PRICES - José Henrique Lamensdorf - translation - tradução

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I adopt fair market prices in Brazil for the level of service I provide. I constantly survey colleagues whose work standards I'd rate as equivalent to mine.

I understand that as the market is deregulated and translation quality is subjective, the breadth of variation is often surprising, in both rates and quality levels.

I refrain from publishing a price list because nowadays translation jobs seldom involve merely receiving text in one language and returning it in another. Current technology encompasses countless other translation-related factors, escalating the number of ways the same goals may be achieved, often leaving room for economy of scale.

One of my permanent goals is to assist clients in finding the most economically feasible way to accomplish their objectives in anything involving translation. I haven't yet mastered the technique to lower quality and therefore cost. As a matter of fact, I haven't even tried. I prefer to uphold my standards and deliver reliable services.

For those merely seeking cheap translations, I have no shame from recommending the use of free automatic translation available on the Internet. Its flaws will differ in their nature from those found in translation work done by amateurs, but the overall quality level will be pretty much the same. The brighter side is that if the translation later has to be redone with good quality, there will be more money left in your budget to afford it.

If you would like to check my delivery against automatic translation, there is a side-by-side comparison here. If your budget cannot afford proper translation, and automatic translation - in spite of its shortcomings - fulfills your need, use Google Translate.

Anyway, for those who really must reduce their translation costs and keep its quality, I've put together ten ways of doing it in this article, all different from forcing any translator to lower their rates.

Keeping translation and financial costs separate

I am a professional translator. Therefore I would be an eternal amateur if I ever dared to enter the financial services market. So I keep translation costs and financial costs apart, assuming that if any bank ever offered translation services, they would do the same. A bank would be an amateur translation services provider, as long as it remained a bank.

So I consider the net cost of my translation, and leave my clients the choice between me - an amateur - and their bank to provide supplemental financial services, if required. Of course, since professional money lending intitutions compete against each other on who offers loans with the lowest interest rates, my amateurish interest rates should be outrageously high.
Therefore my rates/prices are calculated for COD payment. Of course, I don't imagine clients waiting for my delivery holding a checkbook and pen in their hands. So two business days should suffice for payment processing.

A very popular payment method when both translation and payment cross international borders is PayPal. From the client's standpoint it looks pretty quick, and cost-free. Believe me, it's not! Since this company set up their operations in Brazil, they deduct 6.5% in fees, openly adopt currency exchange rates 3.5% below market, and delay the actual payment by 3-5 business days.

Yet PayPal strictly forbids its users on the receiving end to surcharge clients with fees. So my stated rates/prices are for payment via PayPal within two weeks from delivery. Any client using other payment methods within two weeks from delivery will be entitled to a 10% discount. PayPal cannot prevent me from giving anyone discounts, particularly when their services are in no way involved in the transaction.

Then there is another aspect to consider upon translation services and their corresonding payment crossing borders: interest rates in Brazil are outrageously high, if compared to most other countries', the official number going beyond 10% per month. Compare with your domestic interest on loans.

As a result, if your local interest rate is lower than in Brazil, it makes no sense to borrow money overseas at significantly higher rates to pay for translations later, worse than that, from a translator who would certainly be an amateur in financial services. Therefore clients willing to pay COD are eligible for a generous additional discount.

Bottom line is that I always have my clients' interests at heart. I don't want them to waste money on unnecessary financial services, so I keep these options separate to let them choose the most convenient one.

Some insights on prices in the translation market

First, let's leave aside the Brazilian market for sworn/certified translations, as statutory rates are set by each Brazilian state. The law says that those rates must be enforced. On the other hand, there is always someone willing to break the law; otherwise the law itself would not be necessary. If a sworn Brazilian translator offers illegal discounts, it is safe to assume that they won't abide by the law in other things as well. It's like knowingly buying a counterfeit product. If any problem ever arises, the buyer will have received their compensation in cash (the discount) for solving it on their own.

Apart from that, the translation market is completely deregulated: each translator may charge whatever they think their labor is worth. Yet there is another peculiarity... thanks to the Internet, the translation market is fully globalized. The original to be translated may be e-mailed anywhere in the world, and the translation may be shipped back via the same route. There are no boundaries for that.

The only problem resides in finding qualified translators outside the countries where the target language is spoken, as there will be very few of them, if any. Furthermore, that translator may be out of date regarding the language currently spoken in their homeland.

To illustrate, there are countries in the Far East where the cost of living is comparatively very low, so where translation services may cost very cheap. However what would be the odds of finding a good English to Portuguese translator in India or China?

Nevertheless, the supply-and-demand law prevails. This ubiquity the Internet grants translators also provides them with a benchmark on worldwide translation rates, in order to adapt to this globalized market. Assuming that nobody wants to sell their work for less than it's worth, and that whoever practices overly high prices will be in low demand, translation market rates are gradually settling worldwide.

There are several factors at play, such as the supply/demand ratio for each of the various language pairs, which prevents rates from being more uniform. Each language pair, and each direction within the same pair (i.e from A into B vs. from B into A) have their unique distribution.

However translation services exist in countless levels of complexity and quality. A competent translator who charges too little will be overwhelmed with work, and won't be able to earn a living. An incompetent translator overcharging for their low quality work will soon run out of clients. Hence there is a natural settling of prices. Though it is not sufficiently reliable for anyone to believe that translation quality will be proportional to its cost, it is some reference.

Though I charge for everything I do, I try to sell my clients out of requesting anything they don't need. The most recurrent case is asking me for both the transcript and translation of a video for dubbing or subtitling. The transcript adds to the cost, and is completely unnecessary for the translation. Likewise I eliminate any work that the client won't have any use for.

Honest work and quality for a fair price. If this is what you want, send me an e-mail, or use one of the options from the Express Estimates. It will be my pleasure to help you, even if it's only to check on your needs and the most viable options.

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