How to set Freelance translation rates? I am often asked by beginners either fresh from college or from those who have just entered the translation world. It does not matter who you are. But the fact is that you are a beginner.
And as a beginner, you need to decide very soon how much you should be charging.
The question could be formulated in a different fashion and that is how low can your rate go before it’s not worth doing a translation? You should do some thing else which is more remunerative rather than translation.
Here are few suggestions on setting Freelance translation rates
1. Start at just about the minimum for your language pair and economic circumstances (where you live in the world, standard of living etc), then increase gradually as you get more experience and clients.
2. In some countries there are translators associations where they try to establish a minimum rate for translators. You can visit their website or go to their office to enquire about the minimum rate if at all they something like that established.
It seems that in Brazil, the translators association has established a minimum rate. It is another thing how many beginner translators can successfully charge that rate to their clients or agencies. But then, it gives a fairly good idea about a starting rate in that country.
3. Another way is use Rate Calculator in ProZ.com site. You can play around with it. Though is quite simple but it does provide a preliminary idea about rates.
4. As a beginner you do not get many chances to receive an assignment, because there are established colleagues, with years of experience and translation degrees. You are pretty much in a difficult situation. And then there are those colleagues who charge so little per word, that your rate seems very high.
But as a safe bet, a straight forward suggestion could be –“charge less in the beginning”. Start getting jobs then start increasing your rates for new customers. Keep your old customers happy with old rates. After some period when you have sufficient jobs explain the situation to your old clients and ask for a rise.
But a word of caution, you certainly shouldn't charge less than what would constitute a living wage for your efforts.
5. If you can deliver high quality work on time and you have specialist expertise you may charge more even though you may be just a beginner in this market.