The economy has affected most working individuals, small businesses, and the terms that come with each, such as salary and pay rates and top and bottom line revenues. As translators or those who work in the professional translation industry, there may be those who have noticed that pay rate for translations and proofreadings have become a bit more of an issue. Some clients have gotten a bit more frugal or even, dare I say, “stingy” – due to the pressures of burdened economies.
Some of this may be due to the difference between currency values and cost of living from country to country and region to region. While Filipino or Hindi or Arabic translators hired by U.S. or G.B. clients probably never have to worry about getting under-paid, when a translator is from an economy better off than that of his client, sometimes the translation rates reflect this to the disadvantage of the translator.
Determining Translation Rates in an Economical Recession
While some say the translation industry is recession-proof, those who pay the translation rates – are not. However, it’s not my advice to adjust translation rates entirely, in order to accommodate foreign currency values or economic balance. If you live in the UK, and a U.S. business contracts you as a translator, this doesn’t mean you should always decrease your rates to fit within U.S. salary ranges. But, it’s probably not a bad idea to at least take this into account.
Working in a globalized, worldwide industry has plenty of upsides. But, there are also some downsides; one of them being the translation payment rates, which can proportionately be much lower than your cost of living and daily expenses – not because your translation company is trying to sell your translation skills for pennies. Likewise, the value of your currency – whether it be in dollars, Euros, yens, rubles, rupees or anything else – can also be to your advantage, depending upon the location of those employing your translation services. Regardless of your particular situation, regional locations should be considered when determining your rates.
There is a neutral service that allows translators to look up their salary range according to location – zip code, state, country, etc etc. You can then determine which percentile you fall under for your typical rates, and decide if they should be raised or decreased. If you are asking too much from international clients, you may see more business if you decrease your rates a bit. On the other hand, perhaps you do not realize your own worth. You may discover you are not asking as much as you could be.