Repost: Tips for setting your translation rates, for professional translators.

Tips for setting your translation rates, for professional translators.*

PEEMPIP January 21, 2014 Articles in English, Επάγγελμα: μεταφραστής

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by Popie Matsouka

One of the first difficulties that a professional translator has to face is deciding their rates. Personally, I started researching what the current market rates were before I even finished my studies, and I still believe it is the best strategy. I used to contact other colleagues, my professors, research any available agency website at the time, and ask around, trying to compile a list of what other translators out there were charging for their services. This has proven to be very effective, and it is the strategy I would suggest to you today. Not to mention, I’m still doing it, 10+ years later, just to have a general feeling of the market, and be able to expect client’s reactions.

Nowadays, with the extensive use of the Internet, the use of social media and the massive networks of professionals, it is much easier to do such a thing, and here are a few tips for new professionals who wish to understand better how we charge, and what we charge.

First of all, you have to think of yourself as a small business. Not only will you be charging for your professional services, but what you earn should also cover all your expenses, including living costs, taxes, accounting fees, subscriptions to professional associations, promotion and advertising of your business, computer software and hardware, etc. At the end of each month, you should be able to have something that could be considered a salary, which will cover all your needs. Find out which hourly rate would help you achieve that. Yes, it is not a steady income, being a freelance professional involves that risk unfortunately, but it is an income nevertheless, and only treating it as one will help you evolve.

Most new professionals think that offering lower rates will bring them more clients, which may be true, but what they fail to see is that offering lower rates also diminishes the value of their time and efforts. Furthermore, constantly working with a handful of clients with low rates might prevent you from finding other clients with higher rates. Not to mention that always working with lower rates will most probably make it hard for you to make ends meet. Always keep an eye in the future, and evaluate your relations with your clients based on the long-run. Is booking all your time worth what you might be losing from trying for new clients with higher rates? Are you going to burn out yourself whilst working for low rates, when you could have been working less hours and earning more money? Think about that beforehand.

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In addition, do not be afraid to negotiate. Negotiating is generally expected in all types of business, and negotiating does not make you look unprofessional. Rather the opposite. You should charge what you think you are worth. Not too high to drive yourself out of the market, but not too low either. You can leave a margin, for example to be competitive, but you do not want to look cheap either. Because, let’s face it, some professionals who charge too low make most clients suspect that they do so just because their services are not good enough to justify a higher rate. Or, that they will finish the project they are assigned very quickly and sloppily, just to get more work, because their rates are so low. On the opposite side, charging too high might make your potential client think that you are over-reaching, and unless you are one hundred percent sure of your abilities, they will find some flaw in your work that will make them question you and your professionalism. Discuss with your client the rates you would like to receive and you will see that with dialogue you might earn more than you initially thought to ask for.

One more thing you can do is develop rates for each client individually. Not all clients can offer the same, and not all clients demand the same, so adjust your rates based on who your client is and how much you think they can pay. Offering discounts for steady workflows or large volumes is a good strategy too; negotiate with your client and ask them to send work exclusively to you for a lower rate, but remember that your quality must remain as high as it would be for a higher rate, otherwise you will appear unprofessional and they will not want to work with you again. Also, in that effort, try not to harm your colleagues by offering an extremely low rate, thus “breaking” the market. Even half a cent is a decent offer; think about the general conditions of the market before making your bid.

Also, remember to always ask for the details of a project. Learn before you start working on a project what it involves, try to determine the amount of effort that will be required on your part, the time you will have to spend on it, the difficulties it might present, and then you can set your rate according to what you think is fair. You can even ask for a sample, if there is one available. Remember that, most clients have a background in this industry and are well aware of how much your services will probably cost them, so do not try to be sneaky, just be honest. And, of course, negotiate!

