Stay determined with your translation rates
Posted on 22 July, 2014
By Translation Boutique
With 1 Comment
(Translated from Spanish by our interns.)
There are a lot of us translators and on a bad day, we might think that lowering our rates is the only way to get more projects. There are many factors to bear in mind when establishing our rates. For example, if we want to work for a translation agency or without an intermediary, our professional experience, the country we are offering our services to −that comes with the possibility of working worldwide, − our language combinations −working with English, French, or German, is different than working with Russian, Arabic or Hebrew, − and, even if we don’t want to admit it, we have to consider the market’s needs.
The problem arises when we spend a period of time without work and we feel our clients forgot about us. Maybe my rates are too high? This is one of the questions we might ask ourselves when considering all of the circumstances.
We don’t know if your rates are too high but what we do know is that lowering your rates at a loss is damaging to the translation industry, our colleagues, our personal economy, our reputation… and our mood. Now we’re going to list some reasons why you must believe in your services, stay firm and charge what you deserve:
- The solution is not lowering your rates or more importantly, accepting low rates either. The solution is to get in touch with hundreds and thousands of translation agencies and companies, or with whoever you feel might need your services. Try to expand your circle of contacts instead of giving up to the commodity of your chair in front of your computer. We as translators have to be aware of how important it is to have contacts and the need to go outside and relate to the world. As we mentioned in this post, working from home is great, but it’s essential to have other activities that allow us to be in touch with other people, and not only by e-mail −or any of the endless number of social media networks available.− You will make more and more contacts by contacting more agencies and having more clients, so get in touch with some agencies!
- If you lower your rates, the client will think it’s OK to pay less. If you, a professional and an experienced translator, offer low prices, the client will assume that it’s a fair price that you’re offering because you as a professional proposed it. Now, maybe the client is trying to save money or maybe they want to haggle, they might just try to convince you to lower your price so they get the satisfaction of thinking they’ve closed a good deal. And maybe, on one of those days when you’re not feeling to great, you might accept their proposal. Don’t do that!
- Your colleagues will also be affected. If you were the only one with a low salary it would be a little more acceptable. But, if every one of us decides to do the same and charge less it would cause a progressive reduction of the translation market rates and this won’t benefit nobody apart from the client. Let’s not devalue ourselves and our job…
Our suggestion? We need to be sensible with our actions and aware of their subsequent repercussions. We must lead the way in respecting our wonderful profession if we want society to do the same.
- Low rates = more working hours = less free time = decline in our mood. If we can charge more for a job – within the margins of a fair price, – why not do it? If we continue to accept badly paid jobs we will have to work more hours to generate the same profit as if we had charged a good price, and then we would find ourselves in a downward spiral that wouldn’t allow us to find better opportunities. In addition, we would feel more tired, undervalued, and frustrated by the enormous amount of effort we would have to put into a job that offers such little reward.
Our suggestion? Invest more time searching for clients and make sure those you find are of the best possible quality.
Good rates = valued job. Hey you, experienced translator, do you really want to start competing with all those bilingual people in the market *cough* who consider that speaking a language is the same as knowing how to translate? We already know that there are people with less experience than you who call themselves a translator and offer very, very low prices. However, their work lacks quality. If you don’t want to be regarded as part of this group, charge a price proportional to the quality of your services. If someone tried to sell you a Lamborghini for £10,000 you’d be skeptical, wouldn’t you? Well, apply this to your own work. A client is paying for your experience and knowledge, things you worked hard for. Don’t sell yourself too cheap.
- Good rates = valued profession. What we have just mentioned also applies to the value society assigns to the whole profession. Collectively, we have studied for years and years, we have become experts in various subjects such as the cold press process for olive oil extraction or neural-network technology and we are also to some extent, IT experts. We have to constantly update our linguistic knowledge to survive. We are curious, educated, trained people with excellent reflection and analysis skills. We must establish rates which reflect our skills and our aptitudes so our profession will be respected.
Can you think of any other suggestions to share?
Have a happy and productive week!
Davinia Albert for TB
Translation Boutique, tailor-made linguistic services