This morning as I downed my first double espresso and prepared to translate an equally stimulating interim financial report, I scanned a few recent blog entries by colleagues. One post by German translator Susanne Schmidt-Wussow about a conversation with her uncle, a businessman involved with sales in another field, was particularly interesting.
When the subject of volumes and rates for translation came up, he was quite clear about the difference between the sort of work we do and commodities which may be subject to some volume discounts and he asked „Sag mal, nimmst du eigentlich einen Kleinmengenzuschlag für so ganz kleine Aufträge?“ ("Tell me, do you apply a surcharge for small orders?").
An interesting thought. Though she, like many of us, has a minimum order value, apparently this practice, common enough in some sectors, had not occurred to her.
I've occasionally applied a surcharge for large orders because of additional quality measures some of these require. And years ago, before compromises in a partnership led me to change my policy, I avoided taking on jobs that would involve less than half a day's work, because these tended not to be worth the administration and follow-up at the rates I was charging at the time.
But a surcharge for smaller volumes? That is a step beyond the minimum flat rate charge which I will consider, and it certainly answers those silly questions some have about volume rebates for translation. What do you think?