This post is a summary of a discussion on fees and rates during a hosted Group Translation Chats (GTC) session It was moderated by Robin Humphrey who kindly gave me his notes to use a basis for this post.
Many newcomers to the profession can find it hard to know what to charge, especially as MA courses often don’t pay much attention to business aspects. Hopefully this post will bring some clarity to the fees and rates discussion and help translators feel confident when speaking about the cost of their work.
Broadly speaking, fee is used to describe an individual service, and rate the price or cost of something per piece (per character, word, 1000 words, page, hour, for example).
The difference between fees and rates matters because we’re running businesses. Some think translation is not a “real business”, that it’s not “real work” and anyone can do it, especially if they have access to the internet. But this is a wrong assumption and although our job requires skill, training and time, we’re not generally overpriced. We offer a professional service and should charge accordingly.
Just over a year ago, I revisited the purchase order I first shared with you in 2015 because I’d divided it into four to cover the four different services I currently provide: translation; revision; editing; and localisation.
I’m now back again with another update.
After talking to colleagues recently about pricing, negotiating and deadlines, I realised I needed to add a couple of lines to my purchase orders.
From the outside looking in, most translators probably seem lone wolves, happily working at their desks all day with hardly any social contact. In fact, many freelancers highlight being their own boss and making all the decisions as one of the main reasons why they pursued a self-employed career.
But the reality can be quite different, even if you don’t work in an agency’s office. Because translators are increasingly realising the benefits of working together on projects and sharing their knowledge.
In the Group Translation Chats (GTC) session in January, hosted by Ellen Singer, we talked about the pros and cons of teamwork and how and when we can work better together.
Attending online events I’d never manage to go to in person is one of the few advantages of the COVID-19 pandemic. So along with a handful of Group Translation Chats (GTC) members, I signed up for the CopyCon 2020 conference held by ProCopywriters.
Long before we got to the talk on perfectionism, some speakers floated the idea that copy doesn’t have to be perfect. Sandra Wu from Blinkist told us that perfectionists were wasting their time because people skim content and only read around 30% of what you write. Copy doesn’t need to be beautiful and engaging to convert and so rewriting text to make the language better doesn’t pay off.
This is the title I chose for the November hosted session of the Group Translation Chats (GTC). Besides two coffee-break chats per week, which are drop-in meetings anyone in the group can attend, we hold one moderated chat on a particular translation-related topic every month.
I’ve always been interested in editing and revisions. Not only do they account for a large chunk of my workload, I’m also now a member of a RevClub and an Edit Club, meeting with my colleagues on alternate weeks to discuss texts we’ve translated with the aim of improving them and learning from each other.
Way back in 2015, I asked my blog readers whether the purchase order I’d produced was merely a pipe dream or a document I could actually use with my clients. The general consensus was that my overly long PO would prove daunting for direct clients and unnecessary for agencies. After tweaking it a bit based on the many suggestions I received, I instead came up with a purchase order checklist. The idea was to fill it in ourselves using the information we gleaned in negotiations with clients and for it to be a handy reminder of what questions we should be asking.
Avez-vous entendu parler de la dernière tendance sur le marché de la traduction ? Il s’agit de la PEMT*, acronyme anglophone signifiant post-editing machine translation. En clair, les clients font appel à un programme pour traduire leur texte, lequel est ensuite envoyé à un traducteur chargé d’y apporter la touche finale. Certains d’entre eux utilisent des services de traduction automatique plus poussés que ceux disponibles en ligne. Néanmoins, l’expérience me prouve que Google Traduction est l’outil le plus populaire, et c’est donc celui auquel les clients ont le plus souvent recours pour obtenir leur traduction au coût d’une révision, soit environ 50 % du prix.
¿Han escuchado hablar sobre la última tendencia en la industria de la traducción? Se la conoce como PEMT, significa traducción automática con revisión posterior (post-editing machine translation, PEMT*). Hace referencia a cuando los clientes usan un programa para traducir un texto antes de enviárselo a un traductor para que este haga la revisión final. Algunos clientes usan herramientas de traducción automática (TA) más sofisticadas que las que se ofrecen en línea. Sin embargo, según mi experiencia, el Traductor de Google es la herramienta de traducción más popular y, por ese motivo, la que los clientes usan con más frecuencia para obtener una traducción por el precio de una revisión, en general, alrededor de un 50 % menos del costo.
Have you heard of the latest trend in the translation industry? It’s called PEMT* and it stands for post-editing machine translation. This is when clients use a program to translate their text before sending it to a translator for the final edit. Some clients use more sophisticated MT (machine translation) than online offerings, but in my experience Google Translate is the most popular translation tool, and, therefore, the one clients use more often than not to get a translation for the price of a revision, usually around 50% of the cost.