Knowing what to charge as a freelance translator is a very big challenge. How much you should charge is on a case-by-case basis and can be influenced by a number of factors. These factors include the domain you are working in, the deadlines that you are working to, and the language pair.
Domain expertise is one factor that affects the price. For example, a legal or technical document requires specialized knowledge and experience from the translator. This allows you to demand higher per-word rates compared to a simple online blog.
Having this domain expertise also means less time is spent researching technical jargon, which can speed up project completion.
The delivery date is one of the first things to consider when it comes to translation pricing. Make sure to charge more for same or next-day delivery. You can quote higher translation rates for work given on short notice, but be careful to set a limit.
Your language pair can determine the pricing of a translation project. For languages like Spanish, French, and German, there is more supply than demand. Since many people can translate these in-demand languages, they tend to have lower translation rates.
Additionally, any language with fewer translators allows you to charge more for translation services. The more languages you can translate, the more opportunities you will have.
Making new connections through networking online or in person can help you meet more experienced translators who have gone through similar challenges. This will allow you to have an open conversation about rate setting and any other questions relating to professional practices.
For more information on translation pricing, check out Slator’s podcast with Joseph Lambert and Callum Walker where the duo unpacks freelance translation, status, and rate-setting.