Translators, would it be ‘risky’ to charge higher rates in 2012?

7 Dec 2011 | Translation Industry

Some weeks ago we had a very interesting discussion regarding new rates for 2012 on one of our Linkedin groups. Senior translators, junior translators and even representatives from translation agencies have exposed their point of view regarding this issue. 

To the pool “Translators: will you charge higher rates next year?” which was launched by one of our group members, translators replied that, if they have not done so yet, they will consider charging higher rates from 2012 on. Nonetheless many group members highlighted that it is very important to understand the current climate regarding global economy as well as translation industry current situation. “We have very high inflation rate in Argentina… I will definitely consider higher rates for local clients, but, as usual, the market will tell us how far we can go. I do not believe higher rates will work in international markets, considering the current situation […]” stated one group member from Argentina.

A translation company owner explained that translation agencies “do not pay all translations the same rate”. The price depends on the quality of the translation and the possible amount of editing work that has to be done behind it, if there is no need to invest much time on editing activities, then higher rates are acceptable. Normally translators are paid per source word as one translator confirms, “I also have been paid by source word. My fees depend on the length and difficulty of the article, but I will not ask more the next year concerning the difficult market”.

Regarding pool results until now, 53 % professionals will charge higher rates on 2012, but only for new clients. 25% will increase their rates for all clients while only 13 % will keep the same rates and 8 % do not know already if they will do so. Participants to this pool come mainly from North America, Argentina, Europe and Russia,  an important factor to be taken into account for a better understanding of these results.

This information may be of interest to those translators who do not know yet if charging higher rates can be a good decision for the coming year. We let you with a contribution done by one group member: “I didn’t wait for the New Year! Last month, I upped my minimum fees for agencies and direct clients alike by 0.01 Euro per source word, and waited for negative feedback (or, worse still, no response at all), but the jobs are still coming in as usual, and at the new rates”.

We are not sure that it is the best way but at least, it is “a” way. All clients are not the same and some of them are regular, other aren’t, some ask for “nice deadline”, others “always short notice”, etc. Plus “the quality of the relationship”, plus “the payment of the invoices”….A tricky subject in fact.