What Is An Average Rate Paid to Translators?

Patenttranslator's Blog

“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”

Woody Allen

According to a survey of rates paid to translators in Belgium published in an article in Slator on October 24, 2014:“The average monthly gross revenue for translators and interpreters in Belgium is EUR 3,400.69 (USD 3,942.67) and EUR 3,796.87 (USD 4,401.99), respectively, the survey showed.

Aside from average monthly gross revenues for translators and interpreters, the survey also came to a few other key conclusions.

The average rates paid by translation agencies are EUR 0.0995 (USD 0.11) / word and EUR 39.09 (USD 45.27) / hour. In comparison, direct clients of translation pay EUR 0.13325 (USD 0.15) / word and EUR 54.68 (USD 63.32) / hour. Direct clients paid the highest for financial translation, while agencies paid more for scientific / medical translations.”

I will not discuss in today’s post rates paid to interpreters because I…

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Can You Focus on Direct Clients Only?

Patenttranslator's Blog

We lost because we told ourselves we lost.

Leo Tolstoy

 “You cannot focus on direct clients only. This is a utipia [sic]. Direct clients pay more, but are a one-time client or one who will send you two jobs in a year. In addition, they are not acquainted with our market and trends, so it’s a bit harder to negotiate anything. Agencies pay a bit less, but they can be regular clients sending you many jobs per month for several years. I’ve had great direct clients, all of them were a one-time client or a few-months client. In my annual statistics, 75% of my income, at least, come from agencies”.

[Excerpt from a comment on a discussion group of translators]

Wow! There is so much to unpack in this short, ignorant comment! Just about everything in it is only a reflection of the seemingly very limited experience of an…

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Merchants of MT “Equivalent” to Human Translation Rely on Artful Lies and Gullibility of Their Customers

Patenttranslator's Blog

What translators are saying is that machine translation should be forbidden and only human translations should be allowed,” said a commenter on a Facebook group of translators recently.

It should be noted that when I took a look at who this person was, I saw that, purely coincidentally, this person who infiltrated a number of groups for translators although he himself is not a translator, was selling his own customized machine translation system.

What he said was of course a lie. That is not what translators are saying. At least not translators who still have a functioning brain. Only a total moron could believe that anybody has the power to “forbid machine translations”, especially since most machine translations are free. Not even translators are probably as stupid as the above-mentioned troll suggested.

What we are saying is that machine translation is only a tool and not translation.

We…

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Is the Damage Inflicted upon Our Profession by the Translation Industry Reversible?

Patenttranslator's Blog

As I wrote in my previous post, it was about 15 years ago when I realized for the first time that major and possibly irreversible changes were taking place in the translation business environment. My solution was to stop working for what is now called the “translation industry”, and I was able to do that mostly thanks to my stubborn perseverance combined with a few lucky circumstances that I described in that post.

I believe that many translators should still be able to use the same method that I was and still am using, while others may be able to use very different methods to protect themselves and their profession from the clutches of the rapacious “translation industry”, although all of the different potential methods will be based on staying independent of the industry and being able to work mostly or only for direct clients, perhaps with a few…

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One of the Biggest Problems with the “Translation Industry”

Patenttranslator's Blog

One of the biggest problems with the “translation industry” is the astonishing ignorance of the people who run the “industry” and work in it.

A few years ago, I was contacted by a project manager of a translation agency I had never worked for before about my availability for a major potential project involving translations of many emails and other documents from Russian to English.

Just for the heck of it, I asked the project manager in my response to her email whether the project was really in Russian. Well, not just for the heck of it, because it did happen to me many times that a project that was offered to me by an agency’s project manager as a Japanese document for translation was in Chinese or Korean.

In fact, when a translator receives an email about something called by the project manager simply a “document”, it’s clear that…

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The Translator’s Exit Plan

Coaching For Translators

Do you have an Exit Plan for your translation/interpreting business? Do you know what an Exit Plan is? An Exit Plan is simply your long-term goal, i.e. your ultimate aim for being a self-employed translator and/or interpreter. Where are you taking your business? What will it ultimately provide you with? Having a clear long-term goal, and a clear understanding of what motivates you to get there, will give you the drive to keep going when things get tough. In this post, I will ask you a series of targeted coaching questions to help you develop your Exit Plan.

Exit Planning is the first step in a process known in business coaching as “Strategic Planning”. It comes before the Business Plan — which I will discuss in a future post — and sets the direction for the business.

