An Hourly Fee for Translation?

(John Milan, May–June issue)

Even when giving an estimate for an entire project, I’ve usually found it necessary to use a word rate or an hourly rate rather than stating a flat fee for the project as a whole. This is because the client’s initial estimate of the number of words and the other work involved is often far off the mark. If you agree to a flat fee for the project, then either the client has carte blanche to send you an unlimited amount of work related to that project, or, if you specify some maximum, then you have to renegotiate once that maximum is reached. At that point, there is often enormous pressure on the translator to get the extra work done quickly, before there is time to complete additional negotiations about the price.

I’ve always avoided this situation by agreeing in advance with the client that the final invoice may deviate from the estimate and will actually be based on a word rate, an hourly rate, or a combination of the two.

David McKay, The Hague, Netherlands

Big Data and the Translation Industry

“The big data and translation needs we discussed represent an opportunity for the language sector, but many translators look at the situation and worry that widespread deployment of machine translation (MT) will take work away from them. Our research estimates that translators will, in fact, lose some lower value jobs to MT, but that the total amount of work they have will increase at a steady rate for the foreseeable future.”

I hope the above (taken from Don DePalma’s article in the July-August issue) is read, processed, and understood by a great number of colleagues and newcomers who go into a panic every year over developments in MT and widespread usage of the various technologies.

Disruption is no longer only a buzzword. It is a reality to which we need to adapt, and that process starts with knowledge, analysis, and implementation. Specifically, knowledge of what it is, analysis of its impact, and implementation of its benefits by incorporating it into your professional toolbox. And that applies to both translation and interpreting. Thank you for publishing this, and thank you, Don, for the well-written and supported piece.

Gio Lester, Pinecrest, FL

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