CHAPTER 7 – PROFITABILITY IS THE KEY

PRICE IMAGE

Don’t be afraid of higher pricing and raising your rates. Translators seldom see the value in price image but similar ideas and images affect our choices when buying other products and services. If you need a high quality suit, or a gift item for a special occasion, where do you go? What images does the price give about the product?  Is a ten-euro watch as good as one that costs fifty euros? It may very well be. In any case, the more expensive alternative 'feels' better.

 

It is not uncommon at all that determination in price negotiation brings forth a favorable solution. It is quite possible to receive a fair compensation for your work simply by asking for it. Here’s an authentic response from a client: “The price will not be an issue here. We require a quality translation, so it’s a deal.”

 

You don’t always have to do prime quality translation, provided that it has been agreed upon with the client. Sometimes a client doesn’t need a fully polished translation: As long as the text conveys the meaning it doesn’t matter if brilliant headings, puns or catchphrases are somewhat lost in translation. Such translations may be required in, for example, a company’s internal communication, or for designing and localizing advertisements or other commercial material. The commissioner doesn’t have to pay as much for this sort of quick-and-dirty translation as they do for a proper translation to be published. It may be, for example, an email or client feedback that Google Translate can’t crack. At this point someone will shout: “They’re going to publish it anyway!” Well, that is their right, but you should keep in mind that ultimately it is the client who is responsible for the contents of their publications. A professional knows how to best apply their expertise even for these kinds of translations without losing their cool.


A regular client sends an email: “Can you translate the remarks made by a Finnish producer to an investor’s representative who couldn’t translate them with Google?” The text that is to be translated is in the email. At a quick glance, it seems to be less than a page of typical jargon of the field. A quick answer is sent to the client: “Sure I can -- I suppose proofreading by a native speaker isn’t needed. Seems like it will fit within the minimum price. I’ll have it to you later today.” Thus, you can leave out phases such as technical refining of the text, proofreading by a native speaker or another person, mulling it over, making it easy to read, and archiving it (the translation will remain in the email). The client is pleased, and the translator doesn’t have to waste time and energy for anything the client isn’t willing to pay for.