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Translating certificates
Iniziatore argomento: Gabriele Demuth

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
Regno Unito
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2014)
Da Inglese a Tedesco
Jul 13

I would like to get some idea about how much to charge for translating UK certificates into German. I have done a few and charged GBP 30 for a UK birth certificate. This wasn't profitable for me, because I had to set up the format, etc... and it took some time to check it was all correct. However, as the agency appeared to be doing a lot of that sort of thing...

But they didn't contact me again... I did ask whether everything was ok...

Today the vendor manager of the same agency contacted me, offering GBP 5 per certificate, which seems a bit of a silly suggestion to me, but I would be interested to know, what you charge for that sort of thing.


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Lieselotte Kleinhans  Identity Verified
Spagna
Local time: 08:49
Membro (2010)
Da Inglese a Tedesco
Hourly rate Jul 13

I think you are right. This is not profitable.

Usually, I charge my translations based on the number of source words. However, with certificates I think it is better to charge per hour (or half hour) as you might have to deal with converting and formatting the document. These tasks normally consume more time than the translation itself. Agencies tend to ask for lower rates for the translation of certificates than I can offer, so I rarely translate certificates for agencies. With direct clients, I have never had anyone who thought I charge too much.

[Bearbeitet am 2017-07-13 11:04 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
Regno Unito
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2014)
Da Inglese a Tedesco
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Or per certificate? Jul 13

I thought most translators charge a set fee for these one page certificates, including a verification confirming that the translation was done by me and is correct.

Setting up the table with all boxes to resemble the certificate was fiddly and time consuming, not worth the GBP 30, but I thought if they regularly send similar certificates, then I would have a template and it would be worth it?

Just wanted to know whether this is how it is done and whether my charge is appropriate.

[Edited at 2017-07-13 11:16 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portogallo
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2007)
Da Inglese a Portoghese
+ ...
Minimum rate Jul 13

I was a sworn translator working for the Belgian Courts (translating diplomas, birth, marriage and death certificates, divorce proceedings, adoption records, wills, powers of attorney, incorporation of companies…). After 30 years in Belgium (1986-2016) I moved back to my home country last year and in Portugal, unlike other countries, there are no sworn translators. Most of my sworn translations were charged by the number of source words. For birth certificates and the like I had a minimum rate - 30 EUR (though occasionally I did charge half rate for a driving license or an identity card). I can’t remember ever doing a sworn translation for an agency, I worked exclusively with direct clients.

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William Tierney  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:49
Membro (2002)
Da Arabo a Inglese
Minimum rate covers more than just translation Jul 13

A minimum rate is required to cover the negotiations before the job and the admin after the job, so don't worry if the per word rate is relatively high. If the agency wants to pay GBP 5 per cert, give them a happy wave and point them towards India. They will get their money's worth.

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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
Regno Unito
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2014)
Da Inglese a Tedesco
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Thank you Teresa Jul 13

I assume you can do them fairly quickly once you have the templates, and get into some routine, although, if they pay GBP 5 per certificate, then I can probably forget about that client.



[Edited at 2017-07-13 15:28 GMT]


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
Stati Uniti
Local time: 02:49
Membro (2003)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
Very simple Jul 13

William Tierney wrote:

A minimum rate is required to cover the negotiations before the job and the admin after the job, so don't worry if the per word rate is relatively high. If the agency wants to pay GBP 5 per cert, give them a happy wave and point them towards India. They will get their money's worth.


I agree with this.

Quoting for such jobs should be very simple. Just look at the document and make your best estimate as to how long it will take you to do the work, determine how much you need to charge to make this work profitable to you, and then charge that amount. And as William suggests, factor in the time spent in communicating with the client (including preparing the invoice), as well as any imposed wait for payment (i.e., if you have to wait 60 days as opposed to 10 for payment, then charge more). If the client requires you to generate a hard copy and obtain notarization of your signature, factor in the time, expense, and inconvenience of printing the pages, going to get the notarization, going to the post office, and paying for postage and the mailer (including reasonable projected wait times).

Most clients will not agree to any open-ended hourly charge, but you yourself can determine how long it will take, and quote accordingly. You do not need to share the basis of your quotes with clients, but if they object that the cost is too high, I do not see the problem in doing so.

I personally find these jobs generally not worth the trouble. When I do quote on such "projects," I offer what many would consider a high price. The exception would be if the work is for a client who has previously assigned me larger jobs. In such instances, I look at knocking off such a small job as a favor to the client.


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
Regno Unito
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2014)
Da Inglese a Tedesco
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Thank you Robert! Jul 13

It is a client who appears to have lots of such certificates, so it is not about a minimum charge.

The first time they contacted me, they paid the GBP 30 as asked, but didn't come back to me.

I can see why now, if they offer me GBP 5 for a certificate now...


