A Translator’s Price Tag

Numerous articles and blog posts have been written about the prices translators set to their work. It is a rather never-ending story, really! I do not claim the first price in a competition about setting the right prices, but I do have some tips for those colleagues starting in the industry!

Valuation of education

Consider all the stress and the effort you have invested during all the years of your studies, the late nights you spent preparing for papers and exams. Hidden behind vocabulary lists, dictionaries, online research.. These steps were not only taken for you to pass the exam or to submit the paper on time. These were the foundation tricks to build your career’s wall.

Prices set by colleagues

Try to be objective! If it helps you, compare yourself as a professional with other translators of the same language combinations. Please, do not fall in the trap to compare yourself with colleagues of different language combinations. Yes, we may all have the same or similar educational background, but some language combinations are much stronger and other much weaker. The best choice would be colleagues with the same languages. Note that you may not have the same experience with other colleagues, but try not to set your prices far too low. Do you know how hard it is to have them raised?

Research the market

Apart from the combinations, another factor you need to consider is the areas of expertise. Are there many colleagues that work on these fields? Please, try to make your choices based on what you are interested in or have more knowledge in, not based on which field “sounds” more prestigious. A wrong could harm you both ways: if your knowledge in the field is not sufficient, it will show in the translation and if you are not really interested in the field, a translation will bore you and actually seem like a chore! Remember, work can be fun!

Same price to all clients

When you finally set your prices, distribute these to all your potential clients. Please try not to lower your prices for some clients and keep them higher to others. Otherwise, imagine if a client does find out that you are selling your skills cheaper to others, or imagine if two clients send one project each to you and you priced your skills differently. Would you not choose to accept the project that pays you better? I would! Then, would the other project automatically not be of interest because it is paid less?

Setting the right price is a vital and basic part of starting in the translation market. Take your time, do some research; ask other colleagues if they do not mind, ask even your former professors and lecturers. Of course, you will find many articles and blog posts on this subject on line, naturally if you think I can be of further assistance, I am only an email away!

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