilitate the process, let each supporter listing his/her name suggest his/her nominee (of remarkable character) for The Board. You can list your name here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Avhao67UsAa5dHRNVUJrUDlCSjB0ZEsyaU8wZS1ETmc


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Lienka77
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:51
English to Czech
+ ...
Standard page vs rate per word/hour May 24, 2013

I find it very difficult to decide what price I should ask per word or per hour. I (and so do my customers) am used to be paid by standard page (1800 characters including spaces). Depending on the nature of the text, I can translate 5-10 pages per day. None of my colleagues in my country uses this kind of rate, so would you help, please?

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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:51
Member
French to English
+ ...
Some ideas May 24, 2013

Lienka77 wrote:

I find it very difficult to decide what price I should ask per word or per hour. I (and so do my customers) am used to be paid by standard page (1800 characters including spaces). Depending on the nature of the text, I can translate 5-10 pages per day. None of my colleagues in my country uses this kind of rate, so would you help, please?


Well, I've always thought the generally German etc. way of charging per page / per line was rather odd, but is of course a relic of the olden days of typed documents with monospaced fonts in a very limited range of sizes. It seems to me this way of costing jobs is way behind the times these days, and with word processors in almost universal use, a word count is nowadays probably the easiest and fairest to implement (though I do have one publisher customer who works on a character count — which suits me just fine, as they always have lots of long words )

So you say you consider a page as 1800 ch + sp; roughly speaking, that is consistent with 250 words/page, which is at the lower end of my usual 'guesstimate' values (from 250 to 360 words / page).

Personally, I translate between 1800 and 7500 words per day, depending on the nature and formatting of the text.

You say you can translate between 5 and 10 pages / day, which on my rough calculation would then be between 1250 and 2500 words/day — so in the same ball-park as my slowest rates (which are at any rate the ones I base my costing on!)

You need to find out / decide what 'per word' rate you want / need / can reasonably expect to get; this will, of course, be largely dependent on the demand for your language pairs and the number of competing translators in them.

Let's say as a rule of thumb you wanted to charge a median rate (for Europe) of something like €0.10 / word; at your stated rates, you could then be earning €125–€250 / day; I'd have thought this was reasonable, given that you might not be able to fill your diary every day of the week. There are nominally around 20 work days in a month, so you have potential gross earnings of up to €5,000 / month; though you'd be lucky to sustain that volume of work all the time. But at least it gives you an idea of what you might be aiming for.

You could easily put all the above into a spreadsheet and then play 'what if?' scenarios.

As for an hourly rate, I charge one rate for whole days (only really applies to on-site projects etc.), and a slightly higher hourly rate. You could work these out as a proportion of your target income as calculated above, the idea being that you don't lose (or gain) money by changing between per word / hourly rates; so in my book, it just comes down to whichever method of charging is most appropriate for the type of project. For example, I usually use 'per word' for straightforward translation where I have a reasonable idea in advance what my productivity is likely to be; and an hourly rate for things like proofing or version-revision, where the actual time taken is often not proportional to the number of words.

[Edited at 2013-05-24 20:03 GMT]


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