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Rates and Ranges and How Much to Compromise
מפרסם התגובה: DARKastheRAIN
Apr 20

The general consensus on this site seems to be that beginners shouldn't charge less than established translators, so I've been following that advice and asking the average standard rate reported on ProZ for my language pair. I've applied to over a dozen agencies using this rate, but so far I've yet to get work from any of them and am beginning to wonder whether my rate isn't too high for my experience level. Obviously, I don't want to work for peanuts, but would it be better to charge a cent or two below the ProZ standard?

I've also been considering that perhaps I should give a range when first applying to an agency instead of a single rate, but I'm not sure what kind of range would be best. Should it start at the lowest I'd be willing to accept and go to what I actually want to be paid, or should it go from slightly lower than my target rate to slightly higher than my target rate so that I can ask for the target rate most of the time without it looking like I'm always charging the maximum? Also what's a good size for the range? A cent below to a cent above? Two cents below to two cents above?

Sorry if this is a tired old topic.

[Edited at 2017-04-20 19:10 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-04-20 19:10 GMT]


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
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Mentor? Apr 21

I suggest you find a mentor in your language pair.

From a quick browse of your profile, there seems to be more that just your rates that you need help with.

Good luck!

DJH


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
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Info Apr 21

You might find some additional ideas and info here, together with a "rate calculator": http://www.proz.com/translator-rates-calculator/

However, I must agree with DJ about your profile needing some work...


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
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Local time: 04:46
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I can't imagine you're seriously trying to get work here Apr 21

DARKastheRAIN wrote:
I've applied to over a dozen agencies using this rate, but so far I've yet to get work from any of them

There is absolutely nothing unusual about that; in fact I'd have been quite surprised to hear the contrary. Wait until you've sent at least a hundred applications and not had one single reply before you start to give up hope. I'm not exaggerating. And neither am I talking about sending the same stock email to every agency on the list. I'm talking about targeting agencies who would likely have an interest in your language pair and your services, finding out about their clients and their team, and sending targeted applications in their preferred manner.

This isn't the type of business where you can leap in and make a quick buck. Actually there are some places where you might be able to do that - in a very low-buck way - but you'd never make a career out of it. If you want to translate as a career you have to build a solid client base of a good handful of regular clients who prefer to work with you over anyone else, and many others who send you work from time to time. That almost always takes a year and can take several.

Whatever rate you quote, remember you will be "locked in" to that rate with every client that knows you'll work for it. You'll find it very hard to raise your rates for those clients; you'll need to find new clients who are happy with the higher rate, and then dump the old ones. That's a difficult process as you will need to spend a lot of your time trying to attract those new clients - time you won't have if you're working flat-out at a too-low rate and can't let up as you wouldn't be able to pay your rent, or whatever. That's a spiral that's difficult to get out of.

But you aren't trying to meet clients here, surely? Nobody would think of trusting someone with their highly important translation when they don't know the first thing about them. You have to be extremely pro-active here in promoting yourself and what you can do for clients. Just sending emails and CVs (that could be stolen of faked, for all that the clients know) won't get you a single job. You really need to visit the Site Guidance Centre on this site and follow all the good advice there. Attend the free webinar on meeting clients at ProZ.com. The advice there may be centred on doing well on this particular site, but it holds good in general. And getting a mentor would be a good idea.


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
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Local time: 05:46
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Why should anybody offer you a job? Apr 21

DARKastheRAIN wrote:
I've applied to over a dozen agencies using this rate, but so far I've yet to get work from any of them and am beginning to wonder whether my rate isn't too high for my experience level. Obviously, I don't want to work for peanuts, but would it be better to charge a cent or two below the ProZ standard?


Your profile was created in August 2011. IT DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY INFORMATION about your language pairs, your specialty fields or your background. I would never consider offering you a job, you haven't done the most basic homeworks.


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Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
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Community rates Apr 21

I've often wondered, as there should be a significant disparity between the two, do the community rates refer to rates for direct clients or agencies?

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Chris S  Identity Verified
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On topic Apr 21

There is nothing wrong with not having a ProZ profile. Mine has been a waste of time. There are many better places to find work.

With agencies, you just need to keep plugging away. Once you get your foot in the door, things should snowball. But it can take time.

I wouldn't set a price range: they'll always want the lowest price in the range!

What you could try is accepting some cut-priced one-off jobs from small agencies in weird and wonderful countries while holding out for decent rates from the big agencies that will eventually feed you regular work.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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@Dark Apr 21

DARKastheRAIN wrote:
I've been following that advice and asking the average standard rate reported on ProZ.com for my language pair.


Translators who post their average rates on ProZ.com tend to follow the same principle, which means that the rates reported on ProZ.com tend to be an average of an average of an average. In other words, they all clump together at around USD 0.08 to USD 0.012 per word, for almost *all* languages. So the rates that you see posted at ProZ.com aren't all that reliable.

I've applied to over a dozen agencies using this rate, but so far I've yet to get work from any of them and am beginning to wonder whether my rate isn't too high for my experience level.


