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low payment

Ace Contributor
Veerle M Member Since: Jan 31, 2017
1 of 51

Hi fellow translators


is it me or are the job offers for translations appalling? Some clients pay as low as 0,0125 per source word! And above all, there are so called translators who actually work for these prices, spoiling the market for everybody. If 'entry level' is based on that rate, then you can't be shocked if clients think experienced translators should be paid 0,03 per source word!This is very disturbing.

Above all these so called translators who work for very low wages just use machine translators, google translate etc. and apparently clients are not disturbed when they receive a poorly executed translation. Some of them send the file to a proofreader who they pay even less but ends up doing most of the work (if he or she is even serious about his/her job). 
It doesn't make sense. When a client posts a job offer paid on an hourly base, he or she can not pay less than 4,99 USD per hour (if I'm correct), but those fixed prices are not even checked! 


What happened to being proud of one's work? To dedication? 

Perhaps I'm old-fashioned. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on it. 

Have a nice day.


Ace Contributor
Veerle M Member Since: Jan 31, 2017
2 of 51

 I've just finished writing this message and again a client posts a job offer: translation of 750 words for a fee of 25 USD and clients dares to call this a payment for expert level!!!

How can this be possible? Who sets those standards? No professional, no experts would even consider working for such a low wage!

Active Member
Lisa D Member Since: Aug 19, 2010
3 of 51

Translation seekers do specify - what is your rate per word.

Seekers never did request for sentences to be edited accordingly since I saw they are seeking also proofreaders and editing. 


Whatever rate is fine when word count is requested. Go to Google and just google translate word per word style and send it to him and the owners of UPWork - at least you and I get to speak directly to the owners of this website and the seekers of word rates not TRANSLATE and EDIT to make it sound French, Spanish or whatever second language of their choices would be. 

Active Member
Birgit U Member Since: Jul 30, 2012
4 of 51



You read my mind. I just wanted to post a thread asking exactly the same thing. Translation market is totally screwed up and rates offered are ridiculous. I just got offered 0,028-0.035€ for technical translation (automotive field). It`s very offensive. Part that I absolutely can`t understand is that how can they say that these are good rates and people work for these rates. I am seriously considering quitting a job as a translator, it`s not worth it anymore. 


Next thing I can`t understand and what is totally new for me is the CAT-tool matches, they want discounts. Sorry there are no such tool that is doing it`s job properly. It`s a again a greedy business people invention to make money not to make translators life easier. For example my language is only spoken by 1,4 million people and the client compared it to Arabic. Sorry but Arabic is spoken in 23 countries and it`s not the same thing.  I am absolutely discusted about all that. 

Ace Contributor
Veerle M Member Since: Jan 31, 2017
5 of 51

Hi Birgit U


thanks for reacting. That's an outrageous offer that you've received for that technical document. 
I was once asked on Upwork by a client to even do a test translation of 900 words! That's ridiculous. A test translation should be 150 words maximum and it should even be unnecessary when you have good reviews. I have obtained the highest score of the English - Dutch upwork test, out of all 5044 people who did it and still the client feels I should do it a test. Why? What's the use of the Upwork test then? 


Regarding those CAT tools, I have exactly the same sentiment. This week, I proofread a translation (not on Upwork) done by a translator who used a CAT-tool. Very poorly! I ended up doing the translator's work. The whole concept of a CAT tool is that the translator creates a translation memory while translating, but when you have a bad translator, you end up with a bad translation memory. It's as simple as that. And pay should definitely not be cut because you are obliged to use a CAT tool. 


It's going in the wrong direction.


Ace Contributor
Veerle M Member Since: Jan 31, 2017
6 of 51

A CAT tool does not replace a translator. 

Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
7 of 51

Just saw a job posting for a medical journal article (.pdf file included). French-to-English translation.


Without including the references, the article runs to about 3,000 words -- obviously very technical/specialized in nature. The client says he/she is looking for "Expert" "$$$."  Yeah, right -- at $100.  Um, no--no, you are NOT looking for an expert. You are looking for someone from a francophone country who dabbles in translation, but who has no idea what the medical terms mean. Or else you are looking for someone who can type into "Google Translate."

Ace Contributor
Veerle M Member Since: Jan 31, 2017
8 of 51

It's raining posts like this today. To be honest, it's rarely someone does know how to pay a translator :-((((

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
9 of 51

Supply and demand.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
10 of 51

I have already said my piece about people who ask for translations of sensitive, particularly medical, material. It is shockingly unethical to publicly display patients' names, and even worse to accept translators whose offerings could have an extremely detrimental impact on the patient.


I won't even go into the rates