Monday, November 14, 2011

How to say no to low-paying translation work

Caller: Hello. I got your number from ----. I understand that you're a translator?

Translator: Yes, that's right. How can I help you?

Caller: I need a section of my Ph.D. thesis in education translated into English. It's about 50 pages long, and I need it by the end of December.

Translator: I can do that.

Caller: How much do you charge?

Translator: NIS -- plus VAT per 250 words of the translation.

Caller: Can I tell you something? The previous translator I worked with charged half that rate. Why is there such a difference?

Translator: I don't know how other translators decide on their rates. In my case, I use the ITA's recommended rates. I am an ITA Recognized translator and editor with over 15 years of experience in academic translating and editing.

Caller: Is there any way you could be flexible with the rate? I'm not an impoverished student, I have a job, but that is still more than I was expecting to pay.

Translator: I could consider a slightly lower rate, but nothing like a 50% discount. This is why I don't usually work with students. I prefer to work for lecturers and professors, who have a budget they can use for translations, or in some cases have the means to pay my rates out of their own pockets.

Caller: But what if I tell you that I will have several more jobs in the next few months?

Translator: In that case, it makes even less sense to reduce my rate. Why would I want to spend even more hours working at half my usual rate when I have enough work at my normal rate?

Caller: So I understand you are not interested...

Translator: I realize  that you can't afford my rates. You may be able to find another translator working at lower rates. Perhaps look on the notice boards in the university or ask at the Students Union. But they would probably not be ITA members or have as much experience as I do. Good luck!

Caller: Thank you. I'll think about it.


Ben S said...

Great response. It was educational and proper. Unfortunately, it will take a while before the lesson sinks in and the new PhD realizes the need to pay the ITA rates.

Nina R. Davis said...

Sounds very familiar, Ruth.
It's so tempting to reply rudely... But of course we don't.