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Jan 30, 2012

Translation rates: a modest proposal

This morning as I negotiated my guest office space and tied my dog to a beam supporting the roof, I hit my head, and as it cracked open, the Light of Revelation poured in. I realized that we translators have been going about setting our rates in an entirely inappropriate and negative way. And the True Path for translation rates lay clear and straight before me, its engraved paving stones making clear that if customers want discounts, they may henceforth receive them in abundance*.
     * special rules apply

First off, my base rates have been reformed. My word price will be 2 euros per source word in German. A bit on the high side perhaps, but not after all the discounts that may be relevant. Those who insist on paying by the English target word will receive a 10% discount.

If the job contains no handwritten text, there will be a 10% discount. If the job files are not in PDF format or some sort of bitmap or other format which cannot be overwritten electronically and they import cleanly into translation environment tools, there will be a further 10% discount.

Jobs which are not a rush requiring more than 1000 words/day or 200 words/hour will be granted another 10% discount.

Jobs for which the specified source language is in fact standard German from Germany and which contain no more than 1 minor text errors per 1000 words will be given another 10% discount. Specifying my native dialect (US English) as the target language earns 10% more off the base price.

Customers who pay cash in advance get another 10% off. And last but not least, repeat customers qualifying for at least three of the discounts above will get another 10% reduction.

So there we have it: total discounts of up to 80% available for savvy translation buyers. Betcha the Big Lion and my other competitors like BOGOF Translations aren't willing to accommodate clients that much!

18 comments:

  1. BRILLIAN! Don't forget to include a discount for translations to be done during weekdays!

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  2. Excellent suggestion, Aurora! While another 10% off for not working on weekends or holidays for a total discount of 90% would leave me with a mere 20 euro cents per word, I must finally be realistic and recognize that global market forces demand such sacrifice if I am to remain competitive. You may have saved my business.

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  3. With revelations like this you should try banging your head more often ;-)
    Very enjoyable article.

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  4. LOL!! I love it!! I think we should all do this. I am sure clients will then accept our "not so peanuts" rates without even complain ;)

    I am sharing it right now :)

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  5. BTW, I am thinking now... This is just like supermarkets!! How many times haven't we seen an offer of "buy one, get one free" and see the original price doubled from the previous week "non-offer" price? And people, just like crazy, buy piles and piles of that article without realising that there is no offer at all :)

    Ah, and I also remembered that we could add a further 5% discount if the client doesn't insist on asking for a discount per fuzzy matches. Or maybe just a 2%, as I won't tell them that I will be using Crados or Wordpast for the translation, and so I might feel bad if I charge the 5%.

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  6. Kevin, I am speechless... This is absolutely a brilliant idea! ;)

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  7. I would prefer a 100% discount, just not asking for your services. Dream on :-)

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  8. The time to stop whining and rethink our rate models is long past due. New, positive approaches are called for, and these are certainly not limited to the ones here. One person has suggested that rather than argue about discounts for fuzzy matches, which can be rather awful to revise and update, we might take a positive approach and offer discounts for "new words" instead. I find that idea refreshing. No more boring similarities to past work; the customer is rewarded for Something Completely Different. Win-win.

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  9. A cool concept. Don't frighten them off straight away but explain what can be done to alleviate the notionally horrendous contractual consideration required.
    When the quoting's done and dusted, add something like "I can throw in some extras like a term list at no charge".
    People don't so much get a kick out of thinking that they have 'squeezed you like a lemon' but like to feel clever at having made such an astute deal.
    Well, that's the theory. ;-)

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  10. I've rarely laughed so hard without a glass in my hand. Oh, wait -- how about, in addition to the discount (what are we up to now: 92%?), we also offer a free slogan with every order.

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  11. I usually offer a 25% to my clients who don't ask for discounts. However, they are not eligible if they don't ask for it.

    Win-win... for me that is.

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  12. Oh, too funny! How about a discount for clients who provide a nice glossary and promptly answer questions about internal jargon?

    Thanks for the laugh, Kevin.

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  13. Brilliant solution!

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  14. Although this is funny to translators, there are plenty of ignorant people out there who actuall believes that at least some of these things should be true.

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  15. Hilarious and so spot on! If only there was an association of translators' rights to set some rules for min. rates.

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  16. Have we mentioned a discount for clients who do not bother you with silly language-related questions after the delivery? ;-) genius article kevin

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  17. I'm speechless! What a brilliant way to write an estimate. From today on, I'll be employing the Lossner Method for all new projects I quote on!

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  18. I really liked the article and shared it...

    I tend to ask clients where they want the discount, in the quality of my translation or in the number of words... I can always nip tuk a few words to make it cheaper... ;)

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