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Translation rates are so low!! and some are a joke!!

Active Member
Gabriele D Member Since: Jan 31, 2014
1 of 12
I am prepared to work for very little while I complete my Diploma in Translation and to gain more experience. I could not live on it! However, my bids seem to be in the middle or higher brackets here? And rates from agencies in the UK are about 3 times higher. But that's fine for me at the moment, although I wonder why all these professional highly skilled people work for so little? Nevertheless, some people advertise jobs here, asking for quality translations from native speakers and, and, and ...,but when I look at their budget I have to laugh!!! They want quality work for nothing, e.g. rates of $0.01 per word or 50.000 words (book) for $250 (do I want to work for several months to be able to do one weekly food shop??, or am I missing something here?). But there are still people applying and not only from countries where that amount would get you further.
Community Guru
William H Member Since: Dec 2, 2013
2 of 12
Hi Gabriele, I noticed that too when I joined. I had just come out of a job where translation French-English was set at .20$ a word. Here, I work roughly at my $30/hour rate, which at the speed I translate is no where near .20$ a word. Then again, I have to ask myself why I was paying $.20 word in my previous position... Cheers, William
Community Leader
André U Member Since: Dec 5, 2013
3 of 12
The general problem is that low-quality contractors replace highly skilled translators. I've seen lots of Pakistani, Indian or Bangladesh applying for English-German translations. Well, some of them might have an agency to back up the quality, but their rates are extremely low sometimes. I even see an actual German working for 4$/h. Personally I do not believe that she has any other skills than being German, but who cares? There are clients who just want the cheapest solution (apart from google). The problem is that these clients do not realise that those cheap translators most commonly use the google translator, too. You would not believe how often I get jobs entitled "correct translations done by previous translator". So what are the main problems? 1. oDesk is a place for everyone --> many 3rd world contractors and "just natives" trying to get translation jobs --> no room for professional translators 2. Actual translators are working for agencies outside of oDesk (why would they need oDesk)? 3. The high competition lowers the average price I am a German living in Mexico. With the rates I charge (0.015$/word or 12-15$/h) I can perfectly live here. In my hometown in Germany it would work too, but not as comfortably as it is here. You just need to face the fact that the UK is incredibly expensive. In other words, it is not the rest of the world offering cheap work, but you demanding expensive work to compensate your high cost of living. Guess why big manufacturers go to East Europe/Asia? Saving money of course. Same happens with freelancers. I know my post is a bit biased and not structured, live with it. Smiley Tongue Greetings, André
Community Guru
Natasha R Member Since: Aug 2, 2010
4 of 12
[quote=André Ueckert] In other words, it is not the rest of the world offering cheap work, but you demanding expensive work to compensate your high cost of living.[/quote] This made me laugh :bigsmile:
Active Member
Marc R Member Since: Nov 18, 2012
5 of 12
Hi André, Where do I sign? Smiley Happy Regards
Active Member
Juan Pablo S Member Since: Apr 2, 2018
6 of 12

I beg to disagree, but unless you are not a professional translator, those rates are damaging to everybody's business, yours in Mexico and mine in the UK. Believe me, there is always someone who can go lower than you, so rather than going for 0.015 USD/word (which is frankly insulting), you should advocate for a decent fare where everybody wins. Anyways, I think I will leave Upwork for good this time.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
7 of 12

@Juan Pablo S wrote:

I beg to disagree, but unless you are not a professional translator, those rates are damaging to everybody's business, yours in Mexico and mine in the UK. Believe me, there is always someone who can go lower than you, so rather than going for 0.015 USD/word (which is frankly insulting), you should advocate for a decent fare where everybody wins. Anyways, I think I will leave Upwork for good this time.


 __________________

Juan, you are replying to a thread that is four years old! 

Active Member
Oluwakemi B Member Since: Mar 26, 2013
8 of 12
Hi Natasha, I understand how you feel since I also know the cost of living in UK and changing US dollars to UK pounds is not quite nice, especially with what you are left with. When I first came here, I have the same problem, should I put up my fees, and then I stopped getting jobs or should I put it at a reasonable price to get jobs which adds up to nothing. Since I am here to make money, I later made this decision which I am going to tell you but I don't know if it would work in translating as it does for me in transcribing. At the hourly rate I am now, I made a decision that I will not use nothing less than 6 hours to transcribe an hour of file, making my bid be 42 dollars for an hour of file transcribed. I chose a per minute charge with my fixed project too which I stick to, I might go higher than the hours depending on the client but nothing lower, this makes my work worthwhile in the end. I have had to reject offers sent by clients who want me to work for less hours to transcribe the files, especially when they always seem to send the offers straight without talking to me first. Though sometimes I am tempted to take it, I will say to myself its just 1 or 2 hours short of 6 hours, but at the end I never succumb because I always think that what if I see a better offer after I have accepted this, which always happens to me, then I will have being stuck with a low paying contract. Most of them always increase my hours when I insist on not going lower than that, but some others don't, which is okay by me. I will advise you to keep away from those jobs who want cheap labor, though it seems they are mostly the ones around nowadays and apply to those who really need a quality work, and I tell you those clients are also out there and I have being lucky to get them, so I am sure you will also. Hope this helps.
Active Member
Gabriele D Member Since: Jan 31, 2014
9 of 12
Thanks for your replies! Andre: Ha, ha!! I don't have an expensive lifestyle! I shop at Lidl and Asda! But I don't think that is what you meant anyway. I did put my rate up a bit last week and Voila, no more job offers. I put it down again and hopefully something will come in, but not as low as $0.01 per word. Just seen another potentially very interesting job from a client in Switzerland who insists on a native speaker, intermediate skill level ($$) and will not pay more than $0.01 including oDesk fee!!! Uahhhhh!!! It had been on for 20 Minutes with 14 applications. No way, I would feel sooo exploited. If they were from India I could understand where they are coming from, but Switzerland - no!!
Active Member
Gabriele D Member Since: Jan 31, 2014
10 of 12
Oh sorry, 14 reviews, not applications, nobody had applied to that so far, and I hope nobody will.
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