Every professional working in a company is expecting a pay raise, a promotion at some point. Most companies have such schemes, basis on years of service or even when an employee adds an academic qualification needed by the company. What happens to freelancers in this case, and especially to freelance translators, as there is no such a scheme and of course not just one employer?
What is reasonable?
The reasonable answer to this question is probably the raise of the price of word. Most translators charge by the word (although, in some countries they are still getting paid based by the number of pages. I believe this method is starting to decline, as most projects are in electronic format). As time goes by and translators gain more experience it is only inevitable to wish to raise their prices. They, too, are worth to have some sort of an increase of their income. A translator who has just starting working in this market area should not change the same price per word with another translator who has 5 year experience, for instance.
What can a raise in the price of word mean to a translator?
In such tough financial times, a raise can mean a loss of clients. Most agencies base their profit on a low price per word that is charged by a translator. This means that if a translator charges 0.09 Euros per word, an agency will charge 0.12 Euros to make 0.03 Euros profit. The lower price per word charged by a translator, the higher the agency’s profit. So what happens when the translator decides to raise the price? The agency will make less profit, of course. It is only natural that the agency will try to find another translator that charges less. It is a risk of course, as the new translator may not match the experience and in-depth knowledge in the translation field. This is another story. It is inevitable that the translator will lose many clients and keep some of them (most based in countries that still have not faced any financial issues).
What is there to do?
To raise or not to raise? This is the question! Every action hides and has a reaction! What is the best path to follow? Keep the prices low and forget the dream of an income raise or raise the prices and hope for the best? Or even, have high prices to begin with? Please, do share your experiences on the subject!