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Starting at super low rates

bondi_livia
Active Member
Livia B Member Since: May 7, 2021
1 of 3

Hi community,

new user here, looking for some cue from experienced freelancers. I'm struggling to start as freelancer, mostly in translating and proofreading (EN>IT), and also content writing. I don't officially have experience or certifications, but communication has always been a good skill of mine, and I consider myself able to provide accurate job done, so I decided to allow myself to try (this is obviously the short version, many changes occurred in my life and it's not like one morning I got up and decided to do this; it's become necessary and will hopefully be my main source of income).

I am learning how to land jobs and how this market works - I explored my colleagues' profiles and adjusted my rate and my overview, am perfecting my proposals constantly, I submitted various proposals for small jobs so that I start having feedbacks. 

One of the proposals I submitted was for a possible long-term job of both translation and writing; the client posted a fixed price, asking to state a price for word in the cover letter, which after a quick research on the market I set at 0,02 $/word for translation and 0,08 $/word for writing. Today, I get interviewed by the client, asking me to work for 0,01 $/word for both translation and writing. Seemed a bit low as a rate, so I checked the posts here, and though I realize that my prices  were still a bit too high (especially for writing), turns out that it would not be a good "move" to accept because even if I'd get good reviews (hopefully), it will then become very difficult to raise my rates from there. What's your advice? 

Thanks in advance Smiley Wink

 

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
BEST ANSWER
2 of 3

Livia B wrote:

Hi community,

new user here, looking for some cue from experienced freelancers. I'm struggling to start as freelancer, mostly in translating and proofreading (EN>IT), and also content writing. I don't officially have experience or certifications, but communication has always been a good skill of mine, and I consider myself able to provide accurate job done, so I decided to allow myself to try (this is obviously the short version, many changes occurred in my life and it's not like one morning I got up and decided to do this; it's become necessary and will hopefully be my main source of income).

I am learning how to land jobs and how this market works - I explored my colleagues' profiles and adjusted my rate and my overview, am perfecting my proposals constantly, I submitted various proposals for small jobs so that I start having feedbacks. 

One of the proposals I submitted was for a possible long-term job of both translation and writing; the client posted a fixed price, asking to state a price for word in the cover letter, which after a quick research on the market I set at 0,02 $/word for translation and 0,08 $/word for writing. Today, I get interviewed by the client, asking me to work for 0,01 $/word for both translation and writing. Seemed a bit low as a rate, so I checked the posts here, and though I realize that my prices  were still a bit too high (especially for writing), turns out that it would not be a good "move" to accept because even if I'd get good reviews (hopefully), it will then become very difficult to raise my rates from there. What's your advice? 

Thanks in advance Smiley Wink

 


_________________

Livia, 

 

I think you can safely refuse the client's offer - don't go there - seriously. It will end in very little money and a lot of frustration. 

 

However, you need to focus on how you are going to run your business. You will fall flat on your face if you apply for random jobs on Upwork that will get your foot in the door, but not much further. 

 

You need to concentrate on the fields you will be most competent in, and from what I can see from your profile, these would be architecture (and related topics) and your passionate interest in,  but not total, knowledge of holistic healing.

 

1) You offer translation English to Italian (and perhaps English to French and French to Italian or vice-versa).  You do not need a degree in translation to be a good translator, but you do need to know the pitfalls and the rules. 

Rule #1 : Never palm off a machine translation (Google, Deep L etc.) onto a client, unless they ask for it. 

Rule #2:  Only translate into your native language. 

Rule #3: Make sure that your client has the right to translate academic and published texts.

Rule #4: If you have a lengthy translation, make sure you get another proofreader to check your work. Actually, this is not a rule, but practical advice. 

 

2) You offer proofreading.  I would suggest  that you seriously check out what proofreading entails in any language. It is not just a question of jumping on typos and dodgy grammar. And talking of grammar, your own grammar in the language you are proofreading, has to be at a very high level. 

 

3) Writing: Endless possibilities here in your fields, if you know how and like to write! 

 

However,  with translation and writing, you should add at least two items to your profile portfolio so that a client can get an idea of your work.  

 

Apply for the jobs that interest you and that will pay you - not for the jobs that may ,or may not, give you starting points.  Freelancing is about you - not about Upwork. 

 

 

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bondi_livia
Active Member
Livia B Member Since: May 7, 2021
3 of 3

Priceless Nichola. Very kind, considered and knowledgeable answer. Some of your recommendations of good practice were part of my plan already, and I find it really encouraging. The others are huge lightbulbs for me!

Thank you SO much for taking the time.

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