Keep in mind that you do not have to have a set pricelist. You can increase or decrease your rates depending on the client, the project, the type of work you are required to do. But always be honest, it is the best policy. Telling a client that you can lower your rates if they send you more work is not something to be embarrassed of. It’s just good business tactics. Lowering your rates because you are simply afraid is not. Do not ask for a rate change in the middle of a project, it is unprofessional, even if you found out that the project is more difficult than expected. You can mention it to your PM, but simply asking for a higher rate is not polite. And on the flip side, do not be afraid to ask for more, from before beginning the project, if you see that it requires more than what your usual rate covers.

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Finally, know that you can either charge by the hour, or the word, per source or target word, or per 16 pages or any way you want. The parameters vary, the methods vary, and the negotiations between you and your client can influence your decisions. Do some research, decide what you want, ask colleagues and professional associations (like www.peempip.gr, for example, the Panhellenic Association of Professional Translators Graduates of the Ionian University, or any other professional association in your country) about their methods, and you will find what you need.

In general, rates vary significantly. Lately I heard of agencies in Greece offering to freelancers as low as €0.015/source word to translators, which is simply ludicrous and, I dare say, unprofessional. €0.035 is a good place to start, if you are a student and need the experience. From there, you can go as high as you can convince your client to give you, based on your quality, professionalism and experience. A good translator will not easily lower their rates just for the sake of working, because they have put a lot of time and effort in becoming what they are: Good translators. In Greece and in the current market (unfortunately), €0.04 is a decent rate to start and work your way up. Anything lower than that is just a waste of time if you are a professional who values their time, and in my opinion, it only puts a crack in the foundations of what we all want and strive for: fair rates for our good work.

Some examples of methods of charging that I have seen in this industry are listed below. Note that this list is not exhaustive, nor can it be considered a standard, the volumes can vary significantly:

  • Simple Translation -> Per source word, or per page (1 page ≈ 250-300 words).
  • Technical Translation -> Per source word
  • Technical Translation, Software strings -> Per source word or per hour
  • Literary Translation -> Per 16 standard book pages
  • Glossary translation -> 30-35 terms per hour (medium difficulty terminology)
  • Editing (or “Review”) -> Mostly per source word (on the total of words), but sometimes per hour, at a rate of approx. 1000 source words/hour
  • Proofreading -> Per hour, at a rate of approx. 2000 source words/hour
  • QA checks, engineering -> Per hour

LSO (Linguistic sign-off), LQA (Linguistic Quality Assurance), FQA (Formatting Quality Assurance), etc -> Per hour, at a rate of approx. 2500 source words/hour (or 15 pages/hour)

*This is only an informative article. The writer assumes no responsibility for any misunderstandings

Popie Matsouka is currently the Senior Project Manager and Lead Medical Translator and Editor of Technografia. She also holds the position of Quality Assurance Specialist, having specialized in translation and localization QA software technology. She is the resident tech/IT expert, and after having worked as a localization tools trainer, she recently also became a beta tester for SDL Trados Studio. Her education includes being an Apple trained Support Professional, plus a PC/MAC and LAN technician, apart from being a CAT tools expert. She also volunteers for the Red Cross, and is a firm believer that if we all work together we can make a great difference in this world, combining our professional and our personal strengths.

Repost: Are you a professional translator? If so, do NOT lower your translation rates!

Are you a professional translator? If so, do NOT lower your translation rates!

By Marcela Reyes, MBA on March 7, 2010

When was the last time you asked your doctor or your lawyer to give you a discount on his/her fees? Unless your doctor or lawyer is a relative or good friend, it’s very likely you wouldn’t dare ask such a professional service provider to give you a discount, would you? So, if you consider yourself a professional translator, how come you continue to allow others to ask you to reduce your rates? But this fact is not the worst part of the situation. Many professional translators are lowering their rates in a desperate attempt to get business.

Clients are asking for discounts, and translators are honoring their requests more and more every day. When you provide a discount on your services, you are giving permission to others to think your services are not worth much. And, unfortunately, this trend is adversely affecting the entire translation and localization industry.

Price your services right. The price you set for your services must be determined by the value perception your clients are getting in return for their money. Are you meeting your clients’ expectations? What are they walking away with? Why should they buy from you and not your competitors?

