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New Freelancer on Upwork - hello and some questions

Active Member
Bjorn B Member Since: Jan 30, 2019
1 of 11

Hello all,

 

My name is Bjørn, You can call me Bjorn. I am a Dane living in Montreal.

 

I'm currently employed as a freelance translator with Keywords Studios, who I have been working for since 2012. 

 

As I want to start saving some more money (plus I really love translating / localizing) I began collaborating with another company as a freelance translator end of last year, and yesterday I went ahead and signed up for Upwork.

 

Today I had my first job, a bit outside of what I usually do (diploma translation), but I think it went alright, I submitted it on time, and I am currently waiting for approval (just discovered that it can take up to two weeks).

 

A random question: Does it matter that nothing got put in the terms and settings? I am finding out these things as I go. Honestly, I had started working on the job before I even accepted the project. Luckily it was a fixed-price project, and he had great reviews, so I think I’ve made it this far without any serious blunders.

 

My actual question pertains to that magic subject of: Hourly Rate!

 

My current wager with one company is 0.85 EUR and 0.10 EUR with the other... so 0.98 USD and 0.11 USD. 

 

Working with them I've just had deadlines and word counts, so I've never really paid any attention to how many words I was translating an hour. But I found out on Google that an industry standard is 443 words. As an average that seems about right, depending on the complexity of the text of course. 

 

So if I were to set my rate at 0.1/word and 443 words/hr that means my rate should be 44.3 USD/hr.

 

First part of the question: Is 45 USD an okay hourly rate. I know it is not the cheapest (but what I do, I do well), but I seem to find a lot that is down around half that, or even lower. What gives?

 

Then Upwork claims their share of the spoils - 20%. That seems fair enough, though I like that they reduce it to 10% when you hit more than 500 USD. Is that per client, or is that a milestone that once you've passed 500$ overall it's down to 10% ? (That extra space, I know - but I am sucker for that which pleases the eye, and %? just doesn't look that pretty to me).

 

Second part of the question: Should I add Upwork’s rate on top of my own? That would bring it up to approx. 53 USD...

 

 Also, right now my profile is next to empty. What would you suggest I should focus on?

 

I can't really release stuff I've worked on (confidentiality, I'm sure you understand) but I could take tests, or I could find samples and localize them and show them on my profile. 


Also, what is the Upwork stance on offering and/or accepting doing sample works for prospective clients? I've had to do them at every turn in my translation career so far, especially because I don’t have a formal education as a translator, but on the other hand that's been for companies. Though then again, I guess clients here on Upwork can be companies too...

 

Alright, enough of my ramblings. What say ye, oh fair friends of the trade?

 

P.S. In anything that I've said, if you detect that I've misunderstood something or missed something, please point it out to me. I am here to learn.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
2 of 11

Pay no attention to what other people charge. There is a wide range of skill levels and experience levels on Upwork,and people living and working in many different economies. 

Active Member
Bjorn B Member Since: Jan 30, 2019
3 of 11

Hi Tiffany,

 

Thanks for replying. That makes a lot of sense. Upwork like life.

 

Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
4 of 11
  • The upwork fee goes from 20% to 10% after you reach USD 500 per client. 
  • Ask your clients if you are allowed to use their texts in your portfolio. 
  • Clients are not allowed to ask for free work. Freelancers are allowed to do free work, but risk the wrath of a few thousands of other freelancers, because we don't want to train clients to expect free work. It is not a good thing. 
  • Translation work is better priced at a $ per word rate, and not hourly, anyway. The hourly rate on your profile is an important marketing tool, you want to present a picture that is consistent - your profile, picture, portfolio, tests, education, experience and feedback should tell a story that makes sense as a whole. 

 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 11

Martina P wrote:
  • Translation work is better priced at a $ per word rate, and not hourly, anyway.

 


This is not universally true.  I do various (easy and difficult) translations for three of my clients and it would be such a mess to do it at a per word rate because I'd have to recalculate it for every document.

 

There is a place for hourly and there is a place for "per word" and actually my hourly clients are, on average, better off (get more for their money than the per word clients) than my per word clients.

 

Active Member
Bjorn B Member Since: Jan 30, 2019
6 of 11

That makes sense. I also have a set hourly rate in my contracts with the companies I provide my services to, but that is only for proofreading, never translating. But I can see how it makes sense as you describe it. 

Thanks for your input.

Moderator
Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
7 of 11

Hi Bjorn, 


I would recommend that you read up on the freelancer resources we have compiled for great tips and insights on how you can work successfully on the platform, and to help you familiarize yourself with the Upwork system.

 

As an additional read, please visit these tips for avoiding questionable jobs for more information about working safely on Upwork


-Avery
Untitled
Active Member
Bjorn B Member Since: Jan 30, 2019
8 of 11

HI Avery,

 

Thank you for the links! I will read them asap.

 

Have a great day,

 

Bjørn

Active Member
Bjorn B Member Since: Jan 30, 2019
9 of 11

Thank you, I might be a good idea to ask clients on here if I can use their texts in my portfolio.

 

I wasn't really talking about working for free, but I can assume from your answer that tests are not something that is done here.

Thank you for putting the hourly rate into context as a marketing tool primarily, that is part of giving a consistent picture of who I am and what I offer.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
10 of 11

"A random question: Does it matter that nothing got put in the terms and settings? I am finding out these things as I go. Honestly, I had started working on the job before I even accepted the project. Luckily it was a fixed-price project, and he had great reviews, so I think I’ve made it this far without any serious blunders."

 

What "terms and settings" are you referring to? Do you have a contract? If not, then you very likely performed that work free of charge. Never, ever, ever submit completed work unless you have a contract in place and the client's payment method has been verified. (Often, clients new to the platform do not verify their payment method until they are ready to hire. That's OK, just be sure it's done before you submit work for payment.) And if it's a fixed-price contract, then do not submit work unless the first milestone has been funded. Sometimes new clients are unfamiliar with the procedures, so it behooves the FL to know what needs to be done, in what order. And sometimes clients know perfectly well what to do but are willing to take advantage of new FLs who don't know and/or are too trusting.

 

Welcome to Upwork! Good luck!

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