Supply and demand has more real impact on the price of translation assignments despite the fact that many people tend to associate cost with the service. But the difference between price and cost is often called margin. The only way you can make a business profit is where both your margin and volume is high.
Charging “what the market will bear” and reducing working expenses to the absolute minimum in order to maximize margins is what every business person does, including freelance translators. If you are a translator for a language that is very hard to find they cannot make a profit, they will try some other business. That is the way the law of supply and demand works.
Translation is a labor-intensive activity, not a commodity that can regulated at a standard price and that is what many clients do not seem to understand; hence, the almost unrelenting pursuit of the fastest turnaround for the lowest price, usually results in translators being forced to sacrifice quality.
However, there are also many translators who have contributed to some of the confusion when it comes to pricing a translation assignment, by accepting and quoting fees for work without the benefit of having the text in hand, using a word count rate as the sole criterion.
This only reinforces the stereotype image of translators making the task of delivering quality work within a feasible period of time more difficult. Today there are many clients who simply choose a translator based on the price factor alone and unfortunately, offering this type of client a “quality” translation will not alter their perspective, for where does the translator exist that would not claim they will deliver a quality translation.
The danger for the translator in accepting an assignment “sight-unseen” with a short turnaround and low price is that all too often they receive more work than they bargained for, but there is no recourse at this point. In addition, the client who bases their decision these two factors has very little negotiating room if the work is poorly done.
This reality supports the need to constantly stay abreast of the developments the translation profession and promote your skills and abilities on a regular schedule. Although much of the work that translators perform may be highly confidential which prohibits them from being used as examples, there are many ways that a freelance translator can increase the awareness of the value of “quality” translations.The post is allowed provided this link is present at the end of the article http://getdirectclient.blogspot.com