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Dec 20, 2008

Report on translation, editing and interpreting services by the BDÜ

Although I find the "Honorarspiegel" deficient in many ways, the recently published report by the BDÜ (a German translators' association) on the average rates its members reported for translation, editing and interpreting services is ground-breaking in many ways. I am not aware of any other source of data where one can obtain such specific information categorized by customer group, for example. And average rate information found elsewhere, for example on ProZ, suffers from the fact that, although the reporting base is large in some common language pairs, the worldwide distribution of the data makes it of limited value to the local market in some cases. The BDÜ data is specifically relevant to the markets worked by the members of the organization, which are primarily constituted by German agencies and direct customers in Germany.

Only language pairs involving German are listed, and data are only reported where at least 5 persons submitted information in order to ensure a certain level of anonymity. The customer groups in the report were
  • Agencies
  • Direct customers in the judicial system and public authorities
  • Colleagues
  • Private individuals
  • Direct customers in business & industry
The average highest rate, average lowest rate and most frequent rate were reported. Line rates reported are target line rates and word rates are source word rates. The number of data points for each reported value was also indicated.

An example of the line rate data in euros for the language pair of personal interest to me (German to English) is:

...... High Low MFreq
Agency 1.05 0.87 0.95
Dir IB 1.51 1.19 1.33

For those interested in additional data for this language pair or rate information on other services or languages, the report can be ordered online as of the beginning of 2009 from the BDÜ website. The cost is € 15.00, which is very little to spend for a useful piece of business intelligence. The report also includes a discussion of how to understand this information in the proper context and use it for one's own rate calculations.

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