Hi, today we're going to deal with pricing, which as I mentioned before, is a very important section. But we're going to start off with something other than pricing, which is alerts. Now hopefully you have job alerts set up wherever possible on websites such as proz.com, and translators, cafe.com, etc. What they entail is just entering your language combination, and your specializations and jobs that fit your profile will be sent directly to you either via email or however you decide. If these are available from whatever site you're working with, you should definitely sign up for them. Now, some websites might not offer this option.
And I find that in these situations, you might want to check their websites sporadically for a few days, but sooner or later, you'll just forget about it because other things will come up. And then chances are you're going to miss out on some opportunities. So the easiest option here is to make your own and this means at least for me, it means setting up regular alerts on Google Calendar. whatever other calendar you use, and so I'll set up an alert with the name of the website or a link to the website where I can just check my language combination and look through the dates of the posting. And depending on the frequency, I'll set up my alert for say, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday or once per week or once per month or what have you. This can be your judgment call.
But alerts themselves are very useful. So I would set up an alert for every single website you sign up for, whether it be from the website or you make your own. Now into pricing. Now at the beginning, you'll find that ratings are just as important if not more important than prices. The job providers won't want to hire someone totally new, so you might have to suffer a bit at the beginning. Many established freelance translators might be mad at my recommendation here, but I do recommend underpricing yourself, at least at the beginning.
There are of course, downsides to this, ie you're going to earn less and the hiring company will also expect the same price from you for all future translations. Also the reason people get mad is that other translators are going to lose out for due to your underpricing. Now people might claim that also this makes you look inexperienced. But I would retort that you're if you're a first time translator on any website, no matter your experience elsewhere, then you're going to look inexperienced regardless. So getting some experience or a track record, and some money is better than not getting anything due to misplaced pride. Also, the idea that this under prices the entire industry, I don't think it's necessarily true.
There's always they're always going to be extremely low price translators, the ones that are worth it will naturally be able to command more over time. And so if you are worth it, you will be able to raise your prices over time. On the other hand, the new ones are going to have to start somewhere. When I first started out, I was told by several people never to go below 10 cents per word, per source word since that's what I was worth. The result was that for five months, I got absolutely no jobs. And so I got desperate and I started accepting some pretty ridiculously low price jobs and then I started making money.
In fact, you can even tell the client that you're going to accept their little rate as long as they provide good feedback for you. Since you're trying to create a track record, I think you'll find that most providers are happy to save money if all it costs them is giving you a good rating, as long as they're happy with your work of course. Now, of course, this is just at the beginning. You can't constantly underpriced yourself because then you won't make money. However, I would set a goal at the beginning maybe to get three good reviews or something along those lines. After which point you stop underpricing yourself because you don't want to be working for pennies.
Now onto pricing itself. The main question here is how to price your work. Do you price it per word per page per line per hour per project per cups of coffee? There are various ways to do it. I will go through the main ones and explain what I prefer and why The first one is per source word, this is definitely the most common. And when you start out, I would always try to price yourself per word.
And more precisely per source word. This of course means per word of the source text. This ensures that you get paid for the work you actually perform. being paid per hour will always be more of an art than a science, let's say, even if the client is using up works, supervision options, which I discussed earlier. Also, a page could consist of just a header or it could consist of very small text with wide margins. So the amount of work per page can vary greatly.
Charging per word, on the other hand ensures that you get paid for what you translate. Now the reason I specify a price per source word, again per word of the source text rather than per target word or per word of the text after you've translated it so that the client and you can both know ahead of time what the precise price will be. This also ensures the client that you won't be adding any unnecessary words in order to squeeze a bit more out of them, ie a bit more words in the target text. Sometimes, however, especially when the client has a scanned document whose word count they don't know how to calculate, or don't feel like calculating, they will ask you for a quote per target word which is fine. Now, this can depend on the language but variations between source and target word counts can vary by up to 30%, with Western languages, and even more with others.
If you don't believe me next time you see a text that is translated into Chinese compare the number of characters to the number of words you can search forms for discussions about this based on language combinations for differences in your language combinations. Or in a worst case scenario, you can find a certain number of past translations and see what the average difference in word count is. The easiest option however, is always just to use the source word. Also, depending on what Language combination or which countries you're dealing with, you might receive a request for a quote per 10 words or 4000 words, or even per character per line, etc, etc. Obviously now if you receive a request for a quote in one of these variations, you should reply in the same variation if someone asks you for a quote, per page or per character and you reply per source word, the client might not want to deal with you.
So you want to make their life easier. Just as a rule of thumb obviously, there are many variations between the languages, but I would say that there are 50 to 65 characters, including spaces per line, and about 1000 to 1500, sorry, to 1800 characters per page. And I say this because in Italian, many times we have to do translations per character. Once again, you can search for it especially the discussion boards on translators, cafe proz.com many people discuss these issues. Now this brings me to the second pricing strategy which is per project. Now, I mentioned this as a second option because because you can only really start doing this once you're used to the pitfalls that can arise.
For example, a document of 10 pages coming very different things, or a document of 1000 words, you know, could mean scanned, barely, barely legible copy of around 1000 handwritten words. Or it could mean 1000 new words with with 4000 repeats. Or it could mean 1000 words of poetry, which can take much longer than, say 1000 words of a website's About Us page. But if you know more or less what to expect, both from the document and the type of client, then you can start charging per project. The advantage in doing this is that the client will often prefer something like this, you definitely make their life easier. And I can illustrate this with an example.