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
Stati Uniti
Local time: 02:49
Membro (2003)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
Take into the consideration ALL the factors involved. Jul 13

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

It is a client who appears to have lots of such certificates, so it is not about a minimum charge.

The first time they contacted me, they paid the GBP 30 as asked, but didn't come back to me.

I can see why now, if they offer me GBP 5 for a certificate now...


Well, if the work involves doing fairly large batches of such certificates within a short period of time (say, getting 10 of them and turning them around within a few days) and if you can invoice a bunch of them at the same time (i.e., if you don't have to generate separate invoices for each and every certificate you translate) and also if you don't have to print out, get notarization, and mail hard copies of each of the certificates) then a lesser charge that still ensures profitability is possible.

But if it is a situation that involves unpredictability and quick turnaround (i.e., at any moment, this client might send you a single certificate, and they expect you to translate and deliver it right away) then I think you need to factor in the inconvenience of such unpredictability.

So you just have to take all the relevant factors into consideration and quote accordingly.


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
Regno Unito
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2014)
Da Inglese a Tedesco
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Now, Jul 13

They did send 2 certificates and a short letter some weeks ago, they said that they have these on a regular basis, but...

I have a feeling, I will never find out about their workflow...


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
Stati Uniti
Local time: 02:49
Membro (2003)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
Two options Jul 13

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

They did send 2 certificates and a short letter some weeks ago, they said that they have these on a regular basis, but...

I have a feeling, I will never find out about their workflow...


Obviously, the decision is yours, but I would think about acting, for now, under the assumption that this client is not going to be sending a whole lot of work your way, and therefore charging more for each of the certificates you get to translate. In this case (and contrary to what you wrote above) I would say that a minimum charge does apply for the inconvenience involved in doing a small and formatting-intensive job. You can explain this to the client, and write something like: "This is what I am charging now, but I am willing to consider the possibility of reducing this fee after two months, depending on the number of such small jobs that you assign me."

Alternatively, you can stick with your current fee and see what happens over the next couple of months or so. And if you find that such work is simply not profitable, either increase your fee or simply walk away at that time.

It seems to me that one would have to translate a whole lot of birth certificates in order to earn a significant proportion of one's income from such work!

All the best with this!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spagna
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2007)
Inglese
+ ...
And the selling price is...? Jul 13

Gabriele Demuth wrote:
the vendor manager of the same agency contacted me, offering GBP 5 per certificate, which seems a bit of a silly suggestion to me

I would ask someone you know to send their own certificate to that agency, asking for a translation. See how much they're quoted. Then you will see where to position your quote. They may be entitled to double your rate if they're adding value as well as profit, but do you seriously think they're asking members of the public to pay just GBP 10? If they are, I wish I could have got all my official documents translated into Dutch, French and Spanish through them. I must have paid out a fortune over the years .


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
Stati Uniti
Local time: 02:49
Membro (2003)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
Really best to do such work for direct clients Jul 13

Given all the negatives associated with doing such work, factoring in the agency's cut seems to make this a very unpromising venture for a freelancer (again, in the absence of the certificates coming from an agency giving you lots of other highly profitable work).

In the US, it is often required that such work be done by an ATA-Certified translator. This reduces the pool of candidates, and I sometimes get contacted through my ATA profile for these one-off projects. Cutting out the middleman, I can make an "okay" fee under these circumstances, and I also usually insist on payment upfront (another plus). I also usually negotiate a very comfortable deadline for such work, so that I am not in a position where I have to drop everything else to take care of it.

Even with all these advantages, these jobs are still not tremendously appealing. But at least they are above the threshold of tolerable.

Again, I cannot see how one can make anything approaching decent money for such work doing projects through an agency. There just isn't enough money to go around....

[Edited at 2017-07-13 18:02 GMT]


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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portogallo
Local time: 07:49
Da Lituano a Portoghese
+ ...
Per certificate Jul 16

I have established fixed porces per certificate.
However, different countries have different forms of certificates, some have 1-page certificate and others lay the text in 3 pages - I mean the same kind of certificate here.
And again, certificates come with, or without, an appostile and that has also be taken into account.
Naturally, I have a fixed price for each of such standardized cases. Sometimes I have to give several lines away for free and sometimes I am in a win. In the long run, fixed prices save my time that I would otherwise lose with each small oder like that.


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
Regno Unito
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2014)
Da Inglese a Tedesco
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Thank you Inga, Jul 16

Yes, I thought it might be a nice little earner if they send similar certificates (as they appeared to) and they insisted that I was located in the UK - they did accept my rate the first time.

I don't think it would be worth my while at less than I charged, and a one off certificate translation isn't even worth it at that price (because of the formatting) - I don't think I will engage in that kind of thing anymore, and if I will quote a price that even a one off is worth it for me...


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