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Translation rate basis

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  • Vit Ruzicka
    Hello, everybody, allow me to present an issue that might lurk on mind, be it consciously or subconsciously, of any translator, even a potential one. A
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 12 7:12 AM
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      Hello, everybody,
      allow me to present an issue that might lurk on mind, be it consciously or subconsciously, of any translator, even a potential one.
      A customer of mine (at the prospective stage yet, though) has asked for a substantitation of the translation price, ie costs based on resources employed plus adequate salary.
      My issue is: Has anybody tried lately to calculate the worth of translating resources necessary for the quality translation work? Ie, computer+software+reference literature+overheads (Internet, phone, ...), etc.
      I believe the issue might become topical quite soon on today's rather overheated market.
      Thank you for any consideration.
      Vit
    • Kostas Zgafas
      Vit wrote: My issue is: Has anybody tried lately to calculate the worth of translating resources necessary for the quality translation work? Ie,
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 12 11:14 PM
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        Vit wrote:
        My issue is: Has anybody tried lately to calculate the worth of translating resources necessary for the quality translation work? Ie, computer+software+reference literature+overheads (Internet, phone, ...), etc.

        You may add to it:
        - marketing expenses
        - I consider as a significant expense the time I need to spend on activities related to translating, but during which
        I do not translate, by other words - do not generate any income: time spent on marketing, writing invoices, various paperwork, going to bank, participation in discussion groups, etc, etc. - doing anything related to translating
        - I need to have two computers for the case if one of them goes out of service
        - mobile phone to be accessible when not at home
        - SW, OS
        - subscribing foreign journals
        - I would not hesitate to add all necessary expenses I would need to spend, but I can�t afford them becouse of low local rates, and to present a negative salary:various international gatherings, annual ATA conferences,
        - etc
        - etc

        K.ostas
      • Otto Pacholik
        Hello Vit, ... substantitation of the translation price, ie costs based on resources employed plus adequate salary. ... resources necessary for the quality
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 13 1:00 AM
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          Hello Vit,

          >A customer of mine (at the prospective stage yet, though) has asked for a
          substantitation of the translation price, ie costs based on resources
          employed plus adequate >>salary.
          >My issue is: Has anybody tried lately to calculate the worth of translating
          resources necessary for the quality translation work? Ie,
          computer+software+reference >>>>>>>literature+overheads (Internet, phone,
          ...), etc.
          I have not done any such calculation. You can find quite useful guidelines
          in the ITI Bulletin - Rates & Salaries Survey, published by the end of 1998
          by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. Their website is
          www.ITI.org.uk.
          One copy is also available (only for reading, not for take-away) at the
          JTP - this is for the JTP members only.

          >I believe the issue might become topical quite soon on today's rather
          overheated market.
          Try to ask any doctor or lawyer or any highly skilled programmer to provide
          such calculation - they will laugh at you. This should be also the case for
          our profession. Rates of translator or interpreter reflect:

          - skills and knowledge (both of a language and topic) :-)
          - quality of service delivered :-)
          - market situation :-( - at leat in the Czech Republic this drives the
          common level of rates down
          - goodwill of translator

          HW, SW, Internet skills, etc. do influence the level of rates in a positive
          way - not only because you must invest but you also develop your skills. So
          I tend to say they are reflected under my "skills and knowledge" category.

          I am already rather long so I conclude:

          I would try to avoid any such calculation (external - i.e. for any of my
          clients). Should this be really necessary (just to gain or retain a very
          prospective customer), you have to count everything - i.e. your language
          studies (e.g. going to th British Council courses, one-month stay in the UK
          or US every year), heavy HW and SW investment (you need new computer and
          printer every second year, etc.), important investment in new reference
          materials (you need everything on CDs and one such dictionary costs you -
          take the price of tha large edition of Oxford's dictionary - and you have to
          buy new one every two years - in order to have always the most modern
          terminology, etc.).

          BR

          Otto
        • Jirka Bolech
          ... substantitation of the translation price, ie costs based on resources employed plus adequate salary. Your potential customer s inquiry is quite absurd. It
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 13 6:09 AM
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            Vit Ruzicka wrote:

            > A customer of mine (at the prospective stage yet, though) has asked for a
            substantitation of the translation price, ie costs based on resources
            employed plus adequate salary.