Strategic Planning and Performance Evaluation

The Exit Plan describes what will happen when…

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Is Trados Co-Responsible for the Falling Rates in the Translation Industry?

Patenttranslator's Blog

Is Trados at least co-responsible for the wage theft known in the translation industry lingo as “full and fuzzy matches” and the resulting reduction of at least 30% in the rates being now paid by translation agencies to translators?

That is the question that I would like to pose to readers of my silly blog today.

Whether you like Trados and other assorted CATs and use them or not, or whether you find them counterproductive as I and many other translators do, I think that your answer would have to be “yes” if you take an honest look at what happened in the “translation business” over the last decade or two.

Almost seven years ago the spirit moved me to write a post titled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Trados or any other Translation Memory Tool”. When I wrote it, most commenters somewhat forcefully disagreed with me, many gleefully…

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The Consequences of the Coming Machine Translation Armageddon Are Difficult to Predict

Patenttranslator's Blog

The consequences of a nuclear war are difficult to predict.

Difficult, but not completely impossible to prepare for and anticipate.

In fact, the world has been preparing for nuclear Armageddon for about 70 years now. Regular people were being prepared for just such an eventuality by being instructed by their teachers from an early age to duck and hide under the desks in their classrooms, or by running in an orderly fashion to take shelter in the school’s basement. This was by far my favorite part of atomic bomb drills when I was a kid because the basement of the old school, which was built in 1886, was dark, spooky and totally awesome.

Not that running to the basement would help very much, of course, depending on how far the bomb would fall and the extent of the radioactive fallout.

Important people, such as presidents of various governments, have been…

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Translator Power’s New Twitter Account!

Have you seen our new Twitter account?

It’s here: https://twitter.com/translatorpower 

You’re welcome anytime 🙂

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Does Your Website Have a “Hack Me” Sign?

Translation Wordshop

Getting your own business website is a huge milestone. I loved the excitement of the the design phase, creating the content, and finally seeing it out there “live” on the internet. Of course I’d heard about hackers and such but that seemed like one of those things that happens to other people. There’s a saying among con artists, though, that if you look around the room and you can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you. If I’d looked a little closer I might have seen the “hack me” sign on my back.

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How Much Does an Average Translator Make?

Patenttranslator's Blog

This is a question I often see asked on social media, usually but not always by beginning translators or those who are relatively new to the profession.

I of course don’t have an answer to this question because the answer depends on many variables. It’s like asking the question: How much does an average writer make? Well, from nothing, to millions. And if you can sell the captivating plots of your books to Hollywood, it will be many more millions. So what is the average between zero and many millions?

There is no such thing.

How much does an average adult person weigh? Well, from about a hundred pounds, to maybe five or six hundred pounds. If you weigh more than that, you will probably not live for much longer.

The most important variables when it comes to a writer’s income are how many books said writer can sell and…

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Globalization Blowback in the Translation Industry?

Patenttranslator's Blog

“Globalization”, “Globalizierung”, “globalizace”, “mondalization” – I hear or read this word in various languages whenever I watch news or read a newspaper online.

Globalization has had a major impact on our world: it made some people much richer, mostly those who were already very rich, and some people poorer, mostly those who were not very rich to begin with. I am told that it also lifted some people out of grinding poverty, mostly people in what is still called the third world. I have no way to verify the statement in the previous sentence, but it probably is true to some extent.

Globalization not only made billionaires out of people who only had a few hundred million before it started reshaping the world in the mid 1990s. This after Bill Clinton, who felt our pain so convincingly in 1992, signed NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association) a few years later.

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Are they trying to fool the interpreters and translators?

The Professional Interpreter

Dear Colleagues:

We have been under constant and merciless attacks from the big multinational language “industry” corporations for several years. These uninvited guests at the professional language services table have stubbornly fought to take away the market from the professionals who should service the clients through systematically minimizing the role of the interpreter and translator, and dehumanizing the profession by launching a campaign to convince the weak and uninformed that what we do is an “industry”, not a profession.

In the past we have discussed the oddity of having pharmaceutical companies in the same professional associations with the physicians, and we have talked of the way attorneys defend their craft so it continues to be known as the legal profession, not the legal “industry”. Sadly, as you know, there are individual interpreters, translators, and even professional associations in our field that have decided to tear down that barrier…

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Too Many Tools Spoil the Translation

Patenttranslator's Blog

I made an interesting discovery recently when I was translating a fairly long Japanese utility model into English. Usually, when I am translating the text of Japanese patent applications, I automatically download a version of the machine translation of the Japanese text either from the Japan Patent Office, or from the European Patent Office website to use as an expanded dictionary, although with many caveats, of course. Machine translations into many languages, including into English, are available for all relatively recent Japanese patent applications going back more than 20 years. But they are not available for older patents and utility models, which belong to a lower category, inventively speaking.

