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Friday, February 17, 2006


Many freelance translators shy away from the question: “How much do you charge?” for fear that they will price themselves out of the market for the project. But the reality is that if you want to earn a living as a freelance translator, you have to develop a pricing strategy.

One way to accomplish this is to look at how you spend your money. Looking at what you need financially to meet your monthly bills, helps to make you more objective than looking at your fee alone.

For example, if your basic necessities and bills, including taxes, insurance, etc. total to $4200 a month, this is the amount you have to make. Calculate the dates when your expenditures are due and allow a week in advance to have these funds available. Now that you know how much money you need and when you need it, the next step is to decide how many hours you can perform your work comfortably – if you work with complicated material such as technical information, your work may take longer to complete as opposed to translating general advertising material.

If you can work 30 hours a week, that gives you 120 hours to earn the income that you need. Divide the number of hours you want to work (120) into the total amount of income you require ($42,00) = a result of $35 per hour.

Review the projects you have completed and make a note of how many hours of work were used to complete each one and how much you were paid. Using the hourly rate from our example above, if you worked on a project for 20 hours, you should have received at least $700. Use your hourly cost of living as a tool and it will make it easier to stay ahead of your bills.