Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fixing Translation Rates and Prices

translation rates
As an independent translator one of the most important things to consider is what translation rates to set. A professional translators dilemma is being caught in one of two undesirable situations: ” Am I pricing myself out of the market or I seem to be working all day yet barely making enough to pay the bills?” The following article discusses some of the issues facing the translator when setting their translation rates:

Background and Experience

An experienced translator with an established client base can afford to set higher translation rates than a graduate with little or no experience. The experienced translator has been tried and tested and has the luxury of relative financial security with other clients. They are not desperate for the work. On the other hand an inexperienced graduate with little or no commercial experience is more desperate for the work and they have little or no financial security. This is why their rates are often cheaper.
The area of specialization often affects pricing. Highly specialized fields with a lot of technical jargon like for instance pharmaceuticals, technical engineering, legal and medical translation often require the translator to have a skilled qualification as well as experience in this field. This often leads to fewer qualified translators in this sector leading to higher prices. For example general business texts are less technical with less terminology and most translators can translate them no problem. This means there is a huge supply of translators to choose from leading to lower translation prices in this area.

Language Combination


The language combination has a huge effect on translation rates. It also often boils down to the old case of supply and demand. The more translators there are for a particular language combination the cheaper the prices will be. Certain combinations are simply more competitive than others for translators thus pushing the prices down.
The cost of living in the target language country where more often than not the translator is located influences translation rates. We notice that when the target language is a language from a developing country for instance Spanish translation services for Peru, the rates tend to be much cheaper as the GDP or standard of living in this particular country is very low. The translator can afford to charge much lower translation prices. A hundred EURO in Peru goes a lot further than in Spain.
We also should note that rare language combinations, for example Icelandic to French tend to be more expensive than more common language combinations such as English to Spanish translation. This is of course because there are fewer translators for the Icelandic to French combination so the translator can in effect name his price.

Culture


The culture of a country. For example we notice that German translation rates tend to be much higher than Spanish translation rates. This is down to a number of factors but a major bearing is the simple fact that a German translator will not work for €0, 05 per word whereas it seems to be a standard rate in Spain and Italy. This also ties in with the fact that the cost of living in Germany is much higher. From my experience there seems to be a lot of German translators but they just charge higher rates.
All in all setting realistic translation rates is one of the essentials to a successful translation career as a freelancer. A very low translation quote tends to have potential clients wondering why is this guy so cheap, plus often leaves the translator short of salary whereas too high a translation quote simply prices the translator out of the market. It is indeed a delicate balancing act that must be approached with caution.

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. If you just want to browse over our translation rates, click here or get a great value personalised translation quote here.

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