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Thursday, July 12, 2007

9 Issues To Consider for Effectively Handling Payment For Small Translation Jobs

1. Freelance translators charge per word basis. This
is the general rule. Some people charge per line
basis. Some charge per 1000 words. In some cases
people charge per page basis although it needs to be
settled at the beginning how many words are there in a

2. Charging per page is not a good idea for freelance
translators. More so, when one does not have any idea
how the page shall look likes. You may expect 300-400
words but the actual page contains 600 words and you
are a loser. So it is always good to charge per word
basis. It does not matter whether you charge per word
or per thousand words.

3. This is true for say 1000 words and more. But
suppose you have a file containing 100 words, do you
continue to charge per word basis?

4. For small jobs translators charge a minimum (eg.
less than 300 words). Often, the client may say,
complete a few small jobs and then add up the words
and then charge. This is beneficial for clients but
not for translators. Smaller jobs take more time to
complete, so always treat each small job as a separate
job and charge as per your minimum fees. You can do
several small jobs for a client over the month and
invoice the whole lot together but apply your minimum
rate. Some client can lure you by telling that there
would be small jobs on a regular basis. That's fine,
but insist always to be paid as per minimal rate for
small jobs.

5. Minimum payment is almost a standard today
worldwide and it does make real sense. While it may be
only say just 29 words in one case and 129 in another
case, you nevertheless need to set up everything, make
glossary, consult dictionary, conduct some research,
etc., so there is considerable amount of effort
involved on translators part. And this effort is
compensated by the minimum charge.

6. Often you client may refuse to pay a minimum charge
saying that their client does not pay them on minimum
charge basis. This is a very bad logic; you as a
translator have been hired by the agency and not by
the client directly. So it is up to the agency to take
care of this.

7. Remember also that there could be situations when
charging per word basis or minimum can be very tricky,
as the translator might work more than he actually
translates, for example when the document is big and
has lost of already translated words, but the
translator is required to go through the whole
document. It takes lots of time and energy. These are
such jobs, which take your time but do not compensate
you adequately. In such case add some percentage to
you minimum charge to get compensated for your time
and energy.

8. Are there situations when you need to adopt a
different approach for charging minimum fees? Yes,
there are such situations as well. Suppose you have
developed a very good working relation with an agency
who sends you jobs regularly and pay you well. They
also send you small jobs at regular intervals. In this
case as a translator you can take a different approach
for charging minimum fees, rather than charging or
lowering your minimum fee you can charge your regular
minimum fees every second or third time, depending on
the number of words.

9. So far we have talked about minimum charge for
translation. Similarly the same rule could be applied
for a minimum fees for other activities like
proofreading etc. Some people prefer to set a fee per
working hour when they do proofreading.

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