Unless you have had specific feedback from agencies that your rate is too high, you should not assume that the non-feedback is due to your rate. Even if your rate is perfectly acceptable, you should not expect more than 2-5% of agencies to reply.

Obviously, I don't want to work for peanuts, but would it be better to charge a cent or two below the ProZ standard?


You can try the "usual rate" tack. In other words, don't say "my rate is always X" but say "my usual rate is X". This leaves room for the client to negotiate the rate downward, and room for you to raise the rate in some cases, without giving the impression that you're suddenly charging much more than you said you might.

I've also been considering that perhaps I should give a range when first applying to an agency instead of a single rate, but I'm not sure what kind of range would be best.


A range is useless, isn't it? Won't the agency always choose the low end of the range? Imagine you want to buy a car and the dealer says "You can choose how much you want to pay for this car, between X and Y". Would you ever choose a high price if you can get the same product at the same dealer under the same conditions of sale for the low price?

I've applied to over a dozen agencies...


ProZ.com's agency list shows 400 agencies in the United States (where you are) that deals with Russian (one of your languages). A "dozen" isn't going to cut it.

http://www.proz.com/translation-agencies

The Blue Board contains over 100 unrated agencies in the United States that have registered in the past year, and they will be looking for new translators... from here to here, plus another 100 from the year before that. Don't draw conclusions before you've contacted all of them. Plus about 1500 rated agencies with "5" and "4" ratings, though not all of them will accept Russian. A "dozen" isn't really trying.

[Edited at 2017-04-21 14:14 GMT]


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David GAY  Identity Verified
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better places to find work Apr 21

Chris S wrote:

There is nothing wrong with not having a ProZ profile. Mine has been a waste of time. There are many better places to find work.

Could you please be more specific?


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David GAY  Identity Verified
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dream rate Apr 21

Georgie Scott wrote:

I've often wondered, as there should be a significant disparity between the two, do the community rates refer to rates for direct clients or agencies?

the rates the average prozian dreams of.


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Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
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Local time: 05:46
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Rates are a devilish thing Apr 21

and differ from person to person depending on a number of factors such as language pair, experience, specialist field and host country, to number just a few. What is a high figure for one person could be a low figure for somebody else, so I wouldn't try to align your rates to those of other people. Just try to work out for yourself what you think you are worth and stick to that.

Check out the websites of agencies before you apply to see if they are actively looking for translators as they then usually have an online application form, which will then go directly to the right person.

Why not complete your ProZ profile and try to create an online presence so that people have a point of reference for you. Very often people look through the directories and contact members that way. Might be worth a try.


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
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Local time: 23:46
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Find an experienced reviewer Apr 21

I would suggest offering your services at a good rate, and then paying half of your earnings to an experienced translator in your pair who will go over your work and track the changes. This gives you the training and feedback you need, and yet it does not lower your rate. When the tracked changes are few and far between, you are ready to say thanks to the mentor and continue to charge the same decent rate for yourself.

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Preston Decker  Identity Verified
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Local time: 23:46
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Agree Apr 21

Samuel Murray wrote:

Obviously, I don't want to work for peanuts, but would it be better to charge a cent or two below the ProZ standard?


You can try the "usual rate" tack. In other words, don't say "my rate is always X" but say "my usual rate is X". This leaves room for the client to negotiate the rate downward, and room for you to raise the rate in some cases, without giving the impression that you're suddenly charging much more than you said you might.

I've also been considering that perhaps I should give a range when first applying to an agency instead of a single rate, but I'm not sure what kind of range would be best.


A range is useless, isn't it? Won't the agency always choose the low end of the range? Imagine you want to buy a car and the dealer says "You can choose how much you want to pay for this car, between X and Y". Would you ever choose a high price if you can get the same product at the same dealer under the same conditions of sale for the low price?



Very good advice from Samuel. I'd add that not only will clients invariably select the lowest rate in a range, but the range itself might make them uncomfortable. PMs want to be able to plan out costs in advance, and having a range in their system makes this difficult to do (not to mention that their system might not be set up to accept a range of rates for one translator). Using Samuel's "my usual rate is X" really accomplishes the same thing as a range, and means that the PMs are just seeing one rate in their system.

The trick is getting PMs to send you an initial email offering a job. Once you get that email, most PMs will be OK with negotiation if it's a technical or unusual translation. So just give the translation rate you need to accept a general, non-technical translation, and qualify this with Samuel's "usual" language.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
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OK Apr 21

David GAY wrote:

Chris S wrote:

There is nothing wrong with not having a ProZ profile. Mine has been a waste of time. There are many better places to find work.

Could you please be more specific?


Contacting agencies and companies directly, using contacts and networks from school and university, friends of friends, local translator groups, professional associations... Anything is better in my experience. Although it clearly works for some.


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Partial member (2004)
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Very good question! Apr 21

Georgie Scott wrote:

I've often wondered, as there should be a significant disparity between the two, do the community rates refer to rates for direct clients or agencies?


I would be interested to know the answer, too.
But I'am afraid many people don't care about this difference.

[Bearbeitet am 2017-04-21 19:47 GMT]


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