Learn to say “no.” When you reduce your rates, you are sending a distress signal, not just about you but also about the entire industry. When you reduce your rates even just one time, it’s going to be very difficult to say no the next time this same client comes back. One of my dearest copywriters told me once when I asked him to come down on his price that he would feel very uncomfortable with himself if he were to reduce his rates. I loved his professional approach to standing behind his work.

Focus on your promise of value. When you know and have proof that what you are offering is of great “value” to your clients, make sure this is consistently displayed in your service delivery. Rather than discounting your rates to match competitors, focus on value-added features. Think about ways you can bundle in certain supplementary services, or create various offerings at various price levels so you can accommodate your client’s budget.

Improve your service offering. In today’s economy there are so many products and services that the market is simply oversaturated. Translation is seen by many as a commodity for the simple reason that everybody is focusing on the same “attributes.” Translation should never follow product-marketing models. In the service business it’s all about that “special touch” you add to your offering. Your clients are simply looking for someone they can trust. They want to make sure you are reliable, that you are consistently delivering good value to them, and that you are always there for them. Benefits and service features are always good selling points. But a great relationship with your client is your best selling point.

Focus on your target market. If you are continually being asked to lower your rates, it is very likely you are targeting the wrong clients. Ask yourself if you are wasting your time trying to attract clients that are not willing and able to pay what you are worth. When you decide to focus on a niche market, it is important you understand what your clients’ practices and preferences are. Furthermore, make sure you have the capabilities and competencies to do an excellent job of delivering a high-value translation offering.

Create a strong brand. Just as big corporations develop their brands, translators can also develop a strong, differentiated brand. When you concentrate on developing a strong brand, you will not only become easily recognized but also create an emotional connection with your clients. Your competitors can try to replicate your processes, business model, technology, etc., but it will be very difficult for them to reproduce those beliefs and attitudes that you have established in the minds of your clients.

Remember, when we are selling a product or service, it’s not about us. It’s about our clients. Focus on your clients’ needs and wants, and always look for ways to enhance the relationship. In the absence of value, price becomes the only decision factor. Do not reduce your rates; instead, increase your competitiveness and the value-added features to your services.

via Are you a professional translator? If so, do NOT lower your translation rates!.

L’articolo è stato tradotto da Antonella

Sei un traduttore professionista? Se lo sei, NON abbassare le tue tariffe di traduzione

— archiviato sotto: Materiali di consultazione

Questo contributo della collega Marcela Jenney spiega i motivi per cui le tariffe dei traduttori devono essere rispettate al pari di quelle di altri professionisti. La traduzione non è una merce, ma un servizio.

Quando è stata l’ultima volta che hai chiesto al tuo medico o a tuo avvocato di farti uno sconto sul loro onorario? A meno che il tuo medico o il tuo avvocato sia un parente o un ottimo amico, è molto probabile che che non oseresti chiedere a uno di questi fornitori di servizi professionali di farti uno sconto, vero? Quindi, se ti consideri un traduttore professionista, com’è che continui a permettere agli altri di chiederti di ridurre le tue tariffe? Ma questa non è la cosa peggiore della situazione. Molti traduttori professionisti abbassano le proprie tariffe nel tentativo disperato di ottenere del lavoro.

I clienti chiedono sconti e i traduttori onorano le loro richieste sempre di più ogni giorno. Quando fornite uno sconto sui vostri servizi, concedete agli altri il permesso di pensare che i vostri servizi non valgano poi così tanto. E, sfortunatamente, questo trend si ripercuote negativamente sull’intero settore della traduzione e della localizzazione.

Date il giusto prezzo ai vostri servizi. Il prezzo che impostate per i vostri servizi deve essere stabilito dalla percezione del valore che i vostri clienti hanno nel rapporto fra ciò che ottengono e ciò che pagano. Soddisfate le aspettative dei vostri clienti? Con cosa se ne tornano a casa? Perché dovrebbero acquistare da voi e non dalla concorrenza?

