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.
Members of translation and interpreting associations will know that a lot of emphasis is placed on CPD (continuing professional development). The ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting), which I’m a member of, recommends we log 30 hours of CPD every membership year (in my case from May to April) and issues a certificate when the record is complete.
Given that ongoing training is so important, we discussed our future CPD plans in a hosted session of the Group Translation Chats (GTC), moderated by Jenny Zonneveld, back in February. This is a summary of what we talked about containing many links to CPD you might like to try.
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.
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.
One of the challenges many translators face is finding good professional development courses that suit their needs. This is even more challenging if you want to study them in a language other than English or the language spoken in the country where you live.
As an English and Dutch into Italian translator living in Amsterdam, I know the struggle.
Fortunately, the courses by the Italian company CTI – Communication Trend Italia came highly recommended by both fellow university students and renowned experienced translators. They are also recognized by the Italian translator’s association AITI.
The first main section lists general dictionaries and glossaries. The new subsection here is General Into & Out of Spanish, which I’ve added to make it easier to find resources that are primarily for looking up how to translate words from and into Spanish. As I work from ES to EN, there’s a heavy bias towards this language pair in the first couple of sections. New here is: Diccionario español – mallorquín. The other resources were previous listed under General Multilingual.
A recent tourism editing job had me scouring through many translated websites of hotels (Spanish to English, my pair) and I was appalled to see the same mistakes made again and again.
Of course, this might be because the company used machine translation (MT) or non-native speakers for the job. Because a lot of people think tourism texts are so simple that MT will be good enough.
Unfortunately, that’s why many in the sector refuse to allocate a high enough budget to translating their marketing material. The less they are willing to spend, the more likely their translated text will fail.
The other day I was speaking to my niece, who lives abroad, on the phone, not something we do regularly, and she asked how I was. ‘Tired,’ I answered. ‘You’re always tired,’ she sighed back. And she’s right. But there’s generally not much else an insomniac can say.
While some people seem to manage on just a few hours of sleep (lots of politicians only get four to five hours, apparently, including Trump, but I’m not sure that’s worked in his favour as he doesn’t make much sense most of the time), if I get less than six hours too many days in a row, my brain switches off.