There is a large number of language professionals working in the same language combinations (at least, in my language combinations!) spread all around the world. Greek translators who work and live all around the globe! All these professionals have set their fees based on certain factors, e.g. their academic background, their experience working in the field, their specialization. Most of the times, the above mentioned reasons influence the quality of the final translation. So, why is geography an issue?
I was a witness to a situation recently that made me wonder. As I keep trying to expand my clientele, I continuously send my CV to agencies around the world. One morning, I received a reply from one, saying that my rates are far too high for the life standard in Greece! I was flabbergasted! I politely thanked for the reply and did not bother to comment.
How can a project manager/ agency owner living on the other side of the planet claim that is aware of what kind of standard there is in Greece today? Why does this particular project manager/agency owner want to convince me to lower my rates and actually tell me what kind of a life style I should have? If I lived in a richer country that is not financially struggling, would I have the right to charge more due to location only? Would the quality of my work be better if I still lived in the UK even though I am working into my native tongue? Now let me think: When I was studying in the UK, I do not recall universities giving me a discount on the university fees because I was a Greek national! I remember that I had to work part-time throughout my studies in order to add a little income to the money my parents sent me in order to complete my studies, I can recall painful days and nights going by without me sleeping in order to meet the academic project work deadlines.
I have never met any translator that has become rich from his/her work and in fact, Greek translators choose to charge far lower rates than their European counterparts. Does a project manager/agency owner have the right to have an opinion on a translator’s life-style by making such comments? Was that person rude to me for no reason? Refusing collaboration due to a disagreement on rates is understandable but should such comments be expressed? Should I allow a person living in a different country tell me how I should live in mine and how much I should earn? Questions, questions, questions!