Thursday, September 17, 2009

11 Our most talented translator

Based on an idea by Cristina Pereira.


  1. 0.02? Gosh, I'd starve if I translated for rates like that :D

  2. Thank you, Alejandro, for that “Based on an idea by Cristina Pereira”. I feel like I’ve won an Oscar :) Now, I’ve occasionally accepted volume discounts, but not because my “PAMs” say I’m the most talented translator. It’s more like: “take it or leave it”. But I don’t accept Mox's discounts too! Also, some times, after a very though negotiation (deadlines, number of words, etc), I finally accept my “PAM” conditions and I hear the proverbial “You’re a star…”. Am I? I don’t think so. I just don’t have the strength to fight them anymore :)

  3. K, at 0.02 €/USD per word I think I could buy some food to survive ;) , but I wouldn't be able to pay my mortgage!

    Some readers have remarked in the past that 0.01 €/USD per word is very common in their part of the world. Therefore, I decided to remove the currency sign, so visitors can imagine the currency they want.

    Cristina, I know what you mean. Personally, I usually accept volume discounts, but only in cases where "more words" mean "less work per word", and such is often the case with engineering documents. Sometimes volume can even represent more work per word, e.g. multiple authors and problems of consistency.

    I found your idea very funny, especially because, as you said, the "you're a star technique" is used widely, and I was once a victim of it, and a (not so evil) PM convinced me to work a full weekend for an urgent project. At that time, I was 19 and naïf...

  4. Yeah, the bargaining tactic is very common in this market, but I think you got a decimal point wrong.

    Neither €0.02 not $0.02 is common among people who work professionally. As a beginner 20 years ago, I charged $0.06. Now, I charge translation agencies $0.18 to $0.23 for non-rush projects, more than that when it is rush, and agencies double or triple that to the end client.

    Rather than changing the currency sign, you should move the decimal point :)

  5. Hi Oskar, thank you for your comment.

    This blog is intended to be humorous and its characters are parodies, so almost everything in it is exaggerated. In others strips, you may find translators who earn 0.48 €/0.70 USD... while using Google translator!

    In any case, I believe that your analysis on rates is simply incomplete. As I said to K, rates of 0.02 or 0.01 are common in some parts of the world. Take for example the case of Moldova (this blog have tons of visitors from there, I do not know why): the gross average monthly wage during 2008 was 153 € (World Bank data). If wages are around 20 times less than in Western Europe, do you think that translators charge the same rates in both regions? Why would anyone want to become a doctor, a civil engineer or a university professor if they can earn more as a translator?

    Just for info, for my first project 11 years ago, I charged 0.06 USD, since then my rates have multiplied

  6. Haha, real as life like always, Alejandro. They've also tried to play that trick on me, and I answered that if I was the most talented then I should be also the highest paid.

    I do also provide volume discounts, but rather as a means to get a steady flow of work, as I maintain the rate over successive jobs in a period of 12 months, then the rate goes up again. I have some customers that provide me with a continuous flow of work so as to maintain good rates. Yes, I do not earn that much with these customers, but on the other hand I am not idle either...

  7. That's an inspired (and logical) answer, Ramón. I'll try to remember it.

    Some time ago, I read at your site that you had translated 4 million (!) words for a single customer. Besides financial stability, that customer clearly meant less work per word, as you saved a lot of valuable time (invoices, marketing, chasing bad payers...).

  8. Well, in translation like in any other business, there is always someone willing to pay less for the same service. Wouldn't you buy a Ferrari for 1 euro?

  9. By the way... previous anonymous comment was made by Mónica Machado

  10. A Ferrari for 1€ is good. My son would be delighted :)

  11. Companies paying low rates are not focusing on quality!
    May I recommend,,,,, etc.

    Quality - only professional native translators with a strong professional background!

    Wish you a nice weekend!


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