The surveys contain a lot of data; I could comment extensively on a lot of the trends I have seen since the first survey for 2007 was published, but sensibly such a commentary should be broken up into a number of smaller chunks for better mental digestion. Overall, I would say that the trends are not disastrous, but they should be a source of concern. However, the problems I see are hardly unique to language services.
First, let's look at a bit of raw data for my language pair (German to English):
The data for target line (1) rates in euros are as follows:
Source word rates reported are:(1) 55 keystrokes including spaces in target text, a typical way of measuring translation text in German-speaking countries, because compound word structures often make word rates rather nonsensical despite statistical equivalence calculations with large samples. Traditionally, target text is counted because of difficulties in counting handwritten or other hardcopy source texts.
How do these different methods of calculation compare? I used Allesandra Muzzi's Fee Wizard, which draws on statistics from EU translation sources, to calculate the equivalence factor:
Lately I try to avoid the issue and just do lump sum project quotes where possible. Everyone understands the "bottom line".
This is the third year that the BDÜ has published a rate survey, so I decided to see how the averages of the most frequently reported rates have changed over those three years. This chart shows the trends for German to English in the various client categories:
For English to German (the other direction), the data are as follows:
The BDÜ rate survey has quite a lot of data on other translation combinations, including some for English to French, Italian, Portuguese and Russian, as well as interpreting rates and other information. For a modest investment of € 15, the rate survey is a bargain for many of us. Copies can be ordered from the BDÜ web site.