Imparate a dire “no”. Quando riducete le vostre tariffe, mandate un segnale di sofferenza, che non riguarda soltanto voi ma l’intero settore. Quando riducete le vostre tariffe, anche solo una volta, diventa molto difficile dire di no la volta successiva a questo stesso cliente che ritorna per un altro lavoro. Uno dei miei più cari copywriter una volta mi ha detto quando gli ho chiesto di abbassare il prezzo che si sarebbe sentito molto a disagio con se stesso se l’avesse fatto. Ho apprezzato molto il suo approccio professionale alla base del suo lavoro.

Concentratevi sul vostro impegno a fornire valore. Quando sapete e avete la prova che ciò che state offrendo è di grande “valore” per i vostri clienti, accertatevi che ciò sia chiaramente visibile nella vostra fornitura di servizi. Invece di fare sconti sulle vostre tariffe per allinearvi alla concorrenza, concentratevi sulle caratteristiche a valore aggiunto. Pensate a dei modi con cui potreste fornire un pacchetto di servizi supplementari o creare varie offerte a vari livelli di prezzo in modo da venire incontro al budget del vostro cliente.

Migliorate la vostra offerta di servizi. Nell’economia odierna, vi sono così tanti prodotti e servizi che il mercato è semplicemente saturo. La traduzione viene vista da molti come una merce per il semplice motivo che tutti si concentrano sugli stessi “attributi.” La traduzione non dovrebbe mai seguire i modelli di marketing dei prodotti. Nell’offerta di servizi, la cosa importante è il “tocco speciale” che aggiungete alla vostra offerta. I vostri clienti cercano semplicemente qualcuno di cui potersi fidare. Vogliono accertarsi che siate affidabili, che forniate un lavoro di valore in modo costante e che ci siate sempre per loro. I vantaggi e le caratteristiche del servizio sono sempre dei fattori positivi di vendita. Ma un ottimo rapporto con il vostro cliente è meglio.

Concentratevi sul mercato di destinazione. Se vi chiedono di continuo di abbassare le vostre tariffe, molto probabilmente vi state rivolgendo ai clienti sbagliati. Chiedetevi se state perdendo tempo cercando di attirare clienti che non vogliono o non sono in gradi di pagare ciò che valete. Quando decidete di concentrarvi su un mercato di nicchia, è importante comprendere quali siano le preferenze dei vostri clienti. Inoltre, accertatevi di possedere le capacità e le competenze per fare un lavoro eccellente nel fornire traduzioni ad alto valore.

Create un marchio forte. Al pari delle grandi aziende che sviluppano il proprio marchio, anche i traduttori possono sviluppare un marchio forte e distintivo. Quando vi concentrate sullo sviluppo di un marchio forte, non solo diventerete facilmente riconoscibili, ma creerete anche un collegamento emotivo con i vostri clienti. La vostra concorrenza potrà tentare di replicare i vostri processi, modelli di lavoro, tecnologia ecc., ma sarà molto difficile che riproducano le convinzioni che avete stabilito nella mente dei vostri clienti.

Ricordate, quando vendiamo un prodotto o un servizio, non riguarda noi. Riguarda i nostri clienti. Concentratevi sulle necessità e sui desideri dei clienti e cercate sempre dei modi per migliorare il rapporto. In assenza di valore, il prezzo diventa il solo fattore decisionale. Non riducete le vostre tariffe; al contrario, aumentate la vostra competitività e le caratteristiche a valore aggiunto dei vostri servizi.

Articolo in lingua inglese comparso sul blog di Marcela Jenney.

antonella. (2010, June 09). Sei un traduttore professionista? Se lo sei, NON abbassare le tue tariffe di traduzione. Retrieved January 21, 2014, from antotranslation.com Web site: http://www.antotranslation.com/materiali/sei-un-traduttore-professionista-se-lo-sei-non-abbassare-le-tue-tariffe-di-traduzione.