So you receive an email for a translation requests that says hi, we need to translate this document from Italian to English. Can you help us? Now say you look at the document which they've attached or paste it or whatever, and you write back? Yeah, sure, I can do it for 77 cents a word. This is the email that the client will then receive. Unfortunately, the client will also receive emails from the other translators they contacted, someone might be able to do it for eight cents a word, someone else for six cents a word, someone else for 18 cents a word.
And suddenly they have all these quotes per word. And this is not to mention the translators who are going to quote per hour or per page or per character, etc, etc. which can even further complicate the client's life, but put yourself in their shoes. If you have a document to translate and you're getting quotes per word. Suddenly, you need to be able to do a calculation to find the total amount. In fact, if you receive a quote per source word, then they need to look up what a source word is.
Because they might not know Then once they figure that part out, then they need to figure out how many words are in the total document or the total word count, which they might not know either, in which case they need to search for it and figure that part out. And then once they have figured out what a source word is, what your prices per source word and what the total word count is, then they say, Okay, I guess it's the total word count times the price per source word. And so they'll do that calculation, which in this case, it's 470 9.99. And but then they need to redo the calculation for each price quote, they receive, right, which can result in very different numbers. As you can see here, the highest quote there they received was a lot more, but why not make the client's life easier, and maybe just do the calculation yourself.
You can save them time and a headache if you just write something like my price would be 480 for the entire job. Thanks. So right away, the client doesn't need to look up what a source where it is, try to figure out what the word count is and try to do the calculation from For each section, I hope that their calculation is correct and that they actually have the right definitions. But instead, they see 480 for the entire job boom. And even if this quote is above what other people quote after the calculation, chances are they'll still choose you because you save them a headache, they can be more secure about the total amount rather than rely on their calculations. And chances are, it's not their money, but they're operating out of an expense account of their company.
And so even if it's a bit off, as long as it falls within the budget, they might go with you anyway. So again, it might seem like a small thing, and in a way, it's a bit of an advanced step. But I do bring it up so you can keep it in mind and hopefully use it because it will put you that much further ahead of other translators that are competing for the same job. Now at this point, I want to mention another pricing strategy which I don't consider a strategy at all and that's working per hour. You do see this every now and then and some people might be happy to work per hour I am generally am against it for For several reasons, and I list them here. First of all, there's a ceiling in the number of hours per day.
And so you cannot work more than that number of hours, there's also a ceiling for the rate per hour, it also becomes very quickly a race to the bottom. If you charge x per hour and someone else charges less than x per hour that someone else will get the job and you find yourself very quickly selling your time rather than the work itself. And this means that there's no incentive for you to work efficiently. It's also bad for the company hiring you because although they might not realize it, you have no incentive to finish your work quickly and you have every incentive to drag it out as much as possible. So you're gonna start becoming very good at finding ways to add time here and there, which isn't good for the client, but it's also not good for you since he could be using that time to do better work.
And aside from all of this, I found that for the same work, you will get paid more if you charge per word or even per project etc. Then per hour for some reason per hour just comes out to less money overall. Now the only other thing to keep in mind for this pricing section is your price minimum. Especially once you get started, you're going to want to have a minimum price. Some translators want to skip very short jobs, like say, the translation of a driver's license or a birth certificate, because they might only have 15 or 20 words in them, and are therefore not worth the time it takes to you know, correspond with a client and accept the job. However, if you do charge a minimum price, then each of these jobs can be an easy way to add some money.
Obviously, your minimum can't be too high, because then you won't get hired. So just find what you're comfortable with. Maybe if your price per source word means that you will get paid a total of five bucks, it's not worth your time. And so you might want a minimum that's a bit above that. But once again, you can figure this out and refine it as you go along. Just keep it in mind.
And if you want more discussion on this subject or more concrete numbers once again you can always go to proz.com. To and to translators cafe and they have forums and more people have discussions about this until the cows come home. Now as the last point I did mention word count, and I mentioned that the client might might not know how to calculate the word count. However, you should always know how to calculate the word count. If you're dealing with translations. It's also good for double checking the clients assertions, as well as being able to obviously set your own pricing scheme yourself.
Now, the easiest and possibly most common way to check your word count is using Microsoft Word. If you're using it, you just click on Tools and then word count. I'm not sure if this varies depending on your version of Microsoft Word, or if you're using Windows or Mac OS, just make sure you don't have any of the text highlighted. Otherwise, it'll just calculate the word count of what you highlighted. You want to calculate the whole document and be sure to check the box include footnotes and endnotes because sometimes that can change the total amount as well. You can also use other programs, different programs have different methods to calculate the word count.
So if they I would just copy and paste the text from wherever it is onto Microsoft Word and follows the same process, just to be sure. Now what if a scanned document or any other document doesn't allow for a word count like you might have a physical document or maybe something that's in handwriting, etc, etc. So in this case, you're going to want to use what's called an OCR, optical character recognition. I won't go too much into detail, I do have a video about it that I can link to in the notes. I have my preferred OCR website, but there are other ones there are free options. I the one I use I pay for I think it's definitely worth the money.
And they will basically scan documents and transform them into Microsoft Word so you can get a word count out of them. Now what if you don't have Microsoft Word, this could actually be a bigger problem than you think, especially if you receive translations that require a certain format. But for now, there there are websites that calculate word counts. One of the main ones seems to be a word count, tool, calm all one word all attached. Regardless The one you use. So just make sure to copy and paste all the text rather than upload a document, since you're guaranteed a more precise count.
Now there's a lot more I could get into about pricing. I think this is good just to start off with In fact, it's probably more than enough. I will however, include some more details in the notes including the OCR, I'm also going to include, I'm also going to include other things like maybe creating an estimate for your client rather than just pricing Anyway, I'll get into it in the notes. However, if you're just starting out, I would just concentrate on what I've been talking about and take it from there.