Even in a case like that, I can simply convert a PDF file to MS Word and create machine translation manually, for example with GoogleTranslate or with Microsoft Translator. If there are just a few very slight imperfections in the printed…

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Outsourcing Is an Ugly, Dirty Word

Patenttranslator's Blog

At least as far as some translators are concerned, it’s definitely an ugly word.

They say it with the same kind of disdain that most right-wing ideologues in the United States reserve for words like “entitlement” (Social Security is an “entitlement”), or “socialized medicine” (also an “entitlement, and also considered to be a really bad thing in this country, so horrific that it must be resisted at all cost).

Without Social Security, many if not most old people would not be able to afford even cat food. But it is an “entitlement”, so it’s a bad thing anyway, old people be damned. Privatized corporate medicine does not work and is about 50 times more expensive than socialized medicine, which for the most part works much better. But because it is “an entitlement”, it’s better when people suffer needlessly and die prematurely as long as they don’t have to deal with…

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Are we protecting our profession? Part 2.

And here is Part 2 of “Are we protecting our profession? Part 2.” Enjoy!

The Professional Interpreter

Dear Colleagues:

On the first part of this entry we discussed the role that professional associations should play on the face of antitrust legislation and its adverse effect on our profession.  Today we will explore another crucial aspect of the profession that has been under siege for several years; and if some external forces have their way, it could set the profession back to the Stone Age.  I am referring to the very popular tendency to minimize the importance of interpreter and translator professional licenses, certifications or patents and the acceptance, and in some cases even blessing, of lesser quality paraprofessionals as the preferred providers of services by many government entities and multinational interpreting and translation corporations who make the decision to hire these individuals, who are unfit to practice the profession, based to the extremely low fee that they command.

It took interpreters and translators many decades of constant…

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Are we protecting our profession? Part 1.

The Professional Interpreter

Dear Colleagues:

Every now and then something happens in our profession that makes me wonder if we are truly doing what is best for all of us: individually and collectively as interpreters and translators.  In fact, this happened recently when I learned, like many of you, that the American Translators Association had revisited the antitrust legislation issue and had reviewed its policy.  As expected, ATA followed its traditional pattern of protecting the “interests” of the association over the interests of its individual members or the profession, and adopted a policy that clearly observes antitrust legislation as is, without questioning it.   It is not clear to me how the association arrived to this resolution to endorse everything the government wants, and is included in the legislation and case law, without first seeking a legal opinion from attorneys who disagree with the current antitrust laws or their interpretation by the government.  As…

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Greatest Women in Translation: Deanna Hammond

I was deeply moved by this tribute, even though I never had the good fortune to meet her personally. R.I.P.

Carol's Adventures in Translation

Welcome back to our wonderful and inspiring Greatest Women in Translation series!

Our last interviewee, Muriel Vasconcellos, decided to write a tribute to her role model, Deanna Hammond, whose life was cut short by pancreatic cancer at the age of 55.

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Deanna Lindberg Hammond (1942-1997)

My nomination for this month’s Greatest Woman in Translation is a colleague who unfortunately is no longer with us. More than anyone I ever worked with, Deanna Hammond deserves to be recognized for the breadth of her contributions to the profession. She enriched the field and set an example in many different roles: not only as the head of an important translation service and a hands-on practitioner of the craft, but also as a leader of the translation community in the United States, an author, and a teacher. Her life was cut short by pancreatic cancer at the age of 55.

Best known for her…

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Seven Unique Selling Points (USPs) Distinguishing Translators from the Translation Industry

Patenttranslator's Blog

In one of my silly posts in which I was complaining about how sick and tired I am of being surrounded by marketing everywhere I go and everywhere I look, I said that after World War III, only two things will remain on this earth virtually intact: cockroaches and marketing. That’s how I feel about marketing. There’s just too much of it in this world. When my children told me that several of their friends majored in marketing after graduating from high school, I thought to myself: such a nice kid, what a waste of life. Almost as tragic as joining the army. Why didn’t he decide instead to do something useful with the rest of his life?

But the fact is that although there is too much marketing everywhere, we all have to market ourselves and do it well if we want to be able to pay our bills…

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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