            Your potential customer's inquiry is quite absurd. It reminds me strongly of
            the communist mode of thinking; you may still remember too. On the other
            hand, they might easily find your price very low in the light of such
            considerations, as Otto has pointed out, although Otto's account of a
            translator's expenses is close to the ideal condition - not my situation.
            You could easily impress those who ask with such theoretical costs of doing
            the job at a professional standard, but I don't think you should disclose
            your actual expenses, whether it's money or time. I don't simply think that
            this kind of question can be answered satisfactorily; you'll always drift in
            the midst of theoretical price ranges and real individuals' spendings with a
            high statistic deviation. Just mu view.

            Jirka Bolech
            Liberec, CR
          • Vit Ruzicka
            Hello Otto, thank you for the in-side answer. Naturally, I am far from being content with a provision of such information to a customer, not even to a
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 13 10:08 PM
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              Hello Otto,
              thank you for the in-side answer. Naturally, I am far from being content with a provision of such information to a customer, not even to a prospective one. My point is that the costs are getting higher and rates (and some customers) tend to resist this reality of life.
              All the best
              Vit
            • Michael Grant
              ... I d say it s none of their damn business how you arrive at your prices. If your rates are competitive for the technical, linguistic, and service quality
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 15 9:53 AM
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                >A�customer of mine (at the prospective stage yet, though) has asked
                >for a substantitation of the translation price, ie costs based on
                >resources employed plus adequate salary.

                I'd say it's none of their damn business how you arrive at your
                prices. If your rates are competitive for the technical, linguistic,
                and service quality you provide, then I'd tell 'em to take it or
                leave it.

                Michael
              • Kostas Zgafas
                A customer of mine (at the prospective stage yet, though) has asked ... You are right, Michael, and when I replied to this issue, I did not mean to comply
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 15 3:16 PM
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                  " >A customer of mine (at the prospective stage yet, though) has asked
                  > >for a substantitation of the translation price, ie costs based on
                  > >resources employed plus adequate salary.
                  >
                  > I'd say it's none of their damn business how you arrive at your
                  > prices. If your rates are competitive for the technical, linguistic,
                  > and service quality you provide, then I'd tell 'em to take it or
                  > leave it.
                  >
                  > Michael

                  You are right, Michael, and when I replied to this issue, I did not mean to
                  comply with this strange requirement, but rather to embrace it as the issue
                  standing alone: "expenses in doing translation business", which might be of
                  interest for us.

                  HOWEVER, I would like to add that some big, really big multinational
                  companies have included this requirement in their subcontractor policy. But,
                  to get a contract from such big company means to get high volume work
                  secured for several years. In return, these big companies push their
                  subcontractors really very hard, including inquiries of their expenses,
                  pushing their price as low as they can get, and also try to set-up the
                  contract in the most advantageous way for themselves, and the least
                  advantageous way for contractors.

                  Kostas
                • Michael Grant
                  ... Count me out. If they re going to own you body and soul anyway, let em hire you as an employee and pay your health insurance and pension contributions.
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 15 3:28 PM
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                    >In return, these big companies push their
                    >subcontractors really very hard, including inquiries of their expenses,
                    >pushing their price as low as they can get, and also try to set-up the
                    >contract in the most advantageous way for themselves, and the least
                    >advantageous way for contractors.

                    Count me out. If they're going to own you body and soul anyway, let
                    'em hire you as an employee and pay your health insurance and pension
                    contributions.

                    Just MHO. :-)

                    Michael
                  • Otto Pacholik
                    ... I think this is the most dangerous way how to run your business. This may lead to you dependence on one source of income. And consequently, you become more
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 16 3:06 AM
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                      > But,
                      > to get a contract from such big company means to get high volume work
                      > secured for several years.

                      I think this is the most dangerous way how to run your business. This may
                      lead to you dependence on one source of income. And consequently, you become
                      more "flexible" to any request of your one (two, three) big multinational
                      customers. I have always tried to avoid such situation. Once such customers
                      drops you this might mean a couple of months before you recover from such
                      loss. Of course, if you manage to have big volume customer it would be
                      nonsense to let him go. However, I prefer to subcontract a part of my work
                      (even if this means more proofreading for me), in order to both keep my
                      customer satisfied and avoid my dependence on him.

                      Just MHO

                      Otto
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