Setting your Translation Rates

Setting your Translation Rates

There is a lot of demand for translators today. Knowing how much to charge can help you grow your client list or improve the profitability of your freelance translation business. When starting a career as a translator the rates can vary from $0.01 per word to $0.30 per word. But the rate depends on the project, length of the project, your expertise in that field, timeline of the project, and other variables that any translator should consider.

If you have experience within a niche area, leverage that and position yourself as being more specialized in that space. Many times however, translators who have worked on just 2-3 projects will stretch the truth and claim expertise in areas they have never worked. Be upfront with your clients, be straightforward and honest with them and if needed slightly lower your rate on the first project or two in a new area until you prove yourself to them.

Here is list of some common ways of rating your translation work:
  • Charge By the word – this is the most common way used by translators today. On top of that, you could also add a minimum fee. For instance, you could charge $0.10 per word and have a minimum fee of $25. (You can control the minimum fee by decreasing or increasing it at anytime). It gives you liability in the amount of work, and you are not "stuck" with very small projects.
  • By the hour – often charged for those types of translation job where charging by the words wouldn’t result in a reasonable payment (estimate how many hours it is going to take to translate). If the project will take too much of your time, the best way to get compensated in this case, is by charging your client by the hour.
  • By the Page – usually for official and legal documents (ex. Birth Certificates, Marriage Licenses and other legal docs).
  • Flat Fee – for small projects where you translate a minimum amount of words such as 250 words.
  • Geographic location – Where you should live should not affect how much to charge your clients.
By working for a translation company, your salary should be determined by the agency. So it is up to you whether you want to work for yourself and set up your own rating, or work for an agency where the fee is established by them.

By Vanessa Greenway, CTP Associate

Tags: Setting your Translation Rates, Translation Fee, Translation Rate, Translation Certification, Translation Agency, How much should I charge